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Thread: Inside Slant
Rams Team Report
Yahoo! Sports Jun 13, 3:57 am EDT
Throughout the offseason, there was constant talk about the Rams’ possibly selecting defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with the second overall pick in the draft.
That move likely would have resulted in Adam Carriker playing a lot more nose tackle, with Dorsey sharing time with veteran La’Roi Glover. That could have slashed into the playing time of Clifton Ryan.
But the Rams picked defensive end Chris Long. Carriker will still be the nose tackle when Glover is in the game, but Ryan should get plenty of snaps when Carriker spells Glover at the three-technique spot.
A fifth-round pick, Ryan had a solid rookie season in 2007, but it was better early than late. Ryan acknowledged that there was an adjustment playing as many games as there are in the NFL, and that he had problems at the end of the season.
“I think I kind of wore down towards the end,” he admitted. “We had our bye week eight games in, we had eight games left. Coming from college, I’m used to only playing 11 or 12 games. I’m going to try to get as much conditioning in as I can heading into training camp and during training camp to preserve my body for a 21-week season.”
Ryan talked about being comfortable in the offseason this year, as opposed to what it was like last year after the draft.
He said, “A year in the playbook, a year within the system, a year in the city, it’s just a whole lot easier. I can’t say that I made it, but just to know that I’m established a year in the game, and I don’t feel like I have to put all that pressure on myself like I did last year going in trying to make a roster spot.”
As a rookie, he had 48 tackles and two sacks, but had just nine tackles in the final six games. He believed in himself and felt he was capable of playing well at the NFL level.
“I didn’t surprise myself, I always knew what I could do,” he said. “I played against the best for four years at Michigan State. I played against a lot of guys who are in this league right now, a lot of high-level guys. I slipped in the draft, but it’s not a big deal. The draft is not an exact science. There are a lot of guys who are great players who don’t get drafted. I’m just fortunate to get drafted and come into a good situation where the coaching staff is willing to cultivate my talent and watch me grow.”
Ryan said his second season should be even better.
“I’m really motivated seeing what I can do going into my second year,” he said. “It feels good feeling that the coaching staff has confidence in me, that coach (Scott) Linehan has a lot of confidence in me, and coach (defensive coordinator Jim) Haslett has confidence in me. It’s a real stress reliever having that year under your belt and making some plays out there last season.”
• Thursday (June 12) was the final day of OTAs for the Rams. Rookies will be around for the next two weeks, while veterans will come and go on their own for conditioning.
Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski will stay around, getting a crash course in the offense from offensive coordinator Al Saunders. Gradkowski said the Rams’ offense is totally different from the offense he was in with the Buccaneers for two seasons.
Asked about the frustration of being in Tampa with as many quarterbacks as they had on the roster, Gradkowski said, “It was tough not getting reps and wondering about your future. Finally, me and my agent asked them to do something if I wasn’t going to be around.”
Would he have liked to have been released earlier? “Sure,” Gradkowski said. “But at least they did it before the offseason program was totally over.”
• After practice Thursday, one player from each unit tried to get closest to the pin on a golf shot of about 125 yards. Equipment assistant John Welby held the pin wearing a helmet.
Cornerback Tye Hill whiffed completely. Wide receiver Dane Looker was the star, putting his shot to within three feet of the pin. Surprisingly, quarterback Marc Bulger totally shanked his shot to the right, going no more than 30 yards.
“It’s Al’s fault,” Bulger said of offensive coordinator Al Saunders. “He has me in all these meetings, so it’s killing my golf game.”
Told of Bulger’s comment, Saunders said, “That shank was the best thing that happened today and the best thing I saw at all the OTAs. It shows if you spend more time on football and less time on golf, we’ll be a better football team.
“I’d have been upset if his shot had hit John Welby in the head.”
• Coach Scott Linehan singled out tight end Joe Klopfenstein and running back Antonio Pittman as two of the team’s improved players, based on offseason work.
“Both had to adjust to really tough roles last year,” Linehan said. “Antonio coming off being released by the team that drafted him and then coming in here and not knowing the offense. And then Joe, he started as a rookie, and then got moved out of a starting spot. It really wasn’t anything he did. We just picked up a guy (Randy McMichael) that we felt that we were going to play in front of him. It was a tough situation. But Joe has had a great offseason.”
• With three of the first four picks in the draft signed, Rams defensive end Chris Long (second overall) is the only one from the top group unsigned.
Long has said he expects to be signed in time for the start of camp July 24. Coach Scott Linehan is hopeful.
“I know realistically that sometimes that doesn’t always happen,” Linehan said. “I’ve been through guys that have signed the day before camp, and I’ve been through guys that have gone a week (of camp before signing), and unfortunately I’ve been through a season where our first-round pick held out half a season.
“I wouldn’t anticipate that. But that’s the business side. … I believe a deal will get done. I don’t think there will be an issue when we head to Wisconsin.”
Quote To Note: “The first two weeks there were some analysis issues, with trying to figure out what in the heck’s going on, adjusting from a 3-4 (defense), things like that. But these last (few) practices … you’ve really seen the light come on. He’s playing at a very high level. The kid’s a special person and a special player, and he’s really going to be a great addition to what we’re doing on defense.”—Coach Scott Linehan on the offseason improvement of rookie DE Chris Long.
Strategy And Personnel
The Rams signed the second of their eight draft picks to a contract Thursday when tackle John Greco (third-round choice) agreed to terms on a three-year deal. The signing bonus was not yet available, but Greco’s three years of base salaries are for the league minimums of $295,000; $385,000 and $475,000.
On Wednesday, guard Roy Schuening signed a three-year deal worth $1.283 million that includes a signing bonus of $128,000 His cap figure for 2008 will be $337,667.
Re: Inside Slant
We signed three of the first four picks now? How? Didn't we sign only Scheuning and Greco? If that is right, then we signed Avery, Greco and King but not Long. Anyone that can back this up?
-06-14-2008 #3Mooselini Guest
Re: Inside Slant
One of the few things I'm definately looking forward to is watching Clifton Ryan play. Last year he impressed me as a rookie, I want to see more out of him.
Our special teams may be better than ever. Finally our kicker won't be the leading tackler on special teams.
Chris Long is going to be an average player the first few weeks. But after he gets a few games under his belt, he'll probably explode.
Re: Inside Slant
Why havent we heard about Avery and King signing? TELL ME PEOPLE!!!!
I dont think there signed, i think the writer messed up.
Last edited by Tampa_Ram; -06-14-2008 at 03:19 PM.
Re: Inside Slant
Re: Inside Slant
clifton ryan is worthy of serious discussion. Ryan is one of the most missed elements of the analysis by the alleged experts when looking at our draft. "The rams have an aging leonard little, carriker and basically nothing else" was the battle cry. Its incredible to me how little the so called experts know about ryans contributions last year and his obvious upside.
key guy for us looking forward.
ramming speed to all
Re: Inside Slant
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