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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Interview with Wroten

    Sports Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Wroten ready to shine
    By MARQ MITCHAM
    Published: Friday, July 20, 2007 6:26 PM CDT



    Entering his second NFL season, Claude Wroten reports to the St. Louis Rams' training camp on Thursday. Wroten sat down for an interview prior to working out at the Bastrop High fieldhouse yesterday afternoon.

    First Quarter

    As a rookie, Wroten was a backup defensive tackle, playing behind La'Roi Glover. Playing in 15 games, he recorded 11 tackles (nine unassisted) with one sack, a forced fumble and seven quarterback hurries.



    BDE: Is NFL training camp as tough as people say it is?

    Claude Wroten: If you don't have your mind right, it can be mentally and physically taxing. It's not as hard as some people make it out to be, but if you're not in shape, it can be tough.

    The blisters on your feet and the heat can get you.


    BDE: Is the heat as bad in St. Louis as it is in Louisiana?

    Wroten: It can get pretty hot in St. Louis, but there is nothing like 100 degrees at 3 (p.m.) in Baton Rouge.

    BDE: I read in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that you came into camp a little out of shape last year, but reported to mini-camp in top condition. What was the difference?



    Wroten: I went to training camp last year thinking I was in shape. After watching the veterans, I realized I didn't have a grasp on the mental and physical side of it.

    My mindset this off-season has been to get bigger, faster and stronger. This is going to be a real good camp for me. I intend to open the eyes of a lot of people.

    BDE: Is it easier going into camp as a second-year player, knowing what to expect?



    Wroten: It is so much easier. As a rookie, you're getting initiated by the veterans, trying to learn the playbook and getting adjusted to the NFL. You've been watching all these guys on TV, then all of a sudden you're on the field with them.

    With a year behind me, I have gotten used to it. I know the guys, I know the playbook and the schedule. I just have a better understanding of everything.

    BDE: We've all heard the stories about rookies being hazed in NFL camps. Tell us about some of your experiences last year.



    Wroten: It wasn't as bad as some people say it is. The veterans made us do stuff like carry their pads, wash their helmets, buy their lunch and clean out their lockers.

    The Rams aren't as bad about hazing as some of the other teams. We didn't have to do anything that caused any hard feelings.

    Some teams will wake the rookies up early and tape them to the goalposts, pour Gatorade on them and push them in cold tubs full of cold water.



    We had a talent show last year where the rookies had to sing and do skits. It was actually kind of fun. I imitated Brian Baker, our defensive line coach.

    BDE: Last year, you had a reputation for playing a little out of control. What adjustments did you have to make to become a more disciplined player?

    Wroten: These guys are veterans and know the game real well. You can't just go out there on athletic ability alone. You have to know your keys.



    I have learned what to do and what not to do in certain situations. In high school and college, the best athlete usually wins. In the NFL, that's not the case at all.

    It wasn't that I was out of control last year - I was going fast and strong, but it wasn't always in the right direction.

    Now, I've gotten a better grasp of the mental side of the game and learned to play faster and smarter.



    Second Quarter

    Wroten was arrested for criminal property damage (a misdemeanor) earlier this month in Baton Rouge, following an incident at the home of his ex-girlfriend.

    Shortly before the 2006 draft, Wroten was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after being pulled over for speeding by Sterlington Police. Although charges were later dropped, Wroten paid a price for the incident. A projected mid-to-late first round pick, he was eventually drafted in the third round as the 68th pick overall.



    On the field, he is looking to earn more playing time. In an effort to bolster the front four, the Rams drafted three defensive linemen - Nebraska end Adam Carriker in the first round and Michigan State tackle Clifton Ryan and Arkansas tackle Keith Jackson, both in the fifth round. Also, the Rams acquired end James Hall from Detroit and traded DT Jimmy Kennedy, a former first-round pick, to Denver.

    BDE: Are you facing any possible disciplinary action, stemming from the charges in Baton Rouge?

    Wroten: It was a small incident with my ex-girlfriend. No disciplinary action will be taken. The charges are going to be dropped.

    You know I always shake back from my mistakes.

    BDE: How are the Rams' off-season moves on the defensive line going to affect you?

    Wroten: It's pretty much the same situation as last year. Adam played end in college and he's going to play nose guard for us. Jimmy didn't play the nose as much.

    I'm primarily a three-tech (tackle). My playing time will increase a lot. Even though La'Roi Glover is a veteran, he can't do some of the things he did in his prime.

    Coach (Scott Linehan) is looking for me become a leader and step up my game preparation and I intend to do that.

    BDE: How much have you improved since last season?

    Wroten: It's like night and day. I'm bigger, faster and stronger. The game has slowed down for me. I'm reading my keys and picking up things I haven't picked up before.

    BDE: Are you expecting to have a breakout season?

    Wroten: Not to be boastful or arrogant, but I don't think there is anybody in the NFL who can block me.

    A lot of guys on the team have told me that I could become one of the best defensive linemen in the league, and that's what I'm striving to do.

    I want to have at least 10 sacks. That's how determined I am and how much confidence I have in my ability.

    BDE: There has been some talk of you filling in at defensive end and playing on special teams. What do you expect your role to be this season?

    Wroten: It's going to be hard to start because you don't just push a guy who has been in the league as long as La'Roi Glover off to the side. It's probably going to be a rotation. I may not start, but I'm going to get just as much playing time.

    On third down situations, I may slide out to end to utilize my pass rushing skills.

    I'm versatile. I can play nose guard, the 3-tech or end. I know every position on the defensive line.

    I'm willing to do the things to help the team win.

    Third Quarter

    One of four NFC teams to finish with a break even 8-8 record (the New York Giants won the tiebreaker to gain the conference's final playoff spot), the Rams allowed an alarming 23.8 points per game - 28th in the league - and were particularly vulnerable against the run.

    BDE: The knock against the Rams' defense last year was its inability to defend the run. Do you expect to see a big improvement in this area?

    Wroten: It's going to be a totally different story this year.

    We've added some defensive linemen in the draft. Besides Adam, who is going to start, we've added some depth.

    We weren't terrible last year. It wasn't anything big, it was the little things that hurt us. We know what we did wrong and those mistakes have been corrected.

    Our goal is to be one of the top defenses in the league in every category.

    BDE: Do you expect the Rams to make the playoffs this year?

    Wroten: We had a good team last year, but we lost a lot of close games. We lost two close games to Seattle that we should have won and we lost a game to San Francisco that we should have won.

    I'm not satisfied at all with 8-8.

    This year, we will definitely make the playoffs.

    We're going to be better offensively, defensively and on special teams and we're going to stop the run.

    Coach feels it, the team feels it and I know I feel it.

    BDE: What are some of the less glamorous aspects of playing in the NFL that the average fan doesn't see?

    Wroten: Everybody sees the big houses and the fancy rides. But they don't see all the work it takes to get to the NFL and what it takes to maintain your place in the league.

    They see you playing on TV on Sunday, but they don't see all the preparation that went into the game. They don't see the grind, the practice and the sweat and blood we put into the game. Most people don't understand how much hard work goes into it.

    It's a tough career.

    BDE: Tell us about a typical day at training camp.

    Wroten: During two-a-days, you wake up at 6 in the morning and go to meetings and breakfast by 7:30.

    After practice, I try to get back to the room and take a nap.

    Then, we watch film from the first practice and have our second practice around 1 (p.m.). The afternoon practice usually lasts an hour and a half or two hours. We'll watch some more film, eat lunch and get out around 4 (p.m.).

    BDE: What's a typical day during the regular season?

    Wroten: I wake up at 6 (a.m.) and get to the stadium by 6:30. We eat breakfast and have meetings until 7:15. Then, we have special teams meetings, team meetings and practice a couple of hours until noon.

    After lunch, we have a light weight workout and watch film. On the average day, we leave the stadium around 4 (p.m.).

    BDE: How is the food at training camp?

    Wroten: Most of the time, Missouri food's just not as good as Louisiana food. Sometimes they'll have somebody from one of the St. Louis restaurants come in and cook for us.

    Fourth Quarter

    Wroten works out regularly at the BHS fieldhouse with NFL tight end Brian Jones and former BHS defensive lineman Jarvis Edmonds.

    BDE: You and Brian spend a lot of time at the fieldhouse. How important is it to you to give something back to the community?

    Wroten: I feel like it's very important, even if it's just coming back and chillin' with my friends.

    A lot of times you hear about people making a cash donation, but you never see them. I like to give back face-to-face.

    BDE: You actually gave up football to focus on basketball your junior year of high school. Do you still play basketball?

    Wroten: I do a little slamming at the park a couple of days a week with my fat-neck friend Jarvis Edmonds.

    Basketball was always my first love. I was just too short and too fat.

    But it's all worked out for the good. I've been blessed to have the opportunity to play in the NFL. I've been real blessed.

    BDE: Everybody wants to play in the NFL, but so few have the talent or the drive. What advice do you give when you talk to high school football and junior high football players?

    Wroten: I know it's kind of hypocritical, but the first thing I tell them is don't do drugs. I tell them to get their grades and to stay focused. Life is not going to go your way all the time.

    What you do off the field is going to affect what you do in the long run.

    If you do things right off the field, what you do on the field will take care of itself.


  2. #2
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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    im not too sure i like his attitude

    i dont mind confidence, but he sounds quite arrogant

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    KoaKoi is offline Registered User
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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Quote Originally Posted by tomahawk247 View Post
    im not too sure i like his attitude

    i dont mind confidence, but he sounds quite arrogant

    yeah, but no where near as arrogant as Stephen Jackson is in his interviews. Besides, half of his arrogant/confident were in response to questions about the team. What else is he going to say to those questions? "no the team didn't improve / the new guys aren't going to make a difference." That'll only draw enmity from the other guys and the coaching staff.

    Better an arrogant jerk who can't put his money where his mouth is, than a back-stabbing squeaky wheel who destroys the entire team's unity, I say. Just look at the NY Giants last year-

    i definitely hear ya though. He definitely has not shown enough on the field to warrant a cocky attitude if that's what it is. But then again, who knows, maybe he's really improved with a year under his belt and he's ready to knock some heads around. We can only hope.

    thanks for the posting of the interview Wraith!

  4. #4
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    I gotta be honest fellas. I don't like arrogance either, but.......if he can...
    Quote Originally Posted by Wroten
    have at least 10 sacks
    ...then he can say...
    Quote Originally Posted by Wroten
    I don't think there is anybody in the NFL who can block me.
    ...all he wants to.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Wroten: Not to be boastful or arrogant, but I don't think there is anybody in the NFL who can block me.
    I'm willing to do the things to help the team win.

    I like what I'm hearing, hopefully it translates onto the field.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  6. #6
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Why complain about him having confidence? Would you rather have him say. Anyone in the NFL can block me, its just that way.

    He has confidence, and thats a good thing. Don't degrade him for having it.

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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Didn't we already heave this conversation?

    wroten ready to shine

  8. #8
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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan16 View Post
    Why complain about him having confidence? Would you rather have him say. Anyone in the NFL can block me, its just that way.

    He has confidence, and thats a good thing. Don't degrade him for having it.
    We had the exact same discussion on this interview in the "wroten ready to shine" thread a week ago. That one got pretty lively.

    I guess it's a thin line between confidence and boastful statements that have yet to be backed up. Like HUb, I have no problems with what what he says as long as he makes good on his words. If he does make good on his words, he'll look like a winner, if he doesn't, he'll look like a loser. I'm certainly looking for him to make good.

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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Didn't we say the same thing about Steven Jackson last year? Him being a little cocky...let's give him a shot.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6 View Post
    Didn't we say the same thing about Steven Jackson last year? Him being a little cocky...let's give [CW] a shot.
    By all means! I'm all for that!! ...Alright Wroten!!! :r

    Truth be known, I really liked Claude's assertiveness, both as a team player and on a personal level too.

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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    I really don't have a problem with his assertiveness. The only thing I don't like is how he says last season's defense wasn't that bad, and this season is going to be totally different. I mean I'm glad that he says they all know what they did wrong last season and that they supposedly fixed the problems. I'd just rather hear somebody say something along the lines of "All the guys on this defense know that we have to put together a better year than last time around." In my opinion, last season's defense had a few bright spots but on the whole was pretty terrible.

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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Dont get me wrong, confidence is a great thing to have. However i can understand Jackson's faith in himself because he had actually shown quite a bit on the field before last season.

    For me, Wroten hasnt done enough to justify being this cocky. Id love for him to come out and back up his words, i would really like to see an interior DL pairing of Wroten and Carriker

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    Re: Interview with Wroten

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    I really don't have a problem with his assertiveness. The only thing I don't like is how he says last season's defense wasn't that bad, and this season is going to be totally different. I mean I'm glad that he says they all know what they did wrong last season and that they supposedly fixed the problems. I'd just rather hear somebody say something along the lines of "All the guys on this defense know that we have to put together a better year than last time around." In my opinion, last season's defense had a few bright spots but on the whole was pretty terrible.
    I actually liked what he said about the D, how its the little things they getting wrong and that they've now corrected. Look at the Colts D going from the regular season to the post, they didn't change anything major, just a few little things, and look at the improvement they made. I really liked what i heard from wroten, how he talked about his mistakes from his rookie year and the ways he's gone about improving. Just hope he can back up the whole 10 sacks comment.

  14. #14
    sprtsmac Guest

    Re: Interview with Wroten

    We can call it whatever we want, but I hope for two things. He backs it up and the rest of our defense has the same attitude by the end of the season.

  15. #15
    marccat Guest

    Re: Interview with Wroten

    like they say " it aint braggin' if you can do it" go get em bud!!!

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