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Thread: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    It's 'Hammer' time for Rams

    By Jim Thomas
    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 12:20 am

    There's no finesse to Brady Poppinga.

    The Rams' new strong side linebacker comes on strong. He plays the game at 100 mph, relishes contact and isn't afraid to tell you about it, either.

    "They called me 'The Hammer' up in Green Bay and they did that for a reason," Poppinga said. "I'm a physical guy. I'm not one to tiptoe in any kind of situations where the run is coming at me. I'm extremely physical at the point of attack, and so I bring an element to this defense they haven't had for a couple years. Yeah, I'm a very sound run stopper. That is my strength."

    Hard to believe that Poppinga was shy as a wallflower growing up in Wyoming. But a two-year Mormon mission in Uruguay coming out of high school changed all that.

    "I learned a lot about myself down there, and I learned one thing: That I was not shy," Poppinga said. "I went into that experience very shy, but it's hard to survive when you're a missionary, because that is the business of communicating. You've got to be able to communicate with people."

    That was especially true because the national language of Uruguay is Spanish. Poppinga had to learn the language, and emphasized that you can't be shy if you're trying to learn a new language in a foreign country.

    "And lo and behold, I found out about myself that I had this open spirit," Poppinga said. "It just came out and blossomed."

    He's got spirit all right.

    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, then an assistant with Philadelphia, remembers to this day the impression Poppinga made on him during an NFL scouting combine interview before the 2005 draft. Poppinga was that animated.

    He has a son named Julius Maximus, inspired by the movie "Gladiator." In fact, Poppinga himself has dressed up as a gladiator for Halloween in the past.

    Talk to him for 10 minutes and you get the distinct impression he's been chugging 5-Hour Energy drink all day. His new teammates in St. Louis have taken notice.

    "Yes, Brady is always like that," linebacker James Laurinaitis said, smiling. "Always. A hundred percent wired. I don't know how. He's a different guy, but he's full of energy and he brings that kind of energy in practice. He's always ready to roll."

    Sometimes to the dismay of his teammates. In a practice before the team's Aug. 7 scrimmage at Lindenwood University, Poppinga surprised running back Steven Jackson with a hard hit.

    "That's how I play; he knows that," Poppinga said. "We played against each other three times over my career, his career. I think he is the best running back in this league. I have the highest respect for him.

    "But at the end of the day there's a certain way I like to play, and I will play, and sometimes guys don't like that. I understand that. My style is my style, it's just a part of who I am."

    That style is what attracted the Rams to sign Poppinga to a one-year deal in free agency following his release by Green Bay.

    "Brady's a physical guy," Spagnuolo said. "He's been impressive with what he's picked up. He's been in a different kind of system there in Green Bay, in a 3-4, and I'm kind of impressed with what he's done at this point. He is a very aggressive football player. We like that."

    Poppinga, 6 feet 3, 250 pounds, was a primary starter for the Packers from 2006 through 2008, starting 39 regular-season games over those three seasons. But his playing time decreased in 2009 after Green Bay selected linebacker Clay Matthews in the first round of the NFL draft. Last season, Poppinga suffered a season-ending knee injury six games into the campaign.

    He was released by the Packers at the end of this July. once the lockout ended.

    "It was extremely tough, because you build these bonds and you build a loyalty to an organization," Poppinga, 31, said. "At the end of the day, I'm a player I'm a commodity within a business, in a marketplace.

    "I had six great years (in Green Bay), but I am really excited to be here. This team, this situation, reminds me a lot of 2006 with the Packers, right when we were emerging, getting young guys in, getting the right kind of tools in place."

    Physically, Poppinga says he feels as good as he has since his college days at BYU. Despite two surgeries on the knee over his six seasons in the NFL, Poppinga says he has no arthritis.

    "So I'm feeling pretty darn good," he said. "And if you see me play and move around I think you would probably agree with that."

    In St. Louis, he is competing with another veteran, Na'il Diggs, for the starting spot at strongside linebacker. Diggs, who was a teammate of Poppinga's in 2005 in Green Bay, has held down the starting job throughout training camp so far.

    "I think these coaches are going to play the best guys," Poppinga said. "They're going to play the most physical, aggressive, downhill attacking kind of guys and I think I'm one of them.

    "I like to hit people. I like to hit 'em in the face. I like to get off and make plays. And that's what I do. That's what I've done since I've been here (in the NFL) and I'm going to continue to do that.


  2. #2
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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    It's 'Hammer time for Rams
    "You can't touch this!"

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    Julius Maximus Poppinga?! Yikes; poor kid.
    RockinRam and Ram Mar Ram like this.

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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    aslong as he doesn`t show up in those pants,i`m happy!

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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    I read a report that he had to have stitches he told them to stitch it up and lets get back to practice. Have to like his toughness.

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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    Hey Brady it's time to "Unleash Hell!!" Best line from the movie, imo

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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    It's Hammer time? Lame.
    IIIITTTT'S CLOBBERIN TIME!!!

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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    I'll tell you what, I'm pretty comfortable with the linebacker situation. I wasn't too sure about bringing Poppinga in, but I like what I've seen so far from him and love his attitude.

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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by R8rh8rmike View Post
    I'll tell you what, I'm pretty comfortable with the linebacker situation. I wasn't too sure about bringing Poppinga in, but I like what I've seen so far from him and love his attitude.
    No doubt! Our LBs look solid right now and it may indeed be a situation where BP, Laurinaitis, Diggs, Leber, Hull, Diles are not only competing with each other but also feeding off each other's strength and motivation. Will be interesting to see the keepers among this group and others.

    I hope coaches don't play Jax going too many times head on Vs. BP.

  10. #10
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    Re: It's 'Hammer' time for Rams ..

    Its unbelievable what can happen through the offseason. Last season, I think our LB corps was our weakest (next to maybe WR). And now its a real strength. I feel very good about these guys. A lot of competition going on.

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