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Joe Klopfenstein's Drops Were Just Part Of The Problem
Joe Klopfenstein's drops were just part of problem
BY JIM THOMAS
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Only 45 players were drafted before Joe Klopfenstein in 2006, and when the Rams selected him midway through the second round, rookie head coach Scott Linehan couldn't help but gush.
"Obviously, next to Vernon Davis he was the next tight on our board," Linehan said at the time. "He is a very productive player, he has very natural hands, and is an excellent blocker. . . . He has unbelievable measurables. He is in the 6-6 range, 245, he ran in the 4.5s at the combine."
Klopfenstein also had excellent strength. He was one of the strongest Rams in the weight room.
But none of those measurables ever translated into production for the Rams, who released the University of Colorado product on Tuesday. In three seasons with St. Louis, including 37 starts, Klopfenstein had only 33 catches for 386 yards and two touchdowns.
He was so-so at best as a blocker, and had too many drops on the practice field and in games for someone with a reputation as a receiving tight end.
Klopfenstein quickly found himself low on the depth chart under new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, and never worked his way up.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR HILL
A change of scenery could be good for cornerback Tye Hill, who was traded Tuesday to Atlanta for a seventh-round draft pick. In fact, he could end up starting for the Falcons.
One of the Falcons' current starting corners, Chris Houston, has been sidelined by a groin injury this preseason. The other, Brent Grimes, has struggled considerably in coverage. The team's nickel back, Chevis Jackson, isn't thought to have the speed to play outside. Third-round draft pick Chris Owens isn't ready yet for a meaningful role.
STAT OF THE DAY
There are as many players from the Rams' draft class of 2006 playing for the Florida Tuskers of the fledgling United Football League as there is on the current Rams roster.
Defensive tackle Claude Wroten (third round) and linebacker Tim McGarigle (seventh round) are with the Orlando-based Tuskers, who are coached by former Rams coach Jim Haslett.
Defensive end Victor Adeyanju (fourth round) and guard Mark Setterstrom (seventh round) are still with the Rams.
BULGER THROWS AGAIN
Quarterback Marc Bulger and his injured pinky finger got more throwing work Tuesday, this time taking shotgun snaps with the scout team.
"I don't know if throwing is as much the problem as getting the football (in a center snap)," Spagnuolo said. "So we'll just keep evaluating it as we go."
Spagnuolo said Bulger would not play against the Chiefs.
FB Mike Karney (ankle), DE Leonard Little (knee), and RG Richie Incognito (knee) either didn't practice or were very limited in practice Tuesday. Spagnuolo said Karney and Little probably won't play in Thursday's preseason finale against Kansas City. He said Incognito was questionable for the Chiefs.
Backup linebacker Larry Grant, who has had some impressive moments in training camp and in the preseason, did not practice Tuesday. He suffered what Spagnuolo called a sprained knee in practice Monday and could miss two weeks.
After missing the first three preseason games with an ankle injury, DT Adam Carriker is expected to play Thursday. So is LG Jacob Bell, who has missed all but two offensive plays this preseason because of a concussion. ... Safety James Butler missed practice Tuesday because of the birth of a son.
Re: Joe Klopfenstein's Drops Were Just Part Of The ProblemBackup linebacker Larry Grant, who has had some impressive moments in training camp and in the preseason, did not practice Tuesday. He suffered what Spagnuolo called a sprained knee in practice Monday and could miss two weeks."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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