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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/14/2006

    The weekend of the NFL draft contained a couple of jolts for Colorado tight end Joe Klopfenstein, taken by the Rams in the second round April 29.

    The first came when the Rams selected another tight end, Southern California's Dominique Byrd, in the third round. "I wasn't really expecting it," Klopfenstein said. "But it just showed they need some change at that position."

    The second came the next day when Brandon Manumaleuna, the incumbent starter at tight end, was traded to San Diego. "I was sort of surprised," Kolpfenstein said. "When I heard that, I was pretty happy about it, actually."

    Manumaleuna's exit created an obvious opening in the lineup, and Klopfenstein and Byrd figure to be the front-runners for the spot. Rarely does such competition begin in rookie minicamp, but that's what's happening this weekend at Rams Park.

    "I don't think we're going to be in a hurry to say who's in the lead or who isn't; right now they're just picking it all up," coach Scott Linehan said. "But they know they're in competition."

    Klopfenstein, 6 feet 5 and 251 pounds, was the 46th overall pick; Byrd, 6-2 and 260, was No. 93. Klopfenstein stressed that his higher draft position didn't mean that the job was his to lose.

    "I think it's an open job and we're all fighting for it," he said. "It's a battle out there."

    Klopfenstein (pronounced KLOFF-en-stine) had 86 receptions for 1,076 yards at Colorado and set a school record for touchdowns by a tight end, with 13.

    Byrd put up similar numbers at USC - 81 catches for 968 yards - despite missing significant chunks of two seasons because of injuries. Byrd said he's healthy now, though, and eager to take his shot at the top of the depth chart.

    "You have to keep your mind open, study your (play) book, stay humble and compete," he said. "You can't take anything for granted. I'm going to work hard, as if there were a Pro Bowl tight end in front of me."

    Klopfenstein and Byrd are rooming together during minicamp, but it's hardly a contentious atmosphere. "We're pushing each other to get better," Klopfenstein said. "We talk together about the plays, and we're on the same page. So, I think it helps."

    Changing direction

    Another hopeful at tight end strapped on a helmet Saturday for the first time in eight years. Connecticut's Ed Nelson is trying to make the jump from college basketball to pro football, a la San Diego's Antonio Gates and Detroit's Marcus Pollard.

    Nelson, a 6-7, 266-pound power forward at UConn, hasn't played football since his freshman year of high school. The Rams signed him as an undrafted free agent after watching him work out on campus.

    "Everything's such a rush right now," Nelson said. "I'm learning new things and working on blocking, receiving and trying to understand the plays. Everything's coming at me at once. Sometimes I try to just step back and just take a look at what's going on. ...

    "I just graduated college, but, man, this is probably the hardest class I've ever taken."

    Nelson said he was able to relax a bit Saturday once he latched onto a couple of passes. "The plays will come," he said. "I'm just trying to show them that I'm strong and athletic and that I have good hands."

    Ram-blings

    Center Mike Degory, an undrafted free agent from Florida, "had a change of heart," Linehan said, and has decided to enroll in medical school. ... Two more practices are scheduled for Sunday. Minicamp will wrap up with a single workout Monday


  2. #2
    Drew4EverRams's Avatar
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    well i wanted us to get Degory for a late round pick,dissappointed when he wasn`t,i thought great when we picked him up as an undrafted FA,now he`s given up the NFL and off to try and get into med school!

    Love is a rollercoaster baby....

  3. #3
    RamsFan4ever's Avatar
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    I dont care who gets the starting TE position, as long as they can get open, catch, run, and get yards

  4. #4
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan4ever
    I dont care who gets the starting TE position, as long as they can get open, catch, run, and get yards
    I 100% agree with you, I just want us to open up more for that position to be even more effective on Offense, not just the red-zone area.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  5. #5
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    I would hate to be a TE trying to learn an offense as complicated as the Rams in a short time. It would be an information overload.
    I hope they can stay focused.:football:
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    Quote Originally Posted by UtterBlitz
    I would hate to be a TE trying to learn an offense as complicated as the Rams in a short time. It would be an information overload.
    I hope they can stay focused.:football:
    I heard this offense is alot, alot easier than the Martz offense.
    RamsFan16

  7. #7
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan16
    I heard this offense is alot, alot easier than the Martz offense.
    I don't know that it's that much easier. It has multiple formations, pre-snap movements and combines all levels of blocking, so I wouldn't say it's THAT much easier than Martz.

    But, of course, I suppose EVERY offense is at least a little bit easier than what Martz runs.
    "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

  8. #8
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    A competition for a "tight end job"?

    What is this... America's Next Top Model?

  9. #9
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    Re: Klopfenstein, Byrd compete to get their hands on tight end job

    Wow, there's competition for the TE job after drafting 2 and letting go of Manu?

    I didn't know.

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