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  1. #1
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    Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/29/2006

    Rams coach Scott Linehan was asked during the week if Shawne Merriman's pending steroids suspension takes some of the shine off his early accomplishments in the NFL.

    "I don't think so," Linehan said. "I think all people can be quick to judge. I think people can make mistakes, can inadvertently make mistakes, and I certainly wouldn't be one to throw stones."

    Merriman, the San Diego linebacker, was named NFL defensive rookie of the year last season when he registered a team-high 10 sacks. He had 5 sacks in San Diego's first six games this season when word leaked out that he had tested positive for steroids.

    Merriman is appealing, and the appeal won't be heard until Nov. 7, meaning he will play Sunday against the Rams.

    Even though Linehan isn't ready to pass judgment on Merriman, he didn't hedge when asked in general about steroid use in sports.

    "I certainly don't condone any of that," Linehan said. "I don't think there's any place for it in athletics at all. Not just as a coach, but as a father of (three) boys who are growing up."

    Miami's struggles

    One of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season is Miami (1-6), where Linehan served as offensive coordinator last season.

    "They've certainly had a tough break with Daunte (Culpepper) not being 100 percent," Linehan said. "I know they're disappointed to be where they're at, but there was a time last year when we didn't have a winning record and we had to reel off some wins at the end and regain some focus. There's time for them to do that."

    With Linehan running the offense, and current Rams backup Gus Frerotte starting at quarterback, the 2005 Dolphins bounced back from a 3-7 start to finish 9-7.

    Keep in mind, too, that Culpepper did his best work in the NFL with Linehan as his offensive coordinator in Minnesota from 2002 through 2004. So maybe the Dolphins, and Culpepper, miss Linehan.

    "I doubt that, trust me," Linehan said.

    Milestone time for Bruce

    Wide receiver Isaac Bruce needs 56 receiving yards to pass Art Monk for 10th place on the NFL's career list. Bruce enters Sunday's game with 12,666 career yards.

    Lineup shuffling

    With Paul Smith returning from eye surgery, it looks like he and Madison Hedgecock will split duties at fullback Sunday. They shared reps during the practice week at Rams Park. However, Smith said he will not be on the kickoff coverage unit, where his kamikaze-style approach resulted in the eye injury assaulting the wedge Oct. 1 against Detroit.

    Meanwhile, running back Tony Fisher has entered the picture at kickoff returner. If J.R. Reed doesn't dress Sunday, Fisher could return his first regular-season kickoffs since his rookie campaign (in Green Bay) in 2002.

    Rare encounter

    Although they've met frequently in exhibition play, Sunday marks only the ninth regular-season contest between the Rams and the Chargers. Other than the Houston Texans (one game), the Jacksonville Jaguars (two), and the Baltimore Ravens (three), it's the least the Rams have played anyone in the NFL. (They play Kansas City for the ninth time Nov. 5.)

    The Rams haven't played the Chargers in San Diego since 1994, the last season for the Rams franchise in Los Angeles. In the most recent meeting, Marc Bulger threw for a career-high 453 yards in a 28-24 Rams victory in 2002.

    Ram-blings

    The Rams are 24-9 against the AFC since the start of the '98 season, the league's best inter-conference mark over that span. ... The San Diego roster features former Rams tight end Brandon Manumaleuna; the Chargers' coaching staff includes quarterbacks coach John Ramsdell, a long-time Rams assistant.


  2. #2
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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    Meanwhile, running back Tony Fisher has entered the picture at kickoff returner. If J.R. Reed doesn't dress Sunday, Fisher could return his first regular-season kickoffs since his rookie campaign (in Green Bay) in 2002.
    This could be a bad move.

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    I think that hes a guy that wont try to do to much. Basicly no td's for him, but he will get us to the 25-30 yardline everytime.

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    which is not what we should be looking for. i dont understand why reed isnt playing! i thought he did a pretty good job at returning kicks

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce4life View Post
    which is not what we should be looking for. i dont understand why reed isnt playing! i thought he did a pretty good job at returning kicks
    I sure missed Reed against Seattle, but I don't mind giving Tony a shot. Tony has not been given alot of opportunities, but he has taken advantage of the few he has received. I read not that long ago that Reed has not been able to regain his burst since his injury, so that may be a factor in the coaches' decision to go with Fisher. The one thing with Reed that really stands out (to me anyway) is that he runs with an attitude -- no fear -- no hesitation ... That is something I haven't seen since Tony Horne... That said, I like the idea of giving Fisher a chance -- for the most part good things have happened when he has gotten his touches ... We will see.

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    Think we are looking for another kick returner on the team so that we can cut Reed to free up a roster spot?

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    Fisher's shown some good ability to work in space with blockers in front of him when he's been on the field offensively, so I can understand wanting to get him on the field in a returning situation. It doesn't sound like Reed is going to be on this team much longer if he can't even make it on the field for the one job he was brought here to do.
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    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    I don't like having Fisher return kicks. He's played well in the action he has seen so far, but when his last time returning was in 2002, I would be quite reluctant to give him the job. We all saw what happened when Curtis got a shot at returning kicks, and he's a great player too - he just doesn't have a lot of experience with returns. I hope we let Reed handle it, he has looked better than anyone else on this team from what I've seen.

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamOfDenmark View Post
    We all saw what happened when Curtis got a shot at returning kicks
    That was a ball security issue, though. It's not as if he made an error unique to being a return man. I wouldn't let a fumble completely take Curtis out of the return game; a fumble could happen on any play.
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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    It worries me that we still don't have the KR position set. I felt comfortable with Reed and while he wasn't spectacular, he was solid and got the job done without raising any concerns or heart rates.

    I would be great to see Fisher work out if he is indeed used to return kicks, but because he wasn't even in the mix when we were trying to get the position settled early, it looks to me like we're reaching at this point.

    I'm assuming Fisher has shown the coaching staff enough in practice to prompt this move, so I'll just have to trust their judgement and hope for the best.

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    if you dont hold on to the ball it can.

  12. #12
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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    A fumble can happen on any play, but ball security is a bigger concern on returns because the guys tackling you are generally coming at full speed from the other direction, so you tend to take bigger hits. I really think it takes more than being fast and elusive to make a good returner. Some people just have a knack for it. My take on this news about Fisher is that competition is a good thing here. All it says is that he has entered the picture, not that he has been handed the starting job. Reed and Curtis have been near the bottom of the league in return average so far (NFL.com ranks 30 returners who have had at least 10 returns and Reed is 29/30), so it's worth a shot.

    By the way, any word on that kid, Marques Hagans, we drafted to be a returner?

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    By the way, any word on that kid, Marques Hagans, we drafted to be a returner?
    Good question on Hagans! Come to think of it, he may have been the answer all along! Well, not that the coaches didn't see him as a possibility, but considering the lack of a clearly established kick return man at this point -- game 7-- maybe, just maybe, he, Marques, is the man.

  14. #14
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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    It worries me that we still don't have the KR position set. I felt comfortable with Reed and while he wasn't spectacular, he was solid and got the job done without raising any concerns or heart rates.

    I would be great to see Fisher work out if he is indeed used to return kicks, but because he wasn't even in the mix when we were trying to get the position settled early, it looks to me like we're reaching at this point.

    I'm assuming Fisher has shown the coaching staff enough in practice to prompt this move, so I'll just have to trust their judgement and hope for the best.
    You said exactly what I wanted to say. I do want to add that JR brings his same intensity to the table on ST defense as well and that will be missed if he is inactive again.

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    Re: Linehan isn't quick to judge Charger---NEW KICK RETURNER?

    we released him, but resigned him to the practice squad, then we released him again!!

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