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    Little Makes Early Key Play For St. Louis Rams

    Little makes early key play for St. Louis Rams

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/16/2009

    Friday was mostly a night for the Rams' youngsters at Giants Stadium. They got the bulk of the playing time, as expected, in the preseason opener and produced the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 23-20 victory over the New York Jets.

    But the tone was set early by one of the Rams' elder statesmen. Defensive end Leonard Little, preparing for his 12th NFL season, blasted into the Jets' backfield on the just the fifth play of the game. As he barged into quarterback Kellen Clemens, the ball popped loose and James Hall recovered for the Rams on the New York 27-yard line.

    That led to Josh Brown's field goal, putting the Rams up 3-0.

    "That certainly was a big play at a good, early time," coach Steve Spagnuolo said Saturday. "It's nice to jump on an opponent like that."

    Injuries spoiled Little's last two seasons. He played in just seven games in 2007 before undergoing toe surgery. Last year, a hamstring injury suffered in the opener kept him out of two games and forced him into a reserve role in several others.

    In the final year of his contract, Little, 34, would like nothing better than an injury-free '08. "As long as I (stay) in good condition, I'll be fine," he said. "Right now my body feels pretty good."

    LAURINAITIS PRAISE

    Rookie James Laurinaitis had a busier evening than most. He started at middle linebacker but also got into several series with the second-team defense. The Rams' second-round draft pick was credited with three tackles in the unofficial press-box statistics.

    "James, for being tossed in there as a starter as a (middle) linebacker in the first preseason game of his rookie year, I thought he did a nice job," Spagnuolo said. "Now, both Will (Witherspoon) and Chris Draft, they helped him out pretty good; it's nice to have two vets there (at the other linebacker spots). But he did some good things."

    First-round draftee tackle Jason Smith didn't get nearly as many snaps. He entered the game with the second-team offense late in the first half at right tackle. Eric Young finished the game at that spot.

    "Jason played physical and aggressive, which is what we saw when we drafted him," Spagnuolo said. Asked if he were satisfied with Smith's progress, Spagnuolo said, "So far, yeah. No problems there."

    BERLIN, BELL HURT

    Quarterback Brock Berlin and guard Jacob Bell will be day-to-day this week after being knocked out of the game with injuries. Spagnuolo reported that Berlin suffered a sprained knee and Bell a mild concussion. Also, MRI exams were scheduled for wide receivers Tim Carter (groin) and Brooks Foster (ankle). Defensive end Adam Carriker (ankle) will be out again this week.

    COORDINATORS OK

    Also debuting were Spagnuolo's coordinators, Pat Shurmur (offense) and Ken Flajole (defense). Spagnuolo listened in to the calls but for the most part stayed out of the decision-making.

    "I'm going to try not to step on toes," he explained. "You hire people to do their job, and I thought they both did a good job of it. I just chime in where I see needed."

    RAM-BLINGS

    Spagnuolo had a couple of special visitors for his first head-coaching venture. His father, Robert, 73, was on hand, as was his sister Robyn. Robert Spagnuolo, who lives in Connecticut, stayed at the Rams' hotel Thursday night. "I looked for him after the game, but I think he cut out early," Steve Spagnuolo quipped. ... The four Rams quarterbacks completed passes to 10 different receivers. ... Brown was three for three in field-goal tries, from 48, 34 and 39 yards.


  2. #2
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Little Makes Early Key Play For St. Louis Rams

    That was a great play by Little. I hope he can continue to play with that intensity.

  3. #3
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    Re: Little Makes Early Key Play For St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    That was a great play by Little. I hope he can continue to play with that intensity.
    If he stays away from injury, I'm sure that won't be a problem. Could be a big "if" considering the last few years. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.

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    Re: Little Makes Early Key Play For St. Louis Rams

    It certainly wont be an issue if he continues to go one on one with backup tackles. There is no back up tackle in the nfl that is going to handle leonard one on one and in fact, not a heck of a lot of starting tackles for that matter. One of the most underated players in the nfl in the last ten years. A super elite pass rusher and much better against the run than he has ever been given credit for. A much better all around player than strahan.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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