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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/17/2006


    The Wide Receivers Club at Rams Park is about as exclusive as one can find in the NFL. Membership is strictly limited, and gaining admission is all but impossible.

    Nonetheless, applications are being filled out as the Rams grind through training camp. And coach Scott Linehan seems willing to review them closely.

    "I think we've created a very competitive environment at most positions, and that certainly is not different" with the wide receivers, Linehan said. "We've got some front-line guys that are going to be Rams come the Broncos game. But that's why you have training camp. ... There could be some things developing in the next couple of preseason games."

    First-teamers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt have nine Pro Bowl appearances, 1,432 catches and 21,765 yards between them. Kevin Curtis is coming off a 60-catch, 801-yard season. Shaun McDonald and Dane Looker not only are capable receivers, but both also fill other roles: McDonald returns punts and Looker holds for kicker Jeff Wilkins.



    Assuming those five are suited up Sept. 10 for the season opener vs. Denver, that leaves at most one roster spot available for another wideout. Seven candidates are in the mix, including rookie Marques Hagan, a fifth-round draft choice who also is auditioning as a return man.

    The other six -- Jeremy Carter, Brandon Middleton, Brad Pyatt, Clinton Solomon, Taylor Stubblefield and Dominique Thompson -- have little experience. Only Pyatt (three for 14 yards) and Thompson (one for 13 yards) have caught passes in a regular-season contest.

    Thompson, 23, a second-year pro out of NCAA Division I-AA William & Mary who originally signed as an undrafted rookie, spent most of the 2005 season on the Rams' practice squad. He was activated for two games and had his lone reception Oct. 23 vs. New Orleans in his NFL debut.

    The 5-foot-11, 205-pound native of Fort Polk, La., caught three passes for 31 yards Aug. 10 in the Rams' 19-17 victory over Indianapolis in the preseason opener at the Edward Jones Dome. Only Looker had more receptions, four for 29 yards, among the 12 Rams with at least one catch.

    "It was good; I was glad to able to get out there and contribute," Thompson said. "(Linehan) says you need to take advantage of every opportunity that you have. Those may be limited to some of us younger players, so whenever you get a chance, you've got to make the most of it."

    The experience he gained last season has accelerated his development, Thompson stressed. "It's a big help. Being here and then actually being out there in the fire, I kind of have a better feel for how the game goes," he said.
    Thompson realizes the numbers game looms large in his path. "All I can do is try to do the best I can every day," he said.

    Linehan has decided to close today's practice, which was to be open to the public. No other training camp practices will be open. ... The stitches were removed from linebacker Drew Wahlroos' surgically repaired right hand Thursday. He said he expected to be back on the practice field next week. Wahlroos broke the hand Aug. 3.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    IMO, it's a battle between Hagans and Pyatt primarily over the return job. Whoever wins out there wins the sixth WR slot.
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  3. #3
    AugustaRamFan Guest

    Re: Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    I agree with Nick. A 7th/8th should go to the practice squad. Do you think Pyatt or Haggans would actually allow themselves to go to the practice squad? Either could be a decent #5/#6 receiver somewhere else.

  4. #4
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    Re: Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    For what it's worth the present depth chart looks like this:

    1st string:
    KR- Curtis
    PR-Mcdonald

    2nd string:
    KR-Hagans
    PR-Hagans

    3rd string:
    KR-Pyatt
    PR-Pyatt

    Hagans and Pyatt are listed as 3rd string receivers also. I don'y remember where I heard it but I did hear that the Rams are high on Thompson.

  5. #5
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    Re: Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    From what i have seen of thompson, he looks impressive, but of course, i havent seen all that much of him. Big kid, appears to have good hands. The kind of guy that absolutely belongs on an nfl roster. That being said, i think hagans will get the benefit of the doubt if its a close call since he is the most recent draft pick and clearly a guy linehan liked. Someone else is really going to have to blow linehan away in order for that guy to make it ahead of hagans, who linehan knew would be a project when he drafted him in the first place.

    Ramming speed to all

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  6. #6
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    i think hagins needs to have a better showing this weekend to win the job,he looked shakey at best last thursday.

  7. #7
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    Re: Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan
    i think hagins needs to have a better showing this weekend to win the job,he looked shakey at best last thursday.
    He was definitely shakey, but I am pretty sure he caught all of them, if I remember correctly, and a few of them were difficult catches, so he definitely does have talent, I just think, ya know, it's that whole rookie thing, give them a chance, I think the more they're gonna play the better. I'm sure he'll look better Saturday against Houston.


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  8. #8
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Long line forms to win position on wide receiving squad

    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6
    He was definitely shakey, but I am pretty sure he caught all of them, if I remember correctly, and a few of them were difficult catches, so he definitely does have talent, I just think, ya know, it's that whole rookie thing, give them a chance, I think the more they're gonna play the better. I'm sure he'll look better Saturday against Houston.
    They were difficult catches because he made them that way but not properly getting position under the ball. Two of those grabs he nearly muffed by not being in the right spot to field them.
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