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    Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    Not sure about you all, but after reading this I am excited about the up coming season. And to think...the draft hasn't happened yet!!


    S Oshiomogho Atogwe

    April 3, 2009

    (On being designated as the Rams franchise player)

    I think everything is a good thing. It’s a blessing to come out here and play. And to be thought of as one of the top five at my position is an honor. I relish this.

    (On why he attended minicamp if he has not signed his franchise tender)

    “I don’t have to be (here) contractually, but I feel like I’m obligated to be here for my teammates and for my coaches. Going forward in this year, if I want to be a part of this team I want to be a part of this team from the beginning to the end and I think it’s important that we all put aside our own personal stuff and just really sacrifice for the team. Put the team first and allow us to come together as one unit so we can get a lot done this year.”

    (On his early impressions of Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo and the coaching staff)

    “I’m enjoying them right now. It’s our first minicamp so it’s kind of the grace period where you kind of learn how they’re coaching and they learn how we work. From a first impression standpoint, I think it’s going to be a great marriage. It’s going to be a great community that we’re building here. I think the coaches are really pulling for us and really trying to teach us in a manner that’s going to allow us to be successful on the field and we’re trying to work in a way that’s going to allow us to be successful on the field.”

    (On why he decided to attend camp besides his loyalty to his teammates)

    “As a player, you’re really only guaranteed your next play or the play that you’re in or the year that get. So I have this year. Going forth, I don’t know what’s going to happen after this year, I don’t know what’s going to happen after this day so I’m blessed just to be able to say, ‘OK, I get another year to play. Let me focus on that one year that I’m in and then after that we’ll worry about that.’ For today I’m worry about today.”

    (On if he has talked with S James Butler and started to meld as a tandem)

    “Yeah, definitely. Me and James, our communication and just our rapport is already on high just from us being together for the last three weeks. And knowing James since we both came out in the ’05 Draft, we already have that camaraderie. I think as I continue to learn the defense, he’s a lot further ahead in the defense than I am, as I become a lot more comfortable in the defense and we’re on the same page as far as what we know, it will just take off from there.”

    (On if he likes the new defensive scheme)

    “I definitely enjoy the scheme. Right now it seems like a very aggressive defense where it has the defense really attacking the offense and not so much sitting on the heels. We played an aggressive style of defense again last year, but this one is just a little different. They changed some things. We’re playing a little different coverages. They’re both equally successful if done right, but I think I’m going to enjoy being in this defense.”

    (On if he would rather play on an aggressive defense)

    “Yes. I enjoy being on the offensive defensively, so to speak. Some players like to kind of wait and see and then react, but I enjoy attacking the offense. It just allows us to put our best foot forward and keep them on their heels.”

    (On if there are any long-term contract discussions with the team)

    “I think there are talks in the wind. We haven’t really sat down recently to actually start working out the logistics or the specifics but if it were to happen then praise God. If it doesn’t, then praise God the same. I’m committed to this team. Like I said, right now I’m soon to be under a one-year franchise tag and I’ll be committed to them for that one year and if something were to happen long-term then my commitment stands as far as the contract stands.”

    CB Tye Hill

    April 3, 2009

    (on minicamp so far)

    “It’s going pretty good. It’s a learning process. It’s also me getting comfortable, getting back on my feet. Just getting back in the groove of playing football again.”

    (on his health)

    “It’s coming along pretty good. My rehab has been good over the past few months, I have been getting a lot of strength in it. The training staff here, plus my training staff back at school (Clemson), they have worked me, plus I have had some good doctors that have guided me in the right way. I am just looking forward to the season.”

    (on needing additional surgery)

    “No, all it needed was for the swelling to go down and basically rest and rehab, and getting a lot of quad strength back.”

    (on having to just give his injury some rest)

    “Basically that is what it was. That is what type of injury it was for me. There is nothing else you can really do for it. Ii was just one of those nagging injuries that occurred at the wrong time. It’s one of those things that an athlete goes through. As bad as I wanted to play, my leg wanted something else.”

    (on trying to come back too soon setting him back)

    “It probably did set be back, I don’t know. As I think back on it now, that is the reason I didn’t go on injured reserve until late, because I thought that I could get back. Obviously, it was the other way around. In the long term, I think we did the right thing as far as letting me get healthy and move on and look forward to this year.”

    (on if he is 100%)

    “It’s close. I am not going to say that I am 100%, because I still feel it, but it is definitely something that is a work in progress.”

    (on getting is mojo back)

    “Just playing. Being healthy for one. Being able to be out there and continue to gain that experience that I acquired over my rookie year. I feel the way that I am working right now to continue to get better and the coaching staff that we have and the things that they have been teaching me and the way that I am taking it in…I think that we are going to be pretty good.”

    (on losing his confidence)

    “I don’t think that it was a confidence thing. I never loss my confidence. It was just one thing after another. It was get injured, get injured, get injured. I just have to stay away from these injures and one way for me to stay away from these injuries, I have to gain more weight. Gain more muscle mass. That just means me working harder we the lights are not on – when I am in the weight room, when I am in the classroom, when I am at home. Those are all the things that I have to do when I am gaining all of this weight and being able to play with it.”

    (on how much he weighs)

    “My weight fluctuates so much, I am between 183 and 187. I have been as high as 190 and that is a major difference to where I was at. My rookie year, I was about 185. For some reason I had to drop some weight…I was playing at about 178. For this season, and how long it is, you need to have that extra muscle mass to carry you over. It is two college seasons and you have to have that to play. I think that is the main thing that I have to focus on, and also learning the scheme and getting as much work as possible.”

    (on if it is his position to lose)

    “It is always you job to lose. If I don’t play or if I don’t produce, I will probably lose my job. The coaches have a job to keep, and one way for them to keep their job is for me to do my job right, and I am not doing my job right, then they are going to put some one else in. That is not something that I am really focused on, I am just focused on myself and if I take care of myself, everything else will be fine.”

    WR Keenan Burton

    April 3, 2009

    (On what it’s been like coming back as one of the most tenured receivers on the team)

    “It’s an experience. Definitely trying to adapt. Definitely miss Torry (Holt), of course, because of all the things he taught me and Donnie (Avery) last year. Just trying to learn, just to play, play as hard as I can and produce, be consistent.”

    (On if he feels pressure to step up on the field)

    “I do, but it’s a blessing. It’s a blessed situation to be in and I just have to take advantage of it.”

    (On what he thinks of the new offense)

    “I like it. I like the things coach implemented and just how he makes it easy for us. It’s a great offense.”

    (On how the new offense compares to last year’s)

    “Well, offense has its difficulties, but at the same time you just have to adjust. Regardless if it’s hard or not, you just have to adjust to whatever the coach wants. I think that’s what all the receivers are trying to do right now.”

    (On if he feels more comfortable this year compared to his rookie season)

    “The biggest thing is confidence and being comfortable. If you’re not confident and you’re thinking you play slow, just having a year under your belt makes you more confident and makes you play as fast as you possibly can.”

    DT Clifton Ryan

    April 3, 2009

    (On how minicamp has been so far)

    “I’m excited. I watched Coach Spag’s defenses from afar in college and since I’ve been in the pros. He has a very aggressive style. Get up to the quarterback, make plays in the back field. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

    (On his impression of the new defense)

    “You’re going to see whole different wrinkles from us on defense. We’re going to be more an attack style defense, more up the field, more putting pressure on the quarterback. We’re not going to be on our heels, we’re going to go after guys.”

    (On how his role changes in the new defense)

    “I have to work more up the field. Last year I was more of a lateral guy. This year they want the D-lineman to play more up the field. That’s going to be an adjustment, but I have a great position coach, Coach (Brendan) Daly and D-coordinator, Coach (Ken) Flajole, and they’re going to help me get adjusted to that.”

    (On if there is a noticeable difference in the energy at practice)

    “Yeah. There’s no walking around, you’re in there every drill. Once the whistle blows at the beginning, you don’t stop moving until the end and that helps us condition. He doesn’t want to condition after practice during OTAs, minicamps or training camp. He’s a firm believer in you practice how you play and you condition as you practice, so I’m all for it.”

    (On if he thinks his third year he’ll improve greatly)

    “Yeah, I have to keep progressing. I had a good rookie and year and I had a good second year and this is the year that I have to make a big jump so I can play in the league for a long time. I think I’m going to be able to do that because I’m going to work hard, listen to my coaches, I’m going to follow the great leadership that I’m able to be under in James Hall and Leonard Little, Will Witherspoon and Chris Draft. I have some great guys to look up to, so I’m really excited.”

    LB Chris Draft

    April 3, 2009

    (On how players go about stepping up as team leaders and having the coach notice it)

    “I think it’s just really the way you play, you don’t have to really talk it. You don’t have to say I’m a leader; the leaders are going to come out. It’s going to be the way they play, they way they run to the ball, the way they communicate. It’s not just a leader by name; it’s a leader with action.”

    (On how he feels about playing middle linebacker)

    “Well, that’s definitely the spot I really feel I can do the most at. I think what I really bring to the table is a lot of communication aspects and keeping everybody on the same page. The ball is the same, regardless of what position it is. I mean that’s one thing, but being able to communicate and keeping everyone on the same page and really keeping us solid and help us build that trust. We have to be better at being a real tight-knit unit. We gave up too many big plays last year. Right at the end of the season we gave up some games because of not being confident and being together. So, we have to keep on taking advantage of the offseason, taking advantage of this time and take care of business.”

    (On if the new defense is set up more like the defensive system that he and Will Witherspoon played together with the Carolina Panthers)

    “Yeah, it was the same kind of thing because (former Panthers LB) Dan Morgan was playing the “Mike” at that time and if he got nicked up or something like that that’s where I was playing a lot more of the “Mike”. And Spoon was playing the weak-side, but yeah, pretty much, very similar.”

    (On his reaction to talk about adding extra games to the NFL season)

    “Well, we already have the four preseason (games) and I know the talk about it is if they added the two (regular season games), it would go to two preseason games. Other than that, if they really want to do it, I mean we’re going to play them. The only thing I would hope is that we make sure that we adjust the pay for regular season games because right now in preseason you don’t get paid too much.”

    (On if he thinks there would be increased wear and tear if the NFL extends the regular season)

    “Well, definitely you always have to look at wear and tear because of the game. They’ll have to adjust training camp a little bit and there will just be some adjustments that will have to be made to make sure that doesn’t impact it too much. But again if that’s what they want to do, then that’s what we’re going to do. That conversation has been out there I think about four or five years now. It hasn’t happened yet, so it’s been there.”

    S James Butler

    April 3, 2009

    (On doing a little coaching due to his familiarity with the defense)

    “Just a little bit. I think our DBs are doing a good job adjusting, the linebackers are doing a good job adjusting. We have some smart guys out here, so I think they are doing a good job.”

    (On working with O.J. Atogwe)

    “We sit by each other in meetings and we talk to each other about every coverage and the inside parts of the defense. O.J. is doing a great job of adjusting. I think that he is going to do a great job this year.”

    (On safeties having to be familiar with each other)
    “We have to be on the same page with everything. Once you are on the same page, the secondary fits a whole lot better and they play better as a group.”

    DT Adam Carriker

    April 3, 2009

    (On his initial impressions)

    “A lot’s changed, but I like it. He (Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo) obviously knows what he’s doing, he’s very confident. He’s a defensive-minded coach, so he’s always in our meeting rooms kind of explaining things. Any questions we have we can go right to him. He commands respect, but at the same time you can talk to him.”

    (On if there is a difference between having a defensive versus an offensive coach)

    “Definitely. When it’s an offensive coach everything’s geared for the offense. When they’re done with drills, you’re done on defense. So, I like having a more defensive-minded coach because we can get our thing done.”

    (On his impression of the new defense and if it’s going to be an attacking style)

    “Yeah, it’s going to be a little bit more attacking (style). Obviously, we haven’t put too much in yet, but we’re going to be cut free a little bit more as a D-line and able to go and just make more plays a bit more.”

    (On if he’s aware of the success he’s had in coaching defensive lineman)

    “Oh yeah, definitely. Guys like (Giants DE) Justin Tuck went out playing all over the field. Yeah, definitely he’s had a lot of success in New York and hopefully we can continue that here.”

    (On if he wants to get a lot out of his third NFL season)

    “Definitely, I’m very optimistic and healthy. I’m ready to go, have a new scheme and a new coaching staff that’s ready to go.”

    (On his health)

    “I’m good to go. Last year it was something I had to battle with most of the year, but now I’m good to go and definitely by the season I’ll be even more than 100 percent.”

    G Richie Incognito

    April 3, 2009

    (On how he feels)

    “I’m feeling good. Exciting times around here right now.”

    (On his impression of the team so far)

    “I think it’s good. I think things are going in the right direction. There’s a lot more focus on the team and the team being successful. I think everyone’s bought in to that. Practice has been a lot more up tempo and getting a lot of volume in and going through it pretty well.”

    (On how noticeable the difference is in practice from last year to now)

    “You always think you’re practicing at a high tempo and then you go see how other people practice. There’s always a next level of preparation. So we’ve just been running it from drill to drill and once we’re in drills just blowing through plays and getting a lot of stuff down and getting it on tape and getting evaluated. There’s always another notch to kick it up and I think we’ve taken that next step.”

    (On C Jason Brown)

    “He’s great. He’s smart. He’s a smart guy. He’s a team player and he’s definitely going to be a good addition to this offensive line. He has us all going in the right direction. He’s a big, powerful guy in there. He’s what we needed.”

    (On practicing without former Ram T Orlando Pace)

    “It’s definitely been different not seeing Orlando around the locker room. It’s just one of the adjustments that’s made and you kind of roll with the punches.”

    (On if he is excited to participate in minicamp after the difficulty of last season)

    “I’m real excited because we all go back home, we go back to where we hang in the offseason and we’re 2-14 and everyone is real negative. So we’re back here working, working to make a positive outcome and get some wins under our belt because we know we have a lot better talent than what we showed last year.”

    (On Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo)

    “Coach Spagnuolo first came in and everything is a team-first approach which is something new here. It’s been talked about before but it’s never been practiced as much as it has been now. I think everyone is buying in to it which is great. It’s been real up-tempo, real upbeat, real positive. Not a lot of talk about last year, that’s in the past. It’s something that the guys that are here know that we need to do to have a better showing this year. And the guys that were brought in, they really don’t have a clue what went down last year so they have been added on. It’s onward and upward with a positive approach.”

    FB Mike Karney

    April 3, 2009

    (On how his time with the Rams has been thus far)

    “It’s going good. It’s good to be here in town all moved in and it was good to be out here finally running around with the teammates. Obviously, we started the offseason program a couple of weeks ago and it’s been good to start out that way in the weight room and run with the fellas. It’s been good so far.”

    (On his initial impressions of the team)

    “I feel like a rookie out here. Everything’s a little bit different, but that’s what Coach (Spagnuolo) keeps talking about is embracing change. And I think everyone’s doing a good job with that.”

    (On having lunch with RB Steven Jackson)

    “It went really good. I thought it was important for he and I to not just meet but to have some lunch and just kind of get to know each other off the field. The better you can get to know someone off the field the better we’ll be on the field. So, I definitely believe in that and that’s always something I’ve done my whole career and I think that this weekend has been good for he and I.”

    (On if Jackson paid for lunch)

    “Actually I did. I did. He was like, “What are you doing? What are you doing?” I said ‘You know, it’s my job. I’m new to town. You’re showing me around here, took me to a nice spot. I think I should pay first.’ So I paid first, but it’s all good. Typically we split it, but I wanted to let him know that ‘I’m going to be caring about you not just on the field but off the field as well.’”

    (On if he thinks he’ll be “justly compensated” if Jackson rushes for many yards)

    “I don’t know about that. I’m just here to work and make it easier on him.”

    (On if Jackson has told him how happy he is to have him on the roster)

    “I’ve read some things. Typically guys aren’t really outspoken about it to each other, but there’s a mutual respect. That’s always a positive.”

    (On if has had a chance to go on his honeymoon)

    “No, not yet. The honeymoon is here right now getting to know the St. Louis area and where we live. Just trying to get to the freeway is a challenge. Stuff like that. The honeymoon is going to have to wait, the official one, until we’re all done here.”

    (On his sense of the offense)

    “It’s a great offense. I ran it my first two years down in New Orleans. The West Coast (Offense) is a lot of fullback plays, a lot of two-back runs. It’s the old-school Bill Walsh (style). Everyone’s active. The receivers, tight ends, everyone’s accountable. It’s a tough playbook, it’s a long playbook, but once you get the philosophy down and know what’s expected it’s a pretty good offense to run.”

    (On if he will have a few carries and catches in the offense)

    “Yeah, maybe get a bone here and there. But hey, I know what I’m here to do. I’ve caught more balls probably this weekend than in the last couple of years down in New Orleans so that’s always a good thing.”

    (On how he became a fullback)

    “I always tell people that when I first started playing I was too small to play O-line, I was too small to play running back. So they put me right in the middle. I’ve been playing it for a long time, probably since I was eight years old. As you go and play it, you understand what’s asked of you through coaching throughout the years. You take a lot of pride in it, especially if you can do it and do it well.”

    (On the most fun thing about being fullback)

    “The most fun is making your block. I’ve been saying this my whole career ever since I’ve been playing the position, there’s nothing like hearing the crowd roar when you see that back take off down the field. There’s nothing like it. I’d rather see that than catch a touchdown or catch a ball here and there. Seeing Steven break 20, 30, 40 yards, knowing that you had something to do with it, that’s a good feeling.”

    (On his early impressions of Jackson)

    “He’s a workhorse. He’s gotten work habits I’ve noticed out here. He understands the game and he’s able to communicate it. I ask him questions, “How is this? How is that?” He’s letting me know what he saw and that’s good. That means big success on Sunday.”

    (On his first impressions of St. Louis)

    “(The people are) friendly. Gosh, there’s so much more to do here than where I was at. But just getting to know the area has been great the last couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to doing more in the future.”

    (On if he is a baseball fan)

    “I played baseball and I look forward to going to some games. I’m looking forward to seeing big Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals first baseman), play. That’ll be exciting.”

    (On what he has done since he’s moved to St. Louis)

    “Not much. Just kind of get from “A” to “B.” Where I’m living to maybe where some good places to eat are to where the facility is. But I’m looking forward to expanding that once I get to know the area a little better.

  2. #2
    RockinRam's Avatar
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    This sounds great.

  3. #3
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
    RamsFanSam is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    Wow. Even Cogs sounds like he is in awe of the things going on. I know I say this every time I read anything about how the team is getting a good start, but I can't wait for the season to begin!

  4. #4
    39thebeast's Avatar
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    I am really excited to see this defense. Flajole came from Carolina so he knows draft and Spoon and I think they will do great. We all know Spoon can get the QB coming off the edge. One thing we definately need to do is add a big ugly in the middle of the line to protect the LBs and open things up for Long and Carriker. I think Carriker and Long will break out this year can't wait to see those 2 getting after the QB.

  5. #5
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    Quote Originally Posted by 39thebeast View Post
    I am really excited to see this defense. Flajole came from Carolina so he knows draft and Spoon and I think they will do great. We all know Spoon can get the QB coming off the edge. One thing we definately need to do is add a big ugly in the middle of the line to protect the LBs and open things up for Long and Carriker. I think Carriker and Long will break out this year can't wait to see those 2 getting after the QB.
    What? Why does it have to be a big ugly? Can't it be a big beautiful? You have something against big beautifuls?

  6. #6
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    Yeah, aside from the change in attitude the biggest thing that has me excited is this aggressive defensive philosophy. I've said for the last several years we needed to toughen up and start playing smash mouth football. Philly, the Giants, Pittsburgh, and a few others have this blue collar approach and I guarantee you it will pay dividends eventually once Spagnuolo gets all the personnel he needs.

    Good times lie ahead for the St. Louis Rams.

  7. #7
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    Mike Karney, I must have missed that signing. He sounds like a good pick up. We certainly do need a good FB. I hope that he works out for us.

  8. #8
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER is online now Registered User
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    Quote Originally Posted by UtterBlitz View Post
    Mike Karney, I must have missed that signing. He sounds like a good pick up. We certainly do need a good FB. I hope that he works out for us. the end of the season, you'll know his name, for sure.

    This move, and the big guy in the middle of the O-line were great moves. Every great RB needs a good blocking FB. We now have one. I think some folks are underestimating his importance to this team, but will see a vast improvement in the running game with this guy in there.

    run Steven run....
    It's not a relocation, it's a restoration


  9. #9
    VegasRam's Avatar
    VegasRam is offline Ram MVP
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    Re: Lots of player comments on a new beginning

    Very true. I remember Faulk's production going down noticeably when Hodgins left.

    It was attributed to age and his knees, but it was the missing "Hammer".
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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