Mattison gets up to speed at guard for Rams

BY KATHLEEN NELSON
Thursday, December 1, 2011

The crash course that guard Bryan Mattison has endured since joining the Rams last week has been pretty tough, but nothing compared to the transition he made more than a year ago in Baltimore.

A defensive end at the University of Iowa, Mattison spent 2008 with the New York Jets before the Ravens picked him up in 2009, then converted him from defense to offense in 2010.

"I think I just got a little slow," Mattison said. "The NFL is a little quicker than college. They didn't come out and tell me that, but I caught on. I enjoy the position a lot, though."

Mattison split time in 2010 between the active roster and practice squad, appearing in two games. He played in eight games for the Ravens this year, most of the time on special teams. In practice, Mattison said he worked out more at center than at guard, though he's seeing more time at guard with the Rams.

"Defense to offense definitely is harder," Mattison said. "There's always going to be plays that everybody has a form of. I've just got to get the terminology down so I can equate it to a play that we had with the Ravens. When you learn a new offense, they like to put you in guard first to get a feel for the snap count and that kind of stuff. But wherever they tell me to play, I'll play."

Mattison's father, Greg, is the defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan and on Monday was named one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, which honors the top assistant coach in college football. Greg was the Ravens' linebackers coach when Bryan joined Baltimore and was promoted to Ravens defensive coordinator when Mattison made the transition to offense.

"He never officially coached me," Mattison said, "but he had trouble not talking about football. At home, we used to call him Coach Dad. That would get him going. But really, he does a good job keeping it separate."

POSITIVITY

Though he confessed to moments of negativity, coach Steve Spagnuolo has continued to accentuate the positive despite the Rams' 2-9 record. The fact that the players share the outlook, he said, has kept the team focused.

"I am human and I do have my moments, but they're few and far between," Spagnuolo said. "I have a wife who I love, who loves me. I've got a God that I honor and worship, and that helps, and my faith. That's what I stand on.

"And I think there's a lot of players in our locker room that do it the same way. When you're in a situation like this, you can do one of two things. You can live in victimhood and say that you're the victim and 'woe is us' and whatnot. All that does is bring you down. Or you can be grateful and thankful for all the things you do have and focus on that. That gives you the energy, in my opinion, to keep you up through something like this. And then you take action to change it. That's what our team tries to do."

INJURY UPDATE

Quarterback Sam Bradford was limited to about half the work in practice Wednesday, the first day of preparation for the Rams' game Sunday against the ***** in San Francisco. In the loss to Arizona on Sunday, Bradford tweaked the ankle that he injured Oct. 16, forcing him to miss two games.

"The ankle is still kind of bothering him," Spagnuolo said. "We don't want it to go backwards."

Others limited in practice Wednesday were linebacker Chris Chamberlain (hamstring), wide receiver Dominique Curry (shoulder), cornerback Justin King (ankle), defensive end Chris Long (ankle) and fullback Brit Miler (hamstring).

Safety Darian Stewart (concussion) has not been cleared for contact. Defensive tackle Justin Bannan (shoulder), linebacker Josh Hull (hamstring) and offensive tackle Mark LeVoir (pectoral) didn't practice Wednesday. Punter Donnie Jones missed practice for personal reasons and received treatment for an ankle injury.

Wide receiver Danario Alexander returned to full practice for the first time since injuring his hamstring five weeks ago.

"He's going to get a little extra conditioning," Spagnuolo said. "We've got to get him back up to speed."

RAM-BLINGS

Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson was named the NFC's special teams player of the week, following his 80-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Rams. The award was Peterson's second of the season, both for games against the Rams, and was the fifth player of the week award for a Rams opponent this year. ... The Indianapolis Colts signed Rams draft pick Jermale Hines from the Carolina Panthers practice squad. The Rams picked Hines, a defensive back, in the fifth round in April and waived him Sept. 27.