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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    McGarigle shines in the nick of time

    By Jim Thomas
    Saturday, Sep. 01 2007

    When you're a seventh-round draft pick who spent your rookie year on the
    practice squad, there's no such thing as job security. With that in mind, the
    last thing you want to do is miss three exhibition games because of injury.

    But that was the predicament facing linebacker Tim McGarigle. A hamstring
    injury suffered on the last play of the first practice day of training camp put
    McGarigle's 2007 season, and perhaps his career, in jeopardy.

    While McGarigle (pronounced Mc-Gargle) was healing, rookie free agent Quinton
    Culberson had some impressive moments on the practice field and in earlier
    preseason games. Straight-shooting defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said it
    was the "bottom of the ninth inning" for McGarigle entering Thursday's
    preseason finale against Kansas City.

    In other words, McGarigle was running out of time to show the Rams' coaching
    staff that he deserved a spot on the final 53-man roster. It may have been the
    bottom of the ninth as Haslett suggested, but McGarigle belted the gridiron
    equivalent of a bases-loaded double with his play in the Rams' 10-3 victory
    over the Chiefs.

    Not only did McGarigle save what looked like a touchdown with a second-quarter
    interception at the Rams' 1-yard line, he also shared the team high in tackles
    with seven.

    "He was very, very disappointed to miss basically the entire training camp with
    that hamstring," coach Scott Linehan said. "But he was patient. ... He knew he
    was going to have a shot (Thursday) to solidify himself, and it's fair to say
    he did the best with the opportunity."

    Linehan said the Rams were tempted to play McGarigle last week in Oakland but
    decided to rest the hamstring one more week. It looked like the right decision
    based on McGarigle's play against Kansas City.

    "He tackled well," Haslett said. "Knocked people back. He was on top of his
    game. I thought he was outstanding. (Kansas City) had their first group in the
    first couple drives, and he made some nice plays."

    Haslett said McGarigle looks smoother and more fluid on the field than he did a
    year ago. Part of that is a result of being more comfortable in the system. But
    Haslett also said McGarigle had worked on his flexibility with the Rams'
    strength and conditioning coaches in the offseason and is less stiff physically
    than he was as a rookie.

    Against the Chiefs, McGarigle showed good range and instincts with a number of
    open-field tackles. His interception was the biggest defensive play of the

    "That's what good football players do," Linehan said.

    McGarigle always has been a sure tackler and a productive defender. He ended
    his college career at Northwestern as the NCAA Division I-A record holder in
    tackles (545).

    At 6-0, 240 pounds, McGarigle isn't the biggest linebacker around, particularly
    since he plays middle linebacker. But he has shown himself to be a tenacious
    performer and has what Linehan calls sneaky speed. Not that he could display
    those qualities from the trainers' room getting treatment for the hamstring.

    "It's been a frustrating month," McGarigle said minutes after the Governor's
    Cup game. "It was good to get out there and just play a game, and play well."

    Thursday's interception made that frustration disappear. On third and goal from
    the Rams 4, McGarigle saw Kansas City quarterback Jeff Terrell scramble to his
    left and then pull up to make a throw. McGarigle slid over to the sideline to
    make the interception of a pass intended for running back Kolby Smith with 6
    minutes left in the first half.

    "It feels good to get out there and play like I know I can play," McGarigle

    With that in mind, McGarigle could sleep better Thursday knowing final cuts
    were looming.

    "Sure," he said. "This is our livelihood. Everyone in here. And when you do go
    out there and have a good game, you're going to sleep a lot better."

    The Rams cut 11 players Friday, but McGarigle isn't out of the woods yet. Eight
    linebackers remain on the roster, and the Rams almost certainly will keep only
    seven. But it looks as if McGarigle has moved ahead of Culberson, whose play
    leveled off as the preseason progressed. McGarigle and Culberson will know
    for sure today, when the final roster cuts are made.

  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: McGarigle shines in the nick of time

    McGarigle should be uneasy still. Haslett said he hit a bases loaded "double". Not a GrandSlam! Lots of room for improvement?

  3. #3
    RamOfDenmark Guest

    Re: McGarigle shines in the nick of time

    It was a great game by McGarigle, the interception was very athletic - fast reactions. He looked like a sure tackler to me as well. It's definitely a tough decision which LB's to keep on the roster, perhaps both Culberson and McGarigle could end up on our roster if we decide to only keep 3 RB's and not 4, or maybe only 3 TE's again as opposed to 4 - and use the extra spot on a LB. Linebacker would at least be one of the positions I would be looking at carrying an extra player at, we seem to have some pretty good young players there, and you have to be afraid that you may cut a future starting LB.

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