NOTEBOOK: Wyche ready for action with Rams
By BILL COATS
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
12/26/2009

Although he was drafted 3 years ago, James Wyche would be seeing action in just his third NFL regular-season game if the Rams decide to suit him up Sunday at Arizona.

A seventh-round pick by Jacksonville in 2006, Wyche spent most of his rookie year on the practice squad. The 6-foot-5, 279-pound defensive end from Syracuse then missed all of the next two seasons, with a groin injury in 2007 and a torn Achilles' tendon in '08.

The Achilles' tear "is about the worst injury an athlete can have," said Wyche, 27. "But I've bounced back from there. I'm getting my leg stronger."

Wyche got into two games this season, recording one tackle, before the Jaguars waived him a week ago. ShopSTL Marketplace

With Leonard Little unable to get back on the field until his knee heals after an infection was drained, the Rams picked up Wyche on Monday and hustled him into the mix.

"I've got a good jump on the plays already," Wyche said. "If they have to throw me in there on Sunday, I'm ready."

Eager, in fact, to start proving himself to his new team.

"Going out there, showing talent and making plays, that's what it's all about," Wyche said. "It's always good to get a new start."

LONG ON LEFT SIDE

Little's absence also has provided Chris Long with extended time on the left side. Normally, Long lines up at right defensive end, his position during most of his college career at Virginia.

"I think I can do different things from different sides," Long said. "I've got some getting-used-to to do on the left side, but I feel good over there."

One advantage, he noted, is going against right tackles. Most teams line up their best tackle on the left side, to protect the quarterback's blind side.

"There is a big difference," Long said. "Right tackles tend to be a little bit less athletic, more maulers. So, that can serve well on pass rush."

NO QB DECISION

Even on Christmas Day, with only two reporters in attendance for the 90-minute practice, coach Steve Spagnuolo was handing out no holiday treats at least when the subject was his starting quarterback vs. the Cardinals.

"I've talked with both quarterbacks, and I'm going to let them know as soon as I know," he said. "But I'm not going to make any decision right now."

Still, all signs point to rookie Keith Null for the third Sunday in a row. Again on Friday, Null took the vast majority of the snaps with the No. 1 unit. Kyle Boller did nearly all his work with the scout team.

"The nice thing is, both of them look healthy," Spagnuolo pointed out. "Kyle looks fine, he looks healthy, so we could use either one. It's nice to know that if one got hurt, you've got another guy that can go in."

INJURY REPORT

The injury report contained no surprises: Little, quarterback Marc Bulger (leg), tackle Jason Smith (concussion) and cornerback Quincy Butler (knee, ankle) are out. Running back Steven Jackson (back), who took a few reps at walk-through speed early in practice, is questionable.

LOTS OF NEW FACES

Only 36 of the 53 players who made the Rams' active roster out of training camp are still there. That's a hefty 32 percent turnover.

Twelve of the missing are on injured reserve. Four others were released - linebacker Chris Draft, defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, safety Anthony Smith and guard Richie Incognito - and linebacker Will Witherspoon was traded to Philadelphia for wide receiver Brandon Gibson.

RAM-BLINGS

Jackson and Houston safety Bernard Pollard each were fined $5,000 by the NFL for their fourth-quarter scuffle Sunday. Also, Texans cornerback Jacques Reeves was fined $5,000 for grabbing Danny Amendola's face mask during a kickoff return in the second quarter. ... The Cardinals did not practice Friday.