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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Onobun Catching On

    Onobun Catching On
    Monday, August 9, 2010


    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Sometimes, after he goes to bed following a long day of practice, meetings and everything else encompassed by an NFL training camp, rookie tight end Fendi Onobun can hear the voice.

    The loud, scratchy, East coast voice of tight ends coach Frank Leonard replays over and over as Onobun tries to catch a full nightís rest.

    ďHis voice is so loud, I really sometimes do hear him screaming at me in my dreams just because heís always on me,Ē Onobun said.

    As the Rams player with perhaps the most to learn, Onobun doesnít mind all of the attention heís getting from Leonard as he tries to learn all things NFL.

    ďThatís a good thing,Ē Onobun said. ďYou have a coach screaming at you, on you like that, all the time every second of the practice that means he really cares. So Iíd rather have him screaming at me than not saying anything at all.Ē

    For Leonardís part, Onobun is something of a passion project after the Rams used a sixth-round choice on him in Aprilís NFL Draft.

    Coming out of the University of Houston, Onobun had just one season of football experience following a four-year career playing basketball at the University of Arizona.

    So while the learning curve for any rookie is naturally steep because of the increased speed and voluminous playbooks that are prevalent in the NFL, itís not just the NFL game that Onobun has to get used to. Itís football as a whole.

    And itís Leonardís job to ensure that happens.

    ďItís challenging,Ē Leonard said. ďIt makes me make sure I am prepared and I am teaching the details of the position. Itís very exciting. Itís challenging for Fendi and itís challenging for me to teach him the game of football and heís a very willing participant which makes it exciting. Heís got a positive outlook on the whole situation.Ē

    Onobunís football education began back in the spring when he first reported for the teamís rookie minicamp at the end of April. Because of injuries at the tight end position, Onobun got some additional repetitions and was able to get acclimated a bit quicker than even he had hoped.

    In this training camp, Onobun has had his share of ups and downs but heís also flashed some of the enormous potential that goes with a guy who is 6í6, 249 pounds and an off the charts athlete.

    In last Fridayís practice, while quarterback Sam Bradford was drawing rave reviews for his accurate throws, it was Onobun getting open down the field and providing him a target.

    ďItís coming along,Ē Onobun said. ďI have made some mistakes but the biggest thing is just not to make the same mistakes. With me, I spend a lot of time in the playbook, I am watching film, I am talking to Danny and I am talking to Darcy and Billy and those guys are helping me out. One thing Coach Leonard always says to me is Rome wasnít built in a (day). Itís not a sprint, itís a marathon so you just kind of take it one day at a time and just continue to work hard on the things I am doing and Iíll be all right.Ē

    Onobunís speed and athleticism is evident from first glance. He regularly is able to find separation down the middle of the field and outleap smaller defenders for the ball.

    But when Onobun hears Leonardís voice yelling at him nightly, it probably is directly correlated to his blocking. Onobun didnít get many chances to stick his nose in and block during his short collegiate career and many of the concepts are new to him.

    So itís no great surprise that he acknowledges that as the area in which he needs to improve most.

    Overall, though, Onobun believes he is slowly and steadily making progress.

    ďI do feel like I am getting better,Ē Onobun said. ďI have to continue to work hard, take a slow approach. You have someone like Coach Leonard always on you and the competition is stiff in the tight end group. It kind of forces you to level your play every day on the practice field. I am really excited about my progress and just keep getting better each and every day.Ē

    As it stands, there is plenty of opportunity for Onobun to continue to make an impression. Coach Steve Spagnuolo, Leonard and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur have made it clear that the competition for the starting job is wide open.

    Spagnuolo says heís been impressed with how open Onobun has been to coaching and teaching.

    ďHeís a wonderful guy,Ē Spagnuolo said. ďHeís so eager, heís bright-eyed. (Weíre) real hopeful with him.Ē

    Veteran Billy Bajema worked with the top unit in Saturday nightís scrimmage and has probably been the most consistent so far. But Bajema is also embracing his role as the experienced member of the group and making it a point to help Onobun where possible.

    ďI think itís just a matter of learning the game,Ē Bajema said. ďHe hasnít been out and hasnít spent a lot of time playing football. Heís very talented and very athletic. I think heís going to be a really good player once he figures out all the little things that he hasnít been around long enough to know.Ē

    Therein lies perhaps Onobunís biggest challenge. Because he still has to learn many of the larger concepts of the game, itís harder for him to focus on the little details that go with playing in the league.

    Striking that balance is a daily mission for Onobun.

    ďItís been difficult,Ē Onobun said. ďAt the same time, I am handling it pretty well. Some days it is pretty frustrating because there are things I donít recognize on the field that some guys who have been playing this game for a long time do. Itís kind of learning on the fly but you canít be frustrated. I have to be patient with myself and just continue to work hard and watch film and be able to recognize some of the things naturally I donít recognize because of the amount of time I have been playing this game.Ē


  2. #2
    39thebeast's Avatar
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    Re: Onobun Catching On

    I could see both rookies and the current starter Bajema making the team leaving Fells and Johnson on the outside. Johnson and Fells haven't really been that good. Both guys had some drops in the scrimmage and I haven't really heard of them doing anything in practice. On the oher hand Onubun has been a seam stretcher and effective in the passing game, while he has struggled blocking, but he is learning the ropes.

    You got your Blocking TE in Bajema, the receiving TE in Fendi, and the all around TE Oh-Oh.

  3. #3
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    Re: Onobun Catching On

    Quote Originally Posted by 39thebeast View Post
    I could see both rookies and the current starter Bajema making the team leaving Fells and Johnson on the outside. Johnson and Fells haven't really been that good. Both guys had some drops in the scrimmage and I haven't really heard of them doing anything in practice. On the oher hand Onubun has been a seam stretcher and effective in the passing game, while he has struggled blocking, but he is learning the ropes.

    You got your Blocking TE in Bajema, the receiving TE in Fendi, and the all around TE Oh-Oh.

    I think that Darcy Johnson is most likely the odd man out.


    For Fells, I'm not sold on him as much as everyone else. He had one solid game which was with the 2 touchdowns thrown by Kyle Boller. After that, he had a number of drops, flashes of inconsistency, and he just looked average.

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    Re: Onobun Catching On

    I have to repeat this...........

    Berman will be calling him Cinabon because he makes such sweet plays.
    Semper Fi!

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    Re: Onobun Catching On

    Quote Originally Posted by Richbert88 View Post
    I have to repeat this...........

    Berman will be calling him Cinabon because he makes such sweet plays.
    Absolutely 100% fantastic.

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    Re: Onobun Catching On

    Many of us here on the Clan were getting carried away by Onobun's athletic ability when he was drafted. Now, it seems as though Fendi might be learning the ropes as a football player, too.

    If this guy reaches even half of his potential ability, he's going to be very good. If he reaches his maximum.....

  7. #7
    01d 0rd3r's Avatar
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    Re: Onobun Catching On

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Sometimes, after he goes to bed following a long day of practice, meetings and everything else encompassed by an NFL training camp, rookie tight end Fendi Onobun can hear the voice.
    Could there be a worse was to start an article. I thought I was about to read about fendi getting committed.

  8. #8
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    Re: Onobun Catching On

    You're on the clock kid. Go learn how to play football.

    Who's gonna block?

    Geez.
    "The horror"

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