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    PD: Rams add right guard, three others

    Rams add right guard, three others
    BY JIM THOMAS | Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2011 12:10 am

    The Rams didn't just add a right guard in free-agent pickup Harvey Dahl. They added some attitude.

    Dahl, 6-5 and 305 pounds, agreed to a four-year deal — terms weren't immediately available.

    "He's a tough guy and he's a tempo-setter out there," said Tom Condon, Dahl's agent.

    As recently as 2009, Dahl was voted one of the NFL's "dirtiest" players in a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated. But he's not considered someone who plays outside of the rules, just a tenacious player with a nasty streak in him.

    Dahl, who turned 30 last month, was considered one of the top free agent guards on the market this year, along with Tampa Bay's Davin Joseph, Baltimore's Marshal Yanda and Daryn Colledge (formerly of Green Bay and now an Arizona Cardinal).

    The acquisition of Dahl was just part of a hectic day for the Rams, who also agreed to terms with Houston linebacker Zac Diles, Jacksonville wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker and veteran cornerback Al Harris (most recently with Miami). So much for earlier anxiety about the Rams' lack of activity in free agency. Diles, Sims-Walker and Harris all agreed to one-year deals.

    Dahl clearly is the headliner of the group. He entered the NFL in 2005 as an undrafted rookie with Dallas. A couple of practice squad stints followed with San Francisco. Until he was signed to Atlanta's active roster in October 2007, Dahl had played in only four NFL regular-season games.

    Rams general manager Billy Devaney was assistant general manager for the Falcons at the time the Falcons signed Dahl. He moved into the starting lineup at the start of the 2008 season and has been there ever since, starting 43 consecutive games.

    Dahl is a grinder, a very good run blocker who can get down the field, but also holds up in pass protection. Some observers in Atlanta feel he played at a Pro Bowl level last season. The Falcons wanted to keep him but didn't have the cap room.

    Even though he plays right guard, Dahl's arrival could spell the end for left guard Jacob Bell, who counts $7.2 million against the cap. With all of their activity this week, the Rams don't have a ton of cap room left.

    Diles, 26, is an underrated outside linebacker who has started 32 games over the past three seasons for Houston. At 6-2, 240, the Kansas State product is expected to start at weakside linebacker in St. Louis, although he has started in the middle and at both outside spots for the Texans. Considered a strong run defender, Diles had 78 tackles last season for Houston, but the entire Houston defense struggled, finishing 30th in total defense and 32nd in pass defense. New Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips didn't think Diles would fit in the team's 3-4 scheme.

    Because of injuries, the Texans had to move Diles around a lot, but when he stayed in one position for a while, he played well. The weakside spot is considered his best position.

    Sims-Walker, 26, had a breakout year in 2009 in Jacksonville with 63 catches for 869 yards and seven touchdowns. Although he still had seven TDs in 2010, Sims-Walker's production dipped to 43 catches for 562 yards. Observers in Jacksonville said he had too many drops and didn't always use his size (6-2, 214) to beat press coverage.

    Harris, 36, suffered a severe knee injury in Green Bay in 2009 and played in only three games last season for Miami. He has 123 career starts, is a two-time Pro Bowler, and spent the early years of his career in Philadelphia, where Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was then an Eagles assistant coach.

    The morning began with the Rams announcing a list of 24 signed undrafted rookies. In addition, all four restricted free agents tendered by the team signed their one-year tenders Friday: linebacker Chris Chamberlain, offensive guard John Greco, offensive tackle Renardo Foster and linebacker David Vobora. Both exclusive rights free agents signed their one-year tenders Friday: defensive end C.J. Ah You and wide receiver Danny Amendola.

    Restricted free agents are players with three years' experience; exclusive rights free agents are players with fewer than three years' experience.

    By day's end the Rams had signed seven of their eight draft picks. Second-round tight end Lance Kendricks of Wisconsin and third-round wide receiver Austin Pettis of Boise State were the latest to agree to terms Friday. The lone unsigned draft pick was first-round defensive end Robert Quinn of North Carolina. Because of a last-minute change of agents by Quinn, the Rams couldn't begin negotiating until Thursday.

  2. #2
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    Re: PD: Rams add right guard, three others

    The lone unsigned draft pick was first-round defensive end Robert Quinn of North Carolina. Because of a last-minute change of agents by Quinn, the Rams couldn't begin negotiating until Thursday.
    Quinn not being signed had me worried, but it sounds like things are on track, albeit a bit delayed.

    Now all I need is some word on Clayton and I'll be at ease.

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