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Pittman’s grit wins Haslett’s praise
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Nov. 10 2008
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — In a gritty comeback from a hamstring injury suffered
last week against Arizona, Antonio Pittman was the surprise starter at running
back Sunday for the Rams.
Pittman's totals were modest in the Rams' 47-3 loss to the New York Jets. He
gained 28 yards on 13 carries against the Jets' fourth-ranked run defense. He
also caught two passes for a team-high 38 yards. But his determination earned
the respect of coach Jim Haslett.
"I thought he ran hard," Haslett said. "He did hold on to the football. The
reason he started was he practiced Friday, he felt good Saturday. And we felt
he deserved the opportunity to start based off what he did the last couple
Steven Jackson did not play for the second time in three weeks because of a
strained thigh muscle. Jackson aggravated the injury in a seven-carry
performance last week against the Cardinals. Haslett sounded anything but
optimistic when asked after the game whether Jackson would be available for
next week's game against San Francisco.
"I have no idea," Haslett said.
Meanwhile, Pittman said he plans to continue to work through the discomfort of
his hamstring injury.
"If it ain't broke and I can still go, I'm going to give it all I've got,"
Pittman said. "It's going to be sore, you know how that'll be. But it's not to
the point where I can't run or explode. As long as I've got my burst, I think
I'll be there."
Besides Jackson, Travis Minor (concussion) also was held out of the game.
Kenneth Darby had four carries for 32 yards but was benched for the rest of the
game after losing a fumble on a 13-yard gain in the second quarter.
Samkon Gado, signed off the streets Tuesday, had two carries and caught one
Wide receiver-return man Derek Stanley left the game briefly in the first
quarter after tweaking an ankle injury. As a result, cornerback Jonathan Wade
returned his first NFL regular-season kickoff — for a modest 11 yards.
Middle linebacker Will Witherspoon absorbed a blow to the head on Thomas Jones'
2-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter but returned after missing
only one series.
MR. IRRELEVANT PLAYS
Promoted to the active roster Tuesday from the practice squad, rookie
linebacker David Vobora played in his first NFL regular-season game. He was
credited with two special teams stops, according to press box stats, and went
in for a series at linebacker when Witherspoon was sidelined.
"When (Witherspoon) got up, he looked at me and it looked like he was looking
past me," Vobora said. "And I'm thinking, 'He's done for the game.' But you
just try to be mentally prepared for that. In football you're always kind of
one play away."
As the last player taken in the 2008 draft, Vobora earned the tongue-in-cheek
title of Mr. Irrelevant and all that goes with it.
"To all those future Mr. Irrelevants, I'll tell you what: Get your shot and
don't look back," Vobora said.
Besides Jackson and Minor at running back, the Rams' other inactives Sunday
were linebacker Chris Draft (foot), cornerback Tye Hill (knee), defensive end
Eric Moore (neck) and offensive linemen John Greco and Roy Schuening.
For the first time since opening day against Philadelphia, the Rams' defense
did not record a single sack. Jets quarterback Brett Favre said after the game
that he didn't remember getting hit at all except for a play where he fell on a
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