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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Aug. 28 2007

    Three weeks into the exhibition season, Jon Alston leads the Rams in tackles
    (with 19). And according to the NFL, he also leads the league in tackles. But
    Alston isn't impressed.

    "I've played probably more than everybody else," Alston said, laughing. "You
    know what? If you come back and it's Week 16 in the season, and I'm leading the
    NFL in tackles, I'd be a little more excited. Right now, I'm just working hard,
    trying to show these guys that I can play."

    Last season nobody was sure if Alston could play despite his third-round status
    in the 2006 draft. Was he a big safety? Or an undersized linebacker? And when
    would he get on the field?

    Alston attended Stanford, which is on the quarter system. Per NFL rule, Alston
    could not participate in any offseason activities with the Rams — other than
    the rookie minicamp — until Stanford was done with its academic year. That
    didn't happen until the second week of June, which left Alston hopelessly
    behind as a rookie.

    He didn't play in the regular season until the Oakland game Dec. 17. He was
    inactive for the first 13 games, before playing special teams in the final
    three contests.

    "Taking part in the (organized team activities) this year was huge," Alston
    said. "Last year, coming into training camp, the defense was already installed
    during OTAs. All camp is is a review. Coaches don't have time necessarily to
    bring everyone up to speed, especially if they were coming along a little
    slower like I was last year."

    Make no mistake, Alston still has a long way to go, especially when you
    consider that he played very little weakside linebacker — his NFL position — in
    college. But this year, at least he has a clue as to what's going on.

    "I'm getting a lot more work this year," Alston said. "The more I play, the
    more comfortable I get. The more comfortable I get, the better I play. So
    that's pretty much what's going on."

    Beginning with the Rams' team scrimmage Aug. 4, Alston has shown that even a
    little knowledge of the system can be a dangerous thing. Particularly if you
    run as fast as Alston. He has been clocked as fast as 4.31 seconds in the 40
    running on artificial turf. At the 2006 NFL scouting combine, he was timed in
    4.4 seconds.

    Alston, 6 feet 1, 224 pounds, can close quickly on the ball, and has made big
    hits and some eye-opening plays in the preseason. He also has made some
    mistakes, overrun some plays, etc. But at least he has reached the point where
    he's more prospect than suspect.

    "You've got to understand that Jon is a guy who never played linebacker in
    college," Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "He was really an
    on-the-line rush guy in a 3-4 scheme (at Stanford).

    "... But I think he's getting more comfortable."

    With the Rams, Alston is backing up Pisa Tinoisamoa on the weakside. Alston may
    still be raw at the position, but Haslett and linebackers coach Rick Venturi
    say he has been a sponge in terms of soaking up information.

    "He's really smart," Haslett said. "He's one of the smartest guys we have. It's
    just playing linebacker. That's the part he's going to have to keep working on,
    and he will. And being a great (special) teams player because he does have
    tremendous speed."

    Special teams is where Alston must have an immediate impact. But if he keeps
    improving at linebacker, sooner or later the Rams will have to find a role for
    him on defense.

    "All I want is to play and help this team," Alston said. "I really love St.
    Louis. Being around here, I've met some awesome people. I want to be here as
    long as I can."


  2. #2
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    Re: Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    Alston could be a huge step for the defense and would help solidify the defense into a playoff quality defense. Alston is growing every preseason game and his physical abilities are obvious.

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    Re: Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    Linehan is going to keep 6 linebackers among the 53 man roster.

    Witherspoon
    Chillar
    Pisa
    Draft
    Alston?

    and who?

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    Re: Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    Culberson is my guess he has looked really good in the preseason for an undrafted free agent and he has nice size at 6'2" 235lbs.

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    Re: Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    Quote Originally Posted by Laram0 View Post
    Linehan is going to keep 6 linebackers among the 53 man roster.

    Witherspoon
    Chillar
    Pisa
    Draft
    Alston?
    and who?
    Raonall Smith, I would think. I don't know how well he's done this preseason but last year he was a decent back up for the regular season.

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    Re: Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    My vote would be Culberson. He has been around the ball quite a bit in his limited playing time with great success.

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    Re: Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    Linehan is going to keep 6 linebackers among the 53 man roster.

    Witherspoon
    Chillar
    Pisa
    Draft
    Alston?

    and who?
    I have read several 'Experts' suggest that the Rams will keep 7 linebackers on the 53 man roster. If that is the case I would expect it to look like;

    Witherspoon
    Chillar
    Tinoisamoa
    Draft
    Alston
    Raonall Smith
    Culbertson(McGarigle's injury has possibly lost him his shot at this spot)..

    But at this stage nothing can be taken for granted or guaranteed until the roster is finalized on saturday.

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    Re: Playing time is key for Alston's ascent

    Quote Originally Posted by 81~BIG-GAME View Post
    I have read several 'Experts' suggest that the Rams will keep 7 linebackers on the 53 man roster. If that is the case I would expect it to look like;

    Witherspoon
    Chillar
    Tinoisamoa
    Draft
    Alston
    Raonall Smith
    Culbertson(McGarigle's injury has possibly lost him his shot at this spot)..

    But at this stage nothing can be taken for granted or guaranteed until the roster is finalized on saturday.
    There has been some confusion on how many LB's the Rams will keep on the 53 man roster. Some of the reporters covering the RAMS are saying 7. Linehan in one of his interviews leads us to believe 6. I guess we'll all know sometime Saturday or Sunday.

    It is fun to speculate on which LB's will make the roster.

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