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  1. #16
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    Re: Preview: OT

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    I'd say Saipaia's spot is probably fairly safe. Right now, he's the #4 OT, AND the #4 OG. Not to mention he's the most versatility potential of any Ram lineman not named Incognito.

    Unless he screws up, or at least one no-name G & T comes out of nowhere, he'll probably be on the roster.
    I think the addition of Steussie is what will keep Saipaia off the roster. Does Saipaia have as much potential as either Terrell or Cogs? If so why was he not starting in place of Terell? What about Palmer or Setterstrom? Saipaia has been with the Rams long enough to realize his potential and apparently it is mediocre to decent backup at best. It is my belief that at least two of the four above mentioned guys (not named Saipaia) will show enough to displace Blaine. Palmer may end up being a steal for a guy selected in the 7th round. Incognito can play tackle as well as center and guard, and if something were to happen to Steussie, he would probably be an upgrade over Blaine. Anyway...I have nothing against Blaine ... it is only my opinion which is worth at least 3 dead flies! May the best man win ..



  2. #17
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    Re: Preview: OT

    I think the addition of Steussie is what will keep Saipaia off the roster. Does Saipaia have as much potential as either Terrell or Cogs?
    I don't think Steussie pushes off Saipaia. It seems to me that 4 OTs should be about right (Pace, Barron, Steussie, Saipaia). As for Terrell and Cogs, Terrell is hurt and Cogs hasn't played a down. For me, at this moment that would make Saipaia the better candidate. With regards to pontential, I think they both have more potential than Saipaia, but potential and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee.

    Here's my take for the OL this year (which of course is before camp so it will be moot in a matter of weeks anyway)

    1st string
    LT - Pace
    LG - Cog
    C - McCollum
    RG - Timmerman
    RT - Barron

    2nd String
    LT - Steussie
    LG - Terrell
    C - Turner
    RG - Palmer
    RT - Saipaia
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #18
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    Preview guard:

    Positional Preview: Guard
    Monday, June 26, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    The interior of the offensive line could be headed for a youth movement. While right guard Adam Timmerman still holds sway in his 12th season, there is young talent competing.

    A glimpse of the future took place last season when Claude Terrell worked his way into the starting lineup. With Timmerman returning, one spot is essentially spoken for, but there will a training camp traffic jam on the other side.

    The emergence of Richie Incognito in the three off-season mini-camps should make for a heated battle on the left side in training camp as Incognito will take on the Terrell, Blaine Saipaia, and rookies Tony Palmer and Mark Setterstrom.

    Adam Timmerman

    Scouting Report: Durable veteran. Plays through pain and is still strong in the trenches. Reliable as they come when it comes to strapping on the pads and helmet on game days. Has played in 172 consecutive games. A true team leader.

    Last Year: Timmerman started and played in every game in 2005 after coming back from off-season surgeries. Had his finest performance against Jacksonville on Oct. 30, when he helped pave the way for Steven Jackson’s career-high 179-yard performance.

    Outlook: Timmerman had some minor work done in the offseason, but had a much more involved off-season training program and should be back close to full strength in time for the season. The likely starter at right guard.

    Claude Terrell

    Scouting Report: A big, powerful player with a great first punch. Can be dominant as a run blocker. Is tough to get away from when he gets his hands on a defender. Needs work on his conditioning and has struggled with minor injuries.

    Last Year: Played in 11 games, starting seven, switching between right and left guard.

    Outlook: Is one of the top competitors for the starting left guard position. A hand injury has kept him from full participation in the off-season workouts and mini-camps so he will have some catch up work to do.

    Richie Incognito

    Scouting Report: As tough and athletic an interior lineman as you will find in the NFL. Has been plagued by injuries and has yet to prove himself in the NFL, but seems to be back in shape and ready to make a name for himself. Loves physical contact and is extremely aggressive.

    Last Year: Missed the entire season after a knee injury suffered in April of 2005.

    Outlook: Finally back to full health, Incognito is on the field for the first time in almost three years. Will compete in camp to win his first NFL starting job.

    Quotable: “He had a great minicamp when we had the rookies and first year players and he played center,” coach Scott Linehan said. “I wasn’t sure how that would go for him, He hadn’t done it for a while, and then he had a great camp. He had a better outing this afternoon. He’s another of those guys that has had a great off-season.”

    Blaine Saipaia

    Scouting Report: Extremely versatile player with experience at every position on the offensive line and tight end. A better athlete than he gets credit for; Saipaia hasn’t had the opportunity to stay in one spot. Not quite quick enough to be a starter at tackle, but many believe he has the makings of a fine guard. Good run blocker with a powerful first punch.

    Last Year: Played in nine games, starting two. Missed time because of a concussion. Played guard, tackle and tight end as well as the occasional cameo on the defensive line in goal line situations. Also contributes on special teams.

    Outlook: Saipaia might be considered a sleeper to win a starting guard spot, but, with the chance to work more exclusively at a spot, could find his way on to the field. Will compete for a spot on the depth chart at guard, but his versatility will be his main selling point.

    Also expected to compete: Tony Palmer, Mark Setterstrom, Ben Noll.


    Come back tomorrow for a breakdown of the center position.

  4. #19
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    Positional Preview: Center

    Positional Preview: Center
    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    As one of the “Doughnut Brothers”, Andy McCollum has been a part of one of the most consistent, reliable duos on any offensive line in the NFL.

    McCollum has been the man in the middle for the Rams for the 154 consecutive games, second only to his partner in crime, right guard Adam Timmerman.

    This season, McCollum is back for another go-around and doesn’t appear ready to break his streak anytime soon.

    Andy McCollum

    Scouting Report: A constant on the offensive line, McCollum is one of the most durable and reliable linemen in the game. Plays through pain and is one of the most intelligent centers in the league. A strong run blocker, but also solid against the pass.

    Last Year: Started and played in all 16 games. Earned a spot on USA Today’s “All-Joe” team, which honors the “overachievers, the overlooked, the effort guys who don’t get invited to the Pro Bowl, but without whom their teams might founder.”

    Outlook: Pretty much locked into another season of starting as the man in the middle. After some off-season surgery, should be back to complete health.

    Larry Turner

    Scouting Report: An up-and-coming player with a good anchor. When Turner gets his feet in position he can be very tough to move. A pretty good athlete with a good work ethic. Has good physical upside.

    Last Year: Played in six games following return to the Rams after he was cut at the end of the preseason. Worked at guard in a pair of games and special teams in his other appearances.

    Outlook: Will be in a heated competition for what should be three or four reserve spots on the offensive line. His ability to play guard and center should help make him a more viable option, but he will have to come to training camp in shape and ready to go to make his mark.

    Also expected to compete: Donovan Raiola

    Come back tomorrow for a breakdown of the kicker position.
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  5. #20
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    Positional Preview: Punter

    Positional Preview: Punter
    Thursday, June 29, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    The punter position has been one of great contention for the Rams for the past few years and one of the most unstable spots on the team during that span.

    Last year, the team struggled to find consistency in a punter once again after a failed experiment with draftee Reggie Hodges and the return of veteran Bryan Barker, who was up and down in his 11 games.

    Neither of those players is back this year and it appears that training camp will be a fairly open competition for the punter job between one experienced veteran and a youngster with a powerful leg.

    Matt Turk

    Scouting Report: An experienced punter with a strong leg. Turk has been in the league since 1995. Powerful leg with good accuracy and hang time when healthy. Has struggled with health the past few years. Can handle kickoffs in a pinch. Knows Scott Linehan from his time in Miami last year.

    Last Year: Sidelined for season with Miami because of groin injury.

    Outlook: The favorite for the punting job because of his experience and relationship with Linehan, but the punting competition will be one to keep a close eye on in training camp and Turk still has to prove he is recovered from the groin injury.

    Andy Groom

    Scouting Report: A talented, young punter out of Ohio State with a powerful leg. Hasn’t had much in the way of NFL experience and in his experience has struggled with distance and hang time. Still developing and has good upside.

    Last Year: Punted in two games for the Redskins with 11 attempts for 429 yards, and average of 39 yards. Dropped two of those punts inside the 20 with a long of 57 yards.

    Outlook: Made a strong impression in the minicamps and should be right in the mix with Turk to win the punting job out of camp. Will probably be given equal or close to equal opportunities to win the job.

    Come back tomorrow for a breakdown of the defensive end position.
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  6. #21
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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    Positional Preview: Defensive End

    Little Leads Pass Rushers
    Friday, June 30, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    For the first time in three years, the Rams didn’t lose a starting defensive end to Seattle in free agency.

    After losing Grant Wistrom and Bryce Fisher to the rival Seahawks the past two seasons, the Rams didn’t lose Leonard Little or Anthony Hargrove to the Pacific Northwest.

    That qualifies as a good thing; potentially a great thing considering the way that duo finished the season. Little and Hargrove combined for 10 sacks in the team’s final three games.

    Now, with Jim Haslett coordinating the defense and Brian Baker coaching the line, the defensive ends could be spending more time in the backfield than at any point in recent memory.

    Leonard Little

    Scouting Report: Incredibly fast and explosive off the edge. Little has become a three-down end with the ability to stay on the field in passing and running situations. One of the most complete ends in the league and a leader for the defense. Still makes plays despite the extra attention offenses give to him.

    Last Year: Started and played in 14 games, making 81 tackles with 9.5 sacks despite missing a pair of games because of his brother’s death. Force four fumbles and recovered a pair.

    Outlook: Will almost certainly be a starter at one of the defensive end spots. After a difficult season in 2005, should be able to bounce back with a big year in the more aggressive defensive scheme of Jim Haslett.

    Quotable: “Leonard Little upfront…I look at defensively as if you go into a game as an offensive coach who have you got to contend with?” coach Scott Linehan said. “When I was at Minnesota two years ago we came into the Dome on the road and they were concerned about playing with the crowd noise. Leonard was one of those guys you had to have at least one, maybe two guys blocking. He affected the game. He really ruined the game for us that day. He really is one of those guys that affects the game. He is obviously somebody that we want to continue to utilize.”

    Anthony Hargrove

    Scouting Report: A raw, but extremely athletic end with his best football ahead of him. Hargrove is still a work in progress, but things appeared to click for him at the end of last year. Incredibly fast off the edge with a nice spin move, but still developing other go-to moves.

    Last Year: Played in all 16 games with 14 starts. Finished with 82 tackles and 6.5 sacks, adding a pair of fumble recoveries. Caught fire at the end of the season, with at least one sack in each of the final three games.

    Outlook: Is a favorite to land the starting job opposite Little. After his strong finish in 2005, could be poised to finally have his breakout season.

    Brandon Green

    Scouting Report: A non-stop motor helps Green work as a solid situational pass rusher. Doesn’t do anything great, but is solid in all areas of the game. Few players have the work ethic of Green, who plays with the additional strain caused by diabetes. A great worker with solid speed off the edge. Simply doesn’t quit.

    Last Year: Played in all 16 games both at end and on special teams. Started one game. Finished with 32 tackles and three sacks as a third-down pass rusher for most of the year. Had a pair of forced fumbles and contributed seven special teams tackles.

    Outlook: Green will fight in training camp to land a spot on the depth chart after serving as the team’s third end and occasional starter in 2005. Should have heated competition with Victor Adeyanju for the third and, perhaps, fourth defensive end spot.

    Victor Adeyanju

    Scouting Report: A very athletic young player with tons of NFL upside. Still learning the nuances of the game and his position, but should be able to help right away. Extremely enthusiastic with a zest for getting better. A bit of a project, but his potential might be limitless.

    Last Year: Had 47 tackles, 12 for loss and 6.5 sacks as a senior at Indiana.

    Outlook: Should be in the mix with Green for the third end spot, but could emerge and push Hargrove for a starting position should he get off to a good start.

    Quotable: “He is a little raw, but he is very willing, with excellent character and he’s a bright kid,” Linehan said. “What he does have you can’t coach, that size and that bulk, and we needed to address that a bit at the defensive end spot. We really feel very good about getting to third down with our ends right now, and we feel very comfortable on first down.”

    Also expected to compete: Omar Nazel

    Come back Monday for a breakdown of the defensive tackle position.

  7. #22
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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    Little and Hargrove combined for 10 sacks in the team’s final three games.
    lets hope they play like that every 3 games!

    Victor Adeyanju
    Outlook: Should be in the mix with Green for the third end spot, but could emerge and push Hargrove for a starting position should he get off to a good start.
    Thats probably going to happen, probably in preseason game 1, Victor is gonna do really well and hes gonna compete with Hargrove and i think Victor is gonna win the spot.

  8. #23
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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    For the first time in three years, the Rams didn’t lose a starting defensive end to Seattle in free agency.
    Thats a good thing. Hopefully these too can play at a high level, like they showed at the end of last season.

    After losing Grant Wistrom and Bryce Fisher to the rival Seahawks the past two seasons, the Rams didn’t lose Leonard Little or Anthony Hargrove to the Pacific Northwest.
    Hense why Seattle has a good Dline, we trained two of them.

    That qualifies as a good thing; potentially a great thing considering the way that duo finished the season. Little and Hargrove combined for 10 sacks in the team’s final three games.
    Thats outstanding, considering the only weak Oline we played was San Fransisco, we played two good Olines in Philadelphia and Dallas. It appears they devoloped some good chemistery.

    Now, with Jim Haslett coordinating the defense and Brian Baker coaching the line, the defensive ends could be spending more time in the backfield than at any point in recent memory.
    Baker sounds like a very good coach, a tidbit on him:
    "While with the Vikings, Baker helped develop DT Kevin Williams from a first-round draft pick to a first-team all-Pro and Pro Bowl starter in 2004. That season, Williams led all NFL defensive tackles with 11.5 sacks and joined DE Lance Johnstone, who had 11.0 sacks of his own, to give the Vikings the third-most prolific sack tandem in the NFL in 2004."
    That was with a DT not a Defensive End but a DT! Who is supposed to stuff the run. Little is developed and Hargrove is on his way. I can only imagine what he'll do with Wroten and Adeyanju!

    Leonard Little
    Last Year: Started and played in 14 games, making 81 tackles with 9.5 sacks despite missing a pair of games because of his brother’s death. Force four fumbles and recovered a pair.
    Had an underrated year.

    Anthony Hargrove
    Last Year: Played in all 16 games with 14 starts. Finished with 82 tackles and 6.5 sacks, adding a pair of fumble recoveries. Caught fire at the end of the season, with at least one sack in each of the final three games.
    Had 3.5 sacks before the last 3 games, thats not good but caught fire as they mentioned which was very good

    Victor Adeyanju

    Outlook: Should be in the mix with Green for the third end spot, but could emerge and push Hargrove for a starting position should he get off to a good start.
    I think by Week 5, Adeyanju will be getting some good playing time.
    Last edited by RamsFan16; -07-01-2006 at 12:33 PM.
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  9. #24
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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    Positional Preview: Defensive Tackle
    Monday, July 3, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    After saying goodbye to a pair of former first-round draft choices at tackle, the Rams scoured the free agent market and draft to replenish the position.

    Now, it seems they have found an excellent mix of talented veterans and youngsters with potential.

    Jimmy Kennedy is likely to slide in at the nose tackle spot next to free agent acquisition La’Roi Glover, on whom the team will rely as a leader and key contributor for the defense.

    Jason Fisk was added for depth and experience and Claude Wroten was taken in the third round as an immediate impact player.

    That foursome could give the Rams the type of flexibility and talent they need to work in a rotation for the type of defense coordinator Jim Haslett would like to run.

    Jimmy Kennedy

    Scouting Report: A big, strong tackle with good athleticism. Has struggled with injuries in past seasons, but is in great shape and happy to be working with new line coach Brian Baker. Still looking to find the type of consistency that can elevate his game, but seems poised for a breakout.

    Last Year: Played in 15 games, starting 10. Was slowed by a hernia injury that hampered him for the second half of the season. Finished with 53 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble.

    Outlook: Has the inside track on the nose tackle job next to La’Roi Glover. With Glover’s tutelage, Baker’s coaching, and the fact that he’s in outstanding shape, Kennedy seems ready to have his best season in the league.

    Quotable: “He’s been here every day working with a smile on his face,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He’s worked hard in the weight room and conditioning. We gave him a weight we wanted him to be at going into training camp and we gave him a plan. He stuck to it and worked to it. He has conditioned himself to have a great year. The great players in this business get it done now and get themselves ready for that grind of a season. He understands that.”

    La’Roi Glover

    Scouting Report: One of the finest veteran leaders in the NFL. Glover has been to six Pro Bowls and is every bit the player that he is a leader. Still has one of the quickest bursts off the ball in the league and is capable of playing on all downs. A terrific pass rushing tackle. .

    Last Year: Played in all 16 games for the Cowboys on his way to another Pro Bowl berth. Even though he was playing the new (to him) position of nose tackle in a 3-4, Glover still accumulated 28 tackles and three sacks while taking on multiple blockers in every game.

    Outlook: Almost certain to be the starter at the “three” technique tackle spot next to Kennedy. Will be one of the veteran leaders of the defense and a go-to guy in the locker room.

    Quotable: “La'Roi is a guy who doesn't care about anything but winning games,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “The guy has been to the Pro Bowl five or six times, and you'd think he'd have a little bit of ego, but he has none of that. He's the ultimate team player. He's tough as nails. He practices hard. He works hard. I think it is going to filter down to the whole team.”

    Jason Fisk

    Scouting Report: A grizzled, tough veteran. Another strong leader who has seen and done it all. More suited as a nose tackle, though he doesn’t have terrific size or athleticism. Has worked hard to find his niche as a run-stuffing tackle, working as a nose tackle in 3-4 and in 4-3 defenses.

    Last Year: Played in all 16 games and started 14 for Cleveland, collecting 50 tackles. Released in March.
    Outlook: Will step in immediately as a depth guy behind Kennedy at nose tackle. Has enough left to make a push for the starting job should Kennedy falter. At worst will be part of a rotation at the position.

    Quotable: “He’s a leader because of his veteran status,” Linehan said. “His role will be defined by how he helps us depth-wise. He’s not a rah rah guy or anything. He doesn’t play that way as a football player, but that’s his personality. I think I had talked to you guys earlier this year about having a great defense, but not a big defense, so when people come at us and run the ball we have to have a way to rotate those guys around. (We need to be able) to stay fresh and hold up against the run.”

    Claude Wroten

    Scouting Report: One of the most physically gifted tackles in this year’s NFL Draft. Fast, strong and tough with good moves inside. Slipped in the draft because of off-the-field issues. Still a bit raw, but seems ready to contribute right away as a pass rusher or run stuffer. Capable of playing all three downs.

    Last Year: Finished with 49 tackles, 10.5 for loss, five sacks and 26 quarterback hurries as a senior at Louisiana State.

    Outlook: Will immediately join the rotation primarily as Glover’s backup, but will likely get plenty of playing time as a rookie. Can stay on the field on all three downs and is likely to get chances as a pass rushing tackle on third down.

    Quotable: “He obviously gives us some inside help at tackle; we were lacking some depth there,” Linehan said. “He will be the swing guy from the beginning. I think his true value immediately as a young player is pass rush ability on third down, and his ability to swing from three-technique to nose behind La'Roi (Glover) and Jimmy (Kennedy). Something we had to address in this draft, (which) we could. He was the best player on the board when we came to a pick there.”

    Also expected to compete: Brian Howard, Jeremy Calahan, Tim Sandidge.

    Come back tomorrow for a breakdown of the outside linebacker position.

  10. #25
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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    I hope we will have enduring health and strength for our receivers and Marc a long with the other players , When the media have polls on receivers Bruce and Holt are not up at the top or even close to it , It just like most everything else , When a team suffers like we did last year not much will be said , Unless the team does some things thats noted as positive like the cards did with their rec core and James, We over all did not do well so they will over look us and say very little about us which is just fine by me ! We know and so do other players in the league , We have a very good chance ,I like the combination of players , the youth , and the veterans I'm very up beat with what I've seen happen so far and the change of of the environment is wonderfull...
    Last edited by OldRamsfan; -07-04-2006 at 12:06 PM.

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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    Quote Originally Posted by OldRamsfan
    I hope we will have enduring health and strength for our receivers and Marc a long with the other players , When the media have polls on receivers Bruce and Holt are not up at the top or even close to it , It just like most everything else , When a team suffers like we did last year not much will be said , Unless the team does some things thats noted as positive like the cards did with their rec core and James, We over all did not do well so they will over look us and say very little about us which is just fine by me ! We know and so do other players in the league , We have a very good chance ,I like the combination of players , the youth , and the veterans I'm very up beat with what I've seen happen so far and the change of of the environment is wonderfull...
    Well said. You see time and time again, from past videos, the guys are always saying, oh great, I'm up against Holt, or Bruce. It's true, our receivers our one of, if not the best receivers in the league. This goes for Bulger as well, its just his injuries have plagued him, but it doesn't make him worse than Manning or Brady. I'm glad we're underrated, its great to see everyone's faces when we are the victors, and they all say, wow we never expected that one! When all along, we did, we'll always have faith in our guys, and hell its the truth, they're elite. Time will tell with this one folks, go Rams.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  12. #27
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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    How come Nick never points out the negatives to each player's "game". I know he is a writer for the Rams but no player is flawless. I like his reports but they are a bit biased.

  13. #28
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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Wagoner
    Positional Preview: Inside Linebacker
    Wednesday, July 5, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    The Rams thought they had their new middle linebacker when they signed Chris Claiborne in free agency in March, 2005. So, it came as a little bit of a surprise when they had to go out and do it again this year.

    This time, though, the odds of the signing becoming a long-term success are much greater. After Claiborne flamed out after just a season with the Rams, the team took no chances this time around.

    St. Louis signed Carolina’s Will Witherspoon, widely considered one of the top players on the free agent market and the best linebacker available.

    Behind Witherspoon, a good competition could be brewing for a backup/special teams job with Trev Faulk returning and the addition of seventh-round choice Tim McGarigle.

    Will Witherspoon

    Scouting Report: A talented, athletic linebacker who is still improving, a scary thought for his opponents. Spent most of his time in the league at outside linebacker, but has experience in the middle. Is outstanding in coverage and a sure tackler. A Pro Bowl caliber player.

    Last Year: Had one of his best seasons for Carolina, for which he finished the year with 109 tackles, two interceptions, two and a half sacks, 13 passes defended and a return for a touchdown.

    Outlook: Was immediately written in as the starting middle linebacker on the day of his signing with the Rams. Will be plugged in in that spot and should be able to stay on the field for almost every down because of his coverage ability. Expected to be a leader of the Rams’ new-look defense.

    Quotable: “He makes a lot of plays, but he’s very disciplined,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He can cover; doesn’t get out-matched. Tight ends and backs don’t put him in a bad position. Just the fact that he can play in the box and play ‘mike’ linebacker and is so versatile that he can go out and cover a receiver if he had to. Or someone motions a guy out of the backfield; you’re not sitting there holding your breath because he’s covering a guy. That’s what makes him so valuable, in my opinion.”

    Trev Faulk

    Scouting Report: A tough, hard-nosed player with good strength and understanding of the game. Makes up for any physical shortcoming by getting by on effort and will. Has been the Rams’ best special teams player for the past few years and has a relentless will to get down the field and make tackles on coverage units.

    Last Year: Played in all 16 games, starting six in the middle. Finished with 40 tackles and a forced fumble on defense and with 16 specials teams stops, including a big hit that jarred the ball loose on an onside kick that helped in a comeback win against Houston on Nov. 27.

    Outlook: Will compete for a backup spot at linebacker, especially in the middle, but he has the ability to work outside as well. His special teams ability adds to his value and someone will have to stand out to step above him.

    Also expected to compete: Mike Goolsby, Tim McGarigle.
    Good Article.
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Wagoner
    Positional Preview: Outside Linebacker
    Wednesday, July 5, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    A position that has been fairly shallow with the exception of Pisa Tinoisamoa, outside linebacker has made a comeback since the addition of coach Scott Linehan.

    While Tinoisamoa has been one of the few constants on the defense in recent seasons, he hasn’t had much help in the tackling department from his fellow linebackers.

    That could change this year, as the Rams appear to be deeper at the position than they have been in recent years. One of the few starting positions that could be available in training camp is the strong side spot, where Brandon Chillar and Raonall Smith appear poised for a heated competition. That battle will play out throughout camp.

    It remains to be seen if the production will meet the expectations, but there are more solid bodies at the spot than there has been in some time.

    Pisa Tinoisamoa

    Scouting Report: A consummate football player. A fiery, excitable leader who lives and dies with football. Loves to hit and has the speed and aggressiveness to be one of the league’s best outside linebackers. When the team needs passion and inspiration, this is who they look to. Plays through pain and refuses to come off the field.

    Last Year: Led the team in tackles once again 134 stops in 16 games. Added a sack and a half with two interceptions and eight passes defended.

    Outlook: A sure thing to man the starting job on the weak side. Entering his contract year, Tinoisamoa will have even more motivation to have a big year. With Will Witherspoon next to him and improved play from the defensive line, has the potential to return to Hawaii (his alma mater) for the Pro Bowl.

    Quotable: “Pisa, our (weak side) linebacker is an excellent player,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He’s a young player, now he is becoming an effective every down player. He can play all downs, get in nickel and dime and be middle linebacker. He’s obviously somebody that has been pretty effective for us.”

    Dexter Coakley

    Scouting Report: An outstanding leader with all kinds of NFL experience. Coakley is entering his 10th NFL season and has been an ultra-productive player for most of that time. When healthy is a good athlete with outstanding speed and a fiery attitude. Coming off a serious injury that was the first of his NFL career.

    Last Year: Played in 12 games, starting nine as the strong side linebacker. Finished with 42 tackles, a pair of sacks and an interception before a serious leg injury ended his season.

    Outlook: Still recovering from the injury, but appears ready for training camp and will be given every opportunity to stick around and work on the outside. Could eventually figure into the mix on the strong side, but could back up Tinoisamoa as well.

    Quotable: “You go through a season like I went through last year with a rehab, that was a new situation for me,” Coakley said. “I haven’t been there before. It was tough and challenging. I kept the faith and kept plugging along and just got better.”

    Raonall Smith

    Scouting Report: A talented former second-round pick that has never been able to meet expectations because of a variety of injuries. Fast and athletic with the ability to contribute on special teams.

    Last Year: Played in all 16 games for Minnesota, ending the year with 30 tackles and a sack. Has 21 special teams tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries.

    Outlook: In the mix for the starting job on the strong side. Entering training camp in direct competition with Brandon Chillar for that spot, but his special teams’ prowess could land him a roster spot either way. Has a strong relationship with Linehan from their time together in Minnesota.

    Quotable: “At some point in his career, Raonall had made some errors, like a lot of young players do,” Linehan said. “But he always seemed to make plays: get a ball out, recover a fumble, make a key tackle on a kickoff. He's one of those guys that has a knack.”

    Brandon Chillar

    Scouting Report: A good athlete who is still working on the finer points of playing the position in the NFL. Has the potential to be a good cover linebacker. Still needs work on pursuit and tackling angles.

    Last Year: Finished with 61 tackles in 15 games with six starts. Returned a blocked punt for a touchdown against Jacksonville on Oct. 30.

    Outlook: A candidate to land the starting job on the strong side, opposite Tinoisamoa.

    Jon Alston

    Scouting Report: A freakish athlete with the size and strength to play linebacker and the speed and quickness to play safety. Alston is a workout wonder that can be used in a variety of ways whether covering the tight end or blitzing off the edge as a defensive end.

    Last Year: Finished his senior year at Stanford with 52 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception.

    Outlook: The Rams are unsure of where Alston will fit in immediately aside from contributing on special teams. He will work at both safety and linebacker, but will likely be a Swiss Army Knife of sorts for the defense that can fill myriad roles at a given time.

    Quotable: “I think we’re going to have to sort that out,” Linehan said. “We see him as a guy that is going to be able to do both. I think we’ll work him at both. I think we’ll start him at safety and work him at some linebacker in our sub packages. He’s real similar to, and I’m not sure I’m qualified to say this, but the type of player that Pisa (Tinoisamoa) was coming out. Maybe an undersized will (weak-side linebacker) typically, but can run fast, make a lot of plays, and cover a lot of ground. Where I see him is someday being a superstar on special teams. I think he will be one of those guys that make a bigger impact initially in that area and then works his way on the field on special downs and third downs.”

    Also expected to compete: Drew Wahlroos, Jamal Brooks.

    Come back tomorrow for a look at the inside linebackers.
    Another good article.
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Positional Breakdown Preview: Wagoner

    Quote Originally Posted by Rampage39
    How come Nick never points out the negatives to each player's "game". I know he is a writer for the Rams but no player is flawless. I like his reports but they are a bit biased.
    I think he was pretty realistic during the free agency and draft coverage, but yeah you've got to consider where his paycheck comes from.

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