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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    'Q' continues to beat odds

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Wednesday, Sep. 03 2008
    A year ago at this time, Quinton Culberson remembers walking into Rams Park and
    seeing players cleaning out their locker stalls, victims of the Turk. No doubt
    he felt bad for the released players, young men who were out of a job and
    suddenly facing uncertain futures.

    As for himself?

    "I was like, 'Yes!,'" Culberson recalled. "I didn't get that phone call at the
    Holiday Inn." (Which is where the fringe players are housed in Earth City prior
    to the final roster cuts.)

    Culberson beat the odds last year, making the roster as an undrafted rookie out
    of Mississippi State. This year, he has taken things one giant step further.
    There has been no big

    announcement. No alert on ESPN's "SportsCenter" crawl. No press conference.

    But the soft-spoken Culberson has earned the starting job at strong side
    linebacker for the Rams.

    "I think people are going to like what they see in Quinton, because he's just a
    football player," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett states simply.

    The player known as "Q" to his teammates plays aggressively, has a nose for the
    football and plays bigger than his size (6 feet 1, 244 pounds). In the complex
    game of NFL football, Culberson's approach is refreshingly old-school.

    "I just run to the ball," Culberson said. "That's natural instincts. When all
    else fails, just get to the ball."

    Early in Culberson's rookie season, Haslett joked that even when he didn't know
    his assignment, Culberson found the football. Well, this year, Culberson knows
    where to line up.

    "He has grasped the defense, which is a huge part of the deal," middle
    linebacker Will Witherspoon said.

    After spending most of his rookie season playing special teams he was even
    inactive for two games Culberson started the regular-season finale in Arizona
    because of an injury to Brandon Chillar. In an otherwise lamentable 48-19 loss,
    Culberson's play stood out. He had 14 tackles and a forced fumble.

    That caught the eye of the coaching staff, but as Culberson began his offseason
    workouts, he was focusing on another year of special teams play for St. Louis.

    "But when they let Chillar go, I figured I might have a good chance of playing
    a lot if they didn't bring anyone in to play the position," Culberson said.
    "They didn't. And now I'm getting my chance."

    Once Chillar signed a free-agent contract with Green Bay, that meant Culberson
    would compete with veteran Chris Draft for the starting job in training camp
    and the preseason. In fairness to Draft, he wasn't able to put up much of a
    fight because of back problems specifically two bulging discs that slowed
    or sidelined him entirely for several weeks.

    "It's definitely not ideal, but you just have to play the cards how they're
    dealt," Draft said. "I mean, I definitely wouldn't have asked for (back
    problems), but that's how it is."

    Back problems can be difficult to diagnose, and Draft isn't sure whether this
    was a gradual thing that developed over 10 years of banging away in the NFL, or
    something that cropped up during camp in Mequon, Wis.

    "It just tightened up," Draft said. "I don't know (why). One thing about the
    back is that they say when they take the MRI, they can't tell if it's something
    that you've had for a while, or if it's something that's new. It could've been
    there, or it could've not been there. But your back hurts."

    Training for nearly three weeks on artificial turf at Concordia University in
    Wisconsin didn't help. Draft took some oral medication to get his back calmed
    down, and practicing on the more forgiving grass fields of Rams Park since the
    team has returned to St. Louis has helped.

    But for now, at least, the starting job belongs to Culberson. Which is a long
    way from 2007.

    "Coming in last year, I didn't know if I was coming or going," Culberson said.
    "I just worked hard, prayed to God, and he made it work for me."

    RAM-BLINGS

    Linebacker Tim McGarigle, a seventh-round draft pick in 2007 from Northwestern,
    was released Tuesday to free up a roster spot for newly signed linebacker Gary
    Stills. McGarigle spent his rookie season on the Rams' practice squad. He
    played in 12 games last season, mainly on special teams. ... Veteran free-agent
    cornerbacks Fernando Bryant and Hank Poteat visited Rams Park on Tuesday, both
    leaving without contracts. Poteat was recently released by the New York Jets;
    Bryant, by the New England Patriots. ... The Rams also have had discussions
    with former Cincinnati offensive tackle Willie Anderson, but no visit has been
    scheduled.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: 'Q' continues to beat odds

    This Draft and his back issues have me worried. We are thin at LB as it is.

    What do we do now?

  3. #3
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: 'Q' continues to beat odds

    "I think people are going to like what they see in Quinton, because he's just a
    football player," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett states simply.

    It's great to see hard work pay off looking forward to seeing him play.
    :ramlogo:

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    renrawtruk is offline Registered User
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    Re: 'Q' continues to beat odds

    I think this is a good move. I think this helps our defense because...

    A. The guy is 22, and Draft has got to be at least 30. There's got to be more explosiveness and speed with Culberson.

    B. We are small at LB, and Culberson is listed at 244, whereas Draft is listed at 236. If you are going to have an undersized D'line, like we do, you can't also have undersized LB's.

    (Although their weights are similar, you tend to gain weight as you get older, so Culberson being 244lbs. at age 22, I believe is a naturally bigger guy than Draft who probably was 230lbs. when he was 22, I would be willing to bet.)

    bigger, younger, faster. All upsides. I can picture him and Witherspoon reaking havok all year long!!!

  5. #5
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    Re: 'Q' continues to beat odds

    Quote Originally Posted by renrawtruk View Post
    I think this is a good move. I think this helps our defense because...

    A. The guy is 22, and Draft has got to be at least 30. There's got to be more explosiveness and speed with Culberson.

    B. We are small at LB, and Culberson is listed at 244, whereas Draft is listed at 236. If you are going to have an undersized D'line, like we do, you can't also have undersized LB's.

    (Although their weights are similar, you tend to gain weight as you get older, so Culberson being 244lbs. at age 22, I believe is a naturally bigger guy than Draft who probably was 230lbs. when he was 22, I would be willing to bet.)

    bigger, younger, faster. All upsides. I can picture him and Witherspoon reaking havok all year long!!!
    That's a lot of assumptions there. I mean I'm younger than T.O., but that doesn't mean I'm faster or more explosive. Likewise, I might gain weight as I age, but I'm not in an NFL conditioning program. Guys will gain or lose fifteen pounds over the off-season to make a target playing weight that they (or the coaches) think they will be most effective at. So again, the generalization about age can't be assumed to be true in one specific instance.

    I will say that Draft is a pretty good player, and it bodes well that the coaches think Culberson will be better.

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