Monday, December 3, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
Pending a variety of medical tests that will take place in the next two days, Rams quarterback Brock Berlin could go from practice squad to backup to starter in a matter of about two weeks.
“I want to think positive,” coach Scott Linehan said. “I want to go glass half full here and hope that all of these things come back better than it could be. It’s a little concerning though at this point.”
The reason for Linehan’s concern is twofold and those reasons are Marc Bulger and Gus Frerotte. Bulger, of course, suffered a concussion against Seattle last week and missed Sunday’s game against Atlanta. More on Bulger in a moment, but the surprise announcement came Monday afternoon when Linehan indicated that Frerotte suffered an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder against the Falcons.
Frerotte suffered the injury with 2:26 to go in the third quarter. As Frerotte fired a deep pass intended for Torry Holt, he was hit hard from the side by defensive end Jamaal Anderson.
Frerotte crumpled to the ground, landing awkwardly on the shoulder and suffering what Linehan described as a “sore” shoulder.
“It was more sore than anything after the game, but it’s something we are having checked out,” Linehan said. “We are having it checked out today. It was much more sore today than right after the game.”
It appeared that perhaps Anderson hit Frerotte late on the play, which went for an interception, but no flag was thrown and Frerotte got up and finished a game in which he threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns.
“He was able to finish so hopefully it will be something not serious, but it bothered him enough a couple of hours after the game and this morning that we have got to have it looked at,” Linehan said.
Frerotte was scheduled to have the shoulder looked at today or tomorrow and more will be known about his status when the team returns to practice Wednesday.
Bulger, meanwhile, will have more neuropsych tests done Tuesday to determine his status for this week’s game against Cincinnati. Bulger did not complete those tests in a satisfactory manner last week and was forced to stay on the sideline for the game against the Falcons.
But Linehan is confident Bulger will fare better this week on the tests and will have a better chance to be back on the field.
“I think he’s a lot better,” Linehan said. “I thought he was way better by the end of the week. He seemed very much himself this weekend and again I am hopeful. I am cautious until we get the results of the test tomorrow and hopefully he will be OK.”
Should both Bulger and Frerotte not pass their respective tests, Berlin would make his NFL debut against the Bengals. Until that comes to pass, though, the Rams will play the waiting game in the next couple of days.
INJURY REPORT: The injury list has been relatively short in recent weeks, but it returned to the lengthy laundry list that it had been in previous weeks after Sunday’s victory against Atlanta.
Defensive back Eric Bassey (knee) is the only player that is officially ruled out this week as he is probably still at least a couple of weeks from a return.
Cornerback Tye Hill suffered a left wrist/thumb injury that he will have an MRI on in the next day or so.
“Tye had problems with his thumb,” Linehan said. “It’s a ligament issue, so he will have to rehab or get it fixed. It happened during the game, but he did not come out or complain about it. It was a little more of an injury that we were not aware of until today. We will check it out. I haven’t got a final ruling on what exactly the injury is.”
The rest of the walking wounded include returner Dante Hall (left ankle sprain), defensive end James Hall (left ankle), running back Brian Leonard (sprained knee), safety Hanik Milligan (left hand), tackle Rob Petitti (blow to head), center Brett Romberg (right ankle) and returner Brandon Williams (right ankle sprain).
Both Halls are expected to be improved and evaluated during this week’s practice. Leonard’s knee sprain will leave him as questionable depending on what he can do in practice this week.
Milligan played with a broken hand in a cast and came out well enough that he should be fine this week.
Petitti took a shot to the head late in the game and will have neuropsych tests similar to what Bulger will take to ensure he doesn’t have a concussion or something else.
Romberg’s condition is improving and Linehan said the Rams are hopeful for his return this week. Williams suffered the ankle sprain and will be evaluated, though it’s probably not looking great for this week.
“That’s the list right there,” Linehan said. “As always, sometimes we get a couple of things that come up that we didn’t expect. We are hopeful these guys will be able to be available this week.”
SECOND OPINION: One of the strangest plays that quietly went overlooked in the aftermath of Sunday’s game came at the end of the third quarter. Punter Donnie Jones boomed a 55-yard punt that rookie defensive back Jonathan Wade downed at Atlanta’s 5.
The game went to commercial and when the broadcast came back, suddenly the Rams were being penalized 5 yards and re-punting. The officials ruled that Wade had gone out of bounds, came back in and was the first to touch it upon re-entry.
But the play drew the ire of Linehan because the call had come in under such strange circumstances.
“I had never seen this happen before,” Linehan said. “They did not call it so it’s like holding but you don’t get called for holding so it’s not necessarily holding. During the break they changed sides of the field, apparently one of the officials asked Wade if he had gone out of bounds. Apparently he told them that he had so they changed the call after the commercial break.”
The delay in the penalty call was clearly strange and the St. Louis sideline reacted as such.
“It’s one thing to get it right,” Linehan said. “If that’s the case, I think we should go back on late hits on the quarterback and get those right too and add the yards back on. I don’t think that’s necessarily fair. You get calls for you and you get calls against you and once it’s all said and done whether you kick the extra point after a play that should have been challenged, it’s over. I’m not buying that you can stop and go back and once you return, change the call but they did and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Of course, Linehan wasn’t thrilled with his rookie’s forthcoming answer to the question he was asked, either.
“Number one rule is you don’t exactly tell them the truth,” Linehan said. “You have a memory lapse. I’m not promoting lying; you can plead the fifth or whatever it is. You live and learn.”