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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    By Bill Coats

    Quarterback Gus Frerotte (shoulder), tackle Rob Petitti (concussion) and wideout-returner Brandon Williams (ankle) were held out of practice Wednesday. Getting limited reps were wideout-returner Dante Hall (ankle) and defensive end James Hall (ankle). ... The Bengals (4-8) are the last sub-.500 foe on the Rams' schedule.

    Culberson makes mark by mastering special teams
    By Bill Coats
    Thursday, Dec. 06 2007

    Quinton Culberson is just full of surprises. His first was making the Rams’
    53-man roster this past summer, the only undrafted rookie to do so.

    The second is the impact he’s made on special teams, even though he never
    played there at Mississippi State. Culberson collected five tackles — the
    highest one-game number on the team — in Sunday’s 28-16 win over Atlanta. That
    boosted his season total to 13; he trails only Todd Johnson (18) and Travis
    Minor (16) among the Rams’ special teamers.

    “I originally thought I might have had three, maybe four” tackles vs. the
    Falcons, Culberson said. “But five ... that’s a good thing.”

    The 6-foot-1, 236-pound Culberson, a linebacker by trade, is on all four units.
    “He’s always around the ball; that’s what we noticed in preseason,” coach Scott
    Linehan said. “That’s (why) he’s a very effective special-teams player.”

    Many young players begin their NFL journey on special teams, and Culberson
    realizes it’s a way to carve out a niche while making an impression. “Special
    teams is my job right now, and I’ve got to play it the best I can,” he said. “I
    enjoy it because it’s a big key to winning football games.”

    With Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) out for the season, Culberson now is a backup on
    defense. “I want to play, but I’m a little nervous about it,” he acknowledged.
    “I don’t want to go out and make a mistake. But I will go out there and play my
    heart out when it’s my time.”

    Backfield in motion
    By Bill Coats

    Another busy special-teams performer, rookie Jonathan Wade, will have an increased role Sunday at Cincinnati. He'll replace Ron Bartell as the fifth defensive back in the nickel package.

    That had been Bartell's job, but he'll start at cornerback for Tye Hill, who was placed on injured reserve after having wrist surgery Monday. In passing situations, Bartell will slide inside to cover the slot receiver and Wade will enter at corner.

    Wade almost surely will be targeted by Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and his trio of dangerous wideouts: Chad Johnson, Chris Henry and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

    "Excellent receivers; a lot of speed, a lot of size ... a lot of a lot of things," Wade said. "So we've got to make sure that we're on our P's and Q's."
    New stripes suit Fitzpatrick
    By Bill Coats
    Thursday, Dec. 06 2007

    About this time a year ago, everyone at Rams Park received a greeting card. It
    showed Ryan Fitzpatrick in a crimson No. 14 jersey, holding a trumpet and a
    bouquet of flowers with the greeting: "Happy Holidays From the Harvard Band."

    The only authentic part was that Fitzpatrick is, indeed, a Harvard graduate.
    The rest was cooked up by fellow quarterback Gus Frerotte, a notorious
    practical joker. "He pulled a pretty good prank," Fitzpatrick said Wednesday.
    "I miss those pranks, you know?"

    The Rams probably miss Fitzpatrick, too, given their muddled quarterback
    situation. They dealt him to Cincinnati — the Rams' foe Sunday — on Sept. 1,
    shortly before the season opened, for a seventh-round draft pick in 2008.

    The trade, which ostensibly was made to free up a game-day roster spot for an
    additional special-teams player, "definitely caught me off guard," said
    Fitzpatrick, the Rams' No. 3 quarterback in 2005 and '06.

    Some four hours after the news was delivered, Fitzpatrick, 25, was on a flight
    to Cincinnati. He left behind wife Liza, 6-month-old son Brady and a recently
    purchased house.

    "I had to start preparing right away and had no time to go back to St. Louis,"
    he said. "My wife, through a moving company, got everything packed up and moved
    out here in a matter of a month or so."

    Still, the trade provided a career boost for the 6-foot-2, 225-pound
    Fitzpatrick, who backs up Carson Palmer. "It was definitely a move up for me,"
    Fitzpatrick said. "It put me in a great situation here, as far as being a No.
    2. I've been very fortunate with Marc (Bulger) and Carson in the early stages
    of my career, being able to learn from those guys."

    Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Fitzpatrick "is what we wanted, (with) his
    leadership qualities, his ability to get the ball quickly out of his hand,
    deliver it on time and to the right spots."

    Bulger has missed three games with injuries, including last Sunday's contest
    after suffering a concussion the week before. He returned to practice Wednesday
    and might play Sunday. But if he can't, the Rams will be in a bind, because
    backup Gus Frerotte has a partially torn labrum in his right (throwing)

    The only other option is Brock Berlin, who never has seen action in a
    regular-season game. Fitzpatrick, conversely, played in five games for the
    Rams, including three starts during his rookie season in 2005.

    Perhaps the most memorable moment of Fitzpatrick's time in St. Louis came when
    he was forced into action his rookie season during a game at Houston. Though he
    hadn't taken a snap in a regular-season game, Fitzpatrick was called upon when
    backup QB Jamie Martin suffered a blow to the head with the Rams trailing 24-3.
    Fitzpatrick completed 19 of 30 passes for 310 yards, including a 56-yard
    overtime TD toss to wideout Kevin Curtis, in a stirring 33-27 win.

    He hasn't had a chance to add to his résumé, though, because Palmer has taken
    every snap. Fitzpatrick's only game action was one play as an emergency holder
    for kicks. That was in the opener, in front of a national "Monday Night
    Football" audience, and isn't a role Fitzpatrick relishes reprising any time

    "I never held in my life before," he said. But this was no prank.

    "The guy (the Bengals) cut to bring me on was the backup holder," he explained.
    "They told me if something happens, then I would be the holder. Sure enough,
    the second touchdown of the game I had to run out there. ... Hopefully I don't
    have to hold from now on."

  2. #2
    chipperjones Guest

    Re: Ram-blings

    Quinton Culberson has turned into one of my favorite players.


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