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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams to Incognito: Grow up, but don't slow down

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    05/22/2008

    Rams guard Richie Incognito must become less conspicuous to NFL officials. He has repeatedly hurt his team by earning untimely personal foul penalties.

    “It’s just a growing and maturation process,” Incognito said Thursday afternoon at Rams Park, after the team’s last OTA session of the week. “You just have to know when to choke it back. Some of the stuff is real close. Some of the stuff, the whistle blew . . . I’m playing hard, sometimes I don’t hear the whistle.

    “A lot of the stuff is stupid, ticky-tack on my end that I need to cut out of my game to be a better football player.”

    But the key to the Rams ’08 offensive success isn’t calming Incognito down. The key will be to get the whole offensive line to go as hard as he goes.

    This unit has to protect Marc Bulger, open holes for Steven Jackson and provide the foundation for an offensive revival.

    As you will recall (while wincing), the injury-riddled line collapsed last season during the 3-13 fiasco. The ever-changing cast of blockers became overwhelmed as the losses mounted.


    “It was a challenge for everybody to stay upbeat with the way the injuries happened to this team,” said Mark Setterstrom, who suffered a season-ending knee injury. “It’s part of the game, I guess. Just unfortunate events last year.”

    Now Setterstrom, Incognito, Orlando Pace, Brett Romberg and Adam Goldberg are coming back from various injuries.

    Free agent Jacob Bell and rookies John Greco and Roy Schuening are trying to reinforce the battered unit. New offensive line coach Steve Loney and new offensive coordinator Al Saunders are fostering a new atmosphere.

    “It’s going to be great competition going into camp,” Setterstrom said. “Everybody is going to be fighting for a job.”

    There is much to accomplish between now and Week One of the regular season. Right tackle Alex Barron needs to crank it up. He has the tools to become a great NFL lineman, but he hasn’t played at a consistently high level since coming into the league.

    Bell must become a tempo-setter at left guard. Setterstrom, a physical run blocker at guard, must learn to play center to give the offensive line added depth.

    “It’s a learning experience,” Setterstrom said. “Minicamp was just kind of an adjustment period. Now with the OTAs, I feel like I’m settling down and getting into it. I’m getting some extra snaps after practice. Since minicamp, the snaps have been a lot better. We haven’t had any on the ground in a week or two.”

    Greco, a tackle, and Schuening, a guard, must translate collegiate intensity to the pro level. “They have a lot of work to do,” Incognito said. “They never had this volume of offense and they never played against people this big and fast.”

    Goldberg must establish himself as a reliable back-up at tackle and guard. And Pace, well, he just has to stay healthy and play like Orlando Pace again.

    If all that happens, maybe the crazed Incognito won’t stick out so much to NFL officials.

    “A lot of the stuff is just playing the whole game through and playing real physical,” Incognito said. “We have five guys doing it. That’s our M.O. If they see we play hard, we play physical all through the end of the play . . . there is a lot more leniency when a whole unit is doing it instead of just one guy.”

    Incognito smiled when asked about Schuening, a highly productive player at Oregon State.

    He needs to “get it going a little bit,” Richie said. “That comes down from Coach Saunders. We’re going to be a tough, physical offensive front and we’re going to get after people. They’re going to know they played against the Rams.

    “That’s what I’m looking forward to, getting physical, running the football, mixing up with those deep passes and scoring a lot of points.”

    That sounds like a plan, no?


  2. #2
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Rams to Incognito: Grow up, but don't slow down

    I like this. They know they have to fix the problem up front. And I love the confidence this season! None of it is out of reach like SJax's goal, but we're on the right track.

    Cogs can be REALLY good. and he's on his way of making it happen. Lets hope that everyone stays healthy.

  3. #3
    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams to Incognito: Grow up, but don't slow down

    That's what we all like about Incognito: he cares. You bet he's not happy when Marc Bulger is on his back and Steven Jackson runs into 3 defenders behind the line of scrimmage every other play, he's ****ing mad and he's going to go 100% every play. Of course he has to tone it down just a little bit to avoid penalties but he has a good point when he says that they are a lot more lenient if it's the whole unit so he doesn't stand out so much to the refs. He has to tone it down a little - but the rest of the unit has to get A LOT more of his fire and desire - they have to move more in his direction than vice versa IMO.

    I wish a guy like Barron would play with the heart that Incognito does - he could be a Pro Bowl tackle, physically he has it all, but mentally he doesn't have the nasty attitude and he doesn't really care. I'd take a guy like Incognito any day over Barron - I can't stand to watch the whole "Oh my QB just got sacked and got his ribs broken <shrug>, I wonder what's on TV tonight" attitude that especially Barron seem to have - that's not football. Let's get some of that old-school blue-collar attitude on our line - a solid unit of hard workers almost always beat a few gifted athletes that don't fight as a unit and nowhere is that more apparent than on the O-line.

    I'm rooting big time for Incognito this year - let's smack some people around and let Steven Jackson steamroll through the secondary like a crazy train. That's a recipe for wins.

  4. #4
    Ramblin` Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Rams to Incognito: Grow up, but don't slow down

    ya just gotta love reading what is written there...O-line is my thing and i tell y`all with what we currently have on our line i havent been this hyped about our line as much as this for about 20 years and the days of Newberry,Slater,Smith etc...

    concerns i have... Pace healthy of course and incognito staying at guard if setterstrom at centre dont work out...

    plus points..the 3 additions to our line are great value...Bell is gonna make the LG position his own and i had Roy Schuening on my personal rams draft board but that was in the 4th,if we were to be lucky enough to have him fall there...to have him in the 5th is awesome!!!
    if the guy didnt play throughout his senior with pneumonia he would have been the first guard taken IMHO or atleast the best one in this draft class!
    John greco could end up being a steal too...would not be surprised in the least if he beats out barron for a starting job,tho obviously hoping he instead just sends a rocket up the ass of barron and his NFL career!

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams to Incognito: Grow up, but don't slow down

    I love Richie, and have defended him before on these boards. I like everything I hear about this O-line and Saunders "tough physical offensive front". Yeah! This matches exactly my line of thinking. GoRams!
    A defeated look of consternation, dissappointment, or even pain. The name derives from the look one often gets when challenged by a large BM.

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