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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/27/2009

    Among the goals he's listed for the 2009 season, Rams guard Richie Incognito wants to become "a more mature player." If he were to be successful in that mission, the final piece of the Incognito puzzle probably would be in place.

    Last season, over 15 starts at right guard, the former Nebraska standout established himself as a solid NFL performer. Interim head coach Jim Haslett declared that Incognito was "our best offensive lineman all year, no question about it."

    New Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator, also is an unabashed Incognito fan.

    "He's the kind of offensive lineman you want to have; tough and physical," Spagnuolo said. "He could play on the New York Giants' offensive line. ... He's that type of guy, and you know I've got a lot of respect for their offensive line."

    But to complete the package, quarterback Marc Bulger pointed out, Incognito, 25, needs to avoid the self-created pitfalls that damaged him and the Rams in '08 and during previous seasons.

    "There's been a growing process for him every year, and obviously last year we had some things with him going on," Bulger said during organized team activities at Rams Park. "I'm sure he wishes he could have that back."

    Post-whistle indiscretions, as well as certain frowned-upon tactics during the action, resulted in several unwise penalties called against Incognito. Not only was the team pushed back, Incognito's reputation suffered.

    "There are just a few in the league who take cheap shots, go low at you when they're not supposed to go low, like when you're not looking," former Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill said. "We know who they are. Yes, he's one of them."

    Incognito was slapped with a whopping $35,000 in fines after a particularly nasty outing at Washington: $25,000 for what the league termed "repeated verbal abuse of a game official," $5,000 for a major facemask penalty and $5,000 for an illegal chop block.

    Then there was Incognito's verbal sparring with the Rams' fans. Frustrated by mounting losses and unhappy that a large contingent was traveling from Chicago to see the Rams take on the Bears in late November at the Edward Jones Dome, Incognito blurted:

    "We know how our fans feel about us; that's fine. It's nice to have the other fans here. At least they cheer. Our fans get in their seats, they don't know how to cheer, when to cheer."

    Incognito apologized, but the damage was done. He was booed loudly that Sunday during a 27-3 defeat and added to the hecklers' displeasure by stopping before leaving the field and cupping his hands to his ears, encouraging them to step up their abuse.

    "Obviously, he has to control his emotions," an angry Haslett said.

    Again, Incognito apologized. Still, he was the target of lusty boos the rest of the season at the Dome.

    Recalling those dust-ups as a "media tiff," Incognito explained that "growing, being a more mature football player and eliminating the penalties, that's really the emphasis for me."

    Bulger said he's already noticed a difference in Incognito's demeanor.

    "I think he learned from last year," Bulger said. "Just as we say with anything else, you have to prove that during the season. But I think that he's up to the challenge. ...

    "As a person from when he first came in to now, it's night and day."

    A third-round draft choice in 2005, the 6-foot-3, 330-pound Incognito endured a couple of setbacks over which he had no control.

    He sat out his entire rookie season after breaking his kneecap at the NFL scouting combine. After starting all 16 games the next year, at three different positions, his '07 season comprised just four games, the result of an early ankle injury and then a season-ending knee injury.

    Despite the controversy that swirled about him, Incognito was in the lineup for all but one game last season (he missed the finale because of illness). He returns to right guard this year, and Spagnuolo is expecting plenty from him. He noted that Incognito has been a weight-room star during the offseason conditioning program.

    Spagnuolo also stressed that he "came in with the mind-set that anything that was in the past was in the past. It was a clean slate. Now, let's find out what they can do."

    For Incognito, that means maintaining his fire and passion while avoiding outbursts or misdeeds that cost the team, Spagnuolo explained. "It's tough enough to win in this league," he said, "without going backward."


  2. #2
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    He's got a lot of repairing to do. I'm going to back him up for this season. But the moment he screws up, I'm calling for his head. Put in Greco when he screws up.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Last season, over 15 starts at right guard, the former Nebraska standout established himself as a solid NFL performer. Interim head coach Jim Haslett declared that Incognito was "our best offensive lineman all year, no question about it."

    New Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator, also is an unabashed Incognito fan.

    "He's the kind of offensive lineman you want to have; tough and physical," Spagnuolo said. "He could play on the New York Giants' offensive line. ... He's that type of guy, and you know I've got a lot of respect for their offensive line."
    I've defended this guy (though not a fan of the "fan interaction" moments), and been shouted down over and over again by some who just don't like the guy. And those same folks will spin off what the current and former coach says as simple throw-away comments. However, all that aside, hopefully the guy silences the critics this year. He's a tough guy, a Dobleresque blocker that is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But if he solidifies the RG position w/o the extracurricular activity, that's one less OL spot to worry about.
    "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

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I've defended this guy (though not a fan of the "fan interaction" moments), and been shouted down over and over again by some who just don't like the guy. And those same folks will spin off what the current and former coach says as simple throw-away comments. However, all that aside, hopefully the guy silences the critics this year. He's a tough guy, a Dobleresque blocker that is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But if he solidifies the RG position w/o the extracurricular activity, that's one less OL spot to worry about.
    I am 1 of the fans that is not big on Ritchie & his child like behavior, but I will have to agree if he steps out of his boyhood shoes & becomes a man with some integrity then he will certainly become an asset to the O-Line

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    I think Jason Brown will help in this category. If you listen to the guy, he's very bright and charismatic. Also, because he's earned his stripes in the NFL already, he has the credibility. I think he'll be a great influence on Incognito.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Even though we read articles about this kind of stuff every year, it's still good to read, because we already know he has the talent. It isn't about reaching "potential" with this guy.

  7. #7
    RAMarkable is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    I,too, have been a big Cogs fan. I just hope that, finally, the light has truly turned on and he will continue to play at his best without all the other extra curricular crap.

    Having said that the incident that has always bothered me the most was the last game of the year when he did not play because of an alleged stomach ailment, and then Haz supposedly slapped a candy bar out of his hand. I would have liked to have seen this article discuss this incident a little more.

    Oh well, as Spags said, everybody's got a clean slate now. Let's hope that Richie doesn't poop on his.

    WHAT SAY YE?

  8. #8
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Spagnuolo also stressed that he "came in with the mind-set that anything that was in the past was in the past. It was a clean slate. Now, let's find out what they can do."

    For Incognito, that means maintaining his fire and passion while avoiding outbursts or misdeeds that cost the team, Spagnuolo explained. "It's tough enough to win in this league," he said, "without going backward."
    This is what it all boils down to. He gets a chance to prove himself and show that he can channel his "energy" in the right direction. I don't think there is much doubt that the guy has talent and heart, but if he doesn't get his head on straight once and for all this year, it's obvious that his head coach has little patience when it comes to dumb mistakes that hurt the team and isn't shy about getting rid of players that don't fit his vision.

    The Rams are better with an effective, disciplined Cogs, and I'll be rooting for him big time to find the balance he needs to be that player on the field.

  9. #9
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Imagine how good we could be if Cogs puts it together this year?

    RG check
    OC check
    LG check, just keep on the weight
    RT Assuming Smith is as good as we think... check
    LT Barron's playing his natural position, hopefully check

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    Imagine how good we could be if Cogs puts it together this year?

    RG check
    OC check
    LG check, just keep on the weight
    RT Assuming Smith is as good as we think... check
    LT Barron's playing his natural position, hopefully check
    Don't forget that we have seemingly capable backups who are all quite young too boot. If this group of players gels, we have a unit that looks really good on paper and on the playing field.

  11. #11
    39thebeast's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Last year Grecco was running with the second team at LG, this year he is running with the second team at RG. Cogs is on a short leash Grecco may be ten pounds lighter, but he is a better pass blocker and may be worth playing more since he is younger and signed longer

  12. #12
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    Quote Originally Posted by 39thebeast View Post
    Last year Grecco was running with the second team at LG, this year he is running with the second team at RG. Cogs is on a short leash Grecco may be ten pounds lighter, but he is a better pass blocker and may be worth playing more since he is younger and signed longer
    I agree Cogs is on a short leash,but I am a fan of his and think he could really become a top tier NFL o-lineman,I would say pro bowl but because of his rep around the league he won't get selected,of course I also agree with everyone that he needs to clean up his act or Greco will take his spot and I like Greco also.

  13. #13
    evil disco man's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    I hope he stays disciplined enough to be signed long-term after this season. I've been waiting to buy Incognito's jersey ever since he was drafted.

  14. #14
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    i never really cared for Incognito because of his unhealthy attitude. But Hey If hes willing to change so Am I, and i will support him. But If he jeopordizes the teams ability to score, i really can't respect the guy.

  15. #15
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    Re: Rams' Incognito Looks To Repair Image With Fans

    I think it is going to be extremely difficult for Cogs to repair his image. I am a huge believer in Richie, I think he is exactly what our team needs, but he isn't a skill guy that everyone watches every single play. He could be the best o lineman in the league for the first couple games, but I will guarantee that he will get booed when we play GB just because our fans hate him. He can go penalty-less for the first half of the season, but that first offsides and everyone will say how undisciplined he is. It's tough to be an o lineman, fans only notice when you do something wrong. Here's hoping the STL fans can get past their beef and realize his comments were dead on and that he is a darn good offensive lineman.

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