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Thread: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Rams' Jason Smith returns healthy

    BY JIM THOMAS
    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Jason Smith feels great. He's happy. He's excited. And he's back on the football field.

    He can see clearly now, literally. He has full range of motion in his neck. He can turn fully from side to side. He can drive himself to work or the store.

    That wasn't the case following a nasty concussion he suffered Oct. 23 in Dallas attempting to tackle Cowboys safety Abram Elam as Elam was returning a lost fumble by Cadillac Williams.

    It was the second major concussion of Smith's three-year NFL career. He was done for the season, and some wondered if he was done for his career. At the very least, some wondered if he would be back with the Rams, who had chosen him No. 2 overall in the 2009 draft.

    "The reality was, it was a freakish accident," Smith said. "But the great thing is: What is it now? It's just the past. It's something I had to go through. I'm excited to be back walking. Feeling good. Wife not having to drive me around. There's a lot of things I'm just excited about."

    The entire process tested his religious faith, and at the same time strengthened that faith.

    "That's what it's supposed to do," Smith said. "Affliction is supposed to make you stronger. If it makes you weaker there's something wrong with you. So it made me stronger."

    So Smith is excited about the new regime at Rams Park, from general manager Les Snead, to head coach Jeff Fisher, to his new offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. He likes the positive energy of new tight end Matt Mulligan and the savvy of new center Scott Wells. He likes the leadership being shown by running back Steven Jackson and quarterback Sam Bradford.

    "I'm happy they decided to keep me around," Smith said. "So I'm a new face. I'm a new type of guy here."

    Who knows what the draft will bring, and what that could mean to Smith. What if Matt Kalil of Southern California drops to the Rams at No. 6 overall? What if there's an offensive tackle in a later round the team feels compelled to take?

    But for now it looks likes Smith is out of the woods in terms of remaining a Ram. He's approaching this opportunity with a clear head — physically and mentally — and a new lease on life.

    "I have a new outlook on life by faith," Smith said. "Write that. I'm so happy. It's hard to explain."

    Smith not only wants to be a better player, he says he needs to be a better teammate.

    "I want to work on my relationship with the players to become a better teammate, a better friend in some areas," Smith said. "I need to be more fluid and relaxed. I need to relax and play ball, and stop thinking. There's no reason for anyone to walk around stuck-up and scared. I can't accurately keep the quarterback clean if I'm tense. Just little things like that."

    As he spoke, and he was speaking a mile a minute, Smith's 6-foot-5 frame was bouncing up and down. Call it nervous energy, or just plain energy.

    For his part, veteran line coach Boudreau would like to see a more relaxed, patient Smith on the field. Boudreau can't control Smith's health. He can't coach any future concussions away. But he can improve Smith's technique and his play.

    "He's a big athletic guy," Boudreau said. "What we're trying to do with him is we're going to try to change his technique a little bit. He's so intense in everything he does. He does everything in a hurry.

    "I'm trying to show him some patience. And trying to get him to use his hands more than leaning into blocks. Just trying to slow him down. Trying to make the game slower by using good technique as opposed to going out and killing every guy you play.

    "Because when he goes out there, if he hits (the defender), he hits him. But if he misses, it's a dead shot on the quarterback. So we're trying to get him to think a little bit more about his balance and his base, and where he is at the collision point. And not always try to go out and try to knock a guy out. Just block a guy. Don't knock him out."

    The lunging, over-aggressive action by Smith to obliterate the guy in front of him gets Smith off-balance and gives the defender a free path to the quarterback. To illustrate the point, Boudreau has broken out tape of former Rams great Orlando Pace. Pace would set up in his pass-blocking stance, wait for the pass-rusher to get to him, and then lock-on. At that point it was over for the defender; he had no chance.

    In post-practice remarks after Wednesday's minicamp practice, Fisher made it clear that Rodger Saffold was his left tackle and Smith was his right tackle.

    Boudreau later elaborated on why Smith is best suited for the right side: "Jason is a powerful guy. You put him next to Harvey (Dahl) and you get the double-team combinations in your runs. A little more physical there. We're trying to put the guys in the best position for them to succeed."

    And make no mistake, Smith wants to succeed. "I'm expecting a change in my performance," he said.


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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

    Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff
    ManofGod and ZiaRam like this.

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanFoster View Post
    its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

    Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff
    Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanFoster View Post
    its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

    Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff
    That is why I believe the Rams will be the surprise team in 2012. Our past coaching staff botched so much and players had no faith in staff. I bet we are a top 3 team on defense and give the veru good team a run for their money. We might not win div but we'll fight as hell to try.

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Before we start anointing Boudreau, he was here a few years ago, and there weren't many tears shed when he left. Let's let these guys show a little on the field before we get ourselves too excited.

    Not trying to kill any buzz, just remembering where we came from.
    mde8352gorams and Rammed like this.
    "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

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Just do what you're paid to do Jason. . . It's that simple.

    If not, I know a fat lady who is more than happy to burst into song.

    Last chance bud.

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    If this clown can get his act together, the immediate impact to the Rams would be huge.


    ...but I doubt that he can.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanFoster View Post
    its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

    Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff
    I don't think it's that simple... If he was not hurt with concussion two of the three years It would be easier to say he just can't play at a high level. The new regime must see a player they feel they can coach up and after reading this they clearly do. The X factor still is can he stay healthy?

    I hope he can tum it around and take a pay cut and stay ay RT for ten years.. we have spent too many draft picks on OT.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Just do your job!

    If and it's a big if...Saffold and Smith play up to there abilities we will have a very nice set of bookend tackles!

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    You're quite right laram. They have very good abilities, both of them. The problem is the fact that the last coaching staff did not really continue to teach them NFL level skills. Remember, as high draft picks, both of them could generally use their massive natural talents to destroy defenders in college. In the NFL they are facing professionals who train every day on how to break blocks.

    We did well in 2010 because Shurmur kepts us on a lot of three step drops and Bradford got the ball out to Amendola real quick. In 2011, the drops were five and seven steps, and both Saffold and Smith were exploited because their skills had not been developed. We saw a video of Saffold's issues during the season. The problem I see is that we have not had veteran leadership at the tackle position, though hopefully Dahl is helping on that front. If we had that grizzled vet who could show them the ropes and drive them to work on their skills every day, I know that they could become pro bowlers.

    Or we could just go to a bunch of 3 step drops again.
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    I believe!

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Good... since you can do normal things again like counting higher than 10, GIVE US BACK HALF OF THE MONEY YOU HAVN'T EARNED!

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    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    It would be enormously helpful to have Jason play up to his draft stature. Maybe some years of experience has wisened him up to learning the best technique to use. Many times hearing something from a new voice (Boudreau) gets a person to understand better. Let's hope.

    Go Rams!

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