Rams make additions to fill injury holes ..
BY KATHLEEN NELSON Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:05 am
The latest additions to the Rams' active roster join the team from different starting points, but both hope to make an impact Sunday, when the Seattle Seahawks come to town. The Rams promoted cornerback Nate Ness from their practice squad and plucked linebacker Justin Cole from the practice squad of the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I was watching the Kansas City game Sunday and got a call from my agent," Cole said. "I was thinking it was something about Kansas City, but he asked, 'How do you feel about being a Ram?' I said, 'Great.'"
Cole worked out and met the coaching staff Monday, then immersed himself in the playbook. The Chiefs play a 3-4 scheme, the Rams a 4-3, but he'll be a part of the Rams' special teams unit from the get-go.
"He's somebody the personnel department had an eye on," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "It's tough to come in here and learn a defense, so the learning curve will be tough for Justin, but we'd like to get him plugged into special teams right now."
Cole was a rookie free agent signed by the Chiefs in 2010 out of San Jose State.
"The terminology, position and everything is new here," Cole said. "Practice helps when you see the other guys do it. As a young guy, it's all about special teams and trying to make my mark on that. That will continue to be my role, and I'm excited about it."
Teammates suspected that Ness would be promoted after Al Harris suffered a season-ending knee injury Sunday.
"He's been here, and that's a good thing," Spagnuolo said. "I like what Nate's been doing. He's a cover guy. The one thing you don't know about guys when you bring them in this time of year, you can't do real football. It's not live tackling. I think he's picked up the system well, so we elevated him."
An undrafted rookie out of Arizona, Ness spent 2009 on the Dolphins' practice squad, then was picked up by Seattle. He started a game with the Seahawks, making five tackles, then appeared in three games with Miami later last year, making three tackles.
Though his time in Seattle was limited, Ness said he remains friends with safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and cornerback Walter Thurman. Like a record number of players, Ness was caught in the revolving door of the Seahawks' roster last season, so he said he was looking forward to playing his first game as a Ram against them.
"They changed too much," he said. "It was like a 7-Eleven up there. Never closed for business."
HALL PLAYS down BLOCK
The NFL has yet to rule on whether James Hall officially blocked the missed field goal late in the game Sunday that preserved the Rams' 13-12 victory over Cleveland. Hall seemed fine with whatever is the outcome.
"I was just happy with the win," Hall said. "I really wasn't thinking about that, especially with the hardships we've been through this season. To win a game like that, we needed that bad."
He acknowledged that he had put an arm on the ball and that he discussed the play briefly on the sideline, "but other than that, we were just saying we were happy we won the game."
Running back Cadillac Williams (calf), wide receiver Brandon Gibson (groin) and offensive tackle Jason Smith (concussion, neck) did not practice Wednesday.
Among those returning on a limited basis were safety Darian Stewart (neck), tight end Lance Kendricks (foot), running back Jerious Norwood (hamstring), defensive end Eugene Sims (shoulder), wide receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring) and linebackers Josh Hull (hamstring) and Bryan Kehl (ankle)
"Always the true test to me is when they come back in tomorrow, after being limited. Have they gone backwards or are they still OK and can we go forward?" Spagnuolo said.
Offensive tackle Rodger Saffold and cornerback Justin King suffered mild concussions Sunday. They took part in noncontact drills Wednesday and could be ready for contact Thursday.
The Rams signed cornerback Chris Smith to the practice squad. A rookie free agent from Northern Illinois, Smith was in Rams camp for about a week this summer before suffering a knee injury.