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Rams Notebook: Rookie RBs work hard to get noticed
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Aug. 06 2006
On Friday, coach Scott Linehan had a message for those under-the-radar players
trying to wedge out a spot on the Rams' roster.
"I watch every drill" at training camp, Linehan said. "Make plays if you want
to get noticed."
That's the challenge facing Antoine Bagwell and J.D. Washington, undrafted
rookie running backs trying to make the giant leap from NCAA Division II to the
NFL: Do something - anything - to make Linehan and his assistants sit up and
"That's what I've got to do," said Washington, who played at Morehouse College
in Atlanta. "I've got to make something happen out there for them to recognize
Bagwell, a California (Pa.) University product, said, "I definitely look at it
what way. We've got to ... make them want us." That didn't happen at Saturday's
scrimmage, though. Washington (5 feet, 9 inches; 208 pounds) carried twice for
4 yards; Bagwell (5-11, 190) had no carries and was dropped for a 2-yard loss
on his only reception.
Still, it was their first experience in a game-type situation at the pro level
and, as Washington said, "You've got to be patient; you can't force it."
"They're coming along," Linehan said. "They've got the typical rookie ups and
downs. They've got a couple of things they do very well, but they've got some
other limitations they've got to continue to work on."
The next step is the four-game exhibition schedule, where both players figure
to get plenty of work. The Rams' brass will be watching closely, as will other
teams throughout the league.
"The veterans have told me, 'Just go out there and do what you've got to do. If
this team doesn't like you, another team will,' " Bagwell said. "You've got to
make an impression on everybody, not just one team."
Washington added, "You're auditioning for everybody out there. So if (the Rams)
don't want me, hopefully somebody else will. But I'm not thinking like that.
I'm thinking: How can I help the St. Louis Rams? Because they took a chance by
bringing me here."
Tony Fisher excelsin scrimmage
The void directly behind Steven Jackson on the depth chart is closing up a bit
with the continued impressive showing by Tony Fisher, a fifth-year running
back. He bolted 46 yards in Saturday's scrimmage, the longest run of the day.
"Fish has shown he's really our No. 2 legitimate back right now," Linehan said.
"He brings a lot of things to the table, wears a lot of hats. He can be your
No. 2 back, he can be your third-down back, he can be your first-down back in
passing situations, he can go in all the special teams and excel. He's got a
lot of value in all phases of our offense."
Tickets remain forexhibition vs. Colts
The Rams open their exhibition season Thursday at the Edward Jones Dome vs. the
Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Several thousand tickets remain, and it
appears unlikely the game will be televised locally.
Since the team moved here in 1995, all regular-season games have been sellouts.
A handful of preseason games have not sold out.
The installation of the new FieldTurf at the Dome is nearly complete, Rams
executive Bob Wallace said. The carpet that was used last season was removed
and can't be used again.
The new turf also will be temporary, as the team awaits the development of a
satisfactory system that would allow it to be removed in pieces and re-laid
Safety Ron Bartell, who sprained his left ankle Thursday, didn't suit up for
the scrimmage. But he did run sprints with the team afterward. ... Todd
Steussie, who has been working mostly at tackle, was at right guard with the
second unit Saturday. ... The scrimmage drew 2,486 fans to Rams Park, the
largest turnout of the 10 open practices at camp.