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Thread: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

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    Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    By JIM THOMAS

    Two rookie prospects — one big, and one promising — won’t make it to training camp this year for the Rams. The team released offensive tackle Terrell Brown and linebacker Phillip Steward, both with the waived-injured designation Wednesday, creating two vacancies on the 90-man training camp roster just a week before the start of full-squad practices.

    Brown had a pre-existing injury (before signing with the Rams), so his waiver counts basically as a straight release. Steward, however, suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon doing some rehab work last week at Rams Park for a minor muscle injury in his back. Steward had surgery Tuesday and is out for the season. Once he clears waivers, he will be placed on the Rams’ injured reserve list.

    The Rams were looking for linebacker help even before Steward’s injury — veteran linebacker help, to be specific. They are expected to sign a linebacker before the first full-squad practice July 25, and former Ram Will Witherspoon is the favorite to join the team.

    Witherspoon, 32, played with the Rams for three-plus seasons from 2006-09. He led the team in tackles in 2006 and ’07 and was team MVP in ’07, when he also had a team-high seven sacks. Six games into the 2009 season, he was sent to Philadelphia as part of the trade that brought wide receiver Brandon Gibson to St. Louis.

    Witherspoon owns a farm and ranch in Owensville, Mo. He has spent the past three seasons with the Tennessee Titans, so he has played for Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, assistant head coach Dave McGinnis and new linebackers coach Frank Bush.

    Witherspoon was among three veteran free-agent linebackers to pay free-agent visits to Rams Park in June before the conclusion of the team’s spring practices. The others were Takeo Spikes and Chris Gocong. It looks like Gocong will end up somewhere: He has drawn interest from several teams including an offer from one (unknown) squad.

    Of the 10 remaining linebackers on the Rams’ offseason roster following Steward’s injury, five are rookies and two others have only one year of experience. That leaves James Laurinaitis, Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Josh Hull as the only linebackers on the roster with any appreciable NFL experience.

    Brown and Steward were signed as undrafted rookies in the spring, and Steward in particular looked like someone who could contend for a spot on the 53-man roster. He had a breakout college season in 2013 at Houston, recording 128 tackles, 19½ tackles for loss, 11 sacks, and three interceptions in 12 games. Steward was a Conference-USA first-team selection and led the league with five forced fumbles. He was projected by some to be a possible late-round selection but went undrafted.

    During the spring, Steward was working with the Rams’ second unit at times.

    The massive Brown, who rarely played in college at Mississippi, was much more of a project. He played only two games in 2012 and eight games in 2011 for Ole Miss. Listed at 6-10, 385 pounds, Brown showed up bigger than that at Rams Park in the spring.

    “Actually, we weighed him in at 403,” Fisher said then.


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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Brown had a pre-existing injury
    His pre-existing condition is gravy flowing through his veins.
    laram0 and citr92 like this.
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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    I'm cool with bringing back Spoon. He was a very productive LB for us and has familiarity with some players, the city, and most importantly the playbook/schemes. He'll be a strictly depth player behind Dunbar but anything can happen so it's good to have a guy who can step in and be productive.


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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    The city is the same, but players and playbook/scheme are different from his last stay in St. Louis. The only players leftover from his last stay are Chris Long and James Laurianites :S That is scary in just four years.

    They even changed the long snapper!

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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Quote Originally Posted by emuen View Post
    The city is the same, but players and playbook/scheme are different from his last stay in St. Louis. The only players leftover from his last stay are Chris Long and James Laurianites :S That is scary in just four years.

    They even changed the long snapper!
    The playbook he played with in Tennessee is the same as it is here. Not only did he play with the Rams, he's also played with Jeff Fisher.


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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    The playbook he played with in Tennessee is the same as it is here.
    ...but it's different from his last stay in St. Louis, which was emuen's point - the number of things that have changed in St. Louis since he was last here.

    Anyway, Witherspoon is a solid veteran LB signing at this point in the process. It'll be interesting to see if he sticks on the final roster or if these younger guys step up and make a strong case with their play over his experience.
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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Witherspoon signs and provides quality veteran depth: good
    Witherspoon signs and is then beaten out for a spot by a young player (i.e. Ray Ray Armstrong): better
    Richbert88 and sosa39rams like this.

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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    ...but it's different from his last stay in St. Louis, which was emuen's point - the number of things that have changed in St. Louis since he was last here.

    Anyway, Witherspoon is a solid veteran LB signing at this point in the process. It'll be interesting to see if he sticks on the final roster or if these younger guys step up and make a strong case with their play over his experience.
    Perhaps there was confusion with the playbook as I was referring to when he played in Tennessee. Obviously I am well aware that Spags and Ken Flajole are no longer here..


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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Perhaps there was confusion with the playbook as I was referring to when he played in Tennessee.
    Which is great, but has nothing to do with emuen's comment about how much has changed in St. Louis since the last time Witherspoon was a Ram.
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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Quote Originally Posted by emuen View Post
    The only players leftover from his last stay are Chris Long and James Laurianites :S That is scary in just four years.

    They even changed the long snapper!
    Yeah the change has been pretty dramatic. All for the better though.

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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Would rather the two had a real chance to see what they can or can't do at the NFL level...its sad. Witherspoon, sure why not give him a try. Still I am hopeful after preseason there might be a nugget of gold released by another team. Its how the Rams acquired D.A. and that turned out to work rather well

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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    phillip steward could be back, not sure about terrell brown though...

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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Im happy with this move. Spoon was one of my favorite Rams in a time when there was not much to cheer about. Welcome back.

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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Good depth signing, he should be able to groom our young linebackers. Plus Ram fans who have his jersey from the old days can happily wear it again (if he makes the roster )

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    Re: Rams release two; LB Witherspoon expected to sign

    Quote Originally Posted by fliptalianstallion View Post
    Good depth signing, he should be able to groom our young linebackers. Plus Ram fans who have his jersey from the old days can happily wear it again (if he makes the roster )
    That would include me. As long as he wears #51 again!

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