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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams Shut Down Chiefs

    Thursday, August 30, 2007
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    With all of the starters sitting on the bench, a number of Rams spent Thursday night’s preseason finale stating their final pleas for spots on the team’s 53-man roster.

    And, judging by some of the performances in the Rams’ 10-3 win at the Edward Jones Dome, coach Scott Linehan is going to have some tough decisions to make.

    The win allows the Rams to finish the preseason with a 2-2 mark heading into the Sept. 9 regular season opener against Carolina at the Edward Jones Dome. Linehan said the idea behind resting the starters is to help him and the coaching staff makes some of the difficult decisions for the bottom of the roster.

    “The whole idea is to work the guys that are the toughest roster positions for us,” Linehan said. “I think if you go in and you get into that where you have one series or three series, it’s hard for me to really evaluate when they play in quarters. You really want to give guys as much of the game as possible.”

    While points were few and far between, some young Rams made a strong case for a spot on the roster. A few youthful receivers made strong impressions and a young linebacker whose position has been precarious at best made his case as well.

    But nobody left more of a lasting impression than young receiver Marques Hagans. In his second year after being a fifth-round pick out of Virginia, Hagans has emerged as one of this preseason’s most pleasant surprises.

    When the Rams drafted Hagans, the idea was to convert him from a college quarterback to a wide receiver capable of returning kicks and punts. The worst case scenario had Hagans not making the transition and thus not making it.

    The best case scenario is what has played out, though. After a year on the practice squad, Hagans has made the best of every opportunity he’s been given.

    “It’s just hard work paying off,” Hagans said. “I have a good receiving corps around me that help me every day, and a great coaching staff. I think I have been able to be consistent, but I think there are a lot of things I need to still work on.”

    Thursday night, it all came together once again for Hagans. He caught a touchdown pass for the third consecutive game and completed one of the strongest arguments made for a roster spot by any player on the team in the preseason.

    Hagans finished with four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown, adding another 19 yards on a punt return and 27 yards on one of his kick returns.

    Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, rumored to be a part of potential trades, had a fine evening against the Chiefs, whom he continues to torment in preseason games. Fitzpatrick played the majority of the game, leading the Rams on a number of long drives, though not all of them resulted in points.

    Fitzpatrick hit Hagans for the team’s lone touchdown, connecting from 20-yards out near the end of the third quarter to give the Rams a 10-0 lead. He finished 12-of-18 for 105 yards with the score and added another 26 yards on seven carries.

    “I thought he improved as the game went on,” Linehan said. “What it showed with Fitz is that it helped him to play some extended time. He had a chance to play and show some things and he did and it was nice to see that.”

    On the other side of the ball, linebacker Tim McGarigle made the game’s most important defensive play. In a week in which defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said it was the “bottom of the ninth” for McGarigle in terms of a potential roster spot, the second-year linebacker made a touchdown-saving interception that also helped save the lead and the game.

    On third-and-goal at the Rams’ 4, Kansas City quarterback Jeff Terrell rolled to his left, suddenly running back Kolby Smith came open in the short corner of the end zone. Terrell floated a pass that looked to be a sure touchdown when McGarigle came darting down the line, jumped in front of Smith and intercepted the ball.

    Although the Rams didn’t convert the turnover into points, it was enough to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone and keep them in the lead heading into the half. It was the type of play that lands a player a job and Linehan indicated as much after the game.

    “I think some guys proved a couple of things to me about how they are going to respond if you get an opportunity to be thrown in the fire,” Linehan said. “Tim McGarigle is a great example. He proved why he is such a good football player. You give him an opportunity and he’s going to take advantage of it. I think he showed he belongs and they are ready to help.”

    Cornerback Josh Lay, who is also in contention for a roster spot, had a pair of pass breakups late in the game that could help him in his battle with Darius Vinnett for the final cornerback position.

    Kicker Kevin Lovell continued his excellent preseason by booting another field goal and converting his lone extra point. Lovell completed a perfect preseason in which he

    Just because the starters weren’t on the field at all doesn’t mean the Rams got out of the game completely unscathed. Backup tackle Todd Steussie, who was invaluable a year ago, was lost with a broken left foot.

    Other than Steussie, though, the Rams made it out of the preseason without any serious injuries. And, when all is said and done, that’s about the most anyone can ask.

    “I am always glad when the regular season gets here,” Linehan said. “I feel very good about winning any football game but the biggest thing we wanted to impress upon our team was we wanted our guys as a team to take it up a notch. We wanted our tempo to be better than it was last week or the week before. I thought our tempo and intensity in all three phases was much improved.”


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams Shut Down Chiefs

    RAMS shut down Chiefs? :x

    That wasn't the Chiefs.

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