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Thread: Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial
Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial
Rookie Jason Smith gets tutorial
By BILL COATS
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
On just his fifth snap at left tackle as a pro, rookie Jason Smith found out what he'll eventually be up against in the NFL.
Part of the Rams' three-man tackle rotation in Sunday's 42-6 loss to Indianapolis, Smith was in for his second series. On second down and 7 from the Rams 11-yard line with about 6 minutes left in the first half, defensive end Dwight Freeney blew by Smith and slammed quarterback Marc Bulger to the turf for a 9-yard loss. If Smith even touched Freeney, it wasn't visible to the naked eye.
"It's no secret that Freeney's one of the best defensive ends to ever play the game," said Smith, the Rams' first-round draft pick in April. "Obviously, you give him his respect. ... He's a good defensive end to go against."
The Rams have made it clear that Smith, the second overall selection in the draft, is their left tackle of the future. He shared that spot Sunday with incumbent Alex Barron. Smith also spent some time at right tackle, where veteran Adam Goldberg was the starter.
That meant that Smith also got a good look at Robert Mathis, who mans the left side of Indy's line. Between them, Freeney (four) and Mathis (one) have been invited to five Pro Bowls.
After spending the spring and summer in a backup role, Smith was named the first-team right tackle the week before the regular-season opener. He lasted about six quarters there before suffering a knee injury at Washington.
Smith missed two games, got in for a single special-teams play Oct. 11 vs. Minnesota, then split time with Goldberg at right tackle last week at Jacksonville.
Asked whether he thought the three-tackle approach Sunday was beneficial, Goldberg took a long pause before replying.
"I just take orders. If they tell me to rotate, I rotate," he said. "When they tell me to go in, I try to make all my blocks and execute my assignment. That's really all I can do.
"The personnel decisions are up to the head coach and the powers that be. We just play when called upon."
Goldberg wasn't on the sideline long. When Richie Incognito went down with a foot injury during Smith's first series at right tackle, Goldberg was back on the field at right guard.
Last season, Goldberg was the only player in the league to start at both tackle and both guard spots. So switching positions is almost routine for him. "If the team needs me to play different positions, I'll just try to do whatever I can to help the team win," he said.
Such is the mantra for Smith, too, who insists he's "one of those guys that thinks about 'we' and not 'me.'"
"Football's football, and whether you line up at left tackle or right tackle ... the game itself is our job, and that's what we're expected to do," he said. "Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm going to do it. If I'm asked to play center, I'll go snap the ball."
-10-26-2009 #2jkramsfan Guest
Re: Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial
Goldberg is a very valuable part of this team, not many guys can do what he does by playing 4 different positions, I think he does a good job and I like Smith also and think he will be very good, the only thing I haven't seen from him is the nastyness he played with in college ,maybe he does and I haven't seen it.
-10-26-2009 #3Registered User
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Re: Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial
So why doesn't Johnny Greco get some pt when the Cogs goes down? I gotta believe that he is much more the future than a journeyman like Goldberg. Some of the personnel decisions (like both Victor and Greco inactive last week) are puzzling to me.
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