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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    Rookie might be ready for more playing time


    By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
    Sep 23, 5:10 pm EDT

    ST. LOUIS (AP)—There’s a good reason Mardy Gilyard(notes) has yet to get much playing time for the wide receiver-needy St. Louis Rams. He’s still learning the plays.

    The fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati got a late start because his class didn’t graduate until June, missed some training camp time due to injury and is the backup at three spots for the Rams (0-2). That’s a lot to absorb, so much that quarterback Sam Bradford approached Gilyard last week and asked why he had been tentative in his routes.

    “He said ‘If you’re out there and you’re indecisive, then I can’t throw you the ball,”’ Gilyard said. “And a good quarterback shouldn’t. If I’m looking good and I’m running good and running my routes well, give me the ball.”

    The problem was the size of the Rams’ playbook. Gilyard has seen Chad Ochocinco’s playbook, yet he still was shocked when he got his and remembers telling his mother, “This book, it’s like a phone book!”’

    “She was like, ‘Honey, just sit down, go in your room, light a candle, put your feet in the air.’ And I said, ‘Mom, how am I going to read with a candle?”’

    Though he has no receptions yet, Gilyard has been the primary kickoff return man with a 25.3-yard average and fearless approach. He was happy to take his first big hit on a return last week at Oakland—at least a few minutes after the fact, once the cobwebs cleared.

    After watching a replay that showed teammate Bryan Kehl blocking tackler Quinton Groves into his path, he reconsidered and now wants another big hit as a rite of passage.

    “All in all it wasn’t like he came down freely. So I need a big hit just so I’m not surprised, know what I mean?” Gilyard said. “Hopefully not Ray Lewis. We’re finesse guys, we want to make guys miss.”

    Injuries could hasten Gilyard into action on Sunday against the Redskins. Laurent Robinson has missed the last two days of practice with a foot injury. Brandon Gibson, inactive the first two weeks, also has been getting some snaps.

    “I’m anxious to get in but I don’t want to rush it,” Gilyard said. “Really, I just need to be constant in practice.”

    Gilyard said veteran wide receiver Mark Clayton has helped him relax and cut down on the mistakes. As the Rams break the huddle, Clayton gives the rookie a three-word reminder: “alignment, assignment, technique.”

    “Everything Mark does is exactly the same,” Gilyard said. “When they see me and get frustrated, they tell me ‘You don’t have to be a Pro Bowler in one pass, just relax.”’

    It’s coming. Gilyard said he’s starting to absorb the philosophy and terminology.

    “No matter how the coaches juice it up or doll it up with shifts and motions, it’s still the same plays,” Gilyard said. “As a rookie, with all that going on, you get to thinking, and that’s where it all goes bad.

    “You shouldn’t be thinking, you should be reacting.”

    The Rams are more shorthanded at tight end, with Billy Bajema (knee) and Mike Hooamanawanui (foot) out, so Fendi Onobun is preparing for his debut. St. Louis drafted Onobun as a project in the sixth round, given he had played only one season of college football.

    The 6-6, 249-pound Onobun was a McDonald’s All-American basketball player in high school and played four seasons as a reserve at Arizona, wowing the Rams in pre-draft workouts. They didn’t figure on using him this soon.

    “There’s not a lot of people in my shoes that have this opportunity,” Onobun said. “Who wouldn’t want to have the opportunity to play on Sunday? It’s a great opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of it.”


  2. #2
    BrokenWing's Avatar
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    Re: Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    "That’s a lot to absorb, so much that quarterback Sam Bradford approached Gilyard last week and asked why he had been tentative in his routes."

    That's what I'm talking about right there.

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    I really like Gilyard and think that once he gets up to speed, he'll be a weapon. If he's going to be on the active roster doing one thing though, he's got to do better than a pedestrian 25 yard average returning kickoffs.

    And that Sam Bradford, he sounds and acts more and more like a seasoned pro every week. He is nothing short of impressive in every aspect of the game.

    So the Onobun era begins this Sunday. That ought to be interesting and hopefully exciting.

  4. #4
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    Re: Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    Aside from Bradford. Gilyard, Onobun, and Clayton are key players that need to boom if we don't want a god putrid offense, and mostly... PUT SOME CREATIVITY ON THE PLAYBOOK SHURMUR!!!

  5. #5
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I really like Gilyard and think that once he gets up to speed, he'll be a weapon. If he's going to be on the active roster doing one thing though, he's got to do better than a pedestrian 25 yard average returning kickoffs.
    Just a head's up, Gilyard's average of 25.3 yards per kick return is currently fifth best in the league.
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    Re: Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    Gilyard is the deep threat that we need on offense. Put him in coach..

    This kid can fly.....

  7. #7
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Just a head's up, Gilyard's average of 25.3 yards per kick return is currently fifth best in the league.
    Anything under a 30 average is pedestrian IMO!

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    Re: Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time

    Not that I like seeing injuries, but maybe, just maybe this will allow some of these talented rookies to show the coaches what they can do. Maybe they'll give the Rams offense the spark it needs.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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