Sejean Settling at Safety
Before you guys read this I just want to hear your opinion on this new safety.
By Brett Grassmuck
For NFL players, learning a new offense or defense can be a lot like learning a second language.
For Rams safety Sebastian Sejean, that’s exactly what it is.
Sejean, a native of France, joined the Rams this offseason as part of the NFL’s international player development program. Sejean will be added to the Rams practice squad for the 2008 season.
“It’s very crazy for me, but it’s very exciting,” Sejean said. “My first game against the Titans, wow. It was a big stadium full of fans…but day by day I progress, and I like it.”
Sejean is a product of the University of Laval, in Quebec, Canada. He played football for Laval from 2004 to 2007 and was also part of two French National football teams that attended the World Cup of American football, most recently in 2006 in Kawasaki, Japan.
It was a dream come true for Sejean when he was selected to participate in the NFL’s international player development program, and the safety is trying to take it one day at a time.
“This is good for me, but I would like after this year, to progress,” Sejean said. “This is my goal, to progress day by day.”
Sejean landed on the right team at the right time as far as getting a chance to see the field. With the Rams secondary depth dwindling due to injury, Sejean has seen his fair share of playing time in the first two preseason games.
“It’s very (good) for my confidence,” Sejean said. “I don’t know if (I had a) chance for playing defense, but there were injured guys. Then coach said ‘let’s go Sebastian, step up.”
And that’s exactly what he did. He may not look as crisp or clean as veterans Corey Chavous or Oshimogho Atogwe, but Sejean isn’t afraid to get in front of a ball carrier. He’s currently 12th on the team with five tackles through the Rams first two preseason games.
“I don’t think when we first had that particular guy assigned to us, we knew much about him,” Rams coach Scott Linehan said. “He was a linebacker/safety and we were looking, before we started camp, that safety is probably where we would need him more. As it turns out, that has been the case. He’s done a great job. He’s having to get through the language barrier, and he does it with a smile on his face and a great attitude. He’s a very good athlete. He’s going to be able to help us in a lot of ways, and it’s definitely a bonus to have him.”
As he seems to be for everyone, Sejean said Chavous has become a “big brother” to him since his arrival in St. Louis. During training camp, Sejean and Chavous would spend time together going over coverages that Chavous had drawn up for him.
“It’s just little stuff, trying to make sure he understands what coach is trying to get across to him,” Chavous said. “Once you tell him something once, he doesn’t forget it. He has a great visual memory. Once he sees something one time, he knows how to execute it.”
Van Tran Ngoc, a former teammate of Sejean on the French National Team, has spent the past few days at the Russell Training Center as part of his other profession, photographer for the French Federation of American Football.
Tran Ngoc, a defensive back and quarterback in France, is excited for Sejean’s opportunity, but understands the challenges he faces.
“American football is not very famous in France,” Tran Ngoc said. “But for the world of American football in France, it’s a huge thing for us. We don’t have a lot means to play football, and we don’t have a lot of players. So, to have one guy who can play with the professional players, it’s great for us.”
At the end of the day, Sejean is technically the only player who knows he’ll have a spot on the team once final cuts have come and gone.
“This is good for me, but I would like, after this year, to progress,” Sejean said. “This is my goal, to progress every day.”
HOLT HITTING THE FIELD: It looks like wide receiver Torry Holt will get some playing time Saturday, as the Rams starting unit gets what will likely be their final test before the regular season against Baltimore at the Edward Jones Dome.
Holt has been increasing his workload in practice each day since suffering from a stiff back last week. Holt was listed as questionable earlier in the week, but Linehan said today that it looks like he’ll get some work.
“He should play,” Linehan said. “I think he’s much improved from a week ago.”
PITTMAN HAPPY FOR OPPORTUNITY: Running back Antonio Pittman knew he’d have some time with the first team while Steven Jackson was away from training camp. But he didn’t know he’d be the Rams first-string running back for most of the preseason.
Jackson is back, and although Pittman will return to a backup role, he is happy with the opportunity he had during camp.
“I think all of us (benefited from extra practice reps), every single last one of the running backs,” Pittman said. “It gave the coaches a better look at what we can do. I think the opportunity was good for us.”
Pittman was happy to see Jackson back in camp, because he knows how important the fifth-year running back means to the Rams offense.
“It’s good,” Pittman said. “We had a lot of things that we were working on in OTAs that we couldn’t complete without him being here. Now that he’s here, we can get the ball rolling and add some more firepower to this offense.”
Pittman will have one more chance to run with the first team Saturday night at the Edward Jones Dome. He’ll square off against former Ohio State teammate Troy Smith, who is starting at quarterback for the Ravens.
Pittman and Smith remained in touch after college and talk frequently…about everything but football.
“We always talk,” Pittman said. “It’s just like we left it in school, when we’re done with football, we don’t talk about football. We both have family of our own, and that’s the key thing you first talk about, how your family’s doing. It’s a good friendship.”
INJURY REPORT: The Rams secondary will still be a little light against the Ravens as Atogwe (hamstring) and safety Jerome Carter (groin) both missed Thursday’s practice and are expected to miss Saturday’s game.
Running back Brian Leonard (shoulder) and linebacker David Vobora (ankle) also missed practice Thursday, and will likely sit out Saturday against the Ravens.
Re: Sejean Settling at Safety
what are the odds that sejean will be a major factor one way or the other? I will be watching closely on this one.
Re: Sejean Settling at Safety
Slim to none? I think we're already set. OJ is quite simply 'the man'. I think Corey plays well at times, but if he falls short? Todd Johnson is right there. May even eventually take that spot. Got Carter and Bassey too. As for corner, Tye is set for his big 'breakout' year. (Contract year too, isn't it?) Now, if Mr. Brown will put down the bong for a minute, well, things could be quite good. Being a big SEC fan, I'm secretly pulling for Wade to be the quality backup. Hear good things about him.
Re: Sejean Settling at Safety
How ironic- going to the French to help you defend something:D
Sorry, but I had to do a french joke.