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  1. #1
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    Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Smith could get start in second preseason game
    By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
    Aug 19, 8:02 pm EDT


    ST. LOUIS (AP)—Rookie offensive lineman Jason Smith(notes) cooled his heels until late in the second quarter of the St. Louis Rams’ preseason opener. That could change Friday against the Falcons.

    The second overall pick of the NFL draft out of Baylor may get to start because fellow offensive tackle Alex Barron(notes) has missed recent two practices with knee soreness. It’s also evidence that he’s making progress.

    Smith refuses to lobby for a promotion with new coach Steve Spagnuolo or gripe about waiting on the sideline for so long, aside from a few special teams snaps. He’s willing to prove he’s worth the five-year, $62 million contract he signed the day before training camp opened, and still refers to veteran teammates as Mr. Jackson, Mr. Bulger and so on.

    There was 4:29 left in the second quarter when the second team offensive line hit the field in last week’s 23-20 victory over the Jets. Smith lined up at right tackle for the first time.

    “That’s when coach Spags felt I needed to go in the game, so that’s when I rightfully went in,” Smith said. “And when he pulled me out, I rightfully came out.

    “The thing about football is you can’t control anything that happens, all you can control is your effort and attitude.”

    That goes for the season opener, too. He’s likely to open the year as the starter for a franchise building from the ground up after totaling five victories the last two seasons, but is making no assumptions.

    “As long as I’m with the St. Louis Rams, I can be serving water the whole game,” Smith said. “As long as I’m doing my part, that’s all I care about.”

    If he plays well in the second preseason game, Smith said working against Leonard Little(notes) and James Hall(notes) in practice will be a major reason. He’s also had to adjust to a three-point stance after playing in a spread offense at Baylor, but said dealing with speed has been tougher.

    “I feel I’m pretty much ready for what the NFL has to offer because those two guys are very, very crafty,” Smith said. “Mr. Little and Mr. Hall, they kind of crack jokes about what they’re going to do to you next—and then they do it.”

    The 310-pound Smith also credits Adam Goldberg(notes), who started at right tackle in the preseason opener, for helping ready him for the pros. Goldberg would likely move to left tackle, Barron’s spot, if Barron isn’t ready to go on Friday.

    Goldberg played at four spots on the offensive line last season, filling in for various injured players. He said it’s part of his job to tutor Smith to take over at right tackle.

    “I’ll tell you what, he doesn’t need too many tips,” Goldberg said. “He’s the kind of guy you like to help out because he doesn’t take anything for granted, takes notes and asks good questions. He’s the type of young player that you want to help and want to see succeed.”

    Running back Steven Jackson echoed those sentiments, observing that Smith is “full of humility.”

    “He’s not afraid to be picked on,” Jackson said. “He knows his stuff, he’s going to work hard, and you like to see that. He’s always upbeat.”

    Most of the time, at least.

    Smith dropped the yes sir, no sir routine at the end of an interview when asked about keeping his weight up during two-a-day practices that ended Tuesday. His answer: “Lions eat meat. Whatever runs by.”

    Spagnuolo said starters could play the first half against the Falcons when they play here Friday. That means potentially a lot more action for Jackson, who had two carries for 15 yards in the opener.

    “Whatever the coaches have for me, if it’s running or seeing what I can do in the passing game, I’m willing to just try and get some game tempo,” Jackson said.


  2. #2
    btimsah Guest

    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Thank God.. Goldberg is horrible and not the long term solution to any tackle spot.

  3. #3
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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    i know Barren is famiiar with the left spot, But why not leave Barron at the right and let the kid have the left?Seems to be a confusing set up in Ram camp.
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    I was not a big fan of Smith being selected #2 overall. Watching the kid from Baylor I didnt really see that much of him against top talent that made him stand out to me. I had seen maulers like Andre Smith and Michael Oher against top talent week in and week out, and they were the two that had truly impressed me (Very biased towards Andre. Watched him play every game since his freshman year.)

    But since his signing, with his attitude and his work ethic and everything that has been said about him; I'm starting to believe that this kid is the real deal. I think he's got a bright future ahead of him and I'm excited to see what he can do in the future.
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  5. #5
    btimsah Guest

    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Quote Originally Posted by theodus69 View Post
    i know Barren is famiiar with the left spot, But why not leave Barron at the right and let the kid have the left?Seems to be a confusing set up in Ram camp.
    I agree. But then again I'm not high on Barron.

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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    I love Smith's attitude and drive. We sure need some help on the O-line, and this young man has the character and fundamentals to build on. Go Smith, GoRams.
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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Quote Originally Posted by theodus69 View Post
    i know Barren is famiiar with the left spot, But why not leave Barron at the right and let the kid have the left?Seems to be a confusing set up in Ram camp.
    Quote Originally Posted by btimsah View Post
    I agree. But then again I'm not high on Barron.
    Same here. I guess the only reason I can come up with that I really agree with is his transition from a two-point offense to a three-point offense. But Smith's latest work in college was at left tackle, where he started 24 games prior to graduating. I know it's iffy to throw a rookie right into the fray on the left side, but it seems like if Smith is our LT of the future, it would make more sense to use him on the left side. It's going to be another transition for him from right to left whenever he eventually makes that move.

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    RAMarkable is offline Registered User
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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Same here. I guess the only reason I can come up with that I really agree with is his transition from a two-point offense to a three-point offense. But Smith's latest work in college was at left tackle, where he started 24 games prior to graduating. I know it's iffy to throw a rookie right into the fray on the left side, but it seems like if Smith is our LT of the future, it would make more sense to use him on the left side. It's going to be another transition for him from right to left whenever he eventually makes that move.
    Another reason to consider may be the fact that this is Barron's walk year and the Rams want to evaluate him at his natural position of LT. This will allow Billy and crew to perform all due diligence with respect to Alex when it comes time to either offer him a long-term contract or let him walk.

    Also, factoring in the equation is the notion that Barron played really well in replacement for the injured Pace back in '07 and the Rams want to see if he is the real deal on the left side going forward.

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Another reason to consider may be the fact that this is Barron's walk year and the Rams want to evaluate him at his natural position of LT. This will allow Billy and crew to perform all due diligence with respect to Alex when it comes time to either offer him a long-term contract or let him walk.

    Also, factoring in the equation is the notion that Barron played really well in replacement for the injured Pace back in '07 and the Rams want to see if he is the real deal on the left side going forward.

    WHAT SAY YE?
    But even if Barron plays well, are the Rams really in a position to give him a huge LT-type contract after drafting Jason Smith second overall this year? After giving Jason Brown $37.5 million? Or Jason Bell $36 million a year ago?

    If Barron has a good year @ LT, I'd rather see the Rams tag-and-trade him and get some other compensation. I think Barron's fate with this team was likely sealed with the drafting of Smith, and what he does in 2009 will be a showcase for other teams.

    Might just be me, though.

  10. #10
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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    I agree that re-signing Barron (particularly as a LT) will likely be both unwise and cost-prohibitive.

    My guess is that Brown will get his feet wet this year at RT, then move to LT next year (Barron leaving to be overpaid by some other team). The Rams should be able to find a starting RT with a mid-round pick in next year's draft.

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    But even if Barron plays well, are the Rams really in a position to give him a huge LT-type contract after drafting Jason Smith second overall this year? After giving Jason Brown $37.5 million? Or Jason Bell $36 million a year ago?

    If Barron has a good year @ LT, I'd rather see the Rams tag-and-trade him and get some other compensation. I think Barron's fate with this team was likely sealed with the drafting of Smith, and what he does in 2009 will be a showcase for other teams.



    Might just be me, though.
    I hope he plays well enough to deserve the tag/bait treatment and, unless something really juicy is offered,that he stays.I don't expect to see Barron in a Rams uniform in 2 or 3 years,either, but I hope he can be Spagified into a serviceable transition guy at least, so we are not relying on a rookie.

    And I think we may disagree a bit on the value of a top RT. Good O-lined teams like the Titans and NYG pay their RTs very handsomely.Pretty close to J. Smith money on their extensions. Maybe it's my #13 jersey chafing. I still think the neglect/failure at RT was so important to the Warner/GSOT collapse. Never again, sez I.

    Since both Stewart and Mackenzie were, clearly top RTs CAN be found in the lower rounds, & will initially be cheaper but how much will their steeper learning curve cost you in stability and injury prevention? You pay/gamble either way.

    I think a great O-line all the way across is a worthwhile investment. You get so much extra value out of less expensive talent with that approach.

    I mean, we've had the star back and/or cutting edge pass attack fail or be neutralized by a weak O-line,right?

    I'd rather hope that Barron surprises us all & next spring we're talking about stud WRs and DLs for our first couple of picks.

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    Re: Smith Could Get Start In Second Preseason Game

    Wouldn't it be nice to think that we can't go for that extra TE cause our All Pro line is eating too much of our cap?

    (Said tongue in cheek mind you, hate for them to literally eat too much of it, but stick to the All Pro comment instead.)
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