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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Smith gets a chance to start with Rams

    By Jim Thomas
    Sunday, Aug. 06 2006

    Paul Smith came into the NFL as an unheralded fifth-round pick out of Texas-El

    In six NFL seasons with San Francisco and Detroit, he has only one touchdown on
    his resume.

    A fullback-halfback 'tweener, his very modest career totals are 210 yards
    rushing and 182 yards receiving. To put that in perspective, Marshall Faulk has
    topped those rushing and receiving totals in a single game.

    Fittingly, Smith joined the Rams with no fanfare May 6, signing a one-year deal
    paying him $585,000 in base salary.

    And at Saturday's scrimmage, when the Rams' offensive unit broke the huddle for
    its first play - there was Smith, again minus the fanfare, with the starters.

    "I guess they like what I've done at practice," Smith, 28, said. "I'm happy for
    the opportunity to do that. Hopefully, I'll run with it and do well."

    Smith learned Friday that he would work with the starting unit - ahead of last
    year's Rams starter, Madison Hedgecock.

    Kind of made your day, right?

    "Oh yeah," Smith said. "It made my whole year."

    Whether Smith holds on to the job remains to be seen. But he has clearly made
    an impression with coach Scott Linehan and his staff.

    "A fullback's role is a thankless job," Linehan said. "Paul comes out every
    day, and he tries to put it right on the numbers and put a guy on his back. And
    that's what you're looking for. Plus, he has the ability to catch the ball."

    Previously, Smith had carved out a niche for himself in the NFL as a hard-nosed
    special teams player.

    "I've always been the wedge-buster, things like that," Smith said. "Setting the
    tempo for games. Sticking my nose in there on lead blocks and things like that."

    Over the years, Smith has gotten a few chances at halfback and fullback, for
    three seasons with Steve Mariucci in San Francisco, and then following Mariucci
    to Detroit in 2003.

    Smith has been slowed by injuries at times. He missed five weeks in 2002 in San
    Francisco with a hamstring injury. He missed the entire 2004 season in Detroit
    with a shoulder injury.

    On the field, whether it was at halfback or fullback, Smith rarely touched the
    football. In 55 NFL games, he has only 46 carries and 18 receptions. His career
    high in receptions - five - came in '03, when Smith's Lions upset the Rams
    30-20 in a regular-season finale that cost St. Louis home-field advantage in
    the playoffs.

    But playing fullback, Smith says, "is not about stats. What your running back
    does, his stats, you kind of take pride in that. If he's doing well, that means
    you're doing well. So that's kind of how you've got to see it. A fullback's
    kind of like a glorified offensive lineman."

    Smith's only career starts came last season in Detroit. With normal starter
    Cory Schlesinger out with a fractured leg, Smith started the first five games.
    With Mariucci gone, Detroit did not re-sign Smith once his contract expired
    last March and he became an unrestricted free agent.

    But in St. Louis, Smith had an ally on the coaching staff in offensive
    coordinator Greg Olson, who had worked with Smith as an assistant coach in San
    Francisco and Detroit.

    "So he was really familiar with what I can bring on the field," Smith said.
    "When he found out that Detroit was (not re-signing) me, he gave me a call and
    was trying to work a deal out to get me here."

    And here he is.

    "It's a good opportunity," said Smith, who's 5-11, 234 pounds. "I'm not a real
    big guy, but I'm able to move in and out in front of the block. It's a great
    offense for a fullback like myself."

    But it's only August. The challenge now is to keep what would be his first
    full-time starting assignment as an NFL player.

    "You're always working to keep your job," Smith said. "Especially in the
    'League.' At any time, you can be the man. The next day, you may not be the
    man. It's just the way the business is."

  2. #2
    RamsFan4ever's Avatar
    RamsFan4ever is offline Registered User
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    Re: Smith gets a chance to start with Rams

    Does the person that doesnt get the starting job gets cut? Cause usually teams dont carrie more than 1 FB. And I think the Rams have 3 right now. Smith, Hedgecock, Massey

  3. #3
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Smith gets a chance to start with Rams

    Massey is the Long Snapper, you can't really consider him a FB since he doesn't play it for us in games. But I believe that if Paul Smith is the Starting Fullback for right now he deserved it and the coaches know a heck of alot more than do I. I hope also like you guys that we don't cut Hedgecock.

  4. #4
    RAMarkable is offline Registered User
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    Re: Smith gets a chance to start with Rams

    Good question, I wouldn't cut either of 'em. Both Smith and Hedge can bring it on Special Teams and we still need all the help we can get there. Plus it appears Smitty can play some running back also. So how about a lineup of Jax, Fisher as the first two Rb's with Smith as the 3rd RB and Smith as the the #1 FB and Hedge as #2 FB. This way we still only keep 5 Rb's (3 Rb's and 2Fb's). With Smith rotating between both roles we can actually save a roster spot (good-bye Moe?) and still keep both excellent players for the ST's.



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