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  1. #1
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Smith takes his tasks seriously

    Smith takes his tasks seriously

    By Jim Thomas

    It has been six weeks since the Rams made Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. For most of the past five weeks, he has been plying his trade at Rams Park, in the weight room, the meeting room, and on the practice field.

    So when asked if he's settled in yet ó to St. Louis, and to life at Rams Park ó Smith answers with the world view of a 22-year-old.

    "Yeah, I'm settled in," Smith replied. "I'm over at the Holiday Inn right now. The bed's made up every day. The air conditioning's cold. I don't have any bills coming in. I'm loving it.

    So far, NFL life is good for Smith, a 306-pound bundle of energy and optimism. When asked if he eventually will buy a place in St. Louis, Smith replied: "I'm thinking about buying a Holiday Inn, you know what I mean? And just living there."

    Once he signs his first NFL contract ó and there's little taking place on that front yet ó Smith should have enough money to buy a hotel. For now, he's going about the business of earning his keep on the football field.

    "Jason's doing great," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We've had a chance to work him on both sides, and he's a guy that's going to be a real good player. He's working hard, he's developing, and we're looking forward to see how it carries over to training camp."

    After spending his first month at right tackle, which remains his likely destination on opening day, Smith was shifted to left tackle this past week. Should something happen to Alex Barron on the left side, Smith could be the Rams' next option there during the regular season.

    "We're going to try to have some versatility at tackle," coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

    It's difficult to make broad assumptions in the spring, particularly with linemen, because there is next to no contact during OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps, and the players aren't in full pads. But Spagnuolo already has seen enough of Smith to conclude that he has the mental makeup and approach to become a successful NFL blocker.

    "He doesn't blink at all when he goes on either side (of the line), or we give him something new," Spagnuolo said. "He's a tremendous worker, and a respectful guy. He gets it. That's the best thing I can say is he gets it."

    Some players never get it. But Smith seems to realize that the small things, the details, the technique work can turn decent players into good ones, and good players into great ones in the NFL.

    "That's one thing I've learned about this level is that it's a lot of small details that you don't really know much about until you get here," Smith said. "Football's a game that is ó what? ó about 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental. That mental part, you've got to know how to use your hands and your feet."

    How to set up blocks, and set up defenders. And no matter how strong, quick or physically gifted, if you're not technique-sound, you can be exploited in a hurry by a defensive lineman or linebacker.

    "I've learned now that any wrong thing you do, the other guy will capitalize and you'll look bad," Smith said. "Everyday I'm learning how to be a professional."

    For now, Smith has worked with the second unit at right tackle behind Adam Goldberg and with the second unit at left tackle behind Barron. Both young veterans, but Goldberg in particular, are helping to show Smith the way things get done in the pros.

    "Adam Goldberg is really helping me with that," Goldberg said. "Just saying, 'Hey, this is what you've got to do.' It helps out a lot when you've got a guy like him around to kind of grab you and bring you along.

    "Things happen. Things happen fast. The (best) thing I can do is take a deep breath and say, 'next play.' I can't dwell on it or I'll turn one bad play into 10 bad plays."

  2. #2
    dgr828's Avatar
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    Re: Smith takes his tasks seriously

    Nice to hear that Jason Smith is coming along and is taking the right approach in starting out his early career with the Rams.
    Wonder if Smith will be a starter on openning day.
    Hope that Goldberg can teach him the tricks of the trade!
    Jason will go down as one of the great Rams linemen.
    Orlando who?

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