Smoker -- not Martin -- will back up Chandler
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Friday, Dec. 10 2004
Jeff Smoker will be the Rams’ backup quarterback Sunday at Carolina. And that’s
“Usually I’m on the sideline writing on the clipboard and maybe joking around
here and there” during games, said Smoker, a rookie from Michigan State. “But I’
ve got to stay into the game now and be prepared to go in at any time.”
Smoker, a sixth-round draft choice, was the No. 3 quarterback for the team’s
first 11 games. His role in practice was as the scout-team QB.
But now, after the shoulder bruise that will keep starter Marc Bulger out for
at least Sunday’s game and put 39-year-old Chris Chandler in the lineup, Smoker
is a turned ankle away from seeing his first regular-season action in the NFL.
“It’s one step closer,” Smoker said. “But hopefully nothing happens to Chris
and all goes well and I don’t have to get in.”
Should he get the call, though, Smoker said he believes that he’s ready. “Yeah,
definitely. I’ve been learning little by little every week,” he said.
“Obviously I don’t know everything, and I don’t know as much as Marc and
probably Chris. But I know enough to get in there, be efficient and run the
Coach Mike Martz wasn’t so sure of that earlier in the week, when he indicated
that former Ram Jamie Martin -- signed on Monday -- would fill the No. 2 role.
But Smoker earned the spot with his play in practice.
“I stuck him in the blitz periods and . . . I was very pleased with how well he
responded; he did a great job,” Martz said. “He’s been through everything in
camp and he played for us in the preseason. I think at this point, that’s the
way we would start and give Jamie some time to get his feet on the ground.”
Unlike most teams, the Panthers don’t form a wedge on kickoff returns. No one
is happier about that than Rams rookie Anthony Hargrove.
Hargrove, a defensive end by trade, twice has suffered concussions this year on
opening kickoffs while trying to bust wedges by hurtling his 6-foot-3,
269-pound body into the fray. It happened in the season opener against Arizona
and again last Sunday vs. San Francisco.
“They tell you, ‘The closer you get, the faster you run,’” Hargrove said. “I
just try to hit it and take out everybody on one shot.” Taking himself out,
though, is not part of the plan.
“When he goes down there and hits them, he’d probably be better leading with
something other than the top of his head,” Martz said. “He’ll figure that out
Perhaps sooner rather than later; the most recent concussion shook the
third-round draft pick from Georgia Tech. “It was way more intense,” Hargrove
said. “I couldn’t think or anything. That’s why I knew I had to go sit down.”
And yet he returned to the game. “Yeah, but I don’t remember playing,” he said.
“But I saw myself on film. I looked all right.”
When Rams players suffer head injuries, they must pass a neurological exam
before they’re cleared for the next game. It took two tries, but Hargrove
passed and will suit up Sunday. He said he doesn’t plan to alter his aggressive
“I’m not worried at all; some of that comes with the job, really,” he said. “I’
m just not going to let it affect the way I play. I’m not going in on Sunday
thinking, ‘I don’t want to hit anybody because I don’t want to get another
Torry takes a spin:
Wide receiver Torry Holt was watching on television Monday night at a Beverly
Hills restaurant as Dallas rallied to victory in Seattle and shoved the Rams
back into first placed in the NFC West. “I was going bananas,” Holt said. “I
know some of the people were looking at me like, ‘What’s going on with this
Holt was on the West Coast to appear on “Wheel of Fortune” during the
long-running TV show’s “NFL Week.” He competed in the charity event against
Pittsburgh wideout Hines Ward and Philadelphia defensive end Jevon Kearse. “We
had a blast,” Holt said.
Holt refused to disclose the results. “I’ll just tell everybody to watch; Jan.
3 is the date that the show airs,” he said. “Tune in and check it out.”
Asked by inquiring reporters how letter-turner Vanna White, 47, was doing, Holt
paused and then said: “Vanna’s OK. Vanna, I’m sure in her prime was very
stunning. And she looks good now, don’t get me wrong . . . no offense, Vanna.”
Although cornerback DeJuan Groce was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury
report, he’ll be active Sunday. Groce missed the last two games because of a
knee injury. . . . Defensive end Tyoka Jackson was back on the field Friday
after sitting out Thursday’s practice with stomach flu.
Re: Smoker -- not Martin -- will back up Chandler
Martz on Hargrove on special teams
Hargrove on concusions
“When he goes down there and hits them, he’d probably be better leading with something other than the top of his head,” Martz said. “He’ll figure that out eventually.”
:king: Hargrove is a football player and he isn't afraid of getting hurt, but it will help if he stops using his head so much.
“I’m not worried at all; some of that comes with the job, really,” he said. “I’m just not going to let it affect the way I play. I’m not going in on Sunday thinking, ‘I don’t want to hit anybody because I don’t want to get another headache.’”
Ah that Torry, he can't stay away from the spotlight, can he? Try and use some good judgment Torry and keep your clothes on.