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  1. #1
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    Smoker wants to compete for the No. 2 QB job

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    01/19/2005

    After a season spent watching and learning, Jeff Smoker wants to compete for the Rams' No. 2 quarterback job in 2005.

    "I'm going to give it a shot," Smoker said. "I feel like I learned a lot this year. I'm going to keep trying to improve my skills in the offseason. I'm going to work hard at it, because I don't really like to sit on the bench. This is the first time I had to do it, and I don't really enjoy it. So I'm going to work hard at getting that No. 2 spot if I can."

    Of course, being the top backup guarantees nothing in terms of playing time. Then again, the Rams had to do without starter Marc Bulger for 2 3/4 games in December after he suffered a bruised throwing shoulder.

    Smoker threw 42 passes in preseason play, or six more than Bulger. But once the regular season started, Smoker was relegated to No. 3 status and never appeared in a game.

    Now that his rookie season's over, Smoker plans to take a couple of weeks off, and then return to St. Louis to work out, study the playbook and begin preparing for next season.

    At the moment, the No. 2 job appears up for grabs. Chris Chandler isn't expected back, and Jamie Martin's contract is up.


    Torry's take


    Wide receiver Torry Holt believes most of the pieces are in place for the Rams' offense to regain its place among the league's elite in 2005.

    "If we continue to patch up our O-line - getting guys healthy is the main thing up front," Holt said. "With the receivers we've got coming back and with Steven (Jackson). ... I think we have an offense that can put up some good numbers, can be effective, and can help this ballclub win games."

    As for any concerns about defense and special teams, Holt said, "I'm going to let the people upstairs handle that. I'm going to let the coaches handle that. It's obvious that we have to improve in those areas."


    Anderson's year


    Dwight Anderson displayed speed, athletic ability and enthusiasm, but he also made a lot of mistakes in his rookie season. Which explains why he was a pregame inactive for four of the Rams' final seven regular-season games, as well as both postseason contests.

    "It was disappointing, but it's a learning curve, too," Anderson said. "I got a chance to really be out there and really see it. Now I kind of understand what (the NFL) is like."

    Anderson, a native of Jamaica, made the Rams roster as an undrafted cornerback from South Dakota. Even with that missed time in the regular season, Anderson finished tied for fifth in special teams tackles with 10.

    He saw spot duty on defense in a few early-season games, and returned kickoffs against Miami on Oct. 24. Rams coaches see promise in Anderson, but want him to cut down on mistakes.

    "Talking to the coaches, that's basically all they tell me," Anderson said. "Certain things I need to cut out. So I kind of know and I kind of see the little things that I need to do."


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Smoker wants to compete for the No. 2 QB job

    I'm rooting for Smoker. I think the kid will be a solid #2, and a future starter. I believe he's the backup in '05.
    Of course, being the top backup guarantees nothing in terms of playing time.
    I disagree. In this offense, it could lead to a starting role in a couple of years. That's how Bulger got there. He also started as a #3.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Smoker wants to compete for the No. 2 QB job

    "I'm going to work hard at it, because I don't really like to sit on the bench. This is the first time I had to do it, and I don't really enjoy it."
    Hopefully you'll get used to it - meaning, hopefully we don't have to watch Bulger get injured any time soon.


    "If we continue to patch up our O-line - getting guys healthy is the main thing up front," Holt said. "With the receivers we've got coming back and with Steven (Jackson). ... I think we have an offense that can put up some good numbers, can be effective, and can help this ballclub win games."
    It's interesting that Holt refers to Jackson here and not Faulk. I'm not sure exactly what it means, if anything, but I just thought it was interesting.

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    Re: Smoker wants to compete for the No. 2 QB job

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    Hopefully you'll get used to it - meaning, hopefully we don't have to watch Bulger get injured any time soon.




    It's interesting that Holt refers to Jackson here and not Faulk. I'm not sure exactly what it means, if anything, but I just thought it was interesting.
    Nick, it may mean more than we know. I'd say that little sparks of insight from players mean more than an entire novel from sports reporters and their shot-gun attempts at speculation disguised as inner knowledge.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Smoker wants to compete for the No. 2 QB job

    I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Marshall somewhere else in 2005. I was actually a tiny, little bit surprised to see him this year. As angry and frustrated as he's seemed to become, acting out his frustrations with animated displays of disgust during games, dealing with the constant soap opera surrounding Martz, going from league MVP to barely getting a sniff at the ball and the artificial turf of the EJ Dome, I think Marshall would like to squeeze out one or two more productive years before he retires. I think he knows that that won't happen with the Rams. 2002 and 2003 illustrated what kind of years he will have regardless of Steven Jackson taking some carries away.

    Marshall as trade bait? Kurt Warner looking for a job? The Rams' apparent linkage to Arizona and it's players? Cardinals gimmick to sell tickets? It probably won't happen, but man, IF it did...that would sure be something to talk about!

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