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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    St. Louis Rams Mark Setterstrom willing to do whatever's necessary to earn spot

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/21/2009

    Felled twice by major knee injuries, Rams offensive lineman Mark Setterstrom has established modest goals for the 2009 season.

    "I just want to contribute in whatever fashion that is. I just want to help this team to be a better team. I just want to be a part of the team," he said.

    Setterstrom's No. 1 priority is staying healthy. Nearly two years have passed since his improbable rise into a starting role was scuttled by a double-dose of bad luck.

    Setterstrom, a 6-foot-4, 314-pounder from the University of Minnesota, was a seventh-round draft pick in 2006. He was among the inactives for the first nine games of his rookie season, finally suiting up for the 10th in a reserve role.

    As injuries ripped through the line, Setterstrom found himself starting at left guard the following week. He remained there for the rest of the year, then re-earned the job heading into the '07 season.

    In Week 3, while blocking on a field-goal attempt, Setterstrom tore a ligament and suffered cartilage damage in his left knee. He had surgery and was placed on injured reserve.

    After months of tedious and painful rehab, Setterstrom arrived at training camp last summer as the first-team right guard. But in the second preseason game, vs. San Diego, he fractured his right kneecap. Again, his season was over.

    And again, he faced a scalpel and more rehab. Still, Setterstrom insisted that he never was tempted to ask, "Why me?"

    "I just move on, and that's the truth. You can't be looking back; you've got to look forward," he said during a break in organized team activities this week at Rams Park. "If I'm sitting here feeling sorry myself, then I probably wouldn't be on this roster. I'm just glad to have another opportunity."

    As Setterstrom toiled to get his knee back into shape, the structure of the Rams was changing shape. In addition to major shifts in front-office personnel, new head coach Steve Spagnuolo arrived with a mostly new staff.

    In early April, with the first of three minicamps approaching, Setterstrom went to Spagnuolo.

    "He told me he was uncertain about his knee," Spagnuolo said. "What he was concerned about was, a new staff, I'm not a hundred percent, I'm not going to impress."

    But after Setterstrom turned in a full workload, Spagnuolo was plenty impressed. "He fought through it," Spagnuolo said. "Now, it's all smoothing out a bit."

    The Rams are set at guard, with Jacob Bell and Richie Incognito. Setterstrom, 25, is trying to nail down a spot as a multipurpose backup. He's spent the offseason at center, a position he has never played.

    "I think it's a good opportunity to grow in my skill set," he said. "We have a pretty talented offensive line, so I've got to be able to do a lot of things."

    With teams limited to 45 active players on game days, "the guy that backs up the guards should really be a center/guard, and the (backup) tackle should play guard and tackle," Spagnuolo said. "So, it would be a luxury for us if Mark can handle this."

    The Rams brought in free agent Jason Brown to be their starting center. When they chose not to re-sign the two players who manned that spot last season Nick Leckey and Brett Romberg they needed a No. 2 center.

    Offensive line coaches Steve Loney and Art Valero "perused the depth chart and felt like (Setterstrom) had enough versatility that, let's see if he can do it," Spagnuolo said.

    Confronted with that challenge and realizing that it was his best chance to stick with the club Setterstrom sought out Brown, a five-year veteran.

    "Jason and I have really hit it off and have a start to a great friendship," Setterstrom said. "He's a very talented player and also a very heady player. He really takes the time to study. We go back and forth a lot and try to pick each other's brain."

    In a way, it's like being a rookie all over again, he pointed out. "I'm just trying to have that attitude where, I need to learn, I need to get better, I need to do whatever I need to do to make this team," Setterstrom said. "At the same time, I feel like I bring some experience, especially in the mental part of the game. I feel like I have a much better grasp on that than I did a few years ago."

    Physically, "I'm feeling good; the knee's coming along real well," he reported. "I'm just happy to be back out here again."

    I've always liked Mark .. I took notice of him perhaps a little more than one wouild of a 7th rd pick after I read an article in which his head coach in college stated that of all the players on his team, if he had to go down a dark alley in a bad part of town, Mark was the guy he'd most want with him .. When Setterstrom was healthy he seemed to have a knack for turning his man sideways on running plays and sealing him off. I've never really keyed in on him in passing siituations though and can't really comment on that aspect of his game. I really hope he can cut it as a backup center, and make the team ...


  2. #2
    shower beers's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Mark Setterstrom willing to do whatever's necessary to earn spot

    Good article. This is the kind of player I think our team needs.

  3. #3
    chucknbob is offline Registered User
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Mark Setterstrom willing to do whatever's necessary to earn spot

    I agree. It's amazing how much a guy with a good team attitude can contribute while sitting on the sidelines.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams Mark Setterstrom willing to do whatever's necessary to earn spot

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    The Rams are set at guard, with Jacob Bell and Richie Incognito..
    Disappointed if that's true.

    I'd have hoped that there'd be heated competition for the starting guard spots between Bell, Cogs, Setterstrom, Greco and Schuening. Let's hope that the fight for the starting berths causes all of them to raise their game.

  5. #5
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Mark Setterstrom willing to do whatever's necessary to earn spot

    Quote Originally Posted by DistantRam View Post
    Disappointed if that's true.

    I'd have hoped that there'd be heated competition for the starting guard spots between Bell, Cogs, Setterstrom, Greco and Schuening. Let's hope that the fight for the starting berths causes all of them to raise their game.

    There will be competition and plenty of it .. you can bet on it. Bill Coats may believe otherwise, but I doubt it. He is projecting what from his perspective appears likely, and that is that Bell and Incognito are the incumbent starters. However, if they don't play as well as say Greco or Setterstorm, (or Ray Feinga, Roger Allen, or whoever), they will not be starters period. Perhaps the most powerful message an incoming coach can send to the entire team, is that no matter who you are or how much you make, you either cut the mustard or ride pine. This more than anything will build real trust between players and the coach. Gone are Ziggy and Shaw who apparently could interfere in this area. Billy and Spags are dreaming the same dream, and woe be to the player that fails to realize this. The release of Holt, Tinoisamoa, and Pace fired a big shot over the bow of the players' ship, and I'd imagine everyone got the message. No favoriites period !! If favorites exist and the other players know this, it will affect their attitude and level of intensity. What's the point of killing yourself if there's no chance for you in the first place?

    I really believe we'll field a team with a different attitude in 2009. The starters will be the guys who have earned their starting jobs though good old fashioned hard work and effort. No plays off, no stupid mental lapses, no smarting off to coaches; none of that crap. Play tough, and play smart, be consistent, and know you'll be held accountable regardless of star status and or salary.

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Mark Setterstrom willing to do whatever's necessary to earn spot

    Best wishes to Setterstrom in his contribution to the Rams OL. May he remain, first and foremost, healthy, strong.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams Mark Setterstrom willing to do whatever's necessary to earn spot

    I hope Mark can stay healthy and that he can learn the center postion because if he cant I don't see him making the team. I think some of the free agents the Rams picked up like Roger Allen III and Ray Feinga @ guard plus center Daniel Sanders will push Mark and Roy Schuening to the point where maybe neither will make the team.

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