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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    St. Louis Rams safety Craig Dahl is no bust despite rust

    St. Louis Rams safety Craig Dahl is no bust despite rust
    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/29/2009

    Because the Rams suited up only three safeties Sunday, they found themselves in a precarious situation when James Butler left with an injury on Green Bay's second play of the game.

    Craig Dahl was sent in for Butler. The same Craig Dahl who tore a ligament in his left knee at the end of the 2007 season, missed all of 2008 after tearing a ligament in his right knee in the preseason, and sat out the first two games this year because of a hamstring injury.

    If Dahl came up lame, Oshiomogho Atogwe would be the only safety left, because Anthony Smith and David Roach weren't activated.

    Not only did Dahl finish the game, he wound up as the Rams' leading tackler, with 11. He also was solid in pass coverage in the 36-17 loss.

    "It was nice to know that you could put a guy in there with limited reps," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He made some plays for us."

    Now, with Butler expected to miss at least two weeks with a torn ligament in his left knee, Dahl becomes a starter. "It's a big loss for us," he said, "but I think the guys have confidence in me to step right in and fill his shoes."

    The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Dahl, 24, was an offseason pickup. He originally was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted rookie out of North Dakota State. He was there in '07 and '08 when Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator.

    Before Sunday, Dahl hadn't played in a regular-season game in 21 months.

    INJURY UPDATES

    Butler, quarterback Marc Bulger (shoulder) and wide receiver Laurent Robinson (leg, ankle) suffered the most serious injuries Sunday. Linebacker David Vobora might've sustained the strangest.

    Vobora took a blow to the head on a kickoff return in the third quarter. But he stayed in the game until about midway through the final period.

    His teammates realized something was wrong "when I asked them what my assignment was over and over," Vobora said. "They grabbed the trainers, and (they) started asking me questions."

    Vobora suffered a concussion and will be re-evaluted today. He said Sunday was mostly a blur.

    "The only thing I remember is going out of the tunnel when they turned off all the lights and we had the fog and stuff" before the opening kickoff, he said. "Going home, going out to dinner with some teammates, I don't remember any of that."

    Other injuries mostly were minor: wide receiver Donnie Avery (ribs), cornerback Ron Bartell (thigh), defensive tackle Gary Gibson (leg) and linebacker James Laurinaitis (shoulder).

    STILL HOPE?

    More than 11 months have passed since the Rams were victorious (Oct. 19 vs. Dallas), and they're lugging the NFL's longest current losing streak, 13 games. And yet a win over the ***** would leave the Rams just one game out of first place in the NFC West.

    "I realize we're 0-3, but ... anything and everything that we want to accomplish this year is still in front of us," Spagnuolo said. "It's way early; there's 13 weeks, minimum, left to this season."

    Spagnuolo demurred when asked to specify those goals. "I think you can figure them out," he said. "It's like any other NFL team, what they want to do at the beginning of the season."

    RAM-BLINGS

    Jacksonville signed defensive end Bryan Smith off the Rams' practice squad, adding him to their 53-man roster. The Rams play the Jaguars on Oct. 18. ... Before Monday night's game, running back Steven Jackson was fifth in the NFL in rushing yardage, with 288. At that pace, he would finish the season with a career-high 1,536.

    :ramlogo:

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    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams safety Craig Dahl is no bust despite rust

    So much for an injury free game. Vobora's a beast to play through a quarter of the game with a concussion. I just hope that it's a minor one so that he can suit up next week. We'll need him!

    Dahl certainly was all around the ball in the run game, but I don't know how good he was in the passing game. We gave up a number of long passes that needed safety coverage, but that could be the play call as opposed to Dahl's fault. I do remember one good pass defense that he had that would have been a score if not for him.

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