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Thread: Stills offers something special
Stills offers something special
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Sep. 04 2008
After final cuts were made around the NFL on Saturday, the Rams' brass scoured
the waiver wire in search of a player that could provide, in coach Scott
Linehan's words, "intensity and leadership" to the special teams.
They believe they found him. Gary Stills is sure they found him. "I see myself
as that guy," Stills said Wednesday before his first practice with his new team.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Stills arrived with an impressive résumé: 218
special-teams tackles over nine years, including 44 in 2006 with Baltimore —
just two short of the NFL single-season record set by San Diego's Hank Bauer in
Linehan said Stills provides attitude, energy and "instant credibility."
"We really like our developing special-teams players," he added, "but we wanted
to bring a veteran that's made a name for himself that could influence (them)
in a positive way."
Linehan said Stills would be used on all four special-teams units, starting
Sunday in Philadelphia, where the Rams open the regular season.
A linebacker and defensive end, Stills was drafted by Kansas City in the third
round (No. 75 overall) in 1999 and began to build his reputation as a
special-teams whiz. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2003.
Stills, 34, left the Chiefs after seven years and signed a free-agent deal with
the Ravens. He tacked on 26 special-teams tackles last year, even though he was
double-teamed much of the time.
"You've got to initially try to stop me; most of the time, they don't," he
said. "Eighty percent of the time I'll beat a double-team. I know that's being
cocky, but I'm confident."
The secret is extensive research, Stills stressed, and then applying what
"Some young guys, they just go out there and run around," he said. "I study
everybody. ... When you realize what's going on, you play that to your
It didn't make sense to Brannon Condren. After getting into eight games last
year as a rookie, the safety from Troy (Ala.) University was Indianapolis' No.
2 tackler in the preseason and recorded half of the team's four interceptions.
Still, he was released Saturday.
"It came as a total shock," said Condren, who signed with the Rams on Monday.
"When the guy called to tell me, I asked him, 'Are you kidding?' Because I
didn't believe it."
The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, a fourth-round draft pick by the Colts in 2007, will
provide depth in the secondary and help out on special teams, at least
The Rams' first official injury report of the season was notable for five
players who weren't on it: safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, tight end Anthony Becht,
wide receiver Drew Bennett, wideout/returner Dante Hall and tackle Orlando
Pace. All have recovered enough from their respective injuries to be taken off
Pace, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the 2007 opener, sat out
the last two preseason games after re-injuring the shoulder. But he said he
expects to be in the lineup vs. the Eagles
"I feel really good, probably the best I've felt since last year," he said.
"It's been a long time. I just can't wait to get back on the field."
Included in the report, but participating fully in practice Wednesday, were
cornerback Fakhir Brown (shoulder) and running back Brian Leonard (shoulder).
Center Brett Romberg (hand) was limited, and wide receiver Donnie Avery (knee)
didn't suit up.
As expected, safety Eric Bassey was added to the practice squad after clearing
waivers. ... Linehan indicated that running back Steven Jackson was ready for a
full workload in Philadelphia.
Re: Stills offers something special
i think stills and condren were great pickups for us
Re: Stills offers something special
I am really worried about Avery at this point. When he comes back and goes back out again, we're gonna have to replace him. We can't wait around for him to come. I just hope he gets healthy because I'm really rooting for him this season.
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