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Thread: Team Report

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    Team Report

    Team Report: Inside Slant

    The Rams weren't a very good tackling team last season, and the secondary was a big culprit. Missed tackles and bad angles contributed too many big plays in the running game. There were 14 runs last season that averaged 39.8 yards.

    As the Rams prepare for their mandatory minicamp June 9-11, the safeties will be totally different from last season.
    Strong safety Adam Archuleta, who was effective blitzing and in the box but struggled tackling in space, left as an unrestricted free agent for Washington. He has been replaced by Corey Chavous.

    After Michael Hawthorne failed last season, converted wide receiver Mike Furrey became the starter. He made some plays in the passing game, leading the team with four interceptions. However, poor angles led to the frequent site of runners getting past him for huge yardage.

    Furrey was not re-signed, and is in Detroit as a receiver again. Meanwhile, the current starter is O.J. Atogwe, a third-round pick in 2005 had some problems early, was bothered by a toe injury, but then showed promise in the last few games of the season.

    He knows, however, that his name on the depth chart as the starter in June doesn't mean much.

    "It's an honor, definitely something I'm proud of," said Atogwe. "But it doesn't stop there. I've still got to prove that I deserve that spot.

    "I'm just going on my second year, so I still have a lot to learn. The more times I get on the field, it's only helping me in my development."

    Atogwe was inactive for four games last season after he made two mistakes on special teams in the season opener against San Francisco. But he says he learned from that.

    "I plan on having a long career," he said, "and you have to take everything with a grain of salt and just fight through the adversity ... keep the faith."

    So far, he has impressed the Rams' new defensive coaching staff.

    "He was a highly rated player (in college)," coach Scott Linehan said. "He's been really working hard in the offseason, preparing for this opportunity, and he hasn't disappointed us. He fits what you're looking for in a safety; he's just green. The only way you're going to solve that problem is to play him."

    ------------------

    Team Report: Notes and Quotes

    --The Rams still have interest in veteran defensive tackles Jason Fisk and Grady Jackson. While it is believed Jackson is considerably overweight, he does have a history with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett when both were in New Orleans.

    After the departures of Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis in free agency, there are questions of depth behind projected starters La'Roi Glover and Jimmy Kennedy. Returning from last season are Brian Howard and Jeremy Calahan. Rookies include third-round pick Claude Wroten and undrafted free agent Tim Sandidge.
    Coach Scott Linehan has high hopes for Wroten, who likely would have been a first-round pick if not for off-the-field issues that surfaced in January.

    "He's got great explosiveness, great get-off, plays with a great amount of energy, and he's hard to block," Linehan said. "That's why we said he was probably one of the top 15 players on film that we saw. ... We're hoping for big things from him."

    --Coaches are anxious to see how the team's rookies perform at the June 9-11 mandatory minicamp that includes veterans.

    Only selected veterans were present at the first post-draft minicamp, although rookies have been working with the veterans during recent OTAs.

    Coach Scott Linehan thought it important to show rookies the temp expected in practice, without most of the veterans present.

    "A lot of these guys were at places that practiced at a high level, but what's different here for them is it's like going from being an eighth grader to a freshman in high school," Linehan said. "You have to start all over and it's the same when you go to college. We talked about that. You have to take the anxiety away from that initial shock to the system.

    "We want to teach them how we want to practice, not as much what we are putting in plays, but how we are going to practice."

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not something that you can work on. Half the time when I do stuff, it's not even planned. It just happens. It's like instinct. I thank God for the ability that he gave me, but I don't know where it comes from." -- WR Marques Hagans on his penchant for making plays.

    -----------

    Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

    FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

    TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: P Bryan Barker; RB Aveion Cason; CB Terry Fair; OG Tom Nutten; TE Roland Williams.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

    EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: CB Dwight Anderson; DT Jeremy Calahan; S Dwaine Carpenter; TE Jerome Collins; DE Clifford Dukes; LB Mike Goolsby.

    PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: WR Isaac Bruce; WR Kevin Curtis; DE Brandon Green; CB DeJuan Groce; LS Chris Massey; WR Shaun McDonald; OG Blaine Saipaia; QB Jeff Smoker; LB Drew Wahlroos.

    PLAYERS ACQUIRED: CB Fakhir Brown; S Corey Chavous; RB Tony Fisher; QB Gus Frerotte; DT La'Roi Glover; WR Brad Pyatt; FB Paul Smith; LB Raonall Smith; OT Todd Steussie; P Matt Turk; LB Will Witherspoon.

    PLAYERS LOST: S Adam Archuleta; LB Chris Claiborne; S Mike Furrey; RB Arlen Harris; CB Corey Ivy; DE Tyoka Jackson; CB Chris Johnson; DT Damione Lewis; LB Jeremy Loyd; TE Brandon Manumaleuna; QB Jamie Martin; OT Matt Morgan; NT Ryan Pickett; OL Rex Tucker.

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    Re: Team Report

    Atogwe will be one of the best FSs in the game! He just needs time to learn.

    If Wroten would have been a 1st round pick, then why on the depth chart he isnt starting? how does drugs effect your game play?

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    Re: Team Report

    Because the coachs want to try out Kennedy! But Book it by the end of week 5 Wroten will be starting and so will Adeyanju.
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    Re: Team Report

    yea i think Adeyanju will start this season too...

    Good find!

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    Re: Team Report

    Strong safety Adam Archuleta, who was effective blitzing and in the box but struggled tackling in space, left as an unrestricted free agent for Washington.
    Apparently he was so bad in coverage that the team report didn't even want to bring it up! LOL


    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan4ever
    Atogwe will be one of the best FSs in the game! He just needs time to learn.
    Please, can we hold back on the homerism and try to have a semblence of realism? We've seen OJ in, what, four games? It's okay to hope he develops, but to claim now that he's going to be one of the best safeties in the game... let's hold off on those kind of comments.


    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan4ever
    If Wroten would have been a 1st round pick, then why on the depth chart he isnt starting?
    Probably because (1) he's a rookie who is not familiar with the speed and pace of the NFL and (2) has two experienced veteran starters in front of him.

    Say what you want about Kennedy, but he has nearly two and a half seasons under his belt, including starting experience. He showed flashes of being quite good early this season, but seems to have been hampered by an injury. Then there's Glover, who is a former Pro Bowl player. It's pretty easy to see why Wroten is not starting, actually.

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    Re: Team Report

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan4ever
    If Wroten would have been a 1st round pick, then why on the depth chart he isnt starting? how does drugs effect your game play?
    Pretend we were talking about doctors instead of football players. You need surgery and you have two choices. One is a kid straight out of med school who had great MCAT scores, good grades, and many of the other things you look for in a doctor, but not too long ago he got pulled over and the cops found some suspicious drugs in the car. The kid says they're for pharmaceutical purposes. The cops say he doesn't even have glaucoma. So people are wondering whether this kid can be depended on with major responsibilities, and he has no medical experience in the real world. The other doctor had all the credentials coming out of school but has since struggled to keep pace in the hospital setting. The senior medical staff has faith in him, and he has already completed his residency and performed a few operations. Which one would you prefer to have in the OR (i.e. starting)?

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