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  1. #1
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    Two DEs, one spot

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/27/2007


    Defensive ends Trevor Johnson and Eric Moore both are listed as 6 feet 4, 270 pounds. Both were born in February 1981. Coming out of college, both were late-round draft picks by a New York NFL team. And both spent part of the 2006 season with New Orleans.

    But by next week, the similarities end. Only one of them figures to be on the 53-man roster the Rams will take into the regular season. Coach Scott Linehan said Sunday that he plans to keep eight defensive linemen on the final roster, which leaves Johnson and Moore competing for the fourth spot at defensive end.

    "They've had very good camps," Linehan said. "Each of them brings a different element to our defense. ... which makes it even a tougher decision."

    Johnson is more of an every-down end, whereas Moore's greatest asset is his pass-rush ability.


    "Trevor's really a reliable guy," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "You know what you're going to get. He got some good (pass) rushes the other day (against Oakland). He's pretty good in the run game."

    And Moore?

    "Eric's kind of a wild card," Haslett said. "He's never really played defensive end till last year. He was more of a linebacker. ... Eric's got great rush ability. He's a guy that's kind of learning the game on the run — on the running (defense) part of it. There's a lot of upside to him.

    "So it's a good battle. ... Both of them are worthy of playing in the league."

    A seventh-round pick by the Jets in 2004 out of Nebraska, Johnson has played in 26 regular-season and two playoff games in the NFL. After beginning the '06 season with the Jets, Johnson was signed by the Saints on Nov. 26.

    A sixth-round pick by the Giants in '05 out of Florida State, Moore has played in 15 regular-season games in the NFL. He played in four contests for the Saints last October, but by the time Johnson arrived in New Orleans, Moore already had been released and picked up by St. Louis. (Moore played in three games for the Rams in December.)

    This preseason, Moore and Johnson have combined for three of the Rams' 10 sacks. Johnson made his presence felt in the exhibition opener Aug. 10 in Minnesota. On his first play as a Ram, Johnson brought down Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson for a second-quarter sack.

    "Leonard (Little) had been getting a really good pass rush off the edge and making the guy scramble up the middle," Johnson said. "So I kind of knew what might happen. He's a scrambling quarterback."

    Johnson started off rushing around the edge on the play, but when he saw Jackson take off, Johnson came back underneath and dropped him for the sack. In the third quarter of that game, Johnson nearly had an interception on a short pass by Brooks Bollinger, but the ball fell incomplete. "I'd like to have that one back," Johnson said after that game.

    Johnson's play against the Vikings earned Haslett's praise. "He's got a good shot of making our team," Haslett said afterward.

    But Moore got back in the mix at end and may have taken the lead, with a two-sack effort Friday in Oakland. Not only did Moore sack Raiders quarterback Josh McCown late in the third quarter, he forced a fumble that was recovered by Raonall Smith. It was only the second takeaway of the preseason for the St. Louis defense and set up the Rams' only touchdown of the game.

    On the Raiders' next offensive series, with Andrew Walter in at quarterback, Moore dropped him for an 8-yard sack. Moore almost had a sack against Minnesota but whiffed on the attempt.

    "I went over his head," Moore said, laughing. "I'm trying to have a short memory of that."

    As for his future with the Rams, Moore is taking nothing for granted. When asked if he has done enough to make the final roster, Moore replied. "No. There's always room for improvement, so you can't say that you did enough. I've got to continue to play hard and make plays."

    Johnson, who once had Adam Carriker backing him up in college, doesn't want to crunch roster numbers at defensive end. "I'm not a big person to look into all that," he said. "As long as I'm dealing with the things I can control, going out and playing hard, and trying to get better every day, then things will work out the way they should. Either way, this is a great opportunity."


  2. #2
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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    I like the way both of these guys have been playing, but right now i'm favoring Moore. It's good to see that we should have a least a little depth at the back up DE spot, besides Victor.

  3. #3
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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    I like Moore he could be that third down pass rusher we are looking for at 6 feet 4, 270 lbs.

    Lets see what Thursday brings.
    Last edited by Rambos; -08-27-2007 at 01:15 PM.

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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    I like Moore when the Rams are up big in games they will need to sack the QB and Moore has shown the ability to do just that. Victor Adejunye is a good run stuffer, which makes him very similar to Johnson.

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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    I think eric moore has better big play potential. he went to Michigan by the way.

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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    Another 'good' problem to have in our midst. :bash:

    It looks like a very close race right now for that DE spot. My preference, though not justified really, is Johnson.

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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    wait folks didnt the rams sign james hall? why would we waste money if hes not gonna even start?

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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Macrosenberg View Post
    Wait folks, didn't the rams sign James Hall? Why would we waste money if he's not gonna even start?
    Ros, I think the plan is to have / play four DEs: Adeyanju, Hall, Little and either Johnson or Moore.

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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    ahh ok gotcha. so glover isnt even in the mix? and what about carriker?

  10. #10
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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    Carriker will be starting at nose tackle. Glover will probably be starting at the other tackle position but sharing time with Claude Wroten.

  11. #11
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    Re: Two DEs, one spot

    Glover and Carriker both are most definitely in the mix but they have their own 'department', i.e., DT, along with Wroten and most likely Clifton Ryan.

    I was hoping we could have kept 5 DEs (VA, JH, Trevor Johnson, LL, and Eric Moore). It seems however, that that spot will be reserved for another position in the 2007 roster.


    PS: In a dire emergency at DE, I suppose the Rams defense could move AC to his previously natural DE post and hire either a DT filler ... or a DE to allow Adam back to DT.

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