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  1. #1
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Vobora now seen as relevant for Rams

    By Bill Coats

    A year ago at this time, Rams linebacker David Vobora was irrelevant, as in "Mr. Irrelevant," the last player taken in the draft. On the afternoon of April 26, Vobora relinquished that title to former South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, a Kansas City Chiefs selection in the final spot this year.

    Vobora acknowledged experiencing mixed feelings: He's not unhappy to jettison what some might regard as an ignominious label, but he conceded that he "had a blast" during the Irrelevant Week festivities last June in Newport Beach, Calif.

    "And you know what? (The distinction helped) get me here," Vobora said. "So, I'm proud to have been Mr. Irrelevant."

    Vobora and Chris Chamberlain came to town last year under nearly identical circumstances: Both were linebackers, both were seventh-round draft picks (Chamberlain at No. 228 overall, Vobora at No. 252), both were assigned to the same room at the team hotel during spring workouts, and both faced stiff odds of landing roster spots.

    "We definitely got close through that, helping each other learn the defense and sticking together as seventh-rounders," Vobora said this week during organized team activities at Rams Park.

    "It was fun, helping each other study, quizzing each other, asking each other questions," Chamberlain added. "It was pretty special for us both to be able to make the team and contribute last year."

    Chamberlain, a 6-foot-1, 230-pounder from the University of Tulsa, and Vobora, a 6-1, 238-pound Idaho product, no longer room together — Chamberlain married Amy Wilcox, his high school sweetheart from tiny Bethany, Okla., in March. "But I still try to sneak over there and get some dinner at their house — when she's cooking," Vobora quipped.

    And yet their circumstances haven't changed all that much: Both of them are battling to keep the jobs they earned last year.

    "This year, it's a whole new deal. I'm out here fighting for my spot, like everyone else is," Chamberlain said. "Whether it be on special teams or being able to help on defense, I just want to contribute and hopefully earn one of those 53 jobs."

    During the offseason, the Rams lost two linebackers — Pisa Tinoisamoa was released and Gary Stills wasn't re-signed — and gained second-round draft pick James Laurinaitis. They also brought in undrafted rookies Dominic Douglas and K.C. Asiodu.

    Will Witherspoon moves to weakside linebacker, with Laurinaitis expected to take over in the middle, at Witherspoon's former spot. Versatile veteran Chris Draft is penciled in on the strong side, but the Rams like having him available to back up all three positions.

    So the competition for the third starting job "is a wide-open thing," Vobora said. He's in the mix, as is Larry Grant and Quinton Culberson. On Wednesday, Vobora and Grant shared reps with the first unit.

    Vobora, 22, played strictly in the middle last year. He got into eight games, including one start: He collected 10 tackles in a 16-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Vobora finished his rookie season with 24 stops, including nine on special teams.

    "They still want me to know the (middle) spot, and I understand ... I'm going to have to know multiple spots," Vobora said. "But they did kind of move me directly to the (strongside) spot and expect me to fight for that job."

    Chamberlain, 23, has been working with the second unit on the weak side. His value mainly is on special teams, where he led the team with 19 tackles last year. He saw action on defense in eight games, adding two tackles.

    Now, Vobora and Chamberlain are trying to master a new defensive system under new coordinator Ken Flajole.

    "Although we have a new scheme, you're not swimming like you were last year," Vobora explained of making the transition from college to the NFL. "Everything was so fast. Now you know the tempo and you kind of know how offenses are trying to attack you. So it slows down a little bit, and now you're just trying to work on the little things. ...

    "I'm approaching every day like I have to get ready for Sundays."

    Which, both players emphasized, is far preferable to wondering whether they had what it took to make an NFL roster in the first place. "It's been a fun run," Chamberlain said.

  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Vobora now seen as relevant for Rams

    Assuming history holds true this year, there will be 6 LBs with at double digit games. Hmm, what might the corp look like?

    SAM - Draft, Grant, Vobora
    MIKE - Lau, Draft, Vobora
    WILL - Spoon, Chamberlain

    That leaves out Culberson, Douglas, & Asiodi.

    Grant seems to have some momentum right now. If he keeps that rolling forward, the day 1 starters could be Spoon, Lau, Grant. Backups....Chamberlain, Draft, Vobora.

    Interesting. Not exciting, but interesting......and very young.

  3. #3
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Vobora now seen as relevant for Rams

    6 on the main roster probably, but I'd say one of those undrafted rookies will make the practice squad, depending on what happens with other LB's being released around the league. I believe Culberson is now too experienced to be on a PS, so he's out.

  4. #4
    bigtiger737 Guest

    Re: Vobora now seen as relevant for Rams

    I'd love for any of them to become the next james harrison.. just maybe not a complete idiot, Lol his obama deal is just stupid

  5. #5
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Vobora now seen as relevant for Rams

    I really hope these two make it. At least on Special Teams.

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