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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Vobora Steps Into Starting Role

    Vobora Steps Into Starting Role
    Thursday, September 10, 2009


    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Officially, linebacker David Vobora’s reign as Mr. Irrelevant ended this year when the Kansas City Chiefs selected kicker Ryan Succop with the final pick of the 2009 NFL Draft.

    Vobora probably erased any doubt when he made the start at middle linebacker on Nov. 30 of last season against Miami. But any lingering suspicion was erased Thursday afternoon when Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo named Vobora the team’s starting strong side linebacker for this week’s opener in Seattle.

    “We hope this year in 2009, he’s Mr. Relevant,” defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. “Only time will tell but again he’s done a good job. I am pleased he is getting an opportunity to show what he can do. I’m sure he is too. Hopefully he will just take it and run.”

    Vobora’s promotion comes on the same day the Rams parted ways with incumbent Chris Draft. The Rams released Draft earlier on Thursday morning but the opportunity for Vobora to make his impression has long since been in the making.

    Way back in the organized team activities and minicamps in the spring, Vobora was part of a combination with fellow linebacker Larry Grant working at the strong side position.

    As rookie James Laurinaitis got acclimated with the NFL game and worked with the second team in the middle, Draft worked with the starters and Vobora took turns with Grant on the outside, literally trading days working with the first team.

    While Laurinaitis earned the starting job early in camp, Vobora continued to make a strong impression on the coaches.

    “David has really been doing a heck of a job,” Spagnuolo said. “He had stepped up there; there was a chance that would happen anyway. David will step right in there and hopefully we won’t skip a beat.”

    Upon his arrival as head coach in St. Louis, Spagnuolo had talked about how there were plenty of opportunities for young players to prove themselves.

    And one way to catch the coach’s eye was evident from the very beginning. Any player with the versatility to play multiple positions would be given a long look by the coaching staff.

    “He’s one of those guys and I have said this about a lot of guys with the versatility, he’s played some MIC and he’s been out there playing outside linebacker,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s picked both up pretty good, he’s understanding the system and he’s made plays. So you slide him over there to SAM and hopefully he’ll continue to make plays.”

    Vobora spent most of his time at the University of Idaho playing weak side linebacker but also made starts in the middle. When he arrived in St. Louis last year, Vobora spent his time bouncing among the three positions.

    When injuries struck during the season, Vobora’s role on special teams expanded to his first career start at middle linebacker.

    In that game against the Dolphins, Vobora made 10 tackles and became the first Mr. Irrelevant to start a game since linebacker Marty Moore did it in New England in 1994.

    This preseason, Vobora has worked plenty on the strong side, including a stint with the first group in the third preseason game against Cincinnati, and then jumped into the middle linebacker spot with the backup groups.

    “Coach talks a lot about the next play,” Vobora said. “You take it one step at a time and just focus on this practice, this next game, this next rep. Whether you are the SAM or MIC, I try to focus on separating the two because if you get too locked into one you start to deteriorate with the other. So for me, I just try to take it one step at a time and luckily it led to good things.”

    If you ask anybody about what Vobora brings to the table, the first word that usually comes up is physical.

    At 6’1 and nearly 240 pounds, Vobora can pack a wallop when he hits and isn’t afraid to stick his nose in to make a play.

    In the preseason, he racked up eight tackles and a sack and chipped in with six additional stops on special teams.

    “I think being the SAM backer you have to be physical in this league and that’s what I am going to try to bring on Sunday and continue to make plays when the opportunity comes,” Vobora said.

    Although it’s not his first NFL start in a regular season, there’s no doubting that the opportunity coming Sunday will be a special one for Vobora.

    The University of Idaho, Vobora’s alma mater, will be in Seattle to play the University of Washington on Saturday afternoon. That game will likely be over by the time the Rams touch down in the Pacific Northwest but that doesn’t mean that Vobora won’t get the chance to play in front of some familiar faces.

    “There will be some Vandals in the stands cheering for the Rams,” Vobora said. “There’s a bunch of them that are going to stay and I have got some guys I played with and people from college along with my family will be there.”

    Having some friends and family in the stands will be helpful for Vobora as Seattle’s Qwest Field is a notoriously tough place to play. Of course, one of Vobora’s assignments will be to cover talented Seattle tight end John Carlson, also.

    In the year plus he’s been in the league, though, Vobora has done more than shed the “irrelevant” label. He believes he’s learned plenty of things that have made him a more accomplished player to get him to this point.

    “I see things a lot clearer,” Vobora said. “Being able to play two positions will help me a lot also, understanding how people are trying to attack you. I can definitely say I am a lot better.”


  2. #2
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Vobora Steps Into Starting Role

    From what I can remember, he was good in that Dolphins game and whenever used before that. If he can continue to improve, he should end up being a solid LB for years to come.

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Vobora Steps Into Starting Role

    Let's hope so, Keenum. I'm with you.

    Wouldn't it be just absolutely ... madness ... to go from a so-called 'Mr. Irrelevant' (including his grin and fun oriented ways), to being starter on the 1st game of the season, to ... well, we'll have to wait and see. But I'm proud of Vobora's odd career thus far, albeit a very early one. One thing we know for sure is that he'll be trying his darnest to do a good job.

    Who would have guessed?

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Vobora Steps Into Starting Role

    Was doing a bit more research on DV (Darth Vader?) and found this old news article; old as in over a year ago, during the NFL 2008 draft! But wanted to share the note nevertheless:

    Vobora is a sleeper pick, according to Todd McShay.
    Welcome to The Show! On Monday, NFL prospect and former Idaho LB David Vobora will stop by to chat about the NFL draft and his time with the Vandals.
    Vobora led Idaho in tackles last season with 148, which ranked fifth in the country. He was also third in the country with 12.3 tackles per game. It marked the second straight year that Vobora led the WAC in tackles.

    Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay names Vobora as a potential sleeper pick in the draft.

    According to Vobora's Scouts Inc.'s draft profile, Vobora "didn't miss a game in his Vandals career. He's smart, tenacious and just athletic enough to develop into an effective reserve linebacker who also contributes on special teams. Stays disciplined and rarely gets caught out of position. Has special teams experience and should make immediate contributions in that facet of the game. Team captain during senior season and is a leader on the field."

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