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    Incognito Making Impression
    Friday, June 9, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    It’s been almost three years since Richie Incognito has been able to strap on the pads and helmet and step onto a football field. But, like any other activity requiring muscle memory, it still comes natural to the Rams’ young offensive lineman.

    “For me, it’s just like getting back on a bike,” Incognito said. “It’s just so much fun being out here with the guys. When you are on IR it’s a tough deal. You are kind of like an outsider, you feel like you are on the outside looking in just sitting on the sidelines trying to get a feel for everything.”

    As the Rams opened their third and final minicamp Friday afternoon, Incognito couldn’t help but feel like he was no longer on the outside looking in. In fact, for the better part of the past few weeks Incognito has been on the inside in more ways than one.

    With returning starter Claude Terrell struggling with a wrist injury and some conditioning issues, Incognito has surged to the forefront on the interior and has spent all of the organized team activities and the first day of the final minicamp working with the first-team at left guard.

    While there is plenty of time for the competition at guard and any other position to flesh itself out before the start of the season, Incognito has made all the right moves to take an early lead in the race.

    Incognito reported to the beginning of offseason workouts in excellent shape at just under 300 pounds and has continued to work to get back into shape after suffering a knee injury near last April’s NFL Draft. There was one slight setback since his return, though as Incognito cracked a bone in his hand during organized team activities.

    “He had a great minicamp when we had the rookies and first year players and he played center,” coach Scott Linehan said. “I wasn’t sure how that would go for him, he hadn’t done it for a while then he had a great camp. He was able to take snaps today and he played some guard. He was a little rusty, but he had a better outing this afternoon. He’s another of those guys that has had a great offseason.”

    Now, things are full speed ahead for the first time since Incognito’s Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated Michigan State in the 2003 Alamo Bowl.

    “It’s something I missed a lot,” Incognito said. “The second go around is kind of the second chance. It’s amazing. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be between those lines and playing well.”

    Incognito’s return to the field has been three years in the making after a series of setbacks, including the right knee injury which cost him his rookie season with the Rams. That injury scared off some teams on draft day, but the Rams grabbed him based on his immense potential and fiery football persona.

    After rehabilitating in Arizona, Incognito signed with the Rams on Sept. 29 of last year and was placed on the injured reserve/non-football injury list. On Oct. 20, he participated in his only practice as a Ram. He was officially placed in injured reserve in November.

    Now, those days appear to be well behind Incognito, who reports no pain or discomfort in his knee. Things have gone so well that Incognito could have a legitimate shot at earning a starting position next to left tackle Orlando Pace and center Andy McCollum.

    “I’m working hard, learning the plays, trying not to make too many mistakes,” Incognito said. “I’m just going to do my thing, work hard and we’ll see when training camp comes around.”

    Since his arrival in St. Louis, Incognito’s position has been in nearly constant question. He worked at right guard in place of an injured Adam Timmerman during the team’s first minicamp and spent time almost exclusively at center during the rookie minicamp.

    During his college career, Incognito never played a game anywhere but left tackle. And though he doesn’t have a preference on what position he plays, he is quickly growing fond of left guard.

    “I have bounced around, right guard, center, left guard,” Incognito said. “I think I am definitely going to stay somewhere on the interior of the line. I definitely like playing left guard next to Big O. Big O is great. He makes my job a lot easier. But wherever I can fit in and help.”

    Incognito is still working to get adjusted to the new offensive scheme as well as the move inside to guard, where he often leans on the likes of Timmerman and Todd Steussie to help him understand the difference between tackle and guard.

    So far, that adjustment comes down to fundamentals that center on hand placement and footwork. For someone used to working in space, Incognito is working hard to get accustomed to his new, tight quarters.

    “Guard is a lot different,” Incognito said. “Tackle you are more like a basketball player trying to get your feet in front of people. At guard you are in there with real tight footwork. Mainly the footwork and the hand placement are a lot different, you have to be nice and low and tight. Tackle is more like a basketball game.”

    As for the knee, Incognito has been cleared to resume playing at full speed. He is still wearing a supportive brace around his knee, though he says he has worn one for most of his career and thinks it can serve him well in a protective sense.

    Incognito willingly acknowledges that it’s too early to get too excited about his advanced role, but there is one thing he hasn’t experienced yet that he can’t wait for.

    “I’m 100 percent,” Incognito said. “I’m just waiting for the pads to come on. That’s the equalizer. The D line has the advantage right now; we don’t have a surface to work on. When we get those big shoulder pads on we get to bang around a bit and they get to bang on us a bit.”

    For now, though, Incognito is just happy to be back on the field.

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Incognito hopes to cash in on opportunity
    by RamWraith
    Posted on Sun, Jun. 11, 2006

    He's playing left guard with first string
    ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Richie Incognito doesn't feel rusty even though it has been almost 2 1/2 years since he played in a football game.

    Incognito, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve as he recovered from surgery on his knee cap, was working at left guard with the Rams' starting offensive line Friday during the first day of the team's three-day mandatory minicamp.

    "To me, it's like getting back on a bike," Incognito said. "It's just so much fun being out here with the guys. When you're on IR, you feel like you're an outsider. You feel like you are an outsider looking in.

    "You're standing on the sidelines trying to get a feel for everything. Now I'm in the locker room and the weight room with the guys. It's just great being a football player again."

    Incognito's last game was Nebraska's 17-3 victory over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28, 2003.

    Incognito was kicked off the Nebraska squad before his junior season in 2004. He tried to enroll at Oregon, but he was dismissed in less than a week for violating team rules.

    The Rams took Incognito with the second of two third-round picks in the 2005 NFL draft, knowing he might miss most of the 2005 season after blowing out his knee during his pro day workout.

    Incognito said he hasn't been limited physically in any way over the last couple of months, which included taking part in the team's conditioning program and then light practices called organized team activities.

    "I'm 100 percent," Incognito said. "I'm just waiting for pads to come on. That's the equalizer. The defensive linemen, they have the advantage right now because we don't have any surface to work on them.

    "When we get those big shoulder pads on, we get to bang around a little bit."

    Incognito is wearing braces on both legs during the minicamp. He said he has worn the braces for protection throughout his career.

    "I have played with them my whole career," Incognito said. "I do like them. I played with them in high school and I played with them in college.

    "They are not real restrictive for me because I am kind of used to them. They are career savers. I know a lot of guys who really depend on these things."

    Incognito is lining up at left guard next to Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace despite Claude Terrell, who started 10 games at left guard last season, being healthy enough to practice after offseason wrist surgery.

    "I definitely like left guard, playing next to Big O," Incognito said. "Big O is great. He makes my job a lot easier. Wherever I can fit in and help."
    -06-11-2006, 10:22 AM
  • .ramfan.
    Incognito Recovering Well
    by .ramfan.
    Incognito Recovering Well
    Monday, March 20, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    It has been almost three years since Richie Incognito last played in a football game. On Monday, he took an important step toward getting back on the field when he showed up for the beginning of the Rams’ offseason conditioning program.

    Although the program is “voluntary” it is well known that participation is strongly encouraged. But Incognito didn’t need much in the way of prodding. His long absence from the field, an absence caused by disciplinary problems and injuries, is coming close to an end.

    “The knee is feeling strong, the leg is feeling strong,” Incognito said. “Everything is feeling good. I am getting real close to 100 percent. I am moving around. My main focus when I was down in Arizona training was just to get strong again and gain strength so when I start moving around and getting closer back to 100 percent.”

    It’s no wonder that Incognito is getting antsy to put the pads on, get on the field and participate in actual contact drills. Since his final appearance in college way back in 2003, Incognito has had nothing but obstacles keeping him from getting to the field.

    After attempting to transfer from Nebraska to Oregon and being unable to fulfill that desire, Incognito ended up declaring for the NFL Draft after sitting out his junior year.

    Incognito appeared back on the right track with an impressive workout at the NFL combine, but suffered a serious injury to his right knee just before the draft. That injury on top of the questions about his off the field incidents led to Incognito’s slipping to the third round.

    The Rams scooped him up with the 81st pick in the draft and stashed him on the roster while holding out hope that he might be able to make it back to the game at some point during the season.

    Incognito spent most of his time working out near his home in Arizona in an effort to rehabilitate and get on the field. Of course, none of it mattered until he signed a contract with the Rams.

    A lengthy contract stalemate finally ended on Sept. 29, when Incognito agreed to a contract with the team. He was put on the injured reserve/non-football injury list soon after signing. That move allowed him additional time to recover and still hold out hopes of contributing without having to eat up a roster spot.

    Finally, on Oct. 20, Incognito put on the pads and participated in practice. But Incognito pushed a little too far on that day, including a small scuffle with Tyoka Jackson. It was the first and last time he practiced during the season. He was placed on injured reserve in November, ending his season.

    The inability to be on the field has been difficult for Incognito while he rehabs.

    “It’s hard coming in, especially in your rookie...
    -03-20-2006, 03:51 PM
  • RamWraith
    Incognito plays with an old-school mentality
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    The very thing that got Rams center Richie Incognito in trouble two weeks ago in Seattle is part of the reason he could develop into a top-flight NFL guard, coach Scott Linehan surmised.

    "I don't know if it's the mentality, temperament or whatever," Linehan said. "He's a throwback of what guards were. He's a big, physical player, and likes to use that as an edge. As a center ... you've got to temper that."

    The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Incognito likes to mix it up in the trenches. He should endear himself to fans of the erstwhile St. Louis football Cardinals who maintain fond memories of another hell-bent-for-leather guard, Conrad Dobler.

    Like Incognito, Dobler was more a brawler than a technician. Legend has it that gouging, biting, yanking and poking all were part of his repertoire.

    Not that Incognito resorts to such tactics. Still, he's not averse to bending the rules just a hair. On Nov. 12, he got caught.

    Running back Steven Jackson had just bulled into the end zone on a 14-yard run, putting the Rams up 22-21 with 2˝ minutes remaining. In the scrum that developed near the goal line, Seattle cornerback Kelly Jennings ripped off Jackson's helmet, and Incognito retaliated.

    Incognito was hit with a 15-yard personal foul that forced Jeff Wilkins to kick off from the 15-yard line. Seattle took possession on the Rams 49 and eight plays later prevailed 24-22 on Josh Brown's 38-yard field goal with 9 seconds left.

    Incognito was fined $5,000 by the league and upbraided by Linehan.

    Anger management

    Controlling his temper long has been a challenge for Incognito, 23. "It's not a real anger thing; it's a passion thing," he said after the Rams selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft. "I care a lot about the game. ... I play with fire, and I play to win."

    His collegiate career, which began when he was the first freshman offensive lineman to start an opener for Nebraska, was short-circuited when he was booted from the program after his sophomore season.

    Charged initially with three counts of assault stemming from a fight at a party, Incognito was found guilty of one misdemeanor charge and fined $500. He already had been suspended by former 'Huskers coach Frank Solich for a variety of indiscretions, including ejection from a game for fighting.

    Incognito spent 2004 at home in Glendale, Ariz., preparing for the NFL combine the following February. He was confident his disciplinary problems hadn't damaged his stock. "I always knew I was good enough to at least get a shot," he said. "That's all I was looking for, a shot."

    But Incognito was derailed again when he suffered a broken kneecap in his workout. The...
    -11-26-2006, 06:13 AM
  • RamsFan16
    Ex-Husker Incognito healthy, ready to compete for playing time with Rams
    by RamsFan16
    Ex-Husker Incognito healthy, ready to compete for playing time with Rams
    AP Sports Writer

    ST. LOUIS — Two years with zero game action is a hurdle the St. Louis Rams apparently believe Richie Incognito can clear.

    The offensive lineman last played in the 2003 Alamo Bowl at Nebraska before disciplinary woes ended his college career, and he came to the NFL with a serious knee injury that knocked out his rookie season last year. But as the team began its final minicamp on Friday, he was running with the first team at left guard.

    Incognito moved ahead of last year's rookie starter, Claude Terrell, during OTAs or organized team activities held between minicamps. Mike Martz, who drafted him last year, said Incognito would have been a first-round pick instead of a third-rounder without the injury sustained just before the draft.

    "I'm working hard, learning the plays, trying not to make too many mistakes," Incognito said. "Trying to make no mistakes.

    "I'm just going to do my thing and work hard and we'll see when training camp comes around."

    Incognito is making his move while Terrell, a fourth-round pick last year, recuperates from surgery on his right wrist.

    Just being back on the field is almost enough for now for the 300-pound Incognito, an all-Big 12 selection as a sophomore in '03. He was suspended for repeated violations of team rules before the 2004 season, and subsequently dismissed at Oregon later that year after attempting to transfer.

    Last year was all rehab. The Rams placed him on injured reserve in November.

    "It's just great being a football player again," Incognito said. "When you're on IR it's a tough deal, you're kind of like an outsider.

    "Now I'm in the locker room and the weight room with the guys and it's just a great feeling."

    Incognito played only left tackle in college, although he filled in some at center during spring practice. He also was with the first team at right guard during an earlier minicamp that Adam Timmerman missed while recuperating from offseason injuries.

    "He's been great," coach Scott Linehan said. "He's another one of those guys that's had a great offseason in the weight room."
    Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    -06-09-2006, 10:39 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams like what Incognito offers
    by RamWraith
    Second-year player could settle in as starting right guard

    ST. LOUIS - Left guard Richie Incognito takes pride in the physical presence that he brings to the St. Louis Rams' offensive line.

    "How much do I like collisions?" Incognito said. "It depends what kind of collision, whether you are lighting somebody up or you are taking it. It's a part of the game that I really like."

    The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Incognito has his own definition of lighting somebody up.

    "That's when you catch one of those linebackers not looking or catch somebody running the wrong way," Incognito said. "That's just a kill shot."

    Rams first-year coach Scott Linehan was pleased with how Incognito and the rest of the Rams' starting offensive line performed in a 19-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.

    The Rams rushed for 202 yards in the game and set the tone for the ground game with a 16-yard burst by Steven Jackson on their first play from scrimmage.

    "I think we established a real physical style of play up front as a unit," Linehan said. "On the he first play, Richie had maybe one of the best blocks of the game. He just came off the ball and created a huge hole, and (fullback) Paul Smith got the linebacker. We busted off a 16-yard run on the first play, which was nice."

    Incognito is currently the front-runner for the starting job at left guard, even though he hadn't played in an actual game for almost 2 1/2 years before Thursday night.

    "That was great," Incognito said. "Just high tempo, bodies flying around everywhere. The speed of the game is definitely a lot different than college."

    Incognito said he was glad to see a running play to his side on the Rams' script of plays for their first series.

    "That's how I set my tempo," Incognito said. "I go out and try to lay the wood on the first play, and set the tempo and say, 'That's how it's going to be all day long."'

    Incognito fought through practice Sunday despite an upper respiratory infection that has made breathing difficult. He left practice briefly, but returned to finish out the last hour of work, including post-practice wind sprints.

    "I've got something going on where I can't breath, I'm all clogged up," Incognito said. "It's no cakewalk out there. I can't get any air. Today, I couldn't breath, so I started overheating, and then my legs went on me right away."

    The Rams took a gamble on Incognito with the second of their two third-round picks in the 2005 NFL draft.

    Incognito was coming off knee surgery and he had a string of off-the-field problems that led to his dismissal from both the University of Nebraska and the University of Oregon...
    -08-14-2006, 05:16 AM