No announcement yet.

'Big Grease' slides into role of leader

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 'Big Grease' slides into role of leader

    By Kathleen Nelson
    Sunday, Oct. 08 2006
    Last winter, defensive tackle Ryan Pickett might have expected to be playing
    Sunday in Green Bay. He didn't expect to be playing for the Packers.
    After five seasons with the Rams, Pickett's career was on the upswing. He had
    made steady progress under the tough love of defensive line coach Bill Kollar
    after being selected in the first round of the 2001 draft. He led the NFL's
    interior lineman in tackles last season with 115, and the Rams had begun
    negotiations on a new contract. But the Rams' interest waned March 7 when they
    signed tackle La'Roi Glover.
    "That did make the decision for us as far as where we prioritized signing
    another free-agent tackle," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "Ryan did a nice
    job, was real open to possibly coming back. The business is that way."
    Pickett acknowledged he was upset that the Rams stopped negotiating but moved
    to other options.
    "I thought I would end my career in St. Louis," he said. "I really loved it
    there, the people there. I had all my friends there. When they backed out, I
    was like, 'Man. I've been playing all these years and they backed out.'"
    Pickett drew interest from the Bengals, Packers and Bills, where he would have
    been reunited with the boisterous Kollar. But after meeting with Packers coach
    Mike McCarthy and position coach Robert Nunn, he decided Green Bay was a good
    fit and canceled his visit to Cincinnati.
    "The Packers wanted to let me play -- so I wouldn't be a nose guard all the
    time and taking on the double team," Pickett said. "I could go with Kollar
    again, but I thought it was time for something different. I thank God I had
    Kollar my first couple years to run me in the dirt and yell. I know what it's
    like. It's built in me now to go to the ball."
    The atmosphere and expectations in Green Bay versus St. Louis, Pickett said,
    are "like night and day. My coach now, you can't get him to yell or cuss or
    anything. It's a big difference. I'm playing basically the left side. However
    the offense lines up dictates where I line up.
    "I'm kind of like the leader. Man, the whole D-line is young. I'm like the
    oldest interior lineman. I have to watch what I say and do around them, and
    they follow what I do."
    Pickett and his family settled in quickly. He reported that his wife, Jennifer,
    bought a couple of cheeseheads right away and that fans recognize him at
    restaurants. He also has made himself at home on the field, with 15 tackles.
    "We're very happy with Ryan," McCarthy said. "He's our most consistent player
    up front. He's done a very nice job. He's come around and fit in our scheme.
    He's done a very good job against both the run and the pass. We're very pleased
    to have him here."
    A couple of things would make Pickett's transition complete. First, the name:
    Since childhood, Pickett has been known as "Grease," or "Big Grease," but the
    Packers have been slow to catch on. Note, for example, the use of "Ryan" by
    "It's starting to pick up a little bit," Pickett said. "They call me Ryan, but
    I don't answer to that. I'd rather everybody call me 'Grease.'"
    Now, about that weather: Pickett is a native of Zephyrhills, Fla., and had
    trouble adjusting to the climate when he played at Ohio State. Though he has
    yet to experience the tundra-like conditions of winter in Wisconsin, he already
    dreads it.
    "I don't know how I'm ever going to get used to it; it's cold now," Pickett
    said Wednesday, when reported that the temperature in Green Bay was
    His biggest challenge may be facing old friends for the first time. Pickett
    estimated that he had lined up against Rams guard Adam Timmerman "hundreds of
    times" in practice, and he said he had stayed in touch with defensive tackle
    Jimmy Kennedy.
    "It's going to be weird, man," Pickett said. "I grew close to all of them and
    miss them. At the same time, I want to go out there and do my best against
    them, ... but it will be a little weird."

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics


  • Nick
    Pickett gives up glory in new scheme
    by Nick
    Pickett gives up glory in new scheme
    In 3-4, his job is to occupy blockers, not make plays
    By Rob Demovsky
    September 1, 2009

    Last season, Ryan Pickett’s job description was simple — stuff running backs for as little gain as possible.

    He did just that, finishing fifth on the Green Bay Packers — and second among the team’s defensive linemen — in tackles with 81 despite rarely playing on passing downs.

    The switch to the 3-4 defense forced Pickett to move to from defensive tackle to nose tackle, a position foreign to him during his entire football life. Despite playing the equivalent of about five quarters of football in the first three preseason games combined, the ninth-year veteran hasn’t recorded a tackle. His name doesn’t appear anywhere on the preseason stat sheet.

    Nevertheless, the Packers’ coaches aren’t sounding the alarm bells.

    A couple of factors go into Pickett’s relative anonymity so far:

    ♦ He hasn’t played as many snaps as expected because the Packers have used so much of their nickel package, in which an extra defensive back subs in for Pickett.

    ♦ He’s still adjusting to the new defense, in which his responsibilities are completely different.

    In most calls, he’s responsible for clogging the “A” gaps — the spaces between the center and the guards — and taking on the center in order to keep the interior linemen off of the linebackers. In other words, he’s there to occupy blockers and take up space so that other guys can make plays. In other, less frequent calls, he has the freedom to fire off the snap and attack the ball carrier.

    That said, Pickett hasn’t immediately turned into Pittsburgh’s Casey Hampton or New England’s Vince Wilfork, two of the preeminent 3-4 nose tackles in the NFL. But the 29-year-old is slowly beginning to embrace his new role, even if it’s one that’s likely to take him out of a play-making position.

    “There ain’t going to be much busting up the field and making plays for me in this defense,” Pickett said. “There’s a couple of calls they give us, but for the most part, that’s it. It’s different — a lot different than what I’m used to — but I think I’m adjusting to it and getting the hang of it.”

    But does he like it?

    “Part of you misses just getting to blow off the ball,” Pickett said. “Sometimes we get a couple of calls where we do, and you’re just excited to get them. So you look forward to those calls.”

    They won’t happen very often. The main job of a 3-4 nose is to occupy double teams, eat up blockers and let the free-flowing linebackers make the plays and get the glory. Pickett, one of the underrated team players in the Packers’ locker room, says he doesn’t have a big problem with that.

    However, learning the new techniques this defense requires has been a significant adjustment....
    -09-02-2009, 08:26 AM
  • RamWraith
    Pickett Proves Stout in the Middle
    by RamWraith
    Saturday, November 5, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    By the time Ryan Pickett was in middle school, he was already bigger than the rest of the kids. Because of his considerable size – he weighed 300 pounds in high school – and his eerie resemblance to his father Rubin, everyone called him “Big Grease.”

    Rubin was the original Big Grease, given to him by his brother-in-law apparently because he was a smooth operator. As Ryan grew older and larger, though, he eventually claimed the name of Big Grease.

    “I’m pretty smooth, but I just look like my old man,” Pickett said. “If you ever see him, you’d be like wow. I’ll look just like him in about 27 years.”

    Now, Ryan maintains that nickname and Rubin is just Grease, minus the Big. The evolution of Pickett’s nicknames might seem minute in the big picture, but in reality Pickett has had a couple of monikers that let you get a read on how he went from the youngest member of the Pickett clan to the stout, run stuffing defensive tackle of the St. Louis Rams.

    Toughening Up

    Growing up as the youngest in a family with two brothers and a sister can be tough on any child and Pickett was no exception. Almost every day, his brothers, Rubin Jr. and Booker would pound on him, telling him it would only make him tougher.

    But it wasn’t the older men in his family that gave Pickett the most problems. His sister Suphia was the biggest culprit.

    “She was the main one,” Pickett said. “She was the ringleader. My older brother made my middle brother and me fight all the time and wrestle. They would just beat me up. They tried to make me tough and that’s what they did.”

    Little did Pickett’s siblings know that they were preparing him for a career in the NFL. When Pickett was young he quickly fell in love with football, unfortunately his size prevented him from participating as much as he would have liked. He played pee wee ball until he was about 8, but he grew too big to make weight to play with kids his age.

    “It was real frustrating,” Pickett said. “I think after I stopped playing football I got even bigger. I was just like a little, round kid with nothing to do.”

    His mother Mae refused to let Pickett play up in age, worried that he would get seriously hurt. In the meantime, Pickett became one of the biggest, most intimidating pitchers and catchers to grace Little League.

    But that time away from football was essentially torture for Pickett. He watched his brother playing and excelling on the gridiron and he wanted that for himself. Booker was so good he earned a spot on the Miami Hurricanes, one of the premiere college programs in the nation.

    Instead of football, the poundings from his siblings had to suffice as Pickett’s method of toughening up.

    “My older brothers beat me up when my mom wasn’t...
    -11-07-2005, 09:26 AM
  • RamWraith
    Pickett is off to best start
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    Examining a photo of the 1992 Stewart Middle School football team, Ryan Pickett's eyes brightened when he located the chubby youngster in the No. 53 jersey. "I've been playing ball since I was a little boy," Pickett mused, "and I just knew I could do it."

    By "do it," he meant be successful in the NFL. Pickett, a defensive tackle, is in his fifth season with the Rams. If the first two games are a true barometer, it could be his best. "If he can stay healthy, I think he's as good as any young tackle in the league," Rams defensive end Tyoka Jackson said.

    Pickett, 25, had a big year in 2002, when he collected 107 tackles, second on the team. But he suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the '03 season, and it became a nagging encumbrance. His tackle totals dipped to 74 that year and 81 last season.

    The ankle is strong again, a sore back that bothered him during training camp has cleared up, and the 6-foot-2, 330-pound Pickett has been pounding away. He has 16 tackles, second to linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa's team-leading 19 and 12 more than any other interior defender.

    "He had a good game against San Francisco, and he had a really good game Sunday" at Arizona, fellow lineman Damione Lewis said. "I'm really happy for him."

    Pickett directed considerable credit to the revamped linebackers corps, where veteran free agents Chris Claiborne and Dexter Coakley joined Tinoisamoa. "They're getting up quick, so we're not on double-teams as long, and that's enabled us to make more plays," Pickett explained.

    The effect has been dramatic: The Rams rank third in the 32-team league against the run; last season, they were No. 29.

    "A little rowdy"

    Several Ohio State coaches surrounded him and the speaker phone was engaged when an anxious Pickett, then 18, dialed up his parents from Columbus. "I told them, 'I'm going to Ohio State,'" Pickett recalled. "And there was just silence. They were like, 'Son, come home and let's talk about it.'"

    Ryan is the youngest of Rubin and Mae Pickett's four children. "They always considered me the baby," he said. As such, he was a favorite target for brothers Rubin Jr. and Booker, and sister Suphia. "Yeah, yeah, they used to dog him," Rubin Sr. said. "They were always on Ryan to get meaner, to get tougher. I think it worked."

    Lewis said Pickett's on-field temperament belies his otherwise laid-back demeanor. "He gets a little rowdy out there," Lewis said.

    Most of the family still lives about 25 miles north of Tampa in Zephyrhills, Fla., which Pickett described as "a little country town." Pickett prompted considerable municipal pride - the mayor organized...
    -09-25-2005, 04:43 AM
  • thermobee
    by thermobee
    Why do we let players like him? He is a great run stopper and guess what we need. We drafted him why not keep him? If the same thing happens with OJ I am seriously going to questions the Rams decisions.

    PS I know the FO was different at that time, but either way you think about it, it doesnt make sense.
    -02-23-2010, 07:44 PM
  • RamWraith
    Pickett in a car accident
    by RamWraith
    Packers | Pickett in a car accident; misses practice
    Sat, 29 Jul 2006 16:40:02 -0700

    The Associated Press reports Green Bay Packers DT Ryan Pickett missed practice Saturday afternoon, July 29, after sustaining what Packers head coach Mike McCarthy described as "minor injuries" in a car accident near Lambeau Field. Pickett was not injured seriously enough to go to the hospital, McCarthy said, instead reporting to the team's doctors for treatment.
    -07-29-2006, 05:46 PM