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  • Rams find Goodspeed at fullback

    Rams find Goodspeed at fullback
    One of many to try for open spot in '03
    BY STEVE KORTE
    [email protected]

    MACOMB - St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz jokingly compared his team's carousel of fullbacks last season to the variety of tastes offered at an ice cream shop.

    "We had 31 flavors," Martz said. "We were taking tickets at the window. No. 26 is next, please."

    After trying 10 different players at fullback last season, the Rams finally found a flavor they liked in third-year player Joey Goodspeed.

    Martz went as far as saying that the 6-foot-1, 247-pound Goodspeed could turn out to be a better fullback than James "The Hammer" Hodgins, who was released in a salary cap move before the start of free agency in 2003.

    "I think he might be the best fullback we've had," Martz said. "I feel confident about that. I'm just very, very high on Joey. He's never come out here and practiced poorly or had a bad day or made a bunch of mental mistakes. He catches the ball, he's smart, he's a pro. He's what you want all of your guys to be. I couldn't be more pleased with Joey."

    Goodspeed, 26, joined the Rams on Oct. 28 last year. The Notre Dame product solidified a starting job with a pancake block on All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Uhrlacher that enabled Marshall Faulk to break loose for a 52-yard run on a fourth-and-1 play in the Rams' 23-21 comeback win over the Bears on Nov. 16.

    Goodspeed ended up playing in eight games, including four starts at fullback.

    "Last season was a blur," Goodspeed said. "My mind wasn't fully on football. My mind was elsewhere."

    Goodspeed was cut by the San Diego Chargers after their final preseason game last year. Goodspeed said losing his job was actually a blessing in disguise.

    "My father was really sick, so I was home taking care of him and taking care of the family," Goodspeed said. "I was fortunate to get released. I was able to spend my dad's last weeks at home with him."

    Goodspeed said it was bittersweet for him to finally earn a starting job in the NFL after his father's death.

    "That was hard for me last year, finally being a starter in the NFL, something that he has always wanted to see," Goodspeed said. "He got to see me play a little bit in San Diego, so I guess I've got that going for me."

    Goodspeed said he was aware of the Rams' struggle in finding a replacement for Hodgins.

    "I heard they went through a lot of guys," Goodspeed said. "Fullback is not an easy position. We take some brutal hits out there. I don't know what they were trying to do last year. I remember I was sitting at home and my agent was calling me and kind of *****ing and moaning about how they don't have a fullback and why aren't they signing me."

    The Rams now see Goodspeed as an indispensable part of their offense.

    "Joey is a guy you can take for granted very easily, but he is absolutely in the center of everything we do offensively," Martz said. "He has come back mentally way ahead of everything. He's a fanatical workout guy. He's been a big plus for us since we added him last year."

    Goodspeed added eight pounds of muscle over the offseason to help him handle the pounding that comes from being primarily a blocker.

    "That's what I am here for -- to block for Marshall or block for Arlen Harris, Steven Jackson or Lamar Gordon, and to protect Marc Bulger," Goodspeed said. "I know my role."

    In the Rams' offense, it's a rarity for the fullback to touch the ball.

    Goodspeed has yet to carry the ball on a running play for the Rams. He has one reception -- a 9-yard catch that helped set up a 20-yard field goal in the first quarter of the Rams' playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers.

    Goodspeed said he wouldn't mind getting his hands on the ball every once in a while.

    "I am doing so much blocking, giving the dog a bone every now and then would be kind of nice," Goodspeed said.

  • #2
    Re: Rams find Goodspeed at fullback

    Ramming speed for Joey! :ramlogo:
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
    :ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram:

    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

    Comment

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    • RamWraith
      Goodspeed gives Rams versatility at fullback
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Wednesday, Aug. 25 2004

      Joey Goodspeed didn't know when to quit. When the Rams released him in
      November, after just one week with the club, that made four teams in four
      seasons. In all that time, he had managed to appear in just 12 games - on
      special teams - for the San Diego Chargers.

      "It's been an uphill battle," he said. "I knew I could play at this level. It
      was just a matter of getting an opportunity."

      Well, opportunity is knocking for Goodspeed. Loud and clear.

      At the time of his release Nov. 7, the Rams told Goodspeed they planned to
      re-sign him in a week. They did just that. In fact, they signed him through the
      2004 season. He has been the Rams starting fullback ever since.

      It appears the long search to replace the Hammer - James Hodgins - is finally
      over. Last year at this time, coach Mike Martz practically was taking people
      out of the stands to play fullback.

      "We had 31 flavors," Martz joked. "We were taking (numbers) - No. 26, who's
      next?"

      No. 44 - Goodspeed - is next. Martz believes he could be the best all-around
      fullback the Rams have had since Martz returned to the Rams coaching staff in
      1999. Before tweaking a hamstring that sidelined him for the Kansas City game,
      but isn't a serious injury, Goodspeed was showing that on the field.

      "He's blossomed," Martz said. "He's probably more of a complete fullback than
      we've ever had here. He's a terrific receiver, an excellent blocker, and a good
      runner. So you'd have to give him high marks in all categories."

      Robert Holcombe, the starter in '99 and '00, was a better runner and a willing
      blocker. But Goodspeed is more stout at 247 pounds, and has better hands.
      Hodgins could be a devastating blocker at the point of attack but doesn't have
      Goodspeed's pass-catching or running ability.

      In a backfield that could include Marshall Faulk, Steven Jackson, Lamar Gordon
      and Arlen Harris at any time this season, Goodspeed doesn't figure to get many
      carries. But he did display his pass-catching ability in the preseason opener
      against Chicago with a 13-yard touchdown reception from Chris Chandler.

      "I was just kind of shocked that he actually saw me," Goodspeed said. "We have
      so many weapons in this offense, I'm usually the last in the line of
      progression. Sometimes I feel like a ghost out there when I'm running routes,
      but I was fortunate that Chandler saw me. It was cool."

      Goodspeed, 26, grew up a Bears fan in Oswego, Ill., 40 minutes southwest of
      Chicago. He went to Notre Dame as a linebacker but...
      -08-26-2004, 07:32 AM
    • RamWraith
      Young fullback relishes making the big hit
      by RamWraith
      Hedge**** looks forward to playing on special teams

      BY STEVE KORTE

      News-Democrat


      ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams rookie Madison Hedge**** has the kind of mentality that you want out of a fullback.

      Hedge**** is a no-nonsense guy who takes a lot of pride in his ability to deliver a bone-jarring hit.

      "You have to take pride in that," Hedge**** said." It is a lost art. It can be a fun thing. Seeing that tailback run for 100 yards, that's what I take my pride in. That's where I get my glory."

      The 6-foot-3, 266-pound Hedge**** said his best hit at the University of North Carolina came against a linebacker early in his team's game against Florida State last season.

      "I hit him right between the numbers," Hedge**** said. "He fell on his back."

      Asked if the linebacker said anything in response to the hit, Hedge**** said, "No, there was nothing to say."

      Asked if he said anything, Hedge**** said, "Yeah, I probably said a few things. I let him know I was there."

      The Rams took Hedge**** with their last pick -- the 251st selection -- in the 2005 NFL draft.

      When Rams coach Mike Martz telephoned Hedge**** to let him know he'd just been drafted, Hedge**** responded with, "It's about time."

      "I was expecting to be drafted late, but that's out of my hands," Hedge**** said. "Whatever happens on draft day is up to the pro teams."

      Hedge**** was called the "best blocking back" in the Atlantic Coast Conference by The Sporting News.

      "His niftiness, if you will, to be able to move through traffic and find a linebacker in terms of being a lead blocker," Martz said of what the Rams liked about Hedge****. "It sounds like an easy thing to do, but it's not. To go full speed with guys going every which way and be able to sort that out, that's the hardest thing for a fullback to do."

      Martz said Hedge**** is an effective blocker despite being somewhat tall for a fullback.

      "A lot of guys who are big like that are willing to run in there and hit you, but they don't get good movement just because they don't have leverage," Martz said. "He's a natural knee bender who can get under the pads of guys much shorter than him and deliver a terrific blow. He's really a powerful blocker out of the backfield. Some guys have a knack for that.

      "The other thing I like about him is that he spent some time on defense, so he has a little of that mentality."

      Hedge**** moved to defensive end for the Tar Heels halfway through his sophomore season. He started 11 games on defense as a junior, compiling 55 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.

      Hedge**** moved back to fullback for his senior season....
      -05-02-2005, 11:49 AM
    • RamWraith
      Bulkier Harris hopes to climb charts
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      08/01/2004
      MACOMB, Ill. - Rams running back Arlen Harris knows that barring catastrophe, he'll be on the 53-man roster when the season opens Sept. 12. But that doesn't mean he's on cruise control at training camp.

      "You're trying to climb up the charts," he said. "You definitely can't relax."

      A year ago, Harris came to Western Illinois University as an undrafted rookie, signed as a free agent after an impressive showing at the Paradise Bowl in Las Vegas, an "all-star" game in which NFL scouts evaluate college seniors. A consensus All-American as a high school senior in Garfield Heights, Ohio, Harris endured three injury-plagued three seasons at Virginia, then transferred to Hofstra for his senior year.

      An eligibility issue kept him off the field that year, and he fell off the NFL radar. But when given a chance by the Rams, he responded: Other than starting linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, no rookie had a greater impact on the team last season than Harris. He played in all 16 games, with two starts, rushing for 255 yards and four touchdowns, catching 15 passes for 102 yards, and averaging 23 yards on 51 kickoff returns.

      "I knew my abilities," Harris said. "It was just a matter of going out there and making some plays. This year, I'm just going to try to build on it."

      He started by building his body. Harris, who played at about 212 pounds last season, has bulked up to about 225. Coach Mike Martz ordered the extra weight so that Harris, No. 3 on the depth chart at tailback, can fill in at fullback and pair up with Marshall Faulk in the backfield in certain situations. "They're trying to use me in a lot of different ways in the offense," Harris said.

      Martz said, "He went to work in the offseason, and with that added girth and weight, he also increased his speed. When that happened, he really got our attention, because he's got some real live ability in terms of reading and cutting and breaking tackles and all those things. He's way ahead of where he was a year ago physically, and I think that's terrific."

      Harris' solid rookie season not only solidified his spot on team, it gave his psyche a lift, too.

      "I just feel so much more confident and have such a better understanding of the offense," he said. "I feel like I can be more effective."


      Rams take
      slow approach


      The Rams were scheduled to work out in full pads Sunday morning, but because the injury list continues to mount, Martz decided to keep them in shells for both practices.

      "We did a study on this, and usually in Day 5, 6 and 7, that's when you really sustain a lot of your injuries in camp," he explained. "That is the red-hot time. You just kind of...
      -08-02-2004, 08:12 AM
    • RamWraith
      Rams will start Harris at running back
      by RamWraith
      BY BILL COATS
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Friday, Dec. 10 2004

      Arlen Harris is rested, ready and rarin' to go. "They call me 'fresh legs,'"
      Harris said, laughing. "I'll be able to go out there and take some punishment."

      Rookie Steven Jackson and veteran Marshall Faulk are nursing bruised knees and
      will be unable to carry a full load Sunday. So coach Mike Martz said Friday
      that Harris will be in the lineup at running back when the Rams (6-6) meet the
      Carolina Panthers (5-7) at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in a contest
      with heavy playoff implications in the NFC.

      "Arlen will start, and Marshall's ready to go, I think," Martz said. "And
      we'll just see where Steven is on Sunday."

      Jackson, the team's first-round draft pick, started for a gimpy Faulk last
      Sunday and ran for 119 yards on 26 carries in a 16-6 victory over San
      Francisco. Jackson was hurt on his last series, and the knee swelled
      considerably and needed to be drained. Jackson didn't practice all week.

      "We're going to get him back in short order," Martz assured. "If he misses
      this one, I'm sure he'll be back the following week. But I don't know that he
      misses this one. We just have been very, very cautious with him."

      Harris, a second-year pro, has just one carry this year -- a 2-yard jaunt
      against the *****. Still, that brief appearance was helpful, he said. "Just
      being able to touch the ball last week gave me confidence," Harris said. "This
      week, I'll be more comfortable."

      The 5-10, 212-pound Harris made the team last year as an undrafted rookie who
      hadn't played as a college senior because of an eligibility glitch. He was
      productive in two starts, rushing for 85 yards against Green Bay and 81 against
      Pittsburgh in relief of the injured Faulk and Lamar Gordon, who earlier this
      season was traded to Miami.

      "They told me to go about this week like I'm starting, and now that I know I'm
      definitely starting, it's not a problem," said Harris, 24. "I'm definitely
      excited to get an opportunity to run the ball. Being a rookie last year, I was
      a little bit nervous. But now I have a year under my belt, and I feel
      comfortable with the offense. . . .

      "It's a great opportunity. I'll just go out there and do my best, and
      hopefully we don't skip a beat."

      Martz expects that to be the case. "I'm not worried about Arlen at all," he
      said. "He's a terrific runner. He's hard to knock off his feet. He's real
      patient. His run reads are really outstanding. He's a much better player than
      he was a year ago, and he played well...
      -12-11-2004, 08:10 AM
    • RamWraith
      Fullbacks Fight For Rams Roster Spots
      by RamWraith
      By Rene Knott
      Sports Director

      The fullback position in football can be a thankless job some times.

      It's a position that takes someone a little different.

      Rams head coach Mike Martz says, "If you want to be a fullback in the NFL you need to be examined by somebody. It's just a brutal position".

      But the fullback will be an important element in the Mike Martz offense. The player will be called on to help get the tough yards in the red-zone.

      Coach Mike Martz says: "Your success always relies on run football. First and foremost in the redzone. No question about it".

      There are three players vying for the job in Rams training camp. Joey Goodspeed, Chris Massey and Madison Hedgecock.

      The main focus of the job is protection. They must protect who has the football for the Rams by opening the hole on the lead block and by keeping people of the quarterback.

      "That's what we get paid to do. I know my role. I take pride in it, " says Rams veteran fullback Joey Goodspeed.

      "You gotta throw your body in there and try to slam people", says Coach Martz.

      Goodspeed continues, "If I get a good pancake and Stephen Jackson has a big run that's where I get my money."

      They are the hammers. What the fullback is not is bond for glory. Goodspeed carried the ball just three times last season for six yards and one touchdown.

      But they are capable of handling the ball. They just don't expect to.

      Rams rookie fullback Madison Hedgecock says "I did run a little bit in college out of desperation when someone got hurt. I did pretty good."

      Doing well in the Rams system means sacrificing the headlines and he who understands this the most will most likely be the one who gets to do the dirty work during the season.

      "It's going to be who the best hammer is. You gotta have a guy who can knock 'em out of there, " concludes Coach Mike Martz.
      -08-18-2005, 02:23 PM
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