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  • Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

    Third-year free safety topped NFC with eight interceptions
    BY STEVE KORTE
    News-Democrat


    ST. LOUIS --After leading the NFC in interceptions this season, St. Louis Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe will be one of the more attractive restricted free agents this spring.

    The Rams will retain matching rights to an any offer Atogwe receives. They'll also receive compensation in the form of draft picks from any team signing Atogwe depending on what level of one-year tender offer they make to him.

    The Rams would be wise to tender Atogwe at a first-round level to dissuade teams from pursuing him.

    "I don't even worry about all of that," Atogwe said of being a restricted free agent. "My job is to come out here and work hard and play, and that all takes care of itself. It's not even a concern of mine."

    Asked whether he wanted to remain with the Rams, Atogwe said: "I definitely enjoy being here. I don't know what my future holds. I'm just going to continue to count my blessings and see what happens."

    Atogwe said the Rams' 3-13 season didn't dampen his desire to return to the team.

    "It's not like we were a 3-13 team with guys who didn't like each other or guys who just didn't care about their jobs," Atogwe said. "There wasn't that feeling at all. We just had some bad breaks, and we didn't capitalize on some opportunities we had.

    "It's not a situation where we have a bunch of losers in the locker room. I'd love to come back here."

    Atogwe picked off his eighth pass of the season in the Rams' 48-19 season-ending loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

    Atogwe returned the interception 52 yards late in the third quarter for his first NFL touchdown.

    "I wasn't really able to enjoy it because I was feeling so bad, but I hadn't had a pick six since maybe high school," Atogwe said. "It's definitely a long time coming and something I'll cherish."

    Atogwe played against the Cardinals despite battling a stomach virus.

    "It was never a situation where I wasn't going to play," Atogwe said. "It was just how much could I take, how much could I get through. I was throwing up all day, all morning. The team needed me, and I'm just here to serve."

    Atogwe's eight interceptions ranked second in the NFL behind the 10 grabbed by San Diego's Antonio Cromartie.

    It's also the most interceptions by a Rams player since Dexter McCleon had eight in 2000.

    "It's a great honor," Atogwe said of leading the NFC in interceptions. "There's a lot of great football players in the NFC and AFC. I'm truly blessed."

    Atogwe, a third-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft out of Stanford, said his personal accomplishments in his breakout season took a back seat to the team's struggles.

    "You're happy that you're playing well, but you'd always trade your individual success for team success," Atogwe said. "There's nothing like playing in January and February. That's what you really remember when it's all said and done."

    Atogwe said he believes the Rams can quickly turn around their fortunes.

    "This season is disappointing, but it has nothing to do with next year," Atogwe said. "We all know if that we put in that work and we come back and improve on the things we did, you never know what can happen."

  • #2
    Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

    good.. now we just have to get him back

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

      You'll got to really look at this in perspective ...

      This single player, OJ Atogwe, was SINGLE-HANDEDLY responsible for stopping EIGHT opponents drives, many of them deep into our territory ...

      On his own, he prevented as many as 56 points from being put on the board. It doesn't matter much when you are 3-13, but imagine if we were competetive?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

        we just need a SS On The Other Side.. Kenny Phillips??

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

          Originally posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
          You'll got to really look at this in perspective ...

          This single player, OJ Atogwe, was SINGLE-HANDEDLY responsible for stopping EIGHT opponents drives, many of them deep into our territory ...

          On his own, he prevented as many as 56 points from being put on the board. It doesn't matter much when you are 3-13, but imagine if we were competetive?

          That sounds good and all, but no one player singlehandedly does anything on a football field. I do agree however, that he is a top priority.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

            marshall faulk Vs The Browns Maybe?? i Do Remember That Game. No Blocking At All.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

              Originally posted by RamWraith View Post
              "You're happy that you're playing well, but you'd always trade your individual success for team success," Atogwe said. "There's nothing like playing in January and February. That's what you really remember when it's all said and done."

              Atogwe said he believes the Rams can quickly turn around their fortunes.

              "This season is disappointing, but it has nothing to do with next year," Atogwe said. "We all know if that we put in that work and we come back and improve on the things we did, you never know what can happen."
              That alone is reason enough to resign him. With all of the negatives that have swirled around this club in the past year it is refreshing to hear something inspiring.
              sigpicMaybe not now, but soon.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                He obviously needs to come back to the Rams. He needs a good contract, he is a quality player and one of the only bright spots of this year.
                Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                  Originally posted by PHAT-MONEY View Post
                  we just need a SS On The Other Side.. Kenny Phillips??
                  This is the player I want the Rams to get. I know we need a de and o-line but both of those needs can be filled in free agency. I look at teams like the Colts and Ravens where their safties are the heart of their defense. I think Phillips could really help this team on the defensive side of the ball. So if we can trade down a few spots compile a few extra picks and still get Phillips it would be a great move.
                  Aim high Willis, Aim High!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                    O.A. really stepped up this year, one of the few bright spots on our defense, along with Carriker.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                      I say we continue to build a defense around these two solid players.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                        He saw how bummed we were being a losing team this year...he stepped it up.

                        I say he might even deserve a captain spot down the road.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                          mark my words... if the rams pick up a great SS this offseason they will have a top 10 offense... the front 7 has become young and good enough to compete with anyone. The missing link in this defense is a hard hitting SS. Tye Hill next year will be one of the best corners in the league along with brown who is solid. bartell can be great but has some flaws and Wade can be a good nickel back next year

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                            who would you guys like to see as a SS as i read many posts saying we needed one.

                            Would we draft a good SS or go fishing in the free agency pool?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams

                              Atogwe has certainly improved, except for his tackling. It would be nice to have a FS that could tackle.

                              Depends on what it would cost to keep him. He's worth keeping but not worth big money, in my opinion.

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • RamWraith
                                Atogwe overcomes illness for a strong finish
                                by RamWraith
                                By Bill Coats and Kathleen Nelson
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                                Tuesday, Jan. 01 2008

                                Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was sick to his stomach Sunday. And it had nothing to
                                do with the Rams' queasy 48-19 season-ending loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

                                Atogwe was fighting a virus that wasn't enough to force him to the sideline,
                                but did cause him to stretch out on the visitors locker room floor for several
                                minutes afterward before dragging himself off to the showers.

                                Despite the illness, Atogwe put together a strong finish to a breakout season.
                                The third-year pro from Stanford, a third-round draft pick in 2005, picked off
                                his eighth pass — tops in the NFC for the season — late in the third quarter
                                and took it back 52 yards for his first NFL touchdown.

                                Leading the conference is "a great honor," Atogwe said. "I wasn't able to enjoy
                                it because I was feeling so bad. But it's something I'll cherish."

                                San Diego's Antonio Cromartie was the league leader, with 10.

                                No Rams defender had picked off as many passes in a season since cornerback
                                Dexter McCleon also had eight in 2000. Atogwe grabbed a total of four
                                interceptions in his first two seasons before doubling that number this year.

                                "You're happy that you're playing well, but you don't trade individual success
                                for the team's, because there's nothing like playing in January and February,"
                                he said. "That's what you really remember when all is said and done."

                                The Rams, of course, will have no such memories. Their 3-13 record was the
                                team's poorest since moving here in 1995. Still, Atogwe stressed that in the
                                NFL, fortunes can change quickly.

                                "This year is disappointing, but that has nothing to do with next year," he
                                said. "If we put in our work and come back with a different attitude and
                                improve on some things, you never know what's going to happen. ...

                                "It's not like we were a 3-13 team where guys didn't like each other or guys
                                didn't care about their jobs. It wasn't that feeling at all. It was just that
                                we had some bad breaks, and we didn't capitalize on our opportunities. ... We
                                don't have a bunch of losers in the locker room."

                                Atogwe, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, paused when asked
                                Monday whether he wanted to return in 2008.

                                "I definitely enjoy being here," he said. "But it's not something I worry about
                                or stress about; what's going to happen will happen. I played well this year. I
                                held up my end of the bargain."
                                -01-01-2008, 05:11 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Atogwe steps up as a takeaway artist for the Rams
                                by RamWraith
                                By Jim Thomas
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                                12/11/2008

                                Oshiomogho Atogwe's nickname is "O.J.," but an update may be necessary. Something along the lines of "O.J., the Human Takeaway" may be more appropriate.

                                Atogwe got off to a slow start this season because of a hamstring injury that sidelined him for most of training camp and the preseason. But beginning with an interception against Buffalo in Game 4, Atogwe has been a takeaway waiting to happen.

                                In seven of the past 10 games, Atogwe has been responsible for at least one takeaway, either in the form of an interception, a fumble recovery, or a forced fumble recovered by a Rams teammate.

                                "O.J.'s a heck of a football player," coach Jim Haslett said recently. "I think people are starting to recognize that. The guy's a ball magnet. He does a great job punching the balls out."

                                Say what you will about the Rams' struggling defense, it's hard to argue with Atogwe's numbers. In 13 games this season, the Rams have 17 takeaways. Atogwe has been responsible for 10 of them.

                                He has four interceptions, recovered two fumbles, and four of his forced fumbles have been recovered by teammates. Atogwe returned one of those recovered fumbles 75 yards for a key touchdown in the Rams' 19-17 victory over Washington.

                                "My mother told me a long time ago: 'Everybody has their time,' " Rams cornerback Jonathan Wade said. "Whatever you're doing, you have a time that's your time. You wonder how Ed Reed will end up year after year with eight, nine interceptions? How Ray Lewis has 100-something tackles?

                                "There's no way to explain it, I don't think. It's just his time. He's very focused; very anointed by God right now."

                                Atogwe didn't seem all that "anointed" coming out of Stanford in 2005.

                                "When he first got here, he didn't have the best ball skills," Haslett said. "He worked on it and worked on it."

                                Atogwe made it a point — and still does — to come in on Tuesdays, the players' normal day off during the regular sesason, and work on those ball skills.

                                "It was one of the weaknesses that I felt I had — that I wasn't making a lot of plays as far as interceptions on the ball," Atogwe said.

                                On Tuesdays, equipment assistant Matt Taylor operates a JUGS machine that spits out football after football Atogwe's way.

                                "He'll do anywhere between 200 and 300 balls, and I'll just catch them," Atogwe said. "He shoots them to me from all different angles."

                                Slowly but surely, Atogwe's hand-eye coordination improved, and so did his interception totals. After recording just one interception in limited playing time as a rookie, Atogwe picked off three passes in 2006, his first season as a starter. Last...
                                -12-11-2008, 04:09 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Atogwe Unconcerned with Free Agent Status
                                by RamWraith
                                By Nick Wagoner
                                Senior Writer

                                Before Oshiomogho Atogwe settles where his football playing future will be, he plans on finding a location as far from here as possible to get away and relax.

                                “I think this offseason I am going to go somewhere and get lost and take some time to think about it,” Atogwe said. “It’s been a long year for a lot of us and it’s been a long four years for me personally.”

                                The Rams’ Most Valuable Player for the 2008 season picked the right time to have perhaps his best NFL season. Atogwe is due to hit the market on Feb. 27 when the league opens up free agency.

                                After finding the next head coach, retaining Atogwe (along with cornerback Ron Bartell) is perhaps the Rams’ top priority.

                                “I would love to have them,” coach Jim Haslett said. “They’re both doing a great job. I think O.J. (Atogwe) still has room to improve and I think Ronnie (Bartell) still has room to improve, but I think they’re both ascending football players.”

                                And with good reason, considering Atogwe’s ball hawking ways. Atogwe finished 2008 with 109 tackles (second on the team), five interceptions, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

                                Not many defensive players this side of Baltimore’s Ed Reed has that kind of play making resume.

                                For his part, Atogwe says he likes St. Louis but understands the business aspect of the league and isn’t going to spend much time worrying about where he winds up.

                                “St. Louis has treated me well, giving me the opportunity to play and I am always going to be appreciative of that,” Atogwe said. “Whatever happens, that is in God’s hands and I am not really fretting over it. I feel like I am going to be where I’m supposed to be this next year.”

                                There won’t be many arguments from anyone in the Rams organization that Atogwe’s place is as the backbone of the defense for years to come.

                                While fellow future free agent running back Steven Jackson held out of last year’s training camp, Atogwe attended (though he didn’t play much because of a hamstring injury) and waited his turn.

                                As a restricted free agent last offseason, the Rams tendered Atogwe at the highest level and he signed the one-year tender offer without an offer from an outside team.

                                At the time the Rams signed Jackson to a long term contract, it was initially assumed Atogwe would be a prime candidate for a franchise tag. That possibility still exists, especially considering the Rams’ desire to re-sign Bartell.

                                The franchise number for a corner is more than a safety, meaning any one-year tag for Atogwe wouldn’t cost as much as one for Bartell. In 2008, for example, the franchise cost of a safety was roughly half of what it was for a cornerback.

                                Because of uncertainty in what he’d be coming back to, Atogwe says he’s unsure about a return to St. Louis,...
                                -01-14-2009, 04:31 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Rams' Atogwe Motivated By Franchise Tag
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Rams’ Atogwe motivated by franchise tag
                                6 hours, 13 minutes ago


                                ST. LOUIS (AP)—Being saddled with the franchise tag did not rub St. Louis Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe(notes) the wrong way.

                                “That meant a lot to me,” Atogwe said Sunday after practice at Rams Park. “It was an honor, to say the least, to be that highly thought of by the organization and to be put among the top in your position in this league.

                                “It doesn’t come easily. Not many players can have that said about them whether or not they think it about themselves. To have it said about me is definitely a blessing and it’s not anything I want to tarnish or even belittle a little bit.”

                                Atogwe signed the $6.3 million franchise tender July 15 and reported on time to camp. He did not miss any minicamps even though he was not under contract.

                                That impressed rookie coach Steve Spagnuolo, who thought Atogwe handled the franchise tag situation well.

                                “I’ve told him a number of times how classy I think he has handled everything,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s a quality person right there. Forget about the football talent.

                                “And, I sensed that the first time when I first got here, I visited with him in my office, and you could see that right away.”

                                For Atogwe, there’s no other way to conduct himself.

                                “I believe to whom much is given, much is expected,” Atogwe said. “Each one of us comes out here to be great at our jobs. In our positions, we all want to reach the pinnacle or the highest that there is. That comes with a lot of responsibility and behind that responsibility is a lot of work.”

                                Certainly work is important to Atogwe. After a practice that lasted just over two hours, Atogwe went with his teammates to sign autographs and take photographs with the fans. Sunday was the last open practice for fans.

                                Then Atogwe caught balls off the JUGS machine before doing some conditioning exercises.

                                “I don’t mind the hard work,” Atogwe said. “I’ve been blessed to play this game and it’s by God’s grace that I’m able to work and I’ll do that for Him.”

                                His body of work with the Rams, who drafted him in the third round in 2005, is impressive. He has emerged as one of the league’s top defensive talents.

                                Last season, Atogwe made a career-high total of 109 tackles. He led the team in interceptions with five and forced fumbles with eight. Atogwe was voted by his teammates as Rams MVP.

                                That followed a 2007 season in which Atogwe showed he was a ballhawk. He led the NFC with eight interceptions, including one off Arizona’s Kurt Warner(notes) he returned 52 yards for his lone touchdown.

                                “He’s hard to play against,” Atogwe said about Warner. “He’s very intelligent. It’s like he’s playing chess on the field and it’s hard to just get a bead on where he’s going to go with the...
                                -08-23-2009, 11:23 PM
                              • RamWraith
                                Atogwe Returns to Practice
                                by RamWraith
                                By Nick Wagoner
                                Senior Writer

                                It’s been a long, frustrating wait with plenty of starts and stops but free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe finally returned to the practice field on Monday.

                                Atogwe has been out of action because of a hamstring injury since the opening days of camp. Aside from a one-day return, Atogwe has not been on the practice field since.

                                “You kind of forget the veteran presence that he brings to the back end,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He really has been, obviously, coming on the last couple years for us at safety and I’ve said it all along, he’s been one of our most improved ascending young players we’ve had since I’ve been here. We’ve kind of missed that here this camp and I think he looked pretty sharp.”

                                The return of Atogwe is only more good news for a defense that has been particularly effective in the past two weeks.

                                The Rams are taking an approach similar to the one they are using with running back Steven Jackson in order to get Atogwe back up to speed. Atogwe won’t be staying late for a form of simulated workouts but he did take extra repetitions with the second and third defense after working with the starting group.

                                “It’s a trying situation whenever you are being prevented from doing something you want to do,” Atogwe said. “It’s a little challenging but you learn stuff in that and come back stronger. I have been the No. 1 cheerleader on that sideline. The boys have been playing great, making a lot of plays, stopping a lot of guys, playing with a lot of mental toughness and a lot of energy and it’s just encouraging for me for when I do return to jump on board and just be a part of that.”

                                Atogwe missed the team’s minicamp in May because of a hamstring issue. He believes that something didn’t heal right at that time and that’s why he played so little before hitting the sidelines again.

                                Since he was unable to play, Atogwe has spent plenty of time working on the sidelines and riding the bike to keep his legs strong.

                                “It was a little hamstring hiccup,” Atogwe said. “It’s probably a little left over from some scar tissues that didn’t quite go away like I wanted to but it just came back and crept up on me. It’s good to go now.”

                                It remains to be seen whether Atogwe will play in the preseason finale against Kansas City. The Rams have only one more practice scheduled (tomorrow) before that game and two practices might not be enough to get Atogwe on the field.

                                For his part, Atogwe says he’ll take any chance to get on the field and get re-acquainted with collisions.

                                “That’s up to the coaches,” Atogwe said. “I love playing. If they want me to play this week I am going to go out there and play. If they don’t want me to play, I won’t play. Anytime I get the opportunity to play, I am going to play.”

                                BENTLEY VISITS: Perhaps unsettled by an uncertain...
                                -08-26-2008, 04:24 AM
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