Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Rams stand pat at tight end position

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rams stand pat at tight end position

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Aug. 30 2004

    The Rams had the help-wanted sign out for much of the offseason, with no fewer
    than 10 tight ends under contract at one time or another.

    But four of those players never made it to training camp; two others have been
    cut since training camp started. Which leaves the Rams with four candidates at
    the position - and two familiar names in Brandon Manumaleuna and Cam Cleeland.

    The Rams basically are standing pat at the position in 2004, hoping that
    another year in the system will benefit Manumaleuna and Cleeland.

    "You can't come in and do it one year," tight ends coach Frank Falks said.
    "It's not that type of system. It's a great system, but you have to be in it
    for a while to understand all the nuances of it."

    The Rams are hoping this is the year for Manumaleuna, otherwise they wouldn't
    have matched Carolina's five-year, $8.3 million offer sheet to him as a
    restricted free agent last March. Even though he's entering his fourth NFL
    season, Manumaleuna is only 24. That, in part, explains the team's patient
    approach.

    "Brandon is practicing and actually playing with the passion that we would like
    to see him play with," Falks said. "His techniques are way above last year. His
    intensity is above last year. He's practicing physical. And playing physical.

    "I think he can be as good as there is in the league in terms of being an
    all-around tight end - at the line of scrimmage and receiving. And I think he's
    starting to push towards that point."

    An unrestricted free agent entering the offseason, Cleeland didn't re-sign with
    the Rams until early June. After an impressive first week of training camp, he
    missed most of the next three weeks with a hamstring injury, returning to make
    his exhibition debut Friday against Washington.

    "He has come back after the hamstring and moved very well," Falks said. "He's
    very confident in what he's doing... He's a different guy than last year."

    With Manumaleuna and Cleeland givens on the final roster, undrafted rookie Mike
    Brake is the leading candidate for the No. 3 tight-end spot. Although drafted
    as a tight end, seventh-rounder Erik Jensen has been practicing at fullback for
    much of camp. But if the Rams decide to keep Jensen over Brake, Jensen should
    be able to handle the Rams' "move" tight-end position as well.

    "The position he plays at fullback carries over to one of the tight end
    positions," Falks said. "So he could easily play them both - go in the ballgame
    and execute at either position."

    Brake, who played college ball at Akron, has been a pleasant training camp
    surprise so far.

    "The first time I saw him, I thought there was something about him, and he
    hasn't proven me wrong," Falks said. "He's got something about him, whether it
    be this year or next year, that's going to really surface, and he's going to be
    a good player in this league."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Tight ends at a glance


    Monday, Aug. 30 2004

    Tight ends in camp: 4

    Likely to make final roster: 3

    Safe and sound: Cam Cleeland, Brandon Manumaleuna

    On the bubble: Mike Brake, Erik Jensen (*).

    (*) - Drafted as a tight end, Jensen has been working at fullback much of camp.

    Rosters must be trimmed to 65 today, and to 53 on Sunday.

  • #2
    Re: Rams stand pat at tight end position

    I wonder if the Rams will be able to keep both Brake and Jensen on the roster, or if one of them will have to be moved to the practice squad.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams stand pat at tight end position

      one of them will hopefully land on the practice squad assuming someone else doesnt pick up whichever one gets cut.

      Comment

      Related Topics

      Collapse

      • MauiRam
        Tight End Competition Just Beginning
        by MauiRam
        Tight End Competition Just Beginning

        Posted Jun 1, 2012

        By Nick Wagoner

        No position on the Rams practice field more closely resembles a Baskin-Robbins than tight end.
        Pick a flavor and you’re likely to find it in the group going through Organized Team Activities under the guidance of experienced position coach Rob Boras.

        That’s because, to fit the philosophy of head coach Jeff Fisher, having a multitude of versatile options at the tight end position is not only preferred but a necessity.

        “We’ve got them all shapes and sizes and Coach (Boras) is doing a great job with them,” Fisher said. “It’s a very important position in our offense. You need flexibility and they need to be able to be interchanged, sometimes at the fullback position, sometimes you spread them open. It’s an important position, like I said, so we’re pleased so far.”

        That’s because the Rams roster as its currently constituted has a little something for everyone. Need an athletic ‘move’ tight end that can flex into the backfield or split out wide with equal aplomb? No problem. How about an inline blocker that can serve as a de facto offensive lineman? Check. What about a guy who can block out in space or serve as a lead blocking fullback? Got those too.

        It’s no coincidence that the Rams are currently carrying nine tight ends on the roster after claiming Brody Eldridge on waivers from Indianapolis last week. Ultimately, there figures to be about four tight ends on the final 53-man roster though with Fisher’s affinity for the position and the way they are used in coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, there could be more.

        With the exception of former second-round pick Lance Kendricks, the competition for spots at tight end figures to be one of this summer’s most heated training camp battles.

        For his part, Kendricks figures to slide in as a starter in more of the ‘move’ position where he can be a strong blocker out in space and in the run game but also serve as a dynamic receiving weapon when split out wide.

        What happens for the other spots is anyone’s guess and will come down to a tight competition amongst a group of players with varying skills in different roles.

        At first blush, it doesn’t appear that there is a fully developed all around tight end capable of handling anything that Fisher and Schottenheimer asks with equal aplomb. Instead, the tight ends on the roster fit into various roles that will ultimately determine their fate with the team.

        Nobody knows what Schottenheimer and Fisher are looking for better than free-agent signee Matthew Mulligan, who spent some time on Tennessee’s practice squad under Fisher before playing the past three seasons under Schottenheimer in New York.

        Mulligan is perhaps the offensive player on the roster most familiar with the current offense and...
        -06-02-2012, 09:47 PM
      • RamWraith
        Rams Camp: Walker is pushing other tight ends
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
        08/14/2006

        Draft picks Joe Klopfenstein and Dominique Byrd have garnered most of the attention at the tight end position during Rams training camp. But Aaron Walker just won't go away.

        "It's perseverance, man. That's all it is," Walker said. "I came in here late last year as an unknown name or whatever. So I just wanted to make a name for myself -- try to prove myself every day."

        So far, he's doing just that. Two and a half weeks into training camp, Walker has wedged his way into the picture at tight end. Klopfenstein, a second-round pick from Colorado, continues to hold the starting job. But Walker has moved into the No. 2 spot, ahead of Byrd, a third-round selection from Southern California. And in the Scott Linehan offense, the second tight end plays a lot.

        "Walker's been really consistent," Linehan said. "He's blocked well, and he's been a more than adequate pass receiver when called upon. ... Right now, we're looking at Joe and Aaron as No. 1 and 2, and then (Jerome) Collins and Byrd are kind of battling for that third spot. It's still very early, just like it is for all the positions. But that tight end spot, I'm keeping a pretty close eye on it."

        Walker, 26, easily has the most NFL experience of the four. A fifth-round draft pick out of Florida by San Francisco in 2003, Walker played in all 32 games -- including six starts -- for the ***** in '03 and '04. Over that span, he caught 18 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown.

        But that was with Dennis Erickson as head coach. When Mike Nolan replaced Erickson as head coach in '05, Walker found himself out of a job.

        Walker was on the 53-man roster after the final round of cuts last September, but only briefly. After claiming Trent Smith off waivers from Baltimore, where Nolan had coached from '02 through '04, the ***** cut Walker.

        "It was kind of a shocker," Walker said. "They said they were bringing in somebody else they were more familiar with. It was a situation where I was kind of hearing one thing from my tight end coach, and then something totally opposite from the head coach. So it kind of blindsided me."

        Walker subsequently had tryouts with Buffalo, Houston, Jackson, Seattle, Tampa Bay and the Rams. In the meantime, he helped out with his dad's construction business in his hometown of Mims, Fla. Walker was signed by the Rams on Dec. 21 but didn't play in the final two regular-season games.

        Walker moved up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart for Thursday's preseason opener against Indianapolis and played well enough to keep the spot this week.

        "I'm going to do whatever I can do to make this football team," he said. "And I'm going to do whatever I can do to help this football team win a championship."...
        -08-14-2006, 05:17 AM
      • MauiRam
        Kendricks' absence opens doors for Harkey, McNeill
        by MauiRam
        By Jim Thomas

        As the Rams continue to sort through and develop their options in the passing game, one significant piece of the puzzle is missing. After sitting out the spring practice period because of knee surgery, third-year tight end Lance Kendricks has missed the first week of training camp as well.

        Although he’s getting closer to a return as he finishes his rehab, Kendricks is expected to miss the Rams’ first two preseason games. Under that timetable, that gives him three weeks to get ready for the regular season.

        “Obviously, we would love to have Lance out here,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “You can’t replace training camp, just the amount of snaps and the amount of reps that we get during these couple weeks before the season starts. They’re really important.

        “But I think the good news is that Lance has a year in this system. He understands what he’s going to be asked to do once he comes back. I expect him — after a couple days — he should be back up to speed and be fine.”

        Kendricks arguably was the most improved player on the team last season, developing as a receiver and blocker. His 519 yards receiving were the most for a Rams tight end since the move to St. Louis in 1995, and his 42 catches were second-most during that span. Kendricks was a reliable target for Bradford, with 65.6 percent of the passes thrown his way caught.

        Because of the surgery, Kendricks was placed on the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of camp. That designation means Kendricks can be activated at any point.

        “Lance has done a great job in the meetings,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “He’s just been really dialed in; second year in the system does help. Again, all he can do is watch and he’s out there making calls and paying attention.”

        “I don’t think it’s a setback. I think what he’s going to have to do is once he gets healthy and ready to go, he’s just going to have to work a little bit extra hard. We have no concerns about him in that regard.”

        In the meantime second-year man Cory Harkey, and to a lesser extent third-year pro Mike McNeill, have benefited from extra reps in practice.

        “We’ve got great depth,” Schottenheimer said. “(Harkey’s) having a great camp. Mike McNeill is a guy, obviously, who is a match-up problem. So we’re splitting the reps around but we’ve got some other guys that are stepping up as well. Cameron Graham is making some plays. So that’s going to be a fun room to watch as the competition boils through the preseason.”

        Harkey, undrafted out of UCLA a year ago, caught Jeff Fisher’s eye during 2012 training camp.

        “Cory is a smart, instinctive football player,” Fisher said. “His on-the-line blocking — he was a very good blocker for a college tight end. He seemed to understand concepts.”

        Harkey, 6-4, 259, spent...
        -08-02-2013, 11:31 AM
      • RamDez
        Rams add quarterback, tight end
        by RamDez
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        06/02/2004


        Just as one Rams quarterback exited, a new one arrived. On Wednesday, the day that the release of Kurt Warner became official, the team signed Russ Michna, an undrafted rookie who will be right at home when he reports to training camp.

        The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Michna is a product of Western Illinois University in Macomb, the site of the Rams' preseason camp since 1996. He is a two-time offensive player of the year in the NCAA Division I-AA Gateway Conference. As a senior, Michna completed 211 of 371 passes for a WIU- record 3,160 yards and 21 touchdowns. He is a native of Elk Grove Village, Ill.

        Essentially, Michna is being added as a camp "arm." He'll join fellow quarterbacks Marc Bulger, Chris Chandler and Jeff Smoker, the team's sixth-round draft pick in April, on the roster.

        Still seeking depth at tight end, the Rams also signed Joel Jacobs of Nebraska-Kearney. Jacobs, 6-5 and 225 pounds, had 27 receptions for 228 yards last year as a senior. For his career, Jacobs caught 66 passes for 623 yards and three touchdowns. He was selected three times to the All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference squad.

        Cam Cleeland and Brandon Manumaleuna shared the tight end duties last season, after veteran Ernie Conwell signed with New Orleans in April 2003 as a free agent. Manumaleuna is back, with a new five-year, $8.3 million contract. Cleeland became an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the Rams still hope to sign him for 2004.

        The team used a seventh-round spot in the draft to take Erik Jensen, a tight end from Iowa.
        -06-03-2004, 12:30 AM
      • RamWraith
        Rams add QB and TE
        by RamWraith
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        06/02/2004


        Just as one Rams quarterback exited, a new one arrived. On Wednesday, the day that the release of Kurt Warner became official, the team signed Russ Michna, an undrafted rookie who will be right at home when he reports to training camp.

        The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Michna is a product of Western Illinois University in Macomb, the site of the Rams' preseason camp since 1996. He is a two-time offensive player of the year in the NCAA Division I-AA Gateway Conference. As a senior, Michna completed 211 of 371 passes for a WIU- record 3,160 yards and 21 touchdowns. He is a native of Elk Grove Village, Ill.

        Essentially, Michna is being added as a camp "arm." He'll join fellow quarterbacks Marc Bulger, Chris Chandler and Jeff Smoker, the team's sixth-round draft pick in April, on the roster.

        Still seeking depth at tight end, the Rams also signed Joel Jacobs of Nebraska-Kearney. Jacobs, 6-5 and 225 pounds, had 27 receptions for 228 yards last year as a senior. For his career, Jacobs caught 66 passes for 623 yards and three touchdowns. He was selected three times to the All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference squad.

        Cam Cleeland and Brandon Manumaleuna shared the tight end duties last season, after veteran Ernie Conwell signed with New Orleans in April 2003 as a free agent. Manumaleuna is back, with a new five-year, $8.3 million contract. Cleeland became an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the Rams still hope to sign him for 2004.

        The team used a seventh-round spot in the draft to take Erik Jensen, a tight end from Iowa.
        -06-02-2004, 04:21 PM
      Working...
      X