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Bell Bounces Back

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  • Bell Bounces Back

    Bell Bounces Back
    Sunday, August 30, 2009

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Upon making his return to the football field for the first time since suffering a serious concussion on Aug. 14 against the Jets, Rams guard Jacob Bell wanted to waste no time in checking to see where his head was at – literally and figuratively.

    So it was that Bell stepped on the practice field at the Russell Training Center on Sunday and immediately called upon some of his lesser tenured teammates to knock the rust off quickly.

    “I started out early popping the rookies in individual drills to get my helmet loose and see if the marbles are still loose up there,” Bell said. “It felt pretty good.”

    Bell completed the practice at his usual left guard spot with the first team with no issues and felt fine during the practice as well as after.

    That’s a long way from how the past couple of weeks have been, though.

    The play seemed simple enough, as the Rams called for a power run to the right on the first play of the game in which Bell’s responsibility is to pull out to the right and essentially lead block for the running back.

    Pulling is something Bell has done countless times in his career and he estimates he’s done it at least 200 times in games in his five years in the NFL. For as long as he can remember, Bell has always done it the same way, though, with his head down.

    Despite having many coaches tell him to keep his head up when he pulls, Bell says he’s always been better pulling because he can deliver more of a blow with his head down.

    “What happens when you pull around is if you put your head down, you make yourself vulnerable to any kind of collision like that,” Bell said. “They’ve been telling me since I was a rookie don’t put your head down when you pull. I have had success with it in the past though just popping people.”

    This time, with his head down, Bell was on the receiving end of a vicious helmet to helmet collision with Jets linebacker Bart Scott.

    Two plays later, Bell and the offense came off the field and Bell unknowingly had the first serious concussion of his career.

    “When you do have a concussion, you don’t know you have a concussion,” Bell said. “You feel normal. Like I was talking to everybody on the sidelines but the same questions I am asking them, I am going back five minutes later and asking the same question like Dory from Finding Nemo. You feel normal but on the outside looking in you are messed up.”

    Bell was diagnosed with the concussion almost immediately and taken out of that game soon after the hit.

    And while Bell felt OK soon after the hit, it was what he experienced over the next few days that truly made him realize the severity of the injury.

    Bell struggled to remember even little things about what had happened and couldn’t even remember going to New York, where had traveled just two days earlier. He was sensitive to light and took to wearing sunglasses to avoid direct contact with it.

    “It was very scary,” Bell said. “I didn’t remember anything. I was messed up, man. You get a concussion, it’s like time travel. You see little blips then two days, three days, you start remembering everything.”

    To get back on the field, any player diagnosed with a concussion must pass a series of tests as mandated by the league.

    These “baseline” tests are taken by every player in the league under normal circumstances. The tests are basic knowledge type of things such as recognizing shapes and colors.

    When a player suffers a concussion, he must take the test again and reach his previously set “baseline” before he is cleared to return.

    A couple days after the concussion, Bell took the baseline test and said he knew he wasn’t feeling right though he fared OK on the test.

    After waiting a bit, Bell took it again recently and passed. In the meantime, he spent his time trying to keep his conditioning up with strength coach Rock Gullickson and doing all he can to stay in the game mentally.

    There’s no doubt that he fell behind a bit from the missed time and two missed preseason contests.

    “I need to keep repping things,” Bell said. “I need to get in there, get the play. I’m hoping they let me play this week. I am staying after practice, trying to get the reps. I felt like I was in a great spot before the game, where I needed to be. Two weeks is a setback no matter how you look at it. It’s a repetition game so I am staying after and doing everything I can.”

    Not that there’s ever a good time to have an injury, but Bell is pleased that he at least has this week and another preseason game to get back in the swing of things before the real games begin.

    According to coach Steve Spagnuolo, the plan is to play Bell this week and possibly give him more playing time than the rest of the first unit so he can knock the rust off.

    “That’s the hope,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll see on the (number of) plays. He would probably need a few more than the rest of the first group.”

  • #2
    Re: Bell Bounces Back

    I'm glad he's better, but maybe now the dumbazz will keep his frigging head up and realize that he isn't smarted than every coach he's ever had. I wonder what else he does his own way and not the way he's told? Could be why he's struggling with the Rams so far.


    • #3
      Re: Bell Bounces Back

      "ramfantillidie" - the rams will have a lot of tough desisions to make after this season ends. Do they sign Barron to a high dollar contract only to move him back to RT? Is Bell really the answer at LG? Will they also resign Cogs? The way I see it we already have too much money in our Off. line for the amount of production weve seen. Is Bell really worth 6 million per year? We over paid for Brown, hopefully he's worth it. Can Greco and setterstom do just as good of a job as Cogs and Bell? Smith has got to be our LT for sure, nobody pays a RT that kind of money. Will Barron after signing a big contract really perform well once he's moved back to RT where he probably doesn't want to play at? Goldberg is a backup and should not be considered a starter. Setterstrom will be a FA next year also. Wondering how serious the Rams are about Allen @ LG. RaMS NEED TO BE LOOKING FOR talent that's cheap- at least until you're forced to pay.


      • #4
        Re: Bell Bounces Back

        If Bell has another injury plagued season with little or no production, will he be on par with Bennett? We were really depending on him to help solidify the OL.


        • #5
          Re: Bell Bounces Back

          I still say we should have drafted Duke Robinson. He was falling for quite a bit. First round talent, and he was available when we were picking in the fourth AND fifth round. The kid is a monster guard, 6-5 330lbs. Shame we didn't draft him. If Bell or Cogs didn't pan out, this kid could probably step in.


          • #6
            Re: Bell Bounces Back

            :ram: Hmm, so far ... sure, I'd say Bell is an overpaid OL. I suppose all we can hope for is that...

            a) He gets healthy the next couple of weeks;
            b) Is on same page with the rest of the offense (playbook / practise wise);
            c) Goes ALL OUT to perform his best year he's had in his career; key factor in improving our OL.

            Oh, and BTY, how's Bell doing as far as his weight?


            Related Topics


            • jbell15
              Jacob Bell wasn't kidding
              by jbell15
              When he said he was going to beef up this off-season.
              He added 15-20 lbs and says he wants to get near 300.
              Check out the article on the rams website.
              I'm stoked to hear about his progress.
              -05-03-2009, 05:37 PM
            • RamWraith
              Bell Settled in St. Louis
              by RamWraith
              Thursday, August 7, 2008

              By Nick Wagoner
              Senior Writer

              NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Before Jacob Bell could even get settled back in his former home, he could hear it.

              It was the sound of Kevin Mawae, the Tennessee Titans’ starting center and resident wiseacre. As Bell went through stretching exercises with the rest of his new Rams teammates, Mawae was causing a stir a field away.

              ‘Stop slacking, Bell,’ or ‘Get in gear 63,’ were just a couple of examples of the ammunition Mawae threw at his former teammate.

              To Bell, Mawae’s taunts were nothing new.

              “He’s always yelling,” Bell said. “He’s yelling at me in my dreams. He’s one of my good buddies, we kept in contact and it was good to see him out there.”

              This week represents a homecoming for Bell, who was one of the Rams’ biggest offseason acquisitions. After spending his first four NFL seasons with the Titans, Bell signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Rams on March 4.

              Soon after, the Rams installed Bell as the starting left guard and the offensive line went to work on gaining traction.

              Bell’s return to Tennessee this week brings back plenty of memories, not the least of which includes a chance to reunite with many of the players who helped make him among the most highly compensated interior linemen in the league.

              Mawae, for instance, is one player Bell cites as a serious influence on turning Bell from fifth-round draft choice to highly-regarded lineman. Mawae is entering his 16th season in the league and helped show Bell the ropes of the game from the moment he entered the league.

              “He’s just about seen it all,” Bell said. “He has definitely learned a lot and wanted to teach me everything he knows. So I listened with open ears. Everything there is to know, technique to the way you talk to people and getting to know referees and stuff like that.”

              Bell’s introduction to the NFL wasn’t limited to a player lining up next to him, though. Bell is taking advantage of the chance to get re-acquainted with the player who he squared off against in practice for most of his time with the Titans.

              Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth has tormented opponents for most of his career and became an All Pro performer in 2007. Bell became used to facing Haynesworth every day in practice and renewed that rivalry in practice this week.

              While Haynesworth is widely considered one of the top tackles in the game, Bell more than held his own in one on one drills.

              “Albert is a Pro Bowl quality player,” Bell said. “I played against him and was fortunate enough to go against him for four seasons. I learned a lot going against him and he helped me become a better player.”

              Bell admittedly got off to a slow start in this year’s training camp but has turned it on in recent days as he...
              -08-07-2008, 07:14 PM
            • RamWraith
              Jacob Bell Insists He's Not Shrinking
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Thomas

              Jacob Bell insists he's not the incredible shrinking guard. Over the last month or so of this season, there has been much scuttlebutt about Bell's weight being down into the low 280s.

              Because his listed playing weight coming into the NFL was 305 pounds, that would be an alarming loss of more than 20 pounds. Bell attempted to set the record straight in an interview earlier in the week.

              "I came into the league at 305, but that was five years ago," he said. "I had ACL (knee) surgery that offseason. I lost a bunch of weight; I never put it back on. I kind of liked the way I felt a little bit lighter, and I played well at that weight."

              Since his rookie season with the Tennessee Titans in 2004, Bell said he has played at 290 pounds throughout his career. So when he dipped down in the 280s, that represented a loss of only 5 pounds or so — not 20-something pounds.

              So he hasn't lost a ton of weight.

              "Not at all," Bell said. "I'm usually dominating, no matter how big I am."

              He was joking when he said that. Actually, Bell hasn't been dominating as a Ram, although he has played better lately. Slowed by hamstring and foot injuries earlier in the season, Bell hasn't looked like a $36 million man much of the season. That's the total contract value of the six-year free-agent deal he signed with St. Louis last March 4.

              Bell is the first to admit that big expectations come with big bucks in the NFL.

              "Somebody like me, they expect a lot out of me," he said. "There's no room for error. And when you're losing, the spotlight's that much bigger on every one of us. Because you're losing for a reason. You're not losing because of the coaches; you're losing because the players aren't getting the job done."

              The transition from Titan to Ram was tough on Bell at the start of the season.

              "First game of the year, I thought I came out pretty decent — there were a few things I could've gotten better at," Bell said. "But then I had the stupid (hamstring) injury."

              That sidelined him for two games. Bell returned against Buffalo in Game 4 and played well but then suffered a foot injury in Game 5 at Washington, which was Jim Haslett's Rams head-coaching debut.

              "I played all the way up to the (first) San Francisco game with pretty much a bum leg," Bell said. "I was hobbling around. I was out there, but I wasn't playing my best football. ...You want to be healthy. You want to be able to play the way you know you can play."

              Haslett agreed with the notion that Bell's play has improved down the stretch.

              "He's been playing with power," Haslett said. "He's added a couple pounds again. I think he's...
              -12-19-2008, 06:15 AM
            • RAMarkable
              What was up with Jacob Bell
              by RAMarkable
              As I was watching the Rams yesterday I noticed that Bell was out of the lineup and Wragge was playing in his place.

              Anybody know what was going on with Mr. Bell?

              (Or is it more accurate to ask if anybody really cares at this point....)

              WHAT SAY YE?
              -10-03-2011, 05:00 PM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Jacob Bell Has Been Solid For St. Louis Rams
              by r8rh8rmike
              Jacob Bell has been solid for St. Louis Rams
              BY BILL COATS

              As the host of a bounteous Thanksgiving dinner, Rams guard Jacob Bell will be surrounded by friends and family today. "I have a sister, brother, mom, dad, step-mom, cousin, and a couple of friends and teammates coming over," he said. "So, it'll be a good day."

              The comfort of familiar faces was a rare commodity for Bell last year, his first with the Rams after signing a six-year, $36 million contract as a free agent. Injuries kept the coaches busy juggling the personnel on the offensive line, making it difficult for Bell, the left guard, to settle in.

              Not so this season, at least in Bell's immediate area. He, center Jason Brown and left tackle Alex Barron have taken virtually every snap. Continuity has been established, and the play of the line has improved significantly.

              "I played on what I felt were some of the better offensive lines when I was at Tennessee" for four years, he said. "Coming here, this season especially, I don't feel there's many better than us. We've been pretty consistent keeping Marc clean and giving Steven room to run."

              Quarterbacks Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller have been sacked just 21 times. Running back Steven Jackson has rushed for 1,031 yards, second in the NFL.

              According to STATS LLC, Bell is responsible for just one sack. Overall, he's graded out consistently well on the coaches' postgame film review.

              "I think I'm kind of figuring out some things that are working for me," he said. "It's just really tough to put things into perspective when you're not winning. But if I was to look at myself, I feel like I'm getting the job done."

              Coach Steve Spagnuolo described Bell's performance as "very solid. He's a tough guy that's played well."

              Pass blocking always has been a strength for Bell, the Titans' fifth-round draft pick in 2004 out of Miami (Ohio). Run blocking, he conceded, has been his nemesis.

              "A lot of times when you second-guess yourself, it slows you down and you don't do exactly what you wanted to do. I still struggle with that and that's when I start getting into trouble," Bell explained. "But this year, I think I've done a lot better job of trusting myself with my technique."

              Staying bulked up has helped, too, he said. In the past, the 6-foot-4 Bell struggled to maintain his weight — last year, for example, he slipped down to 280.

              "At the end of my first (NFL) season, I hurt my knee and my shoulder. I had two major surgeries within a month of each other, and I'm walking around with a crutch on one side and a sling on the other side," he said. "I got down to 268 pounds. That's from 312 or 313 when I first reported that season. Since...
              -11-25-2009, 11:58 PM