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End Is Near For 21 Players

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  • End Is Near For 21 Players

    End is near for 21


    In terms of roster moves, what took place Tuesday at Rams Park was mere appetizer. The main course is at hand, and it's never a pleasant time of year for players or coaches in the National Football League.

    Teams must be down to the regular-season roster limit of 53 players by 3 p.m. local time Saturday. In St. Louis, that means 21 of the 74 players currently on the Rams' roster will be out of jobs. For some, tonight's preseason finale against Kansas City at the Edward Jones Dome will be the last game of their careers.

    "Let's face it, you're talking about lives and jobs," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "It's not going to be a very enjoyable thing to do. But it's a necessary thing in the league."

    Spagnuolo hopes to personally inform every player who is being released.

    "Now sometimes, when there's a lot of guys rolling out there, you don't get to everybody," Spagnuolo said. "But I'd like to be able to do that. ... Or somebody from the organization. I think that's the right way to do it."

    The final say on the 53-man roster belongs to Spagnuolo. But he will get plenty of input from general manager Billy Devaney, the coaching staff and the scouting department.

    "We use all our resources," Spagnuolo said. "And then we'll sit down and make a hard decision on which ways we will go. If we get down to where we can't (decide), maybe we go back to the scouts and back to the coaches and say, 'Just give us a little bit more on this and that.' "

    Obviously, performance in preseason games is a major determining factor for less-established players competing for roster spots. But Spagnuolo says he's factoring in everything. How a player practices. Does he pay attention in the meeting room? Does he sneak out of the weight room early?

    All of that tells him something about a player, and could tip a close decision one way or another.

    With a new coaching staff, lots of new players, and a cleansing throughout the organization, Spagnuolo has told players that Rams Park is the land of opportunity. Jobs are there for the taking. But the window of opportunity is closing, making these tense times for players on the fringe of the roster.

    "I was talking to my roommate (Phil Trautwein), who is a rookie," running back Samkon Gado said. "And I just told him if you're going to play in this league, you've got to be prepared to be cut. I've been cut I think six or seven times in five years. It's just the nature of the beast.

    "You do the best that you can. And a lot of times, it's not really up to you. It's not really how well you played or how poorly you played. It's just there's not a need for you. So I think the best thing to do is just continue working hard. There's going to be someone out there who has a need for you, and I think I'm a wonderful example of that."

    Gado, 26, had three 100-yard rushing games for Green Bay as a rookie in 2005 but has since bounced around to Houston, Miami and now St. Louis. But the Rams have a dire need for backup help at running back behind Steven Jackson this season. Although Gado is taking nothing for granted, it looks as if he has secured a spot on the final roster.

    Others may not be so fortunate. Take Kenneth Darby, for example. He entered training camp as the solid favorite for the No. 2 running back job. But he has gained a modest 52 yards on 17 carries in preseason games and has been slowed lately by a sprained knee.

    "I just take care of my job on the field and let God take care of the rest," Darby said. "As far as the No. 2 spot, I don't even think about that anymore."

    But with Gado, Antonio Pittman and rookie Chris Ogbonnaya all enjoying more productive preseasons to date, should Darby be worried about just making the club?

    "I don't even let it cross my mind at all," he said. "If I start thinking like that, I'm going to be thinking about a whole lot more stuff. So I just need to take one step at a time, and keep doing what I have to do out here on the field."

    But for many, doing their job or doing their best won't be enough. They will get that phone call or that tap on the shoulder sometime this weekend.

    "You can't avoid what's coming," Gado said. "So if it's coming your way, just take it like a man."

  • #2
    Re: End Is Near For 21

    I read this and thought of Atogwe and freaked out. Whewh!


    • #3
      Re: End Is Near For 21

      So did I on Atogwe.

      I hated that article. Typical junk from the Post with virtually nothing in the information department.


      • #4
        Re: End Is Near For 21

        Originally posted by RebelYell
        So did I on Atogwe.

        I hated that article. Typical junk from the Post with virtually nothing in the information department.
        I know, what the hell? We know roster cuts are coming. I was hoping for some info on who's "on the bubble" so to speak


        • #5
          Re: End Is Near For 21

          We all thought it was Atogwe. I didn't want to open the thread at first!


          • #6
            Re: End Is Near For 21 Players

            There! I usually post articles with the original title intact, but in the interest of preventing any coronaries, I've amended it to include "players".


            • #7
              Re: End Is Near For 21 Players

              Ya, he sucks let's go with Roach !!!!!!

              Maineram -


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              • Rambos
                Rams put work into the last cuts
                by Rambos

                The lights at Rams Park were on late Friday night as the Rams' coaches, scouts and other personnel staffers labored to come up with a 53-man roster. They have until 3 p.m. today (St. Louis time) to complete the job.

                Several NFL teams announced at least some of their final cuts Friday, but coach Steve Spagnuolo said he didn't expect the Rams to be finished until about noon today. "And don't hold me to that," he cautioned reporters.

                The roster stood at 74 after Thursday night's 17-9 Governor's Cup win over Kansas City. The first-teamers were in for just two series, both on offense and defense, so Spagnuolo and Co. got a lengthy look at those players on the bubble.
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                Some 21 of them must go. "We could use two more preseason games to get it all figured out," Spagnuolo quipped, before adding: "We have what we have, and we have to evaluate based on that."

                GADO'S STATUS UNCLEAR

                Muddying the picture for the Rams' talent judges is the rib injury suffered by Samkon Gado late in the first quarter vs. the Chiefs. X-rays showed no fracture, but Gado has cartilage damage, which can be a significant problem for a running back.

                Spagnuolo said Gado was day-to-day for now, but acknowledged that "we're not really a hundred percent sure where Sam is. You'd probably have to list him as questionable right now for the game (at Seattle on Sept. 13) until we get to (the practices) Monday and Wednesday and find out exactly where he is."

                In the preseason, Gado clearly has outperformed Kenneth Darby and Antonio Pittman, the other primary contenders for the backup job behind Steven Jackson. Gado averaged 5.1 yards on 29 carries in the four games.

                If it looks as if Gado will be sidelined for a substantial period, the Rams almost surely will be scrutinizing the waiver wire for another ballcarrier.

                "You've got to have more than one back," Spagnuolo said. "Steven's a big guy and does a lot for us, but we're going to need to plug guys in there."

                INJURY UPDATE

                The injury to Gado and defensive tackle Adam Carriker, who according to league sources will undergo shoulder surgery, were the most serious Thursday. It was feared that defensive end Eric Moore broke his wrist, but X-rays were negative and it has been diagnosed as a sprain.

                Also, safety Craig Dahl aggravated the hamstring that kept him out earlier, safety David Roach sustained heel and shoulder injuries, and cornerback Justin King had a mild knee sprain.

                BREAK TIME

                Beginning Friday, the players had three consecutive...
                -09-05-2009, 10:00 AM
              • r8rh8rmike
                Rams Moving Ahead
                by r8rh8rmike
                Rams Moving Ahead
                Saturday, August 15, 2009

                By Nick Wagoner
                Senior Writer

                After reviewing the film of his first game as a head coach, Steve Spagnuolo made sure, like always, to keep the big picture view as his main focus.

                While there were plenty of positives to take away from the team’s 23-20 win against the Jets on Friday night, there were also a few negatives. But the idea is to not get too high or too low based on either of those things, especially after just one preseason game.

                And that’s the message Spagnuolo conveyed late Saturday afternoon after he had finished watching the tape.

                “We have to do work in all different areas,” Spagnuolo said. “Like I said, this is a beginning, not an end. This wasn’t a final exam, this was just a – I’m not going to say a pop quiz because we knew this was coming – but we will take whatever we can out of it good and bad and hopefully get better. We have kind of been pushing that all the way through.”

                That didn’t change on Saturday and isn’t likely to anytime soon, either. In the meantime, Spagnuolo will have the opportunity to continue to evaluate his players. Of course, Spagnuolo and staff will not completely ignore what happened on the field on Friday night, either.

                Certainly, knee jerk reactions to a spectacular catch or forced fumble or long touchdown run will not be the order of the day for the Rams but there’s no doubt that making plays to stand out will earn certain players some opportunities they haven’t yet been afforded to this point.

                “There will be a little bit of juggling,” Spagnuolo said. “I don’t know that there was anything that drastic that you will go out there tomorrow and say ‘Oh my God, they have changed here and there.’ We have a long way to go. We still have two more games before we have to make any decisions and then that final game. There will be a little bit of juggling, maybe more some guys getting some reps with the ones that haven’t and vice versa but that’s about it.”

                Clearly, no player made a bigger impression on Friday night than running back Samkon Gado. Gado got his first action of the game working on special teams and also took first half snaps at fullback in place of Mike Karney.

                To open the third quarter, Gado had a 25-yard kickoff return followed two plays later by his 77-yard touchdown run off the left side.

                In a matter of an hour and a half, Gado showed the type of versatility that Spagnuolo seems to covet up and down the roster.

                “Anybody that can play two positions I think is valuable,” Spagnuolo said. “I think anybody with versatility gives you a leg up. You go to 53 and all of a sudden it’s 45 on gameday, versatility is big.”

                Gado wasn’t the only Rams running back making a strong impression. Antonio Pittman showed some juice, picking up 36 yards on...
                -08-16-2009, 03:51 PM
              • r8rh8rmike
                A New Rams PLan
                by r8rh8rmike
                A new Rams plan

                By Jim Thomas
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                One of the first things you notice on the practice field is the ever-present pencil. It's resting on Steve Spagnuolo's ear. Or in his hand.

                He'll squat like a catcher at home plate and start scribbling while a drill takes place 10 feet away at Rams Park.

                He's used the same kind of Papermate pencil for the last decade. You know, the plastic ones where you turn the end to get the lead out. Spagnuolo uses it on the football field to help his players get the lead out.

                What's he writing about?

                "I actually don't (know)," safety James Butler said. "But I know when he gets up to speak to the team, he has a list of notes. So I don't know if he's writing down in practice what's going on or what. But he's always writing down notes."

                And then there are the practice "props."

                — The long plastic strip that's placed at the line of scrimmage, with the letters T-G-C-G-T on it. (As in tackle, guard, center, etc.)

                — The red cones placed several yards behind the line of scrimmage. (Players not involved in the play must stay behind the cones.)

                — The footballs with the tips painted white. (It's to get defensive backs in the habit of catching the ball at the tips.)

                — The "beeper box," which goes off when the quarterback has held the ball too long during 7-on-7 passing drills. (It can be calibrated for 3-step, 5-step and 7-step drops.)

                You look at all this, and you wonder if Spagnuolo was the type of kid who took a lot of notes, kept his room clean, made his bed.

                "I probably would say yeah," Spagnuolo said, flashing a "you got me" look at the questioner. "I was actually one of those people that went to class. I can't sit here and say I didn't go. I did. And I always took notes. If I didn't take good notes, I wasn't going to do good. Because I had to study. I wasn't a natural learner."

                The bed making?

                "I don't know why I remember this," Spagnuolo said. "(Maybe) because my mother used to say it to people. I made my bed every day till I got to be like 15 or 16 — whatever that age is (for teenage rebellion). And then all of a sudden I became not quite as consistent."

                So yes, Spagnuolo always had a clean room.

                "I don't know, I operate a little bit better that way," he said.

                IT'S IN THE DETAILS

                Now, at age 49, Spagnuolo is trying to make the Rams operate a lot better as a rookie NFL head coach. The task is daunting to say the least. This is a franchise that hasn't been in the playoffs since 2004, hasn't had a winning season since 2003, and has lost 27 of its last 32 games.

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                -08-30-2009, 03:11 PM
              • Alec22
                Rams Staying the Course
                by Alec22
                By Nick Wagoner
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                By his own admission Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo can often have the sound of a broken record.

                Each week, win or lose, rain or snow, no matter the circumstance, Spagnuolo squares his jaw, focuses on the task at hand and approaches every game the same way.

                More than halfway into his rookie season as a head coach, Spagnuolo has never strayed from the team-first ethos he installed from the day he arrived in St. Louis way back in January.

                In the face of plenty of adversity, Spagnuolo has uttered nary a discouraging word and anyone looking for a full-throated, raging outburst should look elsewhere. And a little prosperity hasn’t had the opposite effect, either as Spagnuolo hasn’t come close to any type of braggadocio.

                “I have had my moments (of frustration),” Spagnuolo said. “But I think there’s a professional way to do it. I think everybody in this business should be respected for the jobs they have. I think any business is about respecting each other. I don’t see any reason to go off the cuff. I keep that to myself. Part of what we talk about as a team is being a poised team. You can’t be a poised team if the head coach isn’t poised.”

                Regardless of the record, if there’s one thing that has remained constant in this first year under Spagnuolo’s guidance it’s his and his team’s uncanny knack to remain unfazed by any possible distractions.

                Spagnuolo’s message reaches to the team, too. There have been no locker room or sideline blowups, only players staying relentlessly positive and focusing on the single goal of coming together as a team with the sole focus of finding ways to win football games.

                “Being a guy who has been here with the Rams now going for five years,” safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said. “Some of the younger guys and some of the vets need to see loyalty and faithfulness from the guys that have already been here and that’s going to carry over throughout the locker room so you just build a team that is really focused on one goal and one purpose and being one.”

                BUYING IN

                At Spagnuolo’s initial news conference when he was introduced as the head coach, he made it clear the way he and general manager Billy Devaney wanted to build the team back into a winner.

                Topping the list was finding a way to build a team that was all about team. A team that would fill the locker room with players that care as much about the guy next to them as they do themselves.

                Spagnuolo put the Rams through a rigorous training camp that had them tackling in full pads from day one and continued to put the emphasis on building the team concept every day.

                It was easy enough for the players to buy into the system then because they knew Spagnuolo’s impressive resume coming from winning programs in Philadelphia and New York.

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                -11-04-2009, 11:32 AM
              • mikhal5569
                Probably The Best Article I've Read All Year
                by mikhal5569
                Spagnuolo has Rams on right track.

                Don Banks.
                First-year Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has*team on right track - Don Banks -
                ST. LOUIS -- One of my favorite things to do on an NFL training camp tour is to visit a team that features a rookie head coach, as the Rams do this year after hiring ex-Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo this offseason. Though I'm usually blowing through camp in a day or so, you can often learn a lot from watching those early days of a new regime, seeing whether or not the veterans on that team are buying what the new guy is selling, and seeing a first-time coach in the process of finding out who he can and can't count on.
                True, trying to take an accurate temperature reading of an organization's new program after interviewing a handful of players for a matter of minutes is your basic snap judgment, writ large. It's far from foolproof. But sometimes it can be dead on.
                For example, after stops at both the Falcons and Ravens training camps last summer, I came away believing that rookie head coaches Mike Smith and John Harbaugh both had a pretty good handle on what it was going to take to turn Atlanta and Baltimore around, and that they had already put the wheels in motion. It's not that I saw 11-5 seasons coming for both, far from it. But I did see two teams that were in the process of fully buying into Smith and Harbaugh's approaches, and I sensed it would pay dividends at some point.
                In an inverse way, the same was true for the 2007 Falcons, who I also paid a camp visit to, in order to discover what the new Bobby Petrino era was all about in Atlanta. One day there and I had the feeling trouble was on way for the Birds that season, thanks largely to the degree of skepticism I heard coming from key Atlanta veterans. And you know how that story turned out: Petrino's rookie season was his only NFL season, as his 13-game tenure was a debacle of epic proportion.
                All that said, I'm ready to make the call that Spagnuolo seems like the right man for the job that faces his downtrodden Rams. While their NFL-worst 5-27 record the past two years breeds a certain amount of willingness to follow anyone with a plan, the Rams convinced me that Spagnuolo has been pitch perfect so far in his make-over efforts in St. Louis.
                "I was talking to someone in the locker room two days ago, and I said, 'He hasn't told us a lie yet,' '' Rams second-year defensive end Chris Long told me Thursday afternoon, after another two-a-day practice was in the books. "Everything he's said has been on point. I thought we bought into Spags the minute he walked in the door. I had never heard him talk or seen him before, but I knew where he had been, and that resume spoke for itself. On top of that, he's a man who treats people with respect, and when he speaks, guys listen and really embrace his notion of respecting team.''
                Watching Spagnuolo work a practice is like watching...
                -08-09-2009, 06:52 AM