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Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

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  • Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

    Rams' Jonathan Wade is ready to start opener for the first time

    Life is changing dramatically for Jonathan Wade. He's gotten married, become a father and now is a starting cornerback for the Rams.

    Items one and two easily are the most important, he stressed. "I married my soulmate, and I have a child now. That changes everything about the way you look at life," Wade said. "I feel so blessed to have those two people in my life."

    Although the youngster is barely a month old, Wade already has an ambitious future mapped out for him. "I'm looking for him to be drafted," said the proud father, a third-round draftee in 2007.

    The near future is bright, too, he acknowledged. On Sunday, Wade is expected to be in the starting lineup for a season opener for the first time in his three NFL seasons.

    "Just to get on the plane, travel with the team, and put the uniform on is a special treat. I try not to take any of it for granted," he said. "That I may be out there on the first play is a tad bit exciting by itself, but I have to go out there and play. I can't be star-struck, because I have 10 other teammates counting on me."

    The Rams decided not to re-sign Fakhir Brown, the first-team cornerback opposite Ron Bartell last year. Then they traded Brown's successor, former first-round draft pick Tye Hill, to Atlanta last week.

    Obviously, the new coaching staff felt comfortable with Wade, who had played in all 32 games, with two starts, his first two seasons.

    "Jonathan's one of those feisty guys ... one of those energetic guys," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's really into it; he loves playing football. Any defense needs that kind of energy."

    Wade, a former All-America sprinter at Tennessee, also brings speed, decent size (5 feet 10 and 198 pounds) and improved coverage skills. He tied for second on the club in preseason tackles, with 12.

    "Jon moving up is no big deal," Bartell said. "He's been here for three years now, and he's become a better football player. He's not worried about making mistakes or missing tackles or anything. He's a lot more confident now. ...

    "We expect a lot of big things from him."


    Safety Craig Dahl (hamstring), linebacker Larry Grant (knee) and guard John Greco (wrist) sat out practice Wednesday. Spagnuolo already has ruled out Grant for Sunday's game, and Greco, who had surgery over the weekend, is expected to miss two to three weeks.

    Spagnuolo said only quarterback Marc Bulger (finger) and fullback Mike Karney (ankle) were limited. But when the first game-week injury report of the season was issued later, running back Samkon Gado (ribs) and defensive end Leonard Little (knee) also were listed as limited.


    Gado is wearing extra padding to protect the cartilage damage to his ribs. "In practice, I don't even realize that I'm hurt," he reported. "I'll be good to go Sunday."

    The injury occurred Thursday in the preseason finale vs. Kansas City. Gado, who is expected to back up Steven Jackson vs. the Seahawks, played down his quick recovery.

    "It's something that you play with," he said. "Yeah, there's going to be pain during the game. But at this position, if something like that is enough to put you out, then you might want to consider playing another position."


    Using what he called a "secret system," Spagnuolo will name weekly captains. This week's choices are Jackson (offense), safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (defense) and kicker Josh Brown (special teams). ... While the 53-man roster is set (for now), two players have changed numbers: Gado, to 35 from 38; and cornerback Cord Parks, to 23 from 42.

  • #2
    Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

    Here's a fearless forecast....

    With opposing QBs avoiding Bartell somewhat, Wade will have the ball thrown his way quite a bit. The outcome will be that he will get beat from time to time, but he will also lead the Rams in interceptions.


    • #3
      Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

      Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
      Here's a fearless forecast....

      With opposing QBs avoiding Bartell somewhat, Wade will have the ball thrown his way quite a bit. The outcome will be that he will get beat from time to time, but he will also lead the Rams in interceptions.
      Its also worth noting that Bartell has Butler lining up as CB on his side, where as Wade has Atogwe closer to him

      OJ loves a pick, and QBs better be wary throwing to that side because they are going to be aggressive in going for the Int

      Its also good to see OJ get recognised as a captain on defense, we need to get him locked up longterm


      • #4
        Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

        Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
        Rams' Jonathan Wade is ready to start opener for the first time

        Spagnuolo said only quarterback Marc Bulger (finger) and fullback Mike Karney (ankle) were limited.
        If Bulger can't practice like he is ready to play we might be better starting KB and let Bulger set another week.


        • #5
          Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

          Personally, I'd take Bulger on crutches before I'd want Boller starting a game for the Rams.


          • #6
            Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

            Wade looked promising in preseason, and looked good against the run. He will be tested early as Seattle has a decent WR corp. How much pressure the Rams can put on Hasselback will be key.


            • #7
              Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

              good to see Wade seems to have developed..

              out of all the units on our new young team..its the secondary that excites me most at this point.
              not just Wade but Atogwe,Bartell,J.Butler,Q.Butler,Fletcher,Smith,King...

              young players with vast postential..good work ethics and top notch coaching at the position..all seems sweet to me..


              • #8
                Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

                Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                Here's a fearless forecast....

                With opposing QBs avoiding Bartell somewhat, Wade will have the ball thrown his way quite a bit. The outcome will be that he will get beat from time to time, but he will also lead the Rams in interceptions.
                If Wade gives up a ton of passes, I hope fans aren't dumping on him. He is what he is and he needs to be given significant time to develop before we even rate him. Bartell was given a lot of time and right before he blossomed, a lot of fans were hating on him.

                I pick Spoon to get as many interceptions as Wade. They seem to be running a jamming zone defense a lot of time and then mixing it up with serious cushions. Wade is going to be blamed for giving up underneath passes. I think Spoon and JLau can take advantage of that.


                • #9
                  Re: Rams' Jonathan Wade Is Ready To Start Opener For The First Time

                  Its good the rams chose to go in a other direction - Tye Hill for whatever reason was a liability. Kudo's to Spags and Devaney -keeping thier word.
                  Does anyone know what compensation the rams are likely getting?


                  Related Topics


                  • RamWraith
                    Corners Come A Long Way
                    by RamWraith
                    Monday, August 4, 2008

                    By Brett Grassmuck

                    Staff Writer

                    It’s never a good thing to lose players to injury. But these are the dog days of training camp, and unfortunately having a couple banged up players is part of it.

                    The Rams secondary took a beating early on when cornerback Fakhir Brown suffered a shoulder injury early in camp. He is expected to miss as many as four weeks. Cornerback Tye Hill has since returned to practice, but missed a couple days with a quadriceps injury.

                    With the Rams top two corners out of commission, the young cornerbacks, fourth-round draft pick Justin King and Jonathan Wade, had a chance to step in and take some reps with the first team.

                    “There’s nothing like being in there, under the fire and learning,” Wade said. “It’s still not a game, but it is a game out here at practice, depending on how you approach it. I approach every snap as if it’s a game. Getting the reps has been wonderful. It allows the coaches to know what they have in you and when they can rely on you, what you’re good at and what you need work on. It gives them a better look at you…I know that my teammates will be back and better than ever, and we will continue to progress as a unit.”

                    King enters this season in a similar situation to where Wade was just one year ago. Both were great athletes coming out of college, and both needed time in the system to develop.

                    In Wade’s case, having that first year of NFL experience under his belt helped him tremendously. He’s becoming a more polished player, reacting to game situations instead of thinking.

                    “Wade is becoming a much more consistent player,” secondary coach Ron Milus said. “Through this first week, he’s made quite a few plays. I think the biggest thing for him is the consistency of his play. He’s eliminated a lot of the mistakes that he made a year ago. It will be interesting from this point on to see where he goes as far as his game is concerned.”

                    Last season, Wade played in all 16 games as a rookie, making his first NFL start against the Green Bay Packers week 15. He finished the season with 21 tackles (19 solo) and one interception against the Arizona Cardinals in the final game of the season.

                    “In my case, (last season) was a lot of what not to do,” Wade said. “It helped a tremendous amount to take everything that I was able to do and able to learn, and everything that I was able to see, and use it this year as firepower.”

                    Wade is using his first year in the league as motivation, and he’s come to camp looking to correct his mistakes. So far, it’s worked for the cornerback as he’s had his hands on a couple of interceptions through the first week and a half.

                    “I had a friend of mine tell me in school that until I started believing that I caught touchdowns, that’s when I would start catching touchdowns,” Wade said....
                    -08-05-2008, 05:35 AM
                  • RamWraith
                    Wade tries to capitalize on opportunity
                    by RamWraith
                    By Bill Coats
                    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                    Thursday, Dec. 20 2007

                    Offense or defense? Jonathan Wade was playing both ways — wide receiver and
                    cornerback — early in his career at the University of Tennessee and didn't
                    really have a preference. Until one particular afternoon.

                    "I caught a ball early in the game; later, I made a tackle for loss," recalled
                    Wade, a Rams rookie. "And to me, that tackle was a lot better than catching
                    that pass. It was incredible, and I was like, 'Man, this is what I want to do.'"

                    It wasn't so much that Wade preferred hitting to being hit.

                    "I just like the intensity on defense," he explained. "Offense sometimes can be
                    kind of be slow, but defense is always, 'rah, rah, rah, rah.' We're the bad
                    guys, you know? It's fun."

                    The fun quotient for Wade, who became a full-time cornerback for the Vols after
                    sitting out all but two games in 2003 because of a shoulder injury, is even
                    higher these days. With Tye Hill out for the season following wrist surgery,
                    Wade, a third-round draft pick (No. 84 overall), is getting increased playing
                    time as the nickel back.

                    He comes in on passing downs, taking outside coverage while Ron Bartell moves
                    in on the slot receiver.

                    "I think these games will do nothing but help (Wade) in the future," Rams
                    defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "It hinders your defense sometimes, but
                    how does anybody get better unless you're on the field?"

                    Ellis Wade, a salesman, and Victoria, a fourth-grade teacher, raised seven
                    children in Shreveport, La. Jonathan was an all-state football player at
                    Evangel Christian High but might have gained even more notice as a sprinter.

                    The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Wade still holds Louisiana prep records at 55, 100 and
                    200 meters, and was a track All-American at Tennessee. Despite that success,
                    track never captured Wade's heart the way football did.

                    "Track was something I loved then, but me winning a race ... nothing compared
                    to my first interception. Nothing," he said. "When that happened, that
                    solidified what I wanted to do."

                    His speed helped earn him extensive action on special teams this year. But his
                    time on defense had been limited until Hill went down two weeks ago.

                    "Jonathan has tremendous upside — a lot of talent, great speed and pretty much
                    the size that you're looking for at the corner position," Rams coach Scott
                    Linehan said. "He just doesn't have the experience. ... In the last month, I've
                    seen a more mature, confident player."

                    One that is looking to make an impression.

                    "Every opportunity you get...
                    -12-20-2007, 07:04 AM
                  • eldfan
                    Rams Team Report
                    by eldfan
                    USA Today
                    Posted 12h 35m ago E-mail | Save | Print |

                    Aside from trying to win games, coach Steve Spagnuolo had one thing he stressed from the first day he was hired last January: Concentrate on "team first" and building an atmosphere that had that as the main goal.
                    The Rams won only one game during the season, but Spagnuolo insists the team goal was met. Now he knows what has to be done to create wins for an organization that has won just six games in three seasons.

                    Rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis likes what was accomplished and says the young talent will only get better.

                    "I think we have a lot of talent on this team," Laurinaitis said. "If you look at a lot of the games this year, they could've gone other ways. I think we have great coaches. Another year together, it's going to be something good. There's definitely a lot of competitiveness in this group."

                    It was also a unique year for Laurinaitis, who didn't lose many games during his entire college career at Ohio State, much less 15 in one season.

                    "It's very easy to play 100 percent when you're winning and things are rolling and the crowd's into it, and stuff like that," he said. "But when you're down and things get out of control, that's when it's very easy to pack it in. I think I learned a lot about myself this year. I've never been put in that (losing) situation except for a few times in college. You can tell who really cares by who really keeps trying in those moments."

                    Cornerback Ron Bartell was an unrestricted free agent last March and was being wooed by the Saints. After meeting Spagnuolo, Bartell elected to re-sign with the Rams. Does he regret it, considering New Orleans was 13-3 this past season and earned the top seed in the NFC playoffs?

                    He said, "When I re-signed, I knew it wasn't going to be an overnight thing. I got into it for the long haul. So I knew it was going to take time. We still have the right people in place. I totally, firmly believe that. I think I made the best decision for me. I still think we can get this thing turned around."

                    Of course, he acknowledged how tough the season was.

                    "It was extremely difficult," Bartell said. "With all the changes we made, you definitely didn't see that coming. But it is what it is. We put ourselves in this position. The only thing we can do now is move forward."

                    Bartell also likes the talent on the roster.

                    "We have a good mix of young guys that are willing to learn, and veterans that are willing to lead," he said. "Not a lot of egos. Everybody's playing for the same goal. We didn't accomplish that, of course, but I think in the end we all just stuck together."

                    Said veteran James Hall, who has played 10 seasons in the NFL...
                    -01-14-2010, 02:33 PM
                  • eldfan
                    Inside Slant
                    by eldfan
                    Inside Slant
                    Posted 4h 18m ago E-mail | Save | Print |

                    When training camp opened, it appeared veteran Andy McCollum had the inside track to the team's starting job at center. McCollum had made a remarkable comeback at the age of 37 from major knee surgery. And despite solid play from Brett Romberg in the final three games of the 2006 season, McCollum's experience seemed to give him an edge.
                    But after more than three weeks of training camp and two practice games, coaches are no closer to naming a starter now than they were when camp opened July 27.

                    Romberg, who turns 28 in October, started the first game against Minnesota, while McCollum started the second game against San Diego. Coach Scott Linehan said a decision would probably be made Tuesday regarding who will start Friday against Oakland.

                    "We haven't come to a conclusion yet," Linehan said, the day after the team's 30-13 loss to San Diego. "We still feel very comfortable with both of them. I thought Andy played well against the first defensive front. With what we have evaluated to this point, we feel it is still too close to call. Brett played a lot of plays; I think he played up near 40 plays, because of how the rotation worked. We wanted to make sure he stayed in there while Gus (Frerotte) was in there. He played well when he went in. It is still a pretty tight battle."

                    Linehan said many factors play into the decision.

                    "There is something to be said about the chemistry of the front and how combinations of guys work together," he said. "I think they are both so close in how they are playing right now that sometimes you just have to give them more than one or two or even three opportunities. That's the interesting battle of our training camp on offense, certainly. That is because of how close they are No. 1, but No. 2, we do have four preseason games to evaluate that position and hopefully make the best judgment once we get to the regular season. It is not just how they grade out, but it is a little bit how we do when we play as a team. It is not a lot different from other positions."

                    Asked about the physical differences between the two players, Linehan said: "Andy is a little bit bigger in stature and maybe a little bit longer. Brett is a little lower to the ground. The difference right now is so subtle. I think both are bringing some real positives to the table. The hardest decision we are going to have to make is what is best for that entire group in there and what is best down the road as well."

                    NOTES, QUOTES

                    —The team was dealing with tragedy when Kathy Garrett, the 38-year-old wife of tight ends coach Judd Garrett, passed away Sunday morning (Aug. 19). Judd Garrett is the brother of Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

                    An All-America soccer player at Princeton,...
                    -08-22-2007, 10:37 PM
                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Fletcher Earning More Opportunities
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    Fletcher Earning More Opportunities
                    Friday, October 16, 2009

                    By Nick Wagoner
                    Senior Writer

                    Watching as fellow rookies James Laurinaitis and Jason Smith have made starts at middle linebacker and right tackle, respectively, cornerback Bradley Fletcher had been biding time and working hard in an attempt to join them in the starting lineup.

                    Finally, in game No. 5, the third-round selection joined the two players drafted above him against Minnesota last week.

                    “We wanted to give Bradley a chance; he had done some things in previous games,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “There is always going to be competition at all these spots and he got his chance (Sunday). When the defensive coaches and I sit down more, we’ll decide where to go from here based on performances and then we will decide how we go and again we have a bunch of guys at corner I think that can play for us.”

                    After the preseason trade of Tye Hill to Atlanta for a draft pick, Jonathan Wade was elevated to the starting spot in his place. But even at that time, Spagnuolo emphasized that he wanted to see continued competition at the spot opposite Ron Bartell if for no other reason than to accelerate the learning curve of the team’s young corners.

                    Fletcher has been an active participant in that competition, improving his game on a weekly basis and regularly looking to Spagnuolo for extra guidance.

                    Drafted in the third round of this year’s draft, Fletcher fits the bill of what a cornerback in Spagnuolo’s system should be. At 6 foot and nearly 200 pounds, Fletcher has the size and reach to become a prototype press corner.

                    And though he’s had some growing pains along the way in his early development – even in last week’s game against Minnesota, Fletcher has competed in a way that bodes well for his future.

                    “I know people are just going to remember the long pass and all that, but what I want people to take away from that is that Bradley Fletcher was stride for stride (with the wideout on a long completion),” Spagnuolo said. “That is what I see. Now, do we have to work on some things that will not lead to either a catch on their part or a penalty? Yeah. And we will get there but the other side of the corner would be people were running by us and that didn’t happen. It is certainly correctable.”

                    Spagnuolo isn’t prepared to call anyone a starter but said he will continue to use a variety of players at a number of positions, and did say Friday that Fletcher has earned another start this week against Jacksonville. It’s a practice he’s used since his days in Philadelphia as a defensive backs coach.

                    “We feel like we have some quality guys there; guys who have experience, guys who can play,” Spagnuolo said. “They are all playing. I think it is important to keep those guys playing, in my opinion. Everybody is an ankle turn...
                    -10-16-2009, 01:46 PM