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Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial

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  • Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial

    Rookie Jason Smith gets tutorial


    On just his fifth snap at left tackle as a pro, rookie Jason Smith found out what he'll eventually be up against in the NFL.

    Part of the Rams' three-man tackle rotation in Sunday's 42-6 loss to Indianapolis, Smith was in for his second series. On second down and 7 from the Rams 11-yard line with about 6 minutes left in the first half, defensive end Dwight Freeney blew by Smith and slammed quarterback Marc Bulger to the turf for a 9-yard loss. If Smith even touched Freeney, it wasn't visible to the naked eye.

    "It's no secret that Freeney's one of the best defensive ends to ever play the game," said Smith, the Rams' first-round draft pick in April. "Obviously, you give him his respect. ... He's a good defensive end to go against."

    The Rams have made it clear that Smith, the second overall selection in the draft, is their left tackle of the future. He shared that spot Sunday with incumbent Alex Barron. Smith also spent some time at right tackle, where veteran Adam Goldberg was the starter.

    That meant that Smith also got a good look at Robert Mathis, who mans the left side of Indy's line. Between them, Freeney (four) and Mathis (one) have been invited to five Pro Bowls.

    After spending the spring and summer in a backup role, Smith was named the first-team right tackle the week before the regular-season opener. He lasted about six quarters there before suffering a knee injury at Washington.

    Smith missed two games, got in for a single special-teams play Oct. 11 vs. Minnesota, then split time with Goldberg at right tackle last week at Jacksonville.

    Asked whether he thought the three-tackle approach Sunday was beneficial, Goldberg took a long pause before replying.

    "I just take orders. If they tell me to rotate, I rotate," he said. "When they tell me to go in, I try to make all my blocks and execute my assignment. That's really all I can do.

    "The personnel decisions are up to the head coach and the powers that be. We just play when called upon."

    Goldberg wasn't on the sideline long. When Richie Incognito went down with a foot injury during Smith's first series at right tackle, Goldberg was back on the field at right guard.

    Last season, Goldberg was the only player in the league to start at both tackle and both guard spots. So switching positions is almost routine for him. "If the team needs me to play different positions, I'll just try to do whatever I can to help the team win," he said.

    Such is the mantra for Smith, too, who insists he's "one of those guys that thinks about 'we' and not 'me.'"

    "Football's football, and whether you line up at left tackle or right tackle ... the game itself is our job, and that's what we're expected to do," he said. "Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm going to do it. If I'm asked to play center, I'll go snap the ball."

  • #2
    Re: Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial

    Goldberg is a very valuable part of this team, not many guys can do what he does by playing 4 different positions, I think he does a good job and I like Smith also and think he will be very good, the only thing I haven't seen from him is the nastyness he played with in college ,maybe he does and I haven't seen it.


    • #3
      Re: Rookie Jason Smith Gets Tutorial

      So why doesn't Johnny Greco get some pt when the Cogs goes down? I gotta believe that he is much more the future than a journeyman like Goldberg. Some of the personnel decisions (like both Victor and Greco inactive last week) are puzzling to me.

      WHAT SAY YE?


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        Smith takes his tasks seriously
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        Smith takes his tasks seriously

        By Jim Thomas

        It has been six weeks since the Rams made Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. For most of the past five weeks, he has been plying his trade at Rams Park, in the weight room, the meeting room, and on the practice field.

        So when asked if he's settled in yet — to St. Louis, and to life at Rams Park — Smith answers with the world view of a 22-year-old.

        "Yeah, I'm settled in," Smith replied. "I'm over at the Holiday Inn right now. The bed's made up every day. The air conditioning's cold. I don't have any bills coming in. I'm loving it.

        So far, NFL life is good for Smith, a 306-pound bundle of energy and optimism. When asked if he eventually will buy a place in St. Louis, Smith replied: "I'm thinking about buying a Holiday Inn, you know what I mean? And just living there."

        Once he signs his first NFL contract — and there's little taking place on that front yet — Smith should have enough money to buy a hotel. For now, he's going about the business of earning his keep on the football field.

        "Jason's doing great," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We've had a chance to work him on both sides, and he's a guy that's going to be a real good player. He's working hard, he's developing, and we're looking forward to see how it carries over to training camp."

        After spending his first month at right tackle, which remains his likely destination on opening day, Smith was shifted to left tackle this past week. Should something happen to Alex Barron on the left side, Smith could be the Rams' next option there during the regular season.

        "We're going to try to have some versatility at tackle," coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

        It's difficult to make broad assumptions in the spring, particularly with linemen, because there is next to no contact during OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps, and the players aren't in full pads. But Spagnuolo already has seen enough of Smith to conclude that he has the mental makeup and approach to become a successful NFL blocker.

        "He doesn't blink at all when he goes on either side (of the line), or we give him something new," Spagnuolo said. "He's a tremendous worker, and a respectful guy. He gets it. That's the best thing I can say is he gets it."

        Some players never get it. But Smith seems to realize that the small things, the details, the technique work can turn decent players into good ones, and good players into great ones in the NFL.

        "That's one thing I've learned about this level is that it's a lot of small details that you don't really know much about until you get here," Smith said. "Football's a game that...
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      • r8rh8rmike
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        By Nick Wagoner
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        After almost every practice since the Rams made him the No. 2 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, Jason Smith can be found out on the practice field doing two things.

        First and foremost, Smith has made a habit of staying after practice to work with offensive line coaches Art Valero and Steve Loney on something he feels needed improvement from the just-completed workout.

        When that is done, about 20 minutes later, Smith can be found hauling around the pads of his veteran teammates.

        “It’s what I am but I am not doing it just to be doing it,” Smith said. “It’s something that I need to work on that day technically or physically. There’s always something to work on.”

        Such is the life of a rookie in the NFL. And while those parts of it are normal, Smith’s approach to the game is anything but.

        The Rams completed their final two a day practice of this year’s training camp on Tuesday afternoon. With that, the team is almost halfway through the preseason and Smith’s development process is in full swing.

        From the moment he arrived in St. Louis, plenty of people have placed some weighty expectations on Smith but the coaching staff has ignored that and asked Smith to earn his position.

        Until Tuesday, Smith had extremely limited repetitions with the first team offense as he has worked almost exclusively as the second-team right tackle behind Adam Goldberg.

        Nothing has been handed to him and Smith has asked for nothing in return. Instead, Smith is lapping up every opportunity to learn the game from his veteran teammates.

        Nary a player has been more helpful in that regard than Goldberg. Although Goldberg and Smith are technically competing for the job at right tackle, neither seems too concerned with beating out the other.

        Quite the opposite, in fact.

        “I take that as part of my role but I tell you what, he doesn’t need too many tips,” Goldberg said. “He’s going to be a really good football player and he’s a great person too, the kind of guy that you like to help out because he works hard, doesn’t take anything for granted, takes good notes, asks good questions. So he’s the type of young player that you want to help and want to see succeed.”

        The modest Goldberg won’t take much credit for helping Smith learn the nuances of the NFL but Smith is quick to credit Goldberg for stepping into the mentor role.

        “I feel that if Goldberg wasn’t here I would have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” Smith said. “What is the competition? The competition is Rams vs. whoever we play. It’s not amongst each other. Obviously we are going to make each other better by communicating things we see but if he wasn’t here, how far along would I...
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      • r8rh8rmike
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        Saturday, June 6, 2009

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        Jason Smith earned his recreation and leisure studies degree from Baylor in May of 2008. But make no mistake, his education is ongoing.

        In the whirlwind that is the buildup to the NFL Draft, including the scouting combine, the senior bowl and countless pro days, rare is the opportunity for a young player to come up for air.

        And once the player is draft, it doesn’t get any easier. Nobody knows that better than Smith, who along with his Rams teammates, is now just six organized team activities away from finally putting a cap on his first NFL offseason.

        In Smith’s case, part of the education that’s occurring on the field and in the meeting rooms is coming from a somewhat unlikely source: his competition.

        While Smith is getting plenty of help from the coaching staff and other linemen, Adam Goldberg, the player who Smith will likely eventually replace in the starting lineup at right tackle, has been among Smith’s most ardent supporters.

        Goldberg, who is well respected by teammates and coaches for his tremendous work ethic and intelligence, has left no stone unturned in helping Smith develop.

        “A lot of the things are just linemen stuff – the balancing and knowing the playbook as far as different protections,” Smith said. “Three-step, Five-step. Quick sets, drop sets. A lot of stuff. And Goldberg is helping me understand everything.”

        “I know that Adam Goldberg’s a great guy. He’s a great leader on and off the field. He talks to all us rookies about things we need to know as far as being productive and staying on the good side of the coaches.”

        As the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, there’s a certain amount of expectations that have long since been heaped on Smith’s shoulders. That’s high end real estate to take any player and offensive tackles selected that high have names like Pace, Ogden and Jones.

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        So far, at least, it doesn’t appear that approach will be duplicated with Smith. In the organized team activities and pair of minicamps Smith has participated in, he’s worked exclusively with the second team.

        That’s part of a philosophy coach Steve Spagnuolo believes in as far as not throwing rookies into the fire before they’re ready and one that Smith completely understands.

        “That’s football,” Smith said. “Nothing’s given to you when you’re on the football field. The great thing about being an offensive lineman is I understand that. There’s a lot of work that has to be done in order for me to, No. 1, be a part of this team. And then...
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        Ive seen Jason Smith play. Not bad i say. But there are times where he whiffs his run blocks. Can anyone give me where they think he is at this point? cause i only watched the half of the bengals game and that's all. You guys think smith can replace pace? Do you think he is better at right? Or left?
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        “It’s one of those deals where other people make a scenario up for you,” Smith said. “But for me, I just look at it the same; it’s football and I want to be the best I can be at it.”

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        “You are playing a position and playing a game and the more you are doing it, the more comfortable you are getting, the more patience you are gaining, the more ability you have to do your job,” Smith said. “And I am going against Chris Long every day. This guy is a workhorse and I feel like I have become a better tackle going against him and understanding what I’m doing.”

        Taken with the second overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Smith was expected to step right in and dominate as a left tackle. That’s the job most view as commensurate with being selected that high and made even more difficult for Smith by those expecting him to be the next Orlando Pace.

        Smith’s rookie season was derailed by injuries, though, including an early season knee injury and a concussion that ended his season. All told, he played just eight games with five starts and just when it appeared he was settling in, he suffered the concussion.

        “Obviously I have had some stumbling blocks in my career with a couple of injuries here and there but I trained and feel like I had a great offseason,” Smith said. “I am sound in my faith in God and I don’t see myself wavering from anything I know to do.”

        Finally able to get on the field and stay there in 2010, Smith made strides as he settled in on the right side with then-rookie Rodger Saffold on the left.

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