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Rookie Goes From Rough Start To Starter

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  • Rookie Goes From Rough Start To Starter

    Rookie goes from rough start to starter

    By Jim Thomas

    Shortly after the Rams finished their walk-through last Saturday, defensive line coach Brendan Daly approached Darell Scott and gave him the news.

    Scott, a rookie defensive tackle from Clemson, would make his first NFL start Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

    Maybe Scott didn't want to jinx it. Maybe he just wanted to surprise his family and friends. But he didn't tell a soul. Not even his mother and his two younger sisters, who were in from Columbia, S.C., for Thanksgiving.

    "I just wanted to keep it to myself," Scott said. "I just wanted to play."

    Imagine his mother's surprise when the Rams' defensive unit came out onto the field to start the game ... and Scott was in the huddle. She was in the stands Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome and didn't appreciate her son's subterfuge. She let him know about it — as only a mother can — after the game.

    "She just came up to me, hit me on the side of my head, 'Why didn't you tell me you were starting?'" Scott said.

    For the longest time, Scott had nothing to tell his mother anyway, because he wasn't playing. In for only about a half-dozen plays in the Sept. 13 season opener at Seattle, Scott didn't exactly turn heads. The word at the time was that he fouled up on the 62-yard touchdown run by Julius Jones in that game. It's been so long ago now that Scott no longer remembers the details of the play.

    What he does remember is sitting out the next month. He watched the next four games in street clothes as one of the Rams' designated pregame inactives. In a nutshell, the coaching staff simply didn't feel he was ready.

    "I wondered what I did wrong, but I couldn't let it stop me," Scott said. "I just went back to work. I knew eventually I'd get another shot, and whenever it came around, I felt like I was going to take it and make the best of it."

    Scott's next game action wasn't until Oct. 18 at Jacksonville. It wasn't until the New Orleans and Arizona games that he saw any appreciable time in the defensive tackle rotation. And then came Sunday's rematch with Seattle, when he recorded four tackles, including one for loss, as a starter.

    "Every week when I turn on the tape, he's doing things a little bit better and better," defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. "I looked at him in the (first) Seattle game, in the limited snaps that he had, and I think about where he is now, and he's made tremendous strides. ... He's got a long way to go, and he knows that, but he's getting better. He's a bigger body inside, he's an athletic body inside, which is nice."

    At 6-3, 315 pounds, Scott has an intriguing blend of size and quickness. He showed occasional flashes of playmaking ability during training camp and the preseason but was slowed by swelling in the knee.

    Once he found himself on the bench following the regular-season opener, Scott tried to listen and learn from his more experienced teammates.

    "Not playing for pretty much the first half of the season, during the games I would sit back and observe Cliff (Ryan) and LaJuan (Ramsey) and (Leger) Douzable, and see the things they were doing," Scott said.

    He took the same approach during film sessions, making note of the good things — and the bad — his teammates were doing in games.

    "I definitely learned from the guys that were in front of me," Scott said.

    On the practice field, he worked on his technique.

    "I'd say the biggest transition (from college) is the speed and the strength of the offensive linemen," Scott said. "You have less time to react to what the guy in front of you is doing, whereas in college you can make a false move and still have time to get back to where you need to be. In the NFL, there's no room for a false step here, a false step there. It's more precise. A misstep and it could be over for you."

    The Rams have gone through some defensive tackles this season, from Ryan to Douzable to Hollis Thomas to Gary Gibson, and on. Scott is the fifth player to start a game at defensive tackle this season.

    All told, 10 Rams have played inside at one point or another if you include players such as James Hall, Victor Adeyanju, C.J. Ah You, and Chris Long on passing downs.

    And that doesn't include Adam Carriker, the former first-round pick who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the preseason finale Sept. 3 against Kansas City.

    As of right now, defensive tackle once again looks like a position of great need in 2010. But Scott has a chance to alter perceptions about the position at Rams Park if he continues to progress over these final five games.

    "I'm definitely looking forward to making the best of it, and just showing the coaches that I belong here," Scott said.


    The Rams have decided to keep RB Chris Ogbonnaya on the active roster this week, just in case Steven Jackson's back spasms take a turn for the worse. ... TE Eric Butler, who was briefly on the 53-man roster last week, has been re-signed to the practice squad.

  • #2
    Re: Rookie Goes From Rough Start To Starter

    If i remember correctly, there are two DTs that are coming out that are expected to be top picks in this upcoming draft. I know we have needs at QB, but it has to be a position we look at hard


    • #3
      Re: Rookie Goes From Rough Start To Starter

      i think we have to look pretty hard at scott before we take another nt prospect, because at times he looks like the real deal. if he can step up and become a legit starter, ryan would be a great backup.


      • #4
        Re: Rookie Goes From Rough Start To Starter

        The DTs have been bad, but the OLBs have been worse. We are putting to much blame soley on the DTs.

        Anyways in his first start Scott was our most active player on the d-line especially in one terrific play he made in the backfield. We are really going to have to take a close look at this Scott Ryan combo the last few games. They are young and full of talent lets see what those 2 can do.


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          In Scott’s fantasy, he finds refuge in the cozy confines of his mother’s living room in Columbia, calming his anxieties in this low-key environment.

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          Home is also the scar that reminds Scott that no matter where he is drafted — pro scouts estimate he will be selected between the third and fifth rounds — it will amount to more than he expected from football when the 6-foot-3, 312-pounder hit bottom less than four years ago.

          The episode accounts for why Airport High football coach Kirk Burnett calls the embrace he gave Scott on Clemson’s senior day in November “the most satisfying hug I’ve probably ever given.”

          “He had me worried,” Burnett said. “You look at somebody who weighed 315 pounds, lying on his bed not happy with life. I walked out of his bedroom, and I was scared. I didn’t know if I’d hear a gunshot or what, because he was that depressed with life.”

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