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Spagnuolo: If Boller Heals, He'll Probably Start Vs. Texans

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  • Spagnuolo: If Boller Heals, He'll Probably Start Vs. Texans

    12.14.2009 3:58 pm
    Spagnuolo: If Boller heals, he’ll probably start vs. Texans
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    On Monday, St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo actually compared his rookie quarterback, Keith Null, with future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

    Only kidding, coach.

    But Spagnuolo did have a point to make a day after Null was intercepted five times in his first NFL regular-season action, a 47-7 shellacking at Tennessee.

    “I’m not comparing Keith to Peyton Manning, OK?” Spagnuolo said. “But I think in his first year he had a bunch of interceptions early. Now again, please don’t be writing down that I’m comparing Keith to (Manning). But that’s what they go through. (Null will) learn from it. I know he will.”

    Manning set an NFL record for interceptions by a rookie, tossing 28 in 1998. He was picked off three times in his first game and had tossed 11 picks after just four outings. It wasn’t until Manning’s seventh game that he went interception-free.

    So, Null is in good company. But he might not be back in the starting lineup Sunday when the Texans visit the Edward Jones Dome. Spagnuolo indicated that if Kyle Boller’s sore thigh, which kept him out vs. the Titans, heals this week, he’ll get the call.

    “I would tend to lean that way, but I’m not going to commit to that a hundred percent,” Spagnuolo said. “Kyle’s been a competitor for us. If he’s healthy, I think he can help us win.”

    Notes & quotes:

    *Among a long list of injuries suffered Sunday, G Jacob Bell’s was the most serious. He tore a hamstring, which could land him on injured reserve.

    *LBs David Vobora (knee, ankle) and Larry Grant (knee) both had MRI exams, although the results weren’t available.

    *RB Steven Jackson (back) was “very sore, obviously. But hopefully no worse,” Spagnuolo reported.

    *Spagnuolo acknowledged that the possibility of shutting down rookie T Jason Smith for the rest of the season has been discussed. Smith, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, has missed three games after suffering a concussion and still is experiencing symptoms.

    *As this is written (before Monday night’s game), the 1-12 Rams would have the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft because they’ve played a weaker schedule than the 1-12 Buccaneers.

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Spagnuolo Keeps Quarterback Mystery Going
    by r8rh8rmike
    12.28.2009 5:10 pm
    Spagnuolo keeps quarterback mystery going
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Early indications are that another week of quarterback intrigue is in the forecast for Rams Park. St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo refused to tip his hand last week, even though it seemed obvious that rookie Keith Null would start at Arizona after getting the lion’s share of first-team work in practice. Null, of course, did wind up starting ahead of veteran Kyle Boller.

    On Monday, Spagnuolo again refused to offer any hints on who might be running the offense in Sunday’s season finale vs. the *****.

    “I don’t have a comment on that either way,” he said. “I get to go through the tape all through the morning, and then I usually try to take a look at it again.” Spagnuolo added that said he planned to consult with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and quarterbacks coach Dick Curl, “and then we’ll decide how to proceed on Wednesday.”

    Notes & quotes:

    *G Mark Setterstrom probably will need surgery for the torn triceps he suffered Sunday. Rookie Roger Allen is expected to start at LG vs. Frisco.

    *LB Paris Lenon has a fractured little toe but hasn’t been ruled out of Sunday’s game.

    *WR Donnie Avery has a mild strain in his thigh.

    *LB James Laurinaitis has some bursa inflammation in his left knee but should be able to play Sunday.

    *DE Leonard Little, who has missed two games with a knee infection, could get back on the field this week.

    *RBs Kenneth Darby and Chris Ogbonnaya produced 110 yards of offense standing in for Steven Jackson, who has been playing with a herniated disc in his back but couldn’t go against the Cardinals. “I thought both of them showed flashes,” Spagnuolo said. “I thought Kenny came out of the gate running pretty good. I especially liked the (19-yard) catch Chris made in the two-minute drill, over the middle. I thought those guys did some good things. Both of them blocked well.”

    *Jackson said he plans to play Sunday against the *****. “I’ll leave that up to Steven. I trust him, I trusted him yesterday,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s his competitive nature. Every day with the injury he has, sometimes it changes. But I’m hopeful.”

    *Don’t even entertain the notion of the Rams going out with a whimper Sunday, Spagnuolo cautioned. “It’s the last one, and we’re going to play it to win it,” he said
    -12-29-2009, 07:21 PM
  • Varg6
    Rams haven't decided who will start
    by Varg6

    ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams have put off a decision on who's starting at quarterback this weekend, with Kyle Boller sent home due to illness and rookie Keith Null getting all the practice snaps.

    There's enough going on without pondering that choice for the game against the Houston Texans.

    The Rams (1-12) have openings at both guard spots, too, after temperamental Richie Incognito was released Tuesday and Jacob Bell was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a torn hamstring. A third starter on the line, center Jason Brown, was at home fighting a cold Wednesday.

    Bell becomes the 11th Ram to land on injured reserve this season. Little wonder coach Steve Spagnuolo didn't want to talk about Incognito, cut loose after helmet-butting two opponents in a 47-7 loss at Tennessee last Sunday.

    The rookie head coach lightly revised his statement from a day earlier -- that the move was made in the best interests of the team and player -- and tried to make that stand. He didn't open up much when the Incognito questions came anyway, beyond saying the move was not taken lightly.

    "I didn't sleep on Sunday and took all day Monday," Spagnuolo said. "None of those decisions are easy, and that one was particularly tough."

    But Spagnuolo declined to discuss the team's frustration level with Incognito, who frequently landed in trouble for playing long after the whistle and was benched for the second half on Sunday.

    Leaning on a variation of his trademark phrase during a nightmarish season, Spagnuolo said, "I'm not going down that road. I'm not going to do that."

    The Rams quickly gave away Incognito's jersey No. 68 to offensive tackle Ryan McKee, signed off waivers from the New York Jets.

    When Brown returns to practice, he'll have lightly used backups John Greco on the right side in Incognito's old spot and Mark Setterstrom on the left in place of Bell. Greco will be making his second career start, Setterstrom his second this season.

    On Wednesday, though, Setterstrom had to fill in at center.

    "Everybody's ready," Greco said. "When that chance comes, you've got to take advantage of it."

    Null made his NFL debut last week, making a surprise start when Boller's thigh injury kept him on the bench. Spagnuolo expects to have a better idea Thursday of his quarterback situation. He seemed to lean toward the veteran Boller, saying he didn't think it was important for Null to quickly rid the taste of his error-prone debut.

    "I'm hopeful in his career at some point he'll get to do that," Spagnuolo said. "I don't think we have to force ourselves into that right now. We'll just see what happens."

    Null, who played at Division II West Texas A&M, said the game experience added to his comfort level running the...
    -12-16-2009, 05:14 PM
  • Nick
    Spagnuolo has no plans to play rookie Keith Null
    by Nick
    Steve Spagnuolo has no plans to play rookie Keith Null
    Steve Korte
    Belleville News-Democrat

    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo quickly squashed any notion that he was considering playing rookie quarterback Keith Null.

    Asked on Monday if he was thinking about playing Null, Spagnuolo gave a definitive one-word answer: “No.’’

    Null, a sixth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of West Texas A&M, has served as the Rams’ backup quarterback behind starter Kyle Boller the last two games.
    -12-07-2009, 05:40 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Like Peyton, Spagnuolo Sought Advice From Eli Manning, Too
    by r8rh8rmike
    10.26.2009 6:03 pm
    Like Peyton, Spagnuolo sought advice from Eli Manning, too
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is not above some stealth work to try to gain an edge. As his team prepared for Sunday’s game against the Colts, Spagnuolo said he “caught wind” of QB Peyton Manning seeking advice from younger brother Eli — the Giants’ QB — on how to attack Spagnuolo’s defense. Spagnuolo was the Giants’ defensive coordinator for two seasons before the Rams hired him this year.

    Turnabout, Spagnuolo decided, is fair play.

    “I left a message for (Chris Palmer, the Giants QB coach): ‘Tell Eli it’s only fair I should get a couple of pointers on Peyton,’” Spagnuolo said Monday. “But I never got a phone call. Eli must’ve had a few things on his mind.”

    Helping Spagnuolo beat his brother probably wasn’t one of them, though.

    Notes & quotes:

    *Peyton Manning has played in 35 stadiums, and before Sunday the Edward Jones Dome was one of just two in which he hadn’t produced a victory. After Indy’s 42-6 spanking of the Rams, the only one left now is Qwest Field in Seattle.

    *CB Bradley Fletcher and LS Chris Massey suffered season-ending knee injuries Sunday.

    *G Richie Incognito (foot) will be out at least a week. The other injuries are considered minor: DL C.J. Ah You (ankle), DE Leonard Little (neck) and WR Donnie Avery (shoulder).

    *CB Justin King and DE James Hall, both out Sunday with groin injuries, are expected back this week.

    *Spagnuolo said he hadn’t considered using rookie QB Keith Null in mop-up duty but didn’t rule out getting him some work down the road.

    *Spagnuolo noted that the Rams had a chance to make it a one-score game as late as the third quarter. “The way I look at it, we were in the thing in the third quarter at 21-6. If you make one play and it’s 21-13, the pressure kind of converts over to the other sideline,” he said. “So to me, we were that close. It got away at the end, and the result wasn’t great.”

    *The Rams threw three times to RBs Steven Jackson and Kenneth Darby (one catch for -1 yards) and five times to TEs Randy McMichael and Daniel Fells (three catches for 16 yards). Asked if that was enough pass attempts for those positions, Spagnuolo became a bit defensive. “It depends on how many times you’re throwing it,” he said. “If you throw the ball 50 times, those numbers are probably too low. If you throw the ball 20 times . . . I’m not into numbers. You get the ball to the open guy. Maybe they were taken away.”

    All for now…
    -10-27-2009, 04:20 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Kyle Boller Still Has Soreness In Thigh
    by r8rh8rmike
    Kyle Boller still has soreness in thigh
    By Bill Coats

    Perhaps the Rams were fortunate that kickoff for Sunday's game at Tennessee was moved back to 3:05 p.m. under the NFL flex-scheduling program. Quarterback Kyle Boller apparently will need as much time as possible to heal his sore thigh.

    "I feel all right," Boller said after seeing limited action at practice Friday. "We still have 48 hours till the game. ... I'm not going to jeopardize the team if I'm not ready. I just feel like the progress I've made since yesterday is good. ... I don't think it should be a problem."

    Boller was hurt last Sunday in the 17-9 loss at Chicago. He went through a full practice Wednesday but woke up sore Thursday. "It set him back a little bit," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We're trying not to go backward."

    Spagnuolo decreased Boller's reps significantly Thursday and Friday. Backing off with Boller meant ramping up with rookie Keith Null, who moved up to No. 2 when starter Marc Bulger was injured three weeks ago. Null, who had been running the scout-team offense, got his most extensive work with the first team all season.

    "It's definitely good to get in, call our plays, run our plays and get some experience; it helps a ton," said Null, a sixth-round draft pick from NCAA Division II West Texas A&M. "It's one thing to watch and say the play while you're standing back, and it's another thing to actually get in the huddle, call it and then run that play."

    Even if Boller starts vs. the Titans, as is fully expected, another shot to his leg could shove Null into his first regular-season action. "I have to be ready for anything," he said. "Being the backup, now you're only one play away."

    Null, who played in a spread offense in college, has made considerable progress since the spring, Spagnuolo reported.

    "He looks more comfortable, I guess is the best way to say it," Spagnuolo said. "I can remember back in (organized team activities) when taking a snap was a little bit different for him. So he's come a long way."


    Rookie Jason Smith, still experiencing the effects of a concussion, has been ruled out of a third consecutive game. Veteran Adam Goldberg will start again at right tackle.

    Running back Steven Jackson (back) participated in a handful of plays in the early "install" period, then sat out the rest of practice. For the third Friday in a row, he was listed as questionable on the injury report.

    Fullback Mike Karney (neck) and defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey (wrist) also were questionable. Probables were Boller, wide receivers Donnie Avery (shoulder) and Brandon Gibson (ankle), linebacker James Laurinaitis (shoulder)...
    -12-12-2009, 11:34 AM