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  • Spagnuolo Won't Go There When Subject Is Incognito

    12.16.2009 3:01 pm
    Spagnuolo won’t go there when subject is Incognito
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    One of St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo’s favorite expressions when rebuffing reporters’ questions is, “I’m not going there.” On Wednesday, Spagnuolo wasn’t going there a lot when the subject was temperamental guard Richie Incognito, who was released Tuesday.

    Spagnuolo, who made only a brief statement Tuesday through the St. Louis Rams’ media relations department, offered another statement at the start of his post-practice session with the press Wednesday.

    “I want everybody to know that I have a tremendous amount of respect for Richie Incognito, and I like him a lot,” Spagnuolo began. “We had a great conversation. The decision was made in the best interest of the football team, and I do think it’s good for both parties. I believe that. I wish him the very best, I really do. I like him a lot.”

    Asked several times to elaborate, Spagnuolo wasn’t going there — for the most part, anyway. He did say this when asked how difficult the decision was to jettison Incognito, who was benched after drawing two personal fouls in the first quarter and a half Sunday at Tennessee:

    “Very . . . very. I didn’t sleep on Sunday and it took all day Monday,” Spagnuolo said. “None of those decisions are easy, and that one was particularly tough.”

    Notes & quotes:

    *Rookie QB Keith Null took all the first-team snaps at practice Wednesday because Kyle Boller was out because of illness. Boller also is nursing a thigh injury, and Spagnuolo said no decision has been made on who will start Sunday when the Texans visit the Edward Jones Dome.

    *The other starting guard, Jacob Bell, is on injured reserve after tearing a hamstring vs. the Titans. The plan is to start Mark Setterstrom in Bell’s spot at LG and John Greco in place of Incognito at RG. On Wednesday, though, C Jason Brown also was ill, so Setterstrom filled in there, with rookie Roger Allen at LG with the first unit.

    *RB Steven Jackson (back), T Jason Smith (concussion), QB Marc Bulger (leg) and DE Leonard Little (knee) also didn’t practice.

    *LBs David Vobora (knee ankle), Paris Lenon (hip) and K.C. Asiodu (hip), and DT LaJuan Ramsey (wrist) did limited work.

    *The Rams have added C Drew Miller to the practice squad. Miller, a second-year pro out of the University of Florida, was with Jacksonville last year but never got into a game.

    *This week’s captains are TE Randy McMichael (offense), end Chris Long (defense) and RB Kenneth Darby (special teams).

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Spagnuolo Applauds Rams' Practice Habits
    by r8rh8rmike
    12.02.2009 3:57 pm
    Spagnuolo applauds Rams’ practice habits
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    Practice had wrapped up about 15 minutes earlier, but the indoor facility at Rams Park still was crowded with players.

    “Look at them,” St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I mean, practice is over and about half the team’s out there working. I think that says a lot. But I’ll tell you what, that’s typical of this group. They amaze me every week, going through what we’re going through, to come out and practice they way they do.”

    Despite their 1-10 record, dampened further by an dispiriting 27-17 loss to a flagging Seahawks outfit three days earlier at the Edward Jones Dome, Wednesday’s practice was uptempo and upbeat. “They came out with a little bit of energy and practiced pretty good,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s a good thing to start the week.” (There are no practices on Mondays and Tuesdays.)

    Notes & quotes:

    *These players sat out Wednesday: QB Marc Bulger (leg), FB Mike Karney (neck), T Jason Smith (concussion), C Jason Brown (knee) and RB Steven Jackson (back). Spagnuolo said he was optimistic that Brown and Jackson could return Thursday.

    *Smith, who took a blow to the head Nov. 22 vs. the Cardinals and didn’t play vs. the Seahawks, won’t take another follow-up neuro exam “until he feels like he’s completely fine,” Spagnuolo said. “Obviously, he’s still feeling effects of it, so they’re just going to wait.”

    *LB James Laurinaitis has two sore shoulders, but he was a full participant Wednesday. “That’s life as a middle linebacker in the NFL,” Spagnuolo said.

    *G Richie Incognito, who has missed four games with a foot sprain, worked with the first-team offense and said that barring a setback, he expects to play Sunday in Chicago.

    *This week’s captains are QB Kyle Boller (offense), DE Leonard Little (defense) and LB David Vobora (special teams).
    -12-02-2009, 08:53 PM
  • Varg6
    Rams haven't decided who will start
    by Varg6
    Per ESPN.com

    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, 06:14 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Facing Big Shortage
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams facing big shortage
    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/28/2009

    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo cringed when considering the possibility that five of his 11 starters on offense could be watching from the sideline Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "Well, when you list it like that ... " Spagnuolo said before reverting quickly to the company line.

    "In this league, you've got to step in there and play," he said. "All teams have injuries. We just line up and play the game."

    Still, the Rams' odds of knocking off Seattle certainly would be enhanced if quarterback Marc Bulger (leg), guard Richie Incognito (foot), running back Steven Jackson (back spasms), fullback Mike Karney (neck) and tackle Jason Smith (concussion) were on the field for the noon kickoff.
    Bulger and Smith definitely won't suit up. Kyle Boller takes over for Bulger with the first team. Adam Goldberg slides from right guard into Smith's spot at right tackle, with Mark Setterstrom expected to move in at right guard.

    Setterstrom, who hasn't started a game since the third week of the 2007 season, had "a solid week" of practice with the first team, Spagnuolo reported.

    Incognito, Jackson and Karney were listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. In NFL parlance, that means they have a 50-50 chance of playing.

    Jackson, the NFL's second-leading rusher, missed a third consecutive day of practice, although he did some individual work with the trainers on the sideline. Spagnuolo said he hoped to reach a decision on Jackson's availability today but conceded he might wait until Sunday morning.

    "I trust Steven and what he can tell me. I think he'll be truthful," Spagnuolo said. "The competitive juices come out. But I think he's been in the league long enough that he knows he doesn't want to hurt the team, yet he wants to be out there to help the team."

    Spagnuolo indicated that despite missing the entire week of practice, Jackson could step in on game day without a glitch. Jackson, who said earlier in the week that he expected to play Sunday, was unavailable to reporters Friday.

    If Jackson were unable to play, Kenneth Darby and Samkon Gado would be the primary ball-carriers. Rookie Chris Ogbonnaya, a seventh-round draftee who has spent the season on the practice squad, could be promoted to the 45-man game-day roster.

    "They just told me to prepare, be ready just in case they need me," said Ogbonnaya, who took some reps with the first unit this week. "Whatever happens, happens. I'll just stay patient, stay positive."

    BLACKED OUT

    For just the seventh time since the Rams moved here in 1995, a home game will be blacked out locally. Several thousand tickets remained unsold for Sunday's contest as...
    -11-28-2009, 01:46 PM
  • Nick
    Incognito’s thoughts a day later on personal fouls
    by Nick
    Incognito’s thoughts a day later on personal fouls
    By Kathleen Nelson
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    09.14.2009 2:43 pm


    Here’s the full text of Rams guard Richie Incognito’s interview Monday, one day after he was flagged for two personal fouls and 35 yards worth of penalties (coach Steve Spagnuolo’s comments appear below Incognito’s):


    Was it chippy on the field?

    Incognito: “The whole game, it was chippy back and forth. That’s expected. It’s a big-time ballgame, both teams coming out trying to get a division win. It definitely got scrappy.”

    Did you let your emotions get away from you?

    Incognito: “Definitely. The first personal foul, I let my emotions get away from me. Did something real regrettable. My focus is get the play over with, get back in the huddle. I got away from my game plan. That’s something I’m going to have to go back to.”

    Did you see the second one on film?

    Incognito: “I’m running down field. It’s a quick screen. So I got out. I got my guy sealed a little bit. I’m running with him. You can see I start to choke down. As soon as my feet slowed, he kept riding me. There was a guy about three yards in front of me. I could see where the flag was thrown because I had my hands up and I delivered into the guy. But, really, it was a self-defense thing and I plowed him over. Looking forward, a deal like that, I’m going to have to throw my hands up or try to avoid the guy.”

    How important is the coaches’ support?

    Incognito: “It’s great knowing that the coaches are behind me 100 percent. That hasn’t always been the case. In this game, there’s zero tolerance for things like that. It’s something I have to overcome. It’s squarely set on my shoulders as something that I have to overcome to help this team get better.”

    Do you feel as if you’re on a short leash?

    Incognito: “It’s been a short leash from the get-go. That’s been understood since Coach got here. We’re going to be physical, we’re going to be disciplined, we’re going to have attention to detail. We got away from all three of those. Just a bonehead play and me being selfish.”

    * * *

    Incognito’s behavior _ past and present _ drew more questions than any other topic during Spagnuolo’s media briefing today.

    “I know Richie Incognito is the Rams’ 2009 offensive guard,” he said. “I like his passion, but when passion leads to penalties that’s not a good thing. But I’d rather have that problem than trying to motivate guys to love the game of football. Yesterday’s over and we’re moving on.”
    ...
    -09-15-2009, 10:49 AM
  • 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, 08:21 PM
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