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Round Two: Should The Rams Have Cut Incognito Earlier?

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  • Round Two: Should The Rams Have Cut Incognito Earlier?

    12.16.2009 11:46 am
    Should Rams have cut Incognito earlier?
    By Roger Hensley


    QUESTION: Was Richie Incognito’s level of play worth keeping him on the roster for as long as the Rams did, or should they have cut him loose earlier?

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo gave Incognito two chances. He was benched for a handful of plays after a couple of hot-headed penalties in the season opener against Seattle and had a sit-down with Spags. When Incognito had a similar meltdown in Game 13 against Tennessee, Spags had enough. So it’s hard to argue with the head coach’s approach. Keep in mind, Incognito’s contract would’ve been up after this season, and maybe the team was hesitant to commit big bucks to retain him anyway.

    Incognito had talent, that’s why he stayed as long as he did. You put up with problem children in sports for only one reason — ability. That’s why a good player with problems is an eccentric and a bad player with the same issues is unemployed.

    Richie played hard. The Rams were trying to rebuild this team with physical play on both lines. In many ways, Richie embodied what Spagnuolo wanted to do with the Rams. But the new coach was also stressing a team-first mentality and ultimately these personal fouls are selfish penalties. When Richie tried to plead innocence on his latest beef, that was the last straw. His remarks to Jim Thomas further proved his lack of self-accountability.

    Incognito is a solid offensive lineman, so it made sense for the Rams to give him some slack. They’d invested a third-round draft pick and a fair amount of money in him. After his problems in Seattle in the opener this year, he’d behaved himself until last Sunday’s blowup. So, I’d day the timing was right — particularly conisdering the Rams probably weren’t going to re-sign Incognito after this season.

    KEVIN WHEELER (Host of “Sports Open Line” on KMOX)
    They should have cut him loose sooner because he clearly wasn’t doing anything to help the team win more games. Richie is okay as a player but not good enough to make it worth putting up with his ridiculous lack of self-control, and it’s not like this guy doesn’t have a history of behaving badly.

    A poll of 296 NFL players conducted by Sports Illustrated said he’s one of the dirtiest players in the league, he’s had four games in the last two years where he received multiple personal fouls (two of them this season) and he had a history in college as well. This guy was the first freshman ever to start the season on the offensive line for Nebraska, he was All-Big 12 as a sophomore and despite being one of the best players on the team he was still kicked out of the program for his behavior. That behavior included multiple suspensions for violation of team rules, three assault charges being filed against him (one conviction), on-field fights against opposing teams and an accusation that he spit on an opposing player.

    And now he’s acting smug after the Rams cut him. He’s the last guy you want to build around. Incognito has talent, there is little doubt about that, but at this point he’s been nothing more than a 320-pound waste of talent both in college and the NFL. He’ll show up somewhere else soon and things will go well for a short time, but unless he grows up and learns how to control himself he’ll be repeating this experience of being cut many times over in the future.

  • #2
    Re: Round Two: Should The Rams Have Cut Incognito Earlier?

    I always felt Incognito should have been cut earlier, but I understood the Rams' reluctance to do so, given their struggles on the offensive line. In any event, while a good team can take the occasional chance on a "problem" player, a bad team cannot and should not.

    He's gone- that's all that matters.


    • #3
      Re: Round Two: Should The Rams Have Cut Incognito Earlier?

      Originally posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
      He's gone- that's all that matters.
      I agree. The only other time I'd have cut him was after he flipped off the fans or end of last season. Once they decided to bring him back for the year it wasn't really much of an option.


      Related Topics


      • NJ Ramsfan1
        Incognito should be cut
        by NJ Ramsfan1
        How many times is this guy going to lose his poise in a key spot? If we'd have lost this ballgame, the blame would have rested squarely on his shoulders. Just inexcusable that this hothead hasn't learned his lesson. This is exactly the kind of guy we DON'T need.
        -10-12-2008, 01:13 PM
      • r8rh8rmike
        Rams' Ritchie Incognito: "I'm a marked man"/The Incognito File
        by r8rh8rmike
        Rams' Richie Incognito: "I'm a marked man"

        By Bill Coats

        As popular as Richie Incognito is in the Rams' locker room, where he's venerated as a staunch defender of his teammates, he's equally ostracized around the NFL, where he's regarded by some of his adversaries as an unscrupulous hothead.

        After Incognito was whistled for four penalties, including two personal fouls, in a 2007 game against Arizona, Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said the NFL "is going to have to do something about (Incognito), because one day he's going to really injure somebody's career. The guy was trying to hurt some of our guys."

        Last year, Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill noted that there are "just a few in the league who take cheap shots, go low at you when they're not supposed to go low, like when you're not looking. … He's one of them."

        As a result:

        — Opponents do what they can to get under Incognito's skin, trying to elicit a reaction.

        "One of the fundamentals of the game is trying to exploit someone else's weaknesses," said CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman with the old St. Louis Cardinals. "You realize where another guy is flawed and how to take advantage of that."

        — Officials constantly keep a close eye on Incognito for any indiscretion.

        "I know when I'm going out there Sundays I'm being watched," said the 6-foot-3, 324-pound Incognito, the Rams' right guard. "I'm a marked man."

        Incognito, 26, said in the spring that he dedicated the offseason to trying to scrape away that reputation. "Just growing, being a more mature football player and eliminating the penalties," he said. "That's really the emphasis for me."

        Yet Incognito already has re-ignited the furor by drawing two personal-foul calls in the Rams' 28-0 season-opening loss at Seattle.

        Angry fans on sports-talk shows and Internet forums have called for his release, arguing that enough is enough. But first-year head coach Steve Spagnuolo is standing up for his man.

        "I trust Richie — I like his passion," Spagnuolo said. "When the passion leads to penalties, that's not a good thing. But I'd rather have that problem than trying to motivate the guys to love the game of football."


        No one questions Incognito's love for football. "I care a lot about the game," he said. "I play with passion. I play with fire. And I play to win."

        He's been doing so since he was a youngster in Glendale, Ariz. At Mountain Ridge High he developed into one of the nation's most sought-after linemen.

        He chose Nebraska and quickly earned a first-team...
        -09-18-2009, 12:19 PM
      • RamWraith
        Incognito wonders when he'll get to play
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Tuesday, Sep. 20 2005

        The Rams' game Sunday against Arizona was supposed to be a homecoming for
        rookie offensive lineman Richie Incognito. His family has lived in Glendale, a
        northwest suburb of Phoenix, since Richie was in sixth grade.

        But the only weekend game involving the Incognito family was younger brother
        Derek's Pop Warner football debut Saturday for the Deer Valley Barracudas.
        Incognito, a third-round draft pick in April, remains unsigned. He attended
        Sunday's 17-12 Rams victory at Sun Devil Stadium, but as a spectator.

        "It's a rare situation," Incognito said. "But I've been in a lot of odd
        situations in my life. So it's one of many for me."

        Several on-the-field and off-the-field incidents - including fights and
        suspensions - derailed Incognito's college football career. He last played at
        the University of Nebraska in 2003. Incognito, now 22, says he's changing.

        "Stuff happens," Incognito said. "Everyone goes through young, wild days.
        Definitely, I've had my days. But days like that are numbered. You can't go on
        like that forever. I want to live a long life. And you've got to just put those
        days behind you."

        Maybe those experiences prepared Incognito for his current situation. Maybe
        not. In any event, he remains the only player unsigned in the entire 2005

        The Rams and Incognito remain apart on contract terms, and the basic dynamics
        of the dispute have remained the same for weeks:

        The Rams are offering Incognito a signing bonus that's $117,000 less than the
        market value on a three-year deal for a player taken in his slot (81st

        Incognito and his agent (Jack Scharf) want a market deal. The Rams say that's
        impossible because they don't have enough money left in their rookie cap to do

        Incognito and Scharf say the Rams could make up the difference with a one-time
        incentive tied to playing time later in the contract.

        As a matter of team policy, the Rams say they don't include such features in
        contracts for non-first-rounders.

        So Incognito remains in Phoenix, working out, rehabbing from kneecap surgery
        and waiting. He met with the Post-Dispatch Saturday at the Rams' team hotel in

        "It's given me a good insight into this business," Incognito said. "This isn't
        college, where it's, 'OK, we want you to come play. Here's your room and
        board.' This is just business. They want something from me. Obviously, I want
        something in return. That's kind of where we're at."

        Incognito attended the Rams' minicamps...
        -09-21-2005, 04:44 AM
      • mh-i
        by mh-i
        I see everybody calling for Linehan's head but no mention of Incognito and his role in this loss. If he isn't flagged for holding the Rams go up by 3 and if he isn't flagged for a personal foul after the TD Wilkins doesn't have to kick off from the 15, giving Seattle great field position for the game winning drive. He blew the game as much or more than anybody else in my opinion. I think he should be cut or at the least heavily fined. He's been a loose canon since he's been here.
        -11-12-2006, 05:16 PM
      • MauiRam
        Rams' Incognito out to change his ways .. from PFW.
        by MauiRam
        By Dan Arkush
        Picking up on the very positive vibe team sources tell us has been produced by new strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson, we hear that no Rams player has been more fired up than starting ORG Rich Incognito. Word is Incognito has set the pace in the weight room this offseason and has really made a strong first impression on new head coach Steve Spagnuolo, who likes his linemen to be as physical as the rules allow. Abiding by the rules, however, has been a well-documented problem for Incognito, whose ill-timed behavioral brain cramps have made him the No. 1 whipping boy for frustrated Rams fans the last couple of seasons. Incognito is on record this offseason as saying he wants to become “a more mature player” — a smart move on his part considering that he’s entering his contract year. “With everything he’s done, I’ll believe it when I see it,” one team insider said. “There’s no doubt he fits Spagnuolo’s mold and has a chance to make a lot of money.”
        -07-10-2009, 08:54 PM