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Little May Have Other Options

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  • Little May Have Other Options

    Little May Have Other Options

    Leonard Little has yet to make his decision about returning or retiring from the NFL.
    But if he decides to play another season, he may have more than just the Rams wanting his services.
    As the new defensive coordinator in Washington, Jim Haslett has let it be known that he believes Little is still good for 10+ sacks a season--provided he stays healthy and is used appropriately.
    The situation is similiar with the Rams--who have made it clear to Little they would like him back if intends to play in 2010.
    Little missed three games due to injury last year, but still led the Rams with 6.5 sacks. It's that ability that should keep him effective on pass rush downs.
    With 87.5 career sacks, the idea of 100 sacks is an achievable goal--but Little has shared that he wouldn't return to chase after any statistical goals, playing the game was about winning and having fun.
    What's not so clear is if Little would have more fun in another city or if the wear and tear of twelve seasons has been enough and he's ready to walk away.

    I'd love to have little come back and play with us for another year. I think he still can be productive as long as he stays healthy

  • #2
    Re: Little May Have Other Options

    Exactly, as long as he can stay healthy. I thought he played pretty well last year, and would love to have him back again.


    • #3
      Re: Little May Have Other Options

      Little has been a Ram for such a long time. I wouldn't see why he wouldn't want to finish his career here.


      • #4
        Re: Little May Have Other Options

        I think a role as a situational pass rusher opposite Chris Long and with more talent on the interior of the line, Little could play another 3 years or so. He still has good pass rushing ability


        • #5
          Re: Little May Have Other Options

          He is our best pass rusher, so we should keep him.


          • #6
            Re: Little May Have Other Options

            Hellz ya I think He'd be a great rotantional guy with fresh legs to get after the QB. I just can't forget that interception and diving TD he did last year lol... that is the best highlight when I think of last year. If he did that he still has some gas left in the tank!


            Related Topics


            • RamWraith
              Little Embracing Leadership Role
              by RamWraith
              Wednesday, November 22, 2006

              By Nick Wagoner
              Senior Writer

              While Leonard Little was leading the Rams’ defense and continuing in his role as the team's top pass rusher last season, it wasn’t easy to see that Little simply wasn’t enjoying himself on the football field as he usually does.

              By his own account, Little wasn’t the same player or person last season as he had been in almost every other year. And it wasn’t even close. At 32, having gone through more in a five-year period than many endure in a lifetime, Little had to learn to handle pain in his foot and, more difficult, his heart.

              “Last year, my brother passed away and that really stuck with me throughout last season and I didn’t know how to come back,” Little said. “This year, I learned to deal with it and I am just going out trying to have fun. For me, I’m 32 years old and I just try to go out there and seize the moment and have fun while I’m out there playing.”

              Not only is Little having fun on the field and seizing the moment, he has done so much that he could finish his career in St. Louis. Little signed a three-year deal with the team this week; a contract he says will likely be his last.

              Last season was a difficult one for Little. Plagued by injuries, including an ankle and heel issue that slowed him, and forced to deal with the death of his brother Jermaine, Little struggled to find the bounce in his step that had made him one of the league’s most feared pass rushers.

              Little missed a pair of games after finding out about the shooting death of his brother before returning to the field with a heavy heart. With the Rams struggling, particularly on defense, Little couldn’t find a way to play with the passion and enthusiasm that had been motivating factors behind his immense success.

              “Last year, it was hard for me to cope with it because he was younger than me and we grew up tight,” Little said. “We were a close knit family. Last year, I was trying to cope with it and now I just deal with it.”

              Despite the extraneous factors working against him, he still led the Rams with 9.5 sacks. But, after a hot start, Little hit a lull in the middle of the season and didn’t hit his stride again until the end. His sack total was the second-lowest of his career since a huge 2001 when he had a career-high 14.5 sacks despite missing three games.

              In the offseason, Little’s surroundings changed once again. St. Louis hired a new coaching staff and brought in plenty of new pieces to surround the star defensive end. All of that, though was assuming Little could be a centerpiece.

              Little had ankle surgery that shaved away some bone chips in the offseason and went through a strenuous rehabilitation and recovery period that had him hobbled as recently as training camp.

              In addition, the Rams brought in defensive tackle La’Roi Glover...
              -11-22-2006, 02:48 PM
            • Aquitted Killer
              A Little change for Leonard
              by Aquitted Killer
              An artical I read regarding a potential flip on the D Line.

              I saw it as just a note toward the end of a Len Pasquarelli article on, but it stuck with me for some reason. “Coordinator Jim Haslett and line coach Brian Baker are tinkering with the notion of flipping the two ends, with Leonard Little moving to the right side and Tony Hargrove switching to the left.” It might not seem like a big deal to some; after all, it’s not like they’re moving to new positions, right? A switch could be particularly significant for Little, though.

              Little took a bit to get going in the NFL. He totaled just 5.5 sacks through his first three seasons (five of which came in the third season), while playing in only 26 games overall. The next year (2001), though, Little broke through with 14.5 sacks in a mere 13 games for the Super Bowl runner-up Rams. The season after that he notched 12 more sacks and forced nine fumbles over a full season. The next brought more tremendous production, as Little racked up 12.5 sacks in 12 games and forced six more fumbles.

              That year, however, was the last in which Little consistently got to the quarterback. The past two seasons -- during which the Rams have been subpar overall, by the way -- saw him total just 16.5 sacks, despite appearing in more games (30) than during any other two-year stretch of his career.

              So? Maybe he’s washed up, you might think. After all, he has played eight years now, on turf, no less. Maybe it’s just a byproduct of a career played mostly on turf. Maybe he’s showing the wear of playing season after season as a relatively undersized end. All those things could be factors, or even just outright true, but it may also be the case that a little change could do Leonard some good in 2006.

              The reason given for the coaches mulling the move is that getting Little on the right side would allow him to work in space more. In his current position on the left, Little regularly has to fight through the strong side of the offensive formation, meaning he often gets chipped by a tight end or works against a right tackle who might get a little help from the fullback. Besides the fact that even the slightest extra bump could knock him off stride, the mere step or two that navigating past additional blockers can take might be the difference between sacking Kurt Warner or waving hello after a touchdown pass has been thrown.

              From the right end spot, Little would be likely to go up against lone-working left tackles, which should help maximize the speed advantage that has made Little a successful defensive end at about 260 pounds. Of course, in facing left tackles, Little would also be facing most teams’ top linemen, but the one-on-one scenario would still improve his fantasy prospects. In any given game, he only really has to beat the tackle on one passing play. Do that an average of one time per game, and suddenly he’s leading the
              -07-03-2006, 03:50 PM
            • RamWraith
              Little is out of control
              by RamWraith
              I have talked in the past about how much Little's lack of discipline when rushing the passer has cost him numerous sacks. This year is no different. In fact I believe he is having one of the worst years he has ever had. I decided to spend the season counting the blown opportunities he has had. Thus far Little has 4 1/2 missed sacks because of the fact he is rushing to the quarterback with little regard for the outcome. He has missed, whiffed, arm tackled or simply ran by the passer 4 1/2 times.

              As much as I like him and believe he is a true force in the pass rush game. His tactics often gets the best of him. As a rusher you have to be aware of your surroundings all the time. This is the reason he has zero sacks thus far, quarterbacks are aware that all they have to do is step up when he is coming off the edge.
              -09-30-2007, 07:49 AM
            • r8rh8rmike
              The Legacy Of Leonard Little
              by r8rh8rmike
              The Legacy of Leonard Little
              Thursday, November 26, 2009

              By Nick Wagoner
              Senior Writer

              Two years into his NFL career, Leonard Little had yet to make much of an impact on the game and found himself wondering when his opportunity would arrive.

              Beyond that, Little was still unsure that even if the chance to prove himself came, that he could actually do it.

              In his college career at Tennessee, Little had regularly dominated. He was one of the most intimidating forces in the college game and had made a habit of collecting sacks like Jay-Z collects No. 1 albums.

              But the NFL was a different world and Little had yet to even show up on the radar.

              So it was that then coach Mike Martz made the decision that the best way for Little to unlock his many skills was to get his behind kicked every day in practice.

              “If you were going to get better, you were going to have to go against someone great,” Little said. “I was going against the best every single day in training camp. He told me if I was going to be an impact player in this league, I have to practice against the best and Orlando Pace was the best.”

              Practice after practice, repetition after repetition, all world left tackle Pace utterly destroyed Little. Every move Little made was turned away, every spin move stonewalled.

              Eventually, Little had a breakthrough. After hundreds, perhaps thousands of opportunities, Little finally began to solve Pace or at least battle him to a draw.

              “He was the best at the time and when I first went against him it was intimidating because he was a great player,” Little said. “He would get the best of me and I’d keep battling and then beat him sometimes. He would beat me. It went back and forth. But I think that was the first time I realized I could play in this league.”

              Twelve years into his career, there’s nobody who can question that Little can indeed play in the NFL as he has become one of the league’s premiere pass rushers and the greatest defensive force in St. Louis Rams history.


              When the Rams used the 65th overall choice, in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft on Little, they knew they were getting an extremely productive college player.

              For a player with Little’s resume to last until the third round would normally be a bit of a surprise. But for as impressive as his statistics were, the stat that held Little back the most was the fact that he was a 236-pound defensive end/linebacker.
              Before the dawn of the 3-4 defense in which teams can regularly find ways to get pass rush specialists on the field as an outside linebacker, there was Little.

              In fact, Little was one of a number of players first associated with the dreaded “’Tweener” label.

              The Rams decided to roll the dice...
              -11-26-2009, 07:16 PM
            • RamWraith
              Extra attention is holding back Leonard Little
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Thomas
              Of the Post-Dispatch

              In the third quarter against Seattle last month, Leonard Little got offensive tackle Chris Terry on his heels with a bull rush. Little then turned inside toward Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck but never got there.

              That's because Terry grabbed Little with his right arm and held on for dear life. After the play ended, Little raised his arms in protest, but there was no holding call by referee Bill Leavy's crew.

              The following week in Buffalo, Little darted inside on a stunt late in the first quarter. But before Little got in the backfield, Bills guard Chris Villarrial yanked on his facemask to slow him down. Again, no flag.

              Those are just two snapshots illustrating the kind of attention Little is getting from opposing blockers this season. He gets double-teamed or chip-blocked on the majority of passing downs. For a defensive end in the National Football League, it's the ultimate form of flattery.

              "They never leave him alone," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "Very seldom is he left alone on (the edge). If he is, then it's a quick throw. They have great respect for him."

              Not that that's much consolation to Little. All the extra attention has at times been exasperating and disconcerting.

              After the Rams' 31-14 loss in Miami, a frustrated Little was one of the last Rams to leave the visitors' locker room at Pro Player Stadium. The Dolphins had been particularly attentive - and particularly effective - in slowing Little that day.

              While reporters were milling about the locker room in search of postgame quotes, Little was huddled in a corner with teammate Tyoka Jackson.

              "He was looking for answers ... and trying to figure out what he can do to overcome what they're doing," Jackson said. "Because he's seeing things that he hasn't seen before.

              "The (Miami) guys were telling him after the game was over: 'Coach said we've got to do this all game. We've got to take you out of the game. We decided to do this and do that.' So teams are scheming him, and that's something he's got to deal with."

              The extra attention shouldn't be considered surprising, given Little's well-established reputation as a defensive playmaker.

              "Over the last three years, with the numbers he's put up, and the intensity and everything with which he plays, teams feel they've got to slow the guy down," Rams defensive line coach Bill Kollar said. "Without a doubt."

              The real surprise is that it has taken the league three years to figure this out. From 2001 through 2003, Little averaged 13 sacks a season, the third-highest total in the NFL. Over that period, Little had 39 sacks in just 41 games. (He missed three games in 2001 with a knee injury and four games last season with a torn...
              -12-17-2004, 05:23 AM