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  • Robbins Relishes Role ..

    Monday, May 24, 2010
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    While the youth movement at Russell Training Center has been in full force the better part of the past two seasons, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has maintained that adding veteran help would only come if it makes sense for the team on the field and in the locker room.

    In a free agent market mostly devoid of strong veteran options, there was one player that couldn’t have made more sense for the Rams. Enter defensive tackle Fred Robbins.

    “(He’s) experienced,” Spagnuolo said. “The guys that can show the younger guys how to be a pro and I’m not just talking about practicing, all the things that you do in between – that’s just as important as anything.”

    Nearly from the moment he signed a three-year deal with the Rams on March 8, Robbins has understood and embraced the role he will undertake in his time in St. Louis.

    At the top of that list is bringing the many lessons Robbins learned from Spagnuolo when Spagnuolo was his defensive coordinator in New York for two seasons.

    There, Robbins played an integral part of a dominant defensive line that helped the Giants to a Super Bowl title. All told, he started 63 games in six seasons in New York after coming into the league as a second-round pick by Minnesota.

    Robbins brings that experience along with his knowledge of Spagnuolo’s system to the Rams. And if anybody knows what is expected of him not only in the defense but off the field, it’s Robbins.

    “I embrace that,” Robbins said. “I have no problem with that. That’s something he expects from me to just come in and bring overall knowledge and lead by example. That’s something I have done in past years so I have no problem with it and I am comfortable with it.”

    Robbins’ overlying comfort level can’t help but be traced directly to his close personal relationship with Spagnuolo.

    It was under Spagnuolo’s tutelage that Robbins played some of his best football as he put up a career high in sacks two seasons in a row and was stout against the run.

    Even after Spagnuolo departed to become the head coach of the Rams before last season, Robbins says he kept tabs on how his former coach was doing.

    “Anytime you get someone who goes from one of the coordinators to being a head coach you wish them the best, especially someone well respected (like Spagnuolo),” Robbins said. “You don’t want to see someone go through the hard times. It’s more than football sometimes.”

    When Robbins hit the free agent market, it was clear he was at the top of the Rams’ wish list. And despite the team’s struggles in 2009, the feeling was mutual.

    “Spags is a great guy, well respected and we had some good years the two years I played for him,” Robbins said. “That was pretty much the main thing. Things happen in this business; I thought it was a good fit for me.”

    Robbins’ comfort level as one of the elder statesmen of the Rams defensive line has been readily apparent in just a short period of time. The Rams completed their third OTA on Monday afternoon and Robbins has already set about setting the proper example for his younger linemates.

    Included in the group looking to Robbins to lead are younger tackles such as Darell Scott and Leger Douzable whom Robbins has already made it a point to help show the ropes before, during and after practice.

    “We have got a bunch of young guys and that’s a good thing,” Robbins said. “Bringing in someone who has been in the system and successful, I feel I can bring a lot to the table. I can let people know how the coaches want stuff done upfront.”

    Of course, Robbins and the Rams expect much more from him than just intangibles during the life of his contract.

    In his 10 years in the NFL, Robbins has posted 356 tackles, 28.5 sacks, three interceptions, five fumble recoveries and 19 passes defended in 149 games.

    For the Rams, he will be asked to come in and contribute right away, likely in a starting spot at tackle next to Clifton Ryan. While Robbins has some pass rush skills, his first priority will be helping the Rams improve their run defense.

    “In the NFL, you have got to be able to stop the run,” Robbins said. “If you can’t stop the run, you are not going to be successful at all. I can help improve on that.”

    At 33, Robbins is by far the most experienced of the Rams defensive tackles but part of his role in setting the tone for his teammates on the interior is setting the right example.

    Robbins has come into Rams camp in excellent shape and says he has learned through the years that the older you get, the harder you have to work to maintain a high level of energy and play.

    “The older you get, you have just got to play it a lot smarter,” Robbins said. “Just take care of your body, more so during the season and offseason, just staying fit and staying into it.”

    To that end, Robbins has taken it upon himself to watch his diet, consulting a nutritionist and ensuring that he’s putting the right types of things in his body. Listed at 6’4, 317 pounds, Robbins wants to make sure that is solid weight so that he can indeed hold up against the run well into the fourth quarter of games.

    “I think if you asked him, he’d say the same things that his expectations are high because he’s always played at a high level,” Spagnuolo said. “Right now, he’s doing a great job with what he’s done in the offseason as far as, you know, what he’s doing with his body; putting the right things in. He looks in good shape. He kids with me all the time, he always tells me he’s got a six-pack and stuff, but he’s done a nice job. He’s a quality veteran.”

Related Topics


  • MauiRam
    Robbins helping Rams defense ..
    by MauiRam
    BY JIM THOMAS | Posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010

    On his website, Fred Robbins Official Website, is a feature called "Ask Fred," in which fans can e-mail questions to the veteran Rams defensive tackle.

    Interesting, because Robbins holds another version of Ask Fred just about every day at Rams Park. The 33-year-old Robbins is surrounded by pups in the locker room. Six of his nine defensive linemates had two years or less of NFL experience entering this season. Three are rookies. And they have plenty of questions.

    "It's like on pass rush, or run block situations, he'll give me his ins and outs — whatever he knows," rookie defensive end Eugene Sims said. "And I just take it and try to use it."

    Or they may ask how to watch game film. What to look for on tape. How to stay healthy. How to eat right. And when Robbins talks ...

    "It's short but sweet," Sims said. "He knows what he's talking about. He ain't been in it for 11 years for nothing. He knows what he's doing."

    There's personality behind the presence.

    "He's just a happy, energetic kind of guy," safety Craig Dahl said. "Always in a good mood. Always willing to pick up a teammate if he sees someone struggling. Fred's just a big jolly guy."

    But Santa Claus is a big, jolly guy. And Santa can't play defensive tackle in the NFL. Robbins can. In fact, he's doing it better than anyone — perhaps even coach Steve Spagnuolo — expected back in March when the Rams signed him to a free-agent deal.

    On a star-studded New York Giants defensive line that included luminaries such as Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiori, Robbins was the unheralded anchor in the middle during the team's Super Bowl championship run three seasons ago.

    But then Robbins started to break down. He battled his way through 2008 with two broken hands and a shoulder injury, then had offseason knee surgery. Last season, he was replaced in the Giants' starting lineup over the final third of the season.

    So far in St. Louis, Robbins has been revitalized. At the defensive tackle position, stats rarely tell the story. By the numbers, Robbins has nine tackles, one sack, three quarterback hits and two pass breakups this season. (OK, and that costly shove of Bruce Gradkowski in Game 2 at Oakland that resulted in an unnecessary roughness penalty.)

    But take it from Dahl, who also was Robbins' teammate for two seasons with the Giants:

    "You would never know Fred's as old as he is. He uses a lot of his experience to his advantage, too. He was able to read that screen last week. Sniff that out."

    With the Seahawks desperately trying to get back in the game in the fourth quarter, Robbins dropped speedy Leon Washington in his tracks for no gain on a screen pass...
    -10-07-2010, 10:40 AM
  • Ramblin` Ram
    Robbins update.
    by Ramblin` Ram
    Robbins dines with Spagnuolo
    By Jim Thomas
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Free agent defensive tackle Fred Robbins arrived in St. Louis on Sunday, getting a look at Rams Park and dining with coach Steve Spagnuolo.

    According to Robbins’ agent, Brian Mackler, two other teams have been involved with Robbins during free agency. But Robbins wanted to visit St. Louis first because of his past relationship with Spagnuolo, his defensive coordinator with the New York Giants during two of Robbins’ best seasons there.

    “Freddie’s a 10-year veteran, a defensive captain, won a Super Bowl with (Spagnuolo),” Mackler said. “He has a lot of respect for Coach Spagnuolo; had a lot of success with Coach. Spags and Freddie have a great relationship. He just had to check out the environment and make sure it’s a fit.”

    Mackler says the deal could be finalized Monday
    -03-07-2010, 08:21 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Wasted Little Time Signing Bannan
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams wasted little time signing Bannan

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    The moment free agency opened in 2010, Justin Bannan's phone rang. It was Steve Spagnuolo on the line. The Rams head coach wanted Bannan — then a Baltimore Raven — to come to St. Louis as an unrestricted free agent.

    "Yeah, right at midnight he called me and we just had a good talk," Bannan said. "That was pretty cool. I didn't expect that."

    Bannan ended up signing with the Denver Broncos, but like a spurned suitor, Spagnuolo wouldn't take no for an answer. When the 2011 free agency period finally opened two weeks ago, Spagnuolo and the Rams went out early and hard once again after Bannan, a defensive tackle.

    This time, the Rams got their man with Bannan signing a three-year contract worth $8.5 million. Back on the market as a salary cap casualty after just one season in Denver, several teams showed interest in Bannan. So why the Rams?

    "The fact that they wanted me," Bannan said. "They really went out of their way to let me know that, and to me that goes a long way. In my view, you want to go where you're wanted. The coaches did a great job of reaching out to me early in the week (following the end of the lockout), and getting this thing going."

    Bannan hadn't forgotten that phone call from Spagnuolo a year earlier, either.

    "I knew that I was on their radar screen before I went to Denver," Bannan said. "I think having Coach (Josh) McDaniels come over and probably vouch for me was also a plus."

    McDaniels, the Rams' offensive coordinator, was Denver's head coach a year ago.

    It's clear Spagnuolo must have seen something he liked on tape of Bannan, or he wouldn't have gone after him two years in a row.

    "I guess so," Bannan said, laughing. "Hopefully, I don't disappointment him. It's nice to have the coach look out for you like that."

    When it came to restocking the shelf at defensive tackle, the Rams didn't stop with Bannan. The team subsequently signed free agent Daniel Muir of Indianapolis, and a few days later, re-signed Gary Gibson.

    "We're always looking for big guys," Spagnuolo said. "We've said all along, we're wanting to build this thing from the inside out, and big men were important."

    The newcomers, Bannan and Muir, look the part. Bannan is 6-3, 310 pounds, and Muir is 6-2, 312.

    Bannan, 32, is regarded as a no-nonsense, blue-collar type, but he's more than just a try-hard, high-motor guy. He's got some athleticism and has a quick first step off the ball which helps him get penetration on run defense.

    "I would describe myself as a consistent football player in the NFL," Bannan said. "I pride myself...
    -08-11-2011, 12:07 PM
  • shower beers
    Rams closing in on deal with Fred Robbins
    by shower beers
    The Rams are reportedly finalizing a deal with free agent DT Fred Robbins.
    Reuniting with coach Steve Spagnuolo? The Rams aim to get bigger upfront, and Robbins (6'4/325) would provide a presence at the 3-technique tackle. If healthy, Robbins would be a boon to the team's run defense.
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    ...and we're back to square one in regards to who our staff wants with the first pick. First a qb, now a d-lineman. I like this signing, personally.
    -03-06-2010, 04:18 PM
  • RAM-BO
    So apparently we signed Fred Robbins!
    by RAM-BO
    I wasn't around here when it happened, and I didn't get a chance to hear what yall thought about it. This guy was a monster on the Giants, but he is getting up there in age. He will hopefully have a couple great seasons and not be another La'Roi Glover type player for us.
    -04-08-2010, 10:00 AM