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  • Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    Rams' Jason Smith returns healthy

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Jason Smith feels great. He's happy. He's excited. And he's back on the football field.

    He can see clearly now, literally. He has full range of motion in his neck. He can turn fully from side to side. He can drive himself to work or the store.

    That wasn't the case following a nasty concussion he suffered Oct. 23 in Dallas attempting to tackle Cowboys safety Abram Elam as Elam was returning a lost fumble by Cadillac Williams.

    It was the second major concussion of Smith's three-year NFL career. He was done for the season, and some wondered if he was done for his career. At the very least, some wondered if he would be back with the Rams, who had chosen him No. 2 overall in the 2009 draft.

    "The reality was, it was a freakish accident," Smith said. "But the great thing is: What is it now? It's just the past. It's something I had to go through. I'm excited to be back walking. Feeling good. Wife not having to drive me around. There's a lot of things I'm just excited about."

    The entire process tested his religious faith, and at the same time strengthened that faith.

    "That's what it's supposed to do," Smith said. "Affliction is supposed to make you stronger. If it makes you weaker there's something wrong with you. So it made me stronger."

    So Smith is excited about the new regime at Rams Park, from general manager Les Snead, to head coach Jeff Fisher, to his new offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. He likes the positive energy of new tight end Matt Mulligan and the savvy of new center Scott Wells. He likes the leadership being shown by running back Steven Jackson and quarterback Sam Bradford.

    "I'm happy they decided to keep me around," Smith said. "So I'm a new face. I'm a new type of guy here."

    Who knows what the draft will bring, and what that could mean to Smith. What if Matt Kalil of Southern California drops to the Rams at No. 6 overall? What if there's an offensive tackle in a later round the team feels compelled to take?

    But for now it looks likes Smith is out of the woods in terms of remaining a Ram. He's approaching this opportunity with a clear head — physically and mentally — and a new lease on life.

    "I have a new outlook on life by faith," Smith said. "Write that. I'm so happy. It's hard to explain."

    Smith not only wants to be a better player, he says he needs to be a better teammate.

    "I want to work on my relationship with the players to become a better teammate, a better friend in some areas," Smith said. "I need to be more fluid and relaxed. I need to relax and play ball, and stop thinking. There's no reason for anyone to walk around stuck-up and scared. I can't accurately keep the quarterback clean if I'm tense. Just little things like that."

    As he spoke, and he was speaking a mile a minute, Smith's 6-foot-5 frame was bouncing up and down. Call it nervous energy, or just plain energy.

    For his part, veteran line coach Boudreau would like to see a more relaxed, patient Smith on the field. Boudreau can't control Smith's health. He can't coach any future concussions away. But he can improve Smith's technique and his play.

    "He's a big athletic guy," Boudreau said. "What we're trying to do with him is we're going to try to change his technique a little bit. He's so intense in everything he does. He does everything in a hurry.

    "I'm trying to show him some patience. And trying to get him to use his hands more than leaning into blocks. Just trying to slow him down. Trying to make the game slower by using good technique as opposed to going out and killing every guy you play.

    "Because when he goes out there, if he hits (the defender), he hits him. But if he misses, it's a dead shot on the quarterback. So we're trying to get him to think a little bit more about his balance and his base, and where he is at the collision point. And not always try to go out and try to knock a guy out. Just block a guy. Don't knock him out."

    The lunging, over-aggressive action by Smith to obliterate the guy in front of him gets Smith off-balance and gives the defender a free path to the quarterback. To illustrate the point, Boudreau has broken out tape of former Rams great Orlando Pace. Pace would set up in his pass-blocking stance, wait for the pass-rusher to get to him, and then lock-on. At that point it was over for the defender; he had no chance.

    In post-practice remarks after Wednesday's minicamp practice, Fisher made it clear that Rodger Saffold was his left tackle and Smith was his right tackle.

    Boudreau later elaborated on why Smith is best suited for the right side: "Jason is a powerful guy. You put him next to Harvey (Dahl) and you get the double-team combinations in your runs. A little more physical there. We're trying to put the guys in the best position for them to succeed."

    And make no mistake, Smith wants to succeed. "I'm expecting a change in my performance," he said.

  • #2
    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

    its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

    Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff


    • #3
      Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

      Originally posted by RyanFoster View Post
      its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

      Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff


      • #4
        Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

        Originally posted by RyanFoster View Post
        its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

        Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff
        That is why I believe the Rams will be the surprise team in 2012. Our past coaching staff botched so much and players had no faith in staff. I bet we are a top 3 team on defense and give the veru good team a run for their money. We might not win div but we'll fight as hell to try.


        • #5
          Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

          Before we start anointing Boudreau, he was here a few years ago, and there weren't many tears shed when he left. Let's let these guys show a little on the field before we get ourselves too excited.

          Not trying to kill any buzz, just remembering where we came from.
          The more things change, the more they stay the same.


          • #6
            Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

            Just do what you're paid to do Jason. . . It's that simple.

            If not, I know a fat lady who is more than happy to burst into song.

            Last chance bud.


            • #7
              Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

              If this clown can get his act together, the immediate impact to the Rams would be huge.

              ...but I doubt that he can.


              • #8
                Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

                Originally posted by RyanFoster View Post
                its amazing to me to read the problems Smith is having. I mean this guy was a #2 overall selection and the old regime couldnt see this issue? what were they doing in 3 years? I knew Steve Loney was a bad Oline coach but I didnt know the scope of it. Now that I know he wasnt even teaching how to properly balance yourself its a wonder why he wasnt fired long ago

                Thank Jesus for Jeff Fisher and this new Staff
                I don't think it's that simple... If he was not hurt with concussion two of the three years It would be easier to say he just can't play at a high level. The new regime must see a player they feel they can coach up and after reading this they clearly do. The X factor still is can he stay healthy?

                I hope he can tum it around and take a pay cut and stay ay RT for ten years.. we have spent too many draft picks on OT.


                • #9
                  Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

                  Just do your job!

                  If and it's a big if...Saffold and Smith play up to there abilities we will have a very nice set of bookend tackles!
                  sigpic :ram::helmet:


                  • #10
                    Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

                    You're quite right laram. They have very good abilities, both of them. The problem is the fact that the last coaching staff did not really continue to teach them NFL level skills. Remember, as high draft picks, both of them could generally use their massive natural talents to destroy defenders in college. In the NFL they are facing professionals who train every day on how to break blocks.

                    We did well in 2010 because Shurmur kepts us on a lot of three step drops and Bradford got the ball out to Amendola real quick. In 2011, the drops were five and seven steps, and both Saffold and Smith were exploited because their skills had not been developed. We saw a video of Saffold's issues during the season. The problem I see is that we have not had veteran leadership at the tackle position, though hopefully Dahl is helping on that front. If we had that grizzled vet who could show them the ropes and drive them to work on their skills every day, I know that they could become pro bowlers.

                    Or we could just go to a bunch of 3 step drops again.
                    I believe!:ram:


                    • #11
                      Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

                      Good... since you can do normal things again like counting higher than 10, GIVE US BACK HALF OF THE MONEY YOU HAVN'T EARNED!


                      • #12
                        Re: Rams' Jason Smith Returns Healthy

                        It would be enormously helpful to have Jason play up to his draft stature. Maybe some years of experience has wisened him up to learning the best technique to use. Many times hearing something from a new voice (Boudreau) gets a person to understand better. Let's hope.

                        Go Rams!


                        Related Topics


                        • MauiRam
                          Smith Settling In ..
                          by MauiRam
                          By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer

                          Entering his third year in the NFL, Rams tackle Jason Smith has moved well beyond the expectations set for him by those outside of the team.

                          Smith says his full attention is dedicated not to meeting some sort of lofty expectations that are inherent with his draft status. Rather, Smith is aiming only to meet the goals he sets for himself and meet the needs of the team.

                          “It’s one of those deals where other people make a scenario up for you,” Smith said. “But for me, I just look at it the same; it’s football and I want to be the best I can be at it.”

                          There have been plenty of ups and downs in Smith’s relatively short career but many believe that the third year is the time for a player to make his move.

                          In this training camp, the coaching staff has been pleased with Smith’s progress, especially considering that though his media guide bio says he’s in his third year, he’s really only working with about a year and a half of experience.

                          It’s helped that Smith has been able to settle in at the right tackle spot where he’s been tasked with facing one of the league’s emerging pass rushers in Chris Long every day in practice.

                          Long has been one of the Rams’ best players in camp according to coach Steve Spagnuolo and he’s pushed Smith to improve his pass protection.

                          “You are playing a position and playing a game and the more you are doing it, the more comfortable you are getting, the more patience you are gaining, the more ability you have to do your job,” Smith said. “And I am going against Chris Long every day. This guy is a workhorse and I feel like I have become a better tackle going against him and understanding what I’m doing.”

                          Taken with the second overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Smith was expected to step right in and dominate as a left tackle. That’s the job most view as commensurate with being selected that high and made even more difficult for Smith by those expecting him to be the next Orlando Pace.

                          Smith’s rookie season was derailed by injuries, though, including an early season knee injury and a concussion that ended his season. All told, he played just eight games with five starts and just when it appeared he was settling in, he suffered the concussion.

                          “Obviously I have had some stumbling blocks in my career with a couple of injuries here and there but I trained and feel like I had a great offseason,” Smith said. “I am sound in my faith in God and I don’t see myself wavering from anything I know to do.”

                          Finally able to get on the field and stay there in 2010, Smith made strides as he settled in on the right side with then-rookie Rodger Saffold on the left.

                          In 15 games (he missed one with a concussion issue), Smith allowed four sacks according to STATSPASS as the Rams trimmed their total sacks allowed by 10 as quarterback...
                          -08-22-2011, 12:32 PM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Smith Progressing Well
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Smith Progressing Well
                          Tuesday, August 18, 2009

                          By Nick Wagoner
                          Senior Writer

                          After almost every practice since the Rams made him the No. 2 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, Jason Smith can be found out on the practice field doing two things.

                          First and foremost, Smith has made a habit of staying after practice to work with offensive line coaches Art Valero and Steve Loney on something he feels needed improvement from the just-completed workout.

                          When that is done, about 20 minutes later, Smith can be found hauling around the pads of his veteran teammates.

                          “It’s what I am but I am not doing it just to be doing it,” Smith said. “It’s something that I need to work on that day technically or physically. There’s always something to work on.”

                          Such is the life of a rookie in the NFL. And while those parts of it are normal, Smith’s approach to the game is anything but.

                          The Rams completed their final two a day practice of this year’s training camp on Tuesday afternoon. With that, the team is almost halfway through the preseason and Smith’s development process is in full swing.

                          From the moment he arrived in St. Louis, plenty of people have placed some weighty expectations on Smith but the coaching staff has ignored that and asked Smith to earn his position.

                          Until Tuesday, Smith had extremely limited repetitions with the first team offense as he has worked almost exclusively as the second-team right tackle behind Adam Goldberg.

                          Nothing has been handed to him and Smith has asked for nothing in return. Instead, Smith is lapping up every opportunity to learn the game from his veteran teammates.

                          Nary a player has been more helpful in that regard than Goldberg. Although Goldberg and Smith are technically competing for the job at right tackle, neither seems too concerned with beating out the other.

                          Quite the opposite, in fact.

                          “I take that as part of my role but I tell you what, he doesn’t need too many tips,” Goldberg said. “He’s going to be a really good football player and he’s a great person too, the kind of guy that you like to help out because he works hard, doesn’t take anything for granted, takes good notes, asks good questions. So he’s the type of young player that you want to help and want to see succeed.”

                          The modest Goldberg won’t take much credit for helping Smith learn the nuances of the NFL but Smith is quick to credit Goldberg for stepping into the mentor role.

                          “I feel that if Goldberg wasn’t here I would have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” Smith said. “What is the competition? The competition is Rams vs. whoever we play. It’s not amongst each other. Obviously we are going to make each other better by communicating things we see but if he wasn’t here, how far along would I...
                          -08-18-2009, 08:23 PM
                        • RamsInfiniti
                          Say what you may about Jason Smith ....
                          by RamsInfiniti
                          But this tough S.O.B. went down with injury, came back in the game, and made a NASTY kick out block on that 27-yard TD run by Jackson ...

                          Smith looks like he will eventually become an elite run blocking right tackle. He's an average pass blocker to date, but it looks like he's coming around ...

                          His intensity is unmatched ...

                          Starting to love this guy!
                          -12-06-2010, 08:31 AM
                        • RamFan_Til_I_Die
                          Smith takes his tasks seriously
                          by RamFan_Til_I_Die
                          Smith takes his tasks seriously

                          By Jim Thomas
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                          It has been six weeks since the Rams made Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. For most of the past five weeks, he has been plying his trade at Rams Park, in the weight room, the meeting room, and on the practice field.

                          So when asked if he's settled in yet — to St. Louis, and to life at Rams Park — Smith answers with the world view of a 22-year-old.

                          "Yeah, I'm settled in," Smith replied. "I'm over at the Holiday Inn right now. The bed's made up every day. The air conditioning's cold. I don't have any bills coming in. I'm loving it.

                          So far, NFL life is good for Smith, a 306-pound bundle of energy and optimism. When asked if he eventually will buy a place in St. Louis, Smith replied: "I'm thinking about buying a Holiday Inn, you know what I mean? And just living there."

                          Once he signs his first NFL contract — and there's little taking place on that front yet — Smith should have enough money to buy a hotel. For now, he's going about the business of earning his keep on the football field.

                          "Jason's doing great," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We've had a chance to work him on both sides, and he's a guy that's going to be a real good player. He's working hard, he's developing, and we're looking forward to see how it carries over to training camp."

                          After spending his first month at right tackle, which remains his likely destination on opening day, Smith was shifted to left tackle this past week. Should something happen to Alex Barron on the left side, Smith could be the Rams' next option there during the regular season.

                          "We're going to try to have some versatility at tackle," coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

                          It's difficult to make broad assumptions in the spring, particularly with linemen, because there is next to no contact during OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps, and the players aren't in full pads. But Spagnuolo already has seen enough of Smith to conclude that he has the mental makeup and approach to become a successful NFL blocker.

                          "He doesn't blink at all when he goes on either side (of the line), or we give him something new," Spagnuolo said. "He's a tremendous worker, and a respectful guy. He gets it. That's the best thing I can say is he gets it."

                          Some players never get it. But Smith seems to realize that the small things, the details, the technique work can turn decent players into good ones, and good players into great ones in the NFL.

                          "That's one thing I've learned about this level is that it's a lot of small details that you don't really know much about until you get here," Smith said. "Football's a game that...
                          -06-07-2009, 08:30 AM
                        • RamWraith
                          Smith gets a chance to start with Rams
                          by RamWraith
                          By Jim Thomas
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          Sunday, Aug. 06 2006

                          Paul Smith came into the NFL as an unheralded fifth-round pick out of Texas-El

                          In six NFL seasons with San Francisco and Detroit, he has only one touchdown on
                          his resume.

                          A fullback-halfback 'tweener, his very modest career totals are 210 yards
                          rushing and 182 yards receiving. To put that in perspective, Marshall Faulk has
                          topped those rushing and receiving totals in a single game.

                          Fittingly, Smith joined the Rams with no fanfare May 6, signing a one-year deal
                          paying him $585,000 in base salary.

                          And at Saturday's scrimmage, when the Rams' offensive unit broke the huddle for
                          its first play - there was Smith, again minus the fanfare, with the starters.

                          "I guess they like what I've done at practice," Smith, 28, said. "I'm happy for
                          the opportunity to do that. Hopefully, I'll run with it and do well."

                          Smith learned Friday that he would work with the starting unit - ahead of last
                          year's Rams starter, Madison Hedgecock.

                          Kind of made your day, right?

                          "Oh yeah," Smith said. "It made my whole year."

                          Whether Smith holds on to the job remains to be seen. But he has clearly made
                          an impression with coach Scott Linehan and his staff.

                          "A fullback's role is a thankless job," Linehan said. "Paul comes out every
                          day, and he tries to put it right on the numbers and put a guy on his back. And
                          that's what you're looking for. Plus, he has the ability to catch the ball."

                          Previously, Smith had carved out a niche for himself in the NFL as a hard-nosed
                          special teams player.

                          "I've always been the wedge-buster, things like that," Smith said. "Setting the
                          tempo for games. Sticking my nose in there on lead blocks and things like that."

                          Over the years, Smith has gotten a few chances at halfback and fullback, for
                          three seasons with Steve Mariucci in San Francisco, and then following Mariucci
                          to Detroit in 2003.

                          Smith has been slowed by injuries at times. He missed five weeks in 2002 in San
                          Francisco with a hamstring injury. He missed the entire 2004 season in Detroit
                          with a shoulder injury.

                          On the field, whether it was at halfback or fullback, Smith rarely touched the
                          football. In 55 NFL games, he has only 46 carries and 18 receptions. His career
                          high in receptions - five - came in '03, when Smith's Lions upset the Rams
                          30-20 in a regular-season finale that cost St. Louis home-field advantage in
                          the playoffs.

                          But playing fullback, Smith says, "is not about stats. What your running back
                          -08-07-2006, 05:00 AM