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Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

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  • Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Fear the beard: Healthy Brockers ready to take next step

    11 hours ago • By Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8197

    Michael Brockers’ beard can best be described as prolific, even biblical.

    “It’s coming along very well,” said Brockers, the Rams’ second-year defensive tackle. “At LSU, I just had a little chin (hair) going, but now I think the all-out beard really makes me look dominant. Beard equals sacks. And I think sacks are good for me right now.”

    Brockers was joking, but the goal definitely is to take the next step as an NFL defensive tackle, whether it’s sacks, tackles for loss — what have you — and become a force in the middle of the St. Louis front four.

    “Mike did a great job coming back off the high ankle (sprain), and really finished up strong toward the second half of the (2012) season,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “He’s worked very hard. He’s changed his body, and we think he can be a dominating player inside.”

    A high ankle sprain in the Rams’ 2012 preseason finale against Baltimore sidelined Brockers for the first three games of his rookie season. High ankle sprains can take forever to heal — just ask Sam Bradford — and Brockers felt lingering effects of the injury throughout the season.

    Even so, he came on strong over the second half of the year, playing very much like the No. 14 overall pick in the draft. At season’s end, he joined cornerback Janoris Jenkins as the first Rams since 2003 to make the NFL’s all-rookie team. Brockers’ season totals included 63 tackles, four sacks and 17 QB pressures or hits. All in all it made for a good start in the NFL, but Brockers wants more this season.

    “I can’t even see the ceiling yet,” Brockers said during practices in June. “I want to keep progressing from here on in, and I just keep doing my thing. The ankle is fine. I have no excuses now and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to do great things.”

    The high ankle sprain, to Brockers’ right ankle, is long behind him. In addition, Brockers underwent cleanup surgery in February to remove bone chips in his left ankle. He believes that procedure corrected carryover symptoms from an injury at LSU that irritated his foot last season.

    “When I’m in my stance, it really pinched on nerves,” Brockers said after a recent training camp practice. “Now that that’s out I can just feel me being more explosive off the ball, getting in the backfield real quick.”

    Brockers now has two good wheels and has increased his overall weight and upper-body strength.

    “He’s changed his body,” Fisher said. “He’s gained some weight, but it’s good weight. He’s gained a tremendous amount of strength.”

    Brockers weighed in at 325 pounds for training camp after playing around 318 to 320 as a rookie. An extra five to seven pounds may not sound like much, but for a finely tuned pro athlete it can make a noticeable difference.

    “It can help a lot as far as playing the run, holding double teams, and just being a force in the middle,” Brockers said. “I’ve been training the same. I just feel like this year I put on more muscle mass. I can feel it.”

    But the bigger, stronger version of Brockers is nonetheless a faster Brockers.

    “That’s the crazy thing, adding weight and then getting quicker than I was,” Brockers said.

    The added strength and slight increase in bulk should make Brockers tougher to budge on run defense, which in turn should help Rams linebackers get to the ball carrier.

    Throw in the extra quickness that comes with having a pair of healthy ankles and Brockers hopes to be more of a force on the pass rush. When opposing QBs feel pressure from defensive ends coming off the edge, the natural instinct is to step up in the pocket. But if Brockers can simply push the pocket on a more consistent basis, much less break through the line, that escape hatch is gone. QBs will have no place to hide.

    As with many of his teammates, the summer break between the end of OTAs and the start of training camp wasn’t really a break for Brockers. Instead of working at Rams Park, he simply switched venues to Baton Rouge, La., and Louisiana State University.

    Why did he keep working? Because when training camp starts, “You gotta hit it running,” Brockers said. “I’m 100 percent. I feel better. I’m playing better. I can turn the corner better. It’s sad news for the other team but for me it’s great news.”

    Because beard, plus strength and quickness, could equal more sacks.

    “I don’t think I can get rid of” the beard, Brockers said. “You know, like (Fisher) with the ‘stache? I think I’ve gotta keep the beard. Just trim it up a little bit, that’s all it needs.”

  • #2
    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Michael Brockers will be a superstar next year. He was such an amazing pick by the Snead-Fisher regime. You grab a raw player who was all the physical tools in the world and mold him along with Mike Waufle. That plan has excelled, and I believe Brockers will be a top 5 DT in the league post 2013-2014.

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    • #3
      Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

      I remember when we first drafted him, a lot of folks here thought the sky was falling. I thought he was gonna have a tough learning curve to tackle but it looks like I was wrong.


      ♪ R.I.P. Nujabes ♫

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      • #4
        Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

        Originally posted by sosa39rams View Post
        Michael Brockers will be a superstar next year. He was such an amazing pick by the Snead-Fisher regime. You grab a raw player who was all the physical tools in the world and mold him along with Mike Waufle. That plan has excelled, and I believe Brockers will be a top 5 DT in the league post 2013-2014.
        I could not agree more. This guy is special. All the talent in the world, with the drive and intense determination to match. He's the type of person who refuses to fail. If I had to pick one Ram who was an absolute slam dunk for becoming an All-Pro, it would be Michael Brockers.

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        • #5
          Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

          Waufle on draft day...

          "They say he's not much of a pass rusher, but we'll teach him to pass rush. Tommy Kelly wasn't either, at one time, and we taught him how to power rush. The last two years he's had more sacks [14 ½] than any defensive tackle in the league, and this kid will do the same. Tommy's tough, but this guy's nasty."

          On the big-screen televisions behind Waufle, Brockers strode to the podium. When NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said to former ***** and Lions coach Steve Mariucci, "Mooch, he's not much of a pass rusher," Waufle sneered, "Yeah – we'll see."

          I think he gets 10 plus sacks this year. He is the key for the defense to dominate.

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          • #6
            Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

            Gotta love the force that is our defensive line. In a division that has some amazing defenses, ours is the best in my opinion. We have two 10-sack rushers outside, and now we have this beast to dominate the middle. If we can trust our interior triangle (DT, DT, MLB) to take on any interior run, we can be more free to stop the option mess from Kapernick and Wilson with the rest of the guys keying on the exterior stuff. With a great line, the rest of the team looks and plays better.

            It'll be fun to watch the race to the QB this year!
            I believe!:ram:

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            • #7
              Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

              I remember A lot of people were disappointed we didn't get Fletcher Cox. Not sure how his season went but i'm pretty sure we can agree Brockers was a good pick.

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              • #8
                Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

                Originally posted by sosa39rams View Post
                Michael Brockers will be a superstar next year. He was such an amazing pick by the Snead-Fisher regime. You grab a raw player who was all the physical tools in the world and mold him along with Mike Waufle. That plan has excelled, and I believe Brockers will be a top 5 DT in the league post 2013-2014.
                True statement, and to add to this a little with regardless to post 2013-2014, I think JJenks will be a top 5 CB in the league at that same point. Brockers Top 5 DT and Jenkins Top 5 CB, imagine that... All from the same draft? I love this regime.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

                  Originally posted by lostsoul View Post
                  I remember A lot of people were disappointed we didn't get Fletcher Cox.
                  Really Brock was high on my short list of what we needed that season especially in the first round. Our staff and mgt group did a great job the last two seasons picking guys like MB! Not too sure about the beard, but if Mike thinks it gives him some Sampsonesque powers then ride the beard till you meet your Delilah Brock! You know I am amazed he was not picked higher he was a stud in college too and I remember being amazed the guy was there at 14. Like Ogletree this year we are really getting some timely pickups in these drafts. Having been a fan of this team for many decades it is nice to see such fortune and skill at the draft we certainly went through many that were not as fruitful... Good to see so many recognize how special a player MB is! He is the Tiger ( as in LSU) in our tank these days!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

                    I didn't realize he had those numbers. Very excited to see him progress next year. Maybe it will open up some more opportunities for Langford.

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                    • MauiRam
                      Rams DT Brockers poised for breakthrough .. Nick Wagoner
                      by MauiRam
                      By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com

                      Halfway through St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers' rookie season he found himself wondering if he was going to be able to have the kind of impact expected of the 14th pick in the NFL draft.

                      The first half of the season had essentially been a wash as Brockers dealt with the lingering effects of a high ankle sprain suffered in the preseason finale. He returned in Week 4 but the ankle injury didn’t allow him to perform the way he’d hoped.

                      Things were so bad that Brockers doesn’t even like the mention of the first eight games of his career. He prefers not to watch the game film from his first five appearances.

                      “I can’t put it into words from my mouth because it was just really bad,” Brockers said. “When I look at myself toward the end of the season and look at myself toward the beginning of the season, my stance has changed, I’m coming off the ball different, I’m reading plays different, everything is different when you first get into the league because everything is going fast and I had the ankle so I’m playing tentative. It really was bad tape to watch. I hate watching it but now that we moved on to different games and later in the season, I am just trying to progress off of that really.”

                      Brockers’ breakthrough performance came right at the beginning of the second half of the season. Motivated by the opportunity to face San Francisco’s tough, physical offensive line, namely guard Mike Iupati, Brockers said it was in that Week 10 game that he finally put all thoughts about his ankle out of his mind.

                      “The game I like to play is smashmouth football,” Brockers said. “That game really put a lot of pressure on the ankle. After that, I was like ‘this ankle can hold up’ and I can go out and play. I think that was the turning point.”

                      Brockers never looked back in the second half of the season though he had his share of ups and downs, as rookies tend to do. He again gave San Francisco fits in Week 13, and put on another dominant performance against Buffalo the following week.

                      That late-season performance combined with an offseason in which he has reshaped his body has many observers believing that Brockers, on a team full of young potential, is the most likely to emerge into a full blown star in 2013.

                      “Mike did a great job coming back off the high ankle (injury), and really finished up strong toward the second half of the season,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “He’s worked very hard. He’s changed his body, and we think he can be a dominating player inside.”

                      The changing of the body has seemed like something of a neverending process for Brockers, even dating to before he entered the league. Brockers arrived at the 2012 scouting combine around 322 pounds but dropped down to closer to 310 through the draining process of draft preparation.

                      Brockers put some of that...
                      -09-02-2013, 12:32 PM
                    • Rambos
                      Brockers Getting Comfortable
                      by Rambos
                      Nick Wagoner

                      A little more than two weeks ago, rookie defensive tackle Michael Brockers found himself getting ready to step on the field for his first NFL game.

                      Preseason or not, Brockers was nervous, butterflies in the stomach, on the verge of vomit type of nervous. In fact, Brockers found himself so anxious that he spent more time worrying about letting his teammates down than staying focused on the task at hand.

                      Upon the first contact of that game, those nerves went away but Brockers walked away knowing that he needed to get back to his fundamentals taught by line coach Mike Waufle in order to fare better last week against Kansas City.

                      “Use the basics Coach Waufle is teaching us,” Brockers said. “Finish getting back to the quarterback, putting pressure on him and stuff like that. I feel like if you get back to the basics, everything will work out like you want it to.”

                      From game one to game two, progress was made for Brockers, not only in his eyes but in the eyes of coach Jeff Fisher. He finished with four tackles and was regularly a force against the run, taking on multiple blockers and allowing teammates to run free to the ball.

                      Like any rookie, Brockers has had his share of ups and downs in his first training camp but so far he seems to have pushed through it and is working to make progress daily in the preseason.

                      “He’s doing well,” Fisher said. “He might be a little tired, but he’ll get his legs back. He was a force inside. His pad level was good. He had some good pressures inside. That’s a big offensive line and they were clearly set out to protect the quarterback through the play action pass, but they were also banging on our ends. So he either had a 1-on-1 or he had a double. When he had a 1-on-1 he was getting good pressure.”

                      As the Rams’ first round pick – No. 14 overall – in April, Brockers was saddled with the task of jumping into the starting lineup almost immediately and being a consistent presence in the middle of the line that could help the Rams heretofore porous run defense.

                      When Brockers arrived in St. Louis, he checked in at an imposing 6’5, 323 pounds and plugged in next to Kendall Langford on an emerging defensive line. The expectation was that Brockers would be helpful against the run right away while Waufle helped him develop some needed pass rush skills.

                      The first thing asked of Brockers had nothing to do with any details of his game.

                      “They asked me to trim down a little bit which was OK with me,” Brockers said. “I can see the goal of where I’m supposed to be in the first place. I don’t mind trimming down some more and I’ll be even better than I was when I first started camp.”

                      When Brockers was drafted, he was about 11 pounds heavier than what he played at when he was at Louisiana State. The added weight didn’t seem to bother his conditioning much...
                      -08-20-2012, 01:42 PM
                    • MauiRam
                      Brockers expects quick transition ..
                      by MauiRam
                      Steve Holley
                      Sports Correspondent
                      Monday, July 23, 2012

                      Michael Brockers needed only one season as a starter on the defensive line at LSU before becoming a first-round selection in this year's NFL draft. Now Brockers, a former LSU defensive tackle entering his rookie season in the NFL, expects to make a quick transition at the next level with a defensive unit looking to rebuild after finishing 22nd in the league in total defense a season ago.

                      Brockers was selected 14th overall in the first-round of the 2012 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams this past April after playing two seasons at LSU.

                      The Houston, Texas, native started all 14 games at defensive tackle for the Tigers last season and finished with 54 tackles, two sacks, and 10 tackles for a loss.

                      "(The Rams) have a 4-3 attack like I played with at LSU. I feel it's going to be good and that I fit in comfortable," said Brockers, who attended the Pro Football Combine Camp at Nicholls State's John L. Guidry Stadium on Saturday.

                      Despite LSU losing to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 9 in New Orleans, Brockers ended his collegiate career on a high note, finishing with a career-high seven tackles in the game.

                      Brockers said his decision to enter the draft was primarily due to family matters.

                      "Playing with the guys I came in (to LSU) with, we wanted to win a championship," Brockers said. "It made the decision (to go pro) very difficult, but I had to be able to go and choose what was best for me and my family."

                      Brockers' decision to choose LSU over scholarship offers from Texas A&M and Texas Tech coming out of high school had a lot to do with the Tigers' history and reputation, and their style of play in the SEC, he said.

                      "Mostly it had to do with watching their defense," he said. "Just the tradition, it was LSU in general. I was an LSU fan when I was in 8th grade, so I wanted to go to LSU if they offered me a scholarship. Luckily, they did."

                      The expectation level with Brockers' current team is going to be a bit different — at least in the beginning — from his college team.

                      At LSU, Brockers played in front of sellout crowds of over 92,000 every home game and on teams that were expected to compete for championships most every year.

                      With the Rams, he'll be playing for a team that had the NFL's second lowest attendance total a season ago and who hasn't reached the playoffs since the 2004 season.

                      None of that deters Brockers, who said his expectations with the Rams are as high as they were at LSU.

                      "They say it's different and the stadium (Edward Jones Dome) is not as big, but they talk about how St. Louis Rams fans get rowdy," Brockers said. "As far as expectations, I'm going to go into the season wanting to...
                      -07-24-2012, 08:02 PM
                    • mcpeepants232003
                      Michael Brockers
                      by mcpeepants232003
                      I saw a lot of analysts give the Rams grief for trading down and missing out on Fletcher Cox and Dontari Poe but Brockers has been more effective than both(though Cox has slightly better stats but has played way more).

                      Jenkins has got most of the hype but Brockers has played a huge part in our success.
                      -12-02-2012, 09:41 PM
                    • Rambos
                      Brockers getting closer
                      by Rambos
                      by nick wagoner


                      Coach Jeff Fisher said the Rams made it through the game relatively clean and actually made mention of the Rams getting healthier, namely on the defensive front.

                      That means that DTs Michael Brockers and Matt Conrath could be back in the mix next week. Brockers, in particular, seems to be on track. He actually went through a pre-game warmup workout with strength coach Rock Gullickson. It looks good for the prized rookie’s return sooner than later.
                      -09-24-2012, 01:00 PM
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