St. Louis Rams – Blog

Combine Day 1 in the Books

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 11:14 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- It was an eventful day at the NFL Combine on Thursday though not as eventful as I would’ve preferred. Generally, the players that people want to talk to all make it through the media room on the scheduled day. Sometimes, a few slip through the cracks but Thursday wasn’t quite as bountiful as hoped.

- For those that have been following along all day, you heard from guys like UNC OG Jonathan Cooper, Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher and many more. But, alas, a number of players we hoped to catch up to did not make it through. That list includes OT Menelik Watson, OT D.J. Fluker, G Chance Warmack and TE Tyler Eifert.

- We’ll try to catch up to them tomorrow if they come through but Rams coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead are expected to come through at 2 and 1 (EST) tomorrow. So we’ll play it by ear. Still hoping to write about Watson and Fluker as well as Eifert. The homepage now has a story on the value of guards like Cooper and Warmack and I’ll look to update it with quotes from Warmack tomorrow if he comes through.

- Workouts don’t begin until Saturday but tomorrow figures to be a busy one.

- In addition to the guys mentioned above, the skill position guys will be coming through and we’ll look to catch up with some of them in addition to Fisher and Snead. Tomorrow’s feature stories will be all Rams, all the time and then we’ll get back into players on Saturday. But don’t worry, we’ll keep updating this blog with comments from prospects tomorrow as well.

- That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.


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Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 10:04 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel is considered a strong possibility as the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. He has work to do to solidify that position but on Thursday he spoke colorfully about his childhood, playing with his brother and what it would mean to him to be the top player taken in the draft.

- Joeckel measured in at 6’6, 306 pounds.

(On possibly being first tackle selected)

Yeah, definitely coming into this thing I wanted to be the first tackle taken in the draft. Now I know it’s a long process until then. I’m trying to do every single thing right to make sure that happens. I know it’s a competition between him (Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher) against the other guys, you know (Oklahoma’s) Lane Johnson. It’s good type of competition between all of us. That’s one of the fun parts about the combine – the competition aspect of it, going against some of the best athletes at your position in the country.

(On journey from Arlington High, to A&M and what it would mean to him to be No. 1 overall pick)

It’s just crazy to think about. Starting football in the second grade, you don’t really think about that kind of stuff. Football has been huge for me my entire life. I actually love the game. Just getting to this, this has been a dream come true, just coming to play in the NFL, being in this situation is just, can’t even imagine it.    (On if his “great” performance against Alabama opened scouts eyes)  I’m not for sure what they were thinking, but I just try to get better every single week. I just tried to play the game, didn’t really look at what the media was saying or what the scouts were saying or things like that. I was just trying to play football, definitely just to focus during football season, it’s just all football, nothing else really comes into it. That’s the only way I approached it.

(On similarities between SEC defensive fronts and the NFL’s)

SEC defensive lines are stout. They are the best defensive lines in the country. Going from the Big 12 to the SEC, you can definitely see a difference, you can see it on film and you can definitely see it playing against it. I think it’s a great stepping-stone to go to the NFL after playing against the top guys I played against this year, and I’m excited about that next step.

(On if playing with A&M right tackle Jake Matthews pushed him to be even better)

It helped a ton. We came in together, same class. I think definitely a lot of me being a great player is a credit to him and (vice versa)…We compete every single day in the weight room, we lift together, we run, we do all our drills against each other. He’s a really good friend of mine. He’s a great lineman. I wish he could have came out this year with me, but I’m glad he’s going back to help Texas A&M out to have a good season next year. He’s almost been a brother. It just helps so much the way we compete on and off the field.

(On whether he’s received any tips from Jake’s dad, Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews)

Yeah, a little bit. I’ve talked to him about it. I’ll ask him (Jake) questions, I’ll ask his dad. He (Jake) is lucky that he’s got one of the greatest offensive linemen of all time as his dad, and he (Bruce) can coach him (Jake) up any time. I definitely try to take advantage of that.

(On relationship with his twin brother and backup A&M QB Matt)

We are an extremely competitive family. I grew up probably fighting multiple times a day with my twin brother. When we were little, we were closer in size, only about five or 10 pounds apart. Now we are about 70, 80 pounds, so he doesn’t really mess with me much any more. We are a very competitive family and pretty physical with each other.

(On how important it would be to be selected No. 1 overall)

It would be really cool, a dream come true. But the way I’m just looking at it, I want to get there. I am definitely striving to be the No. 1 pick, going through this entire process and playing this season and all that kind of stuff. But my dream is to just play in the NFL. I know, being the No. 1 pick, after that, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve got to go prove yourself in the NFL. It’s just like that in college. Being the No. 1 recruit in college doesn’t matter unless you step on that campus. It’s the same thing. It’s cool and everything, but going to any team I go through, proving myself there will be the biggest thing.

(On what it was like when he gave up a sack with his brother at QB)

Actually, I’ve got a pretty good story about that. My junior year I was pancaking this guy. I’m pancaking him, and Matt bounces out of the pocket, and I pancake the guy right into Matt’s legs. I get up and instead of him yelling at me, I started yelling at him, saying, ‘You gave me a sack. You’ve got to be a better athlete than that.’ He never chewed me out for giving up sacks. I chewed him out once for making me give up a sack. That’s kind of like how our relationship is.

(On what he likes about being an offensive lineman)

I love offensive line. Growing up I always thought I was too athletic for the position. I was a quarterback in junior high. There are two (A) teams for junior high because 100 kids try out, and we were the quarterbacks for both teams. One at quarterback and one played tight end, and I always ended up on offensive line just because I was the biggest guy on the team. The offensive line is what I was born to play. I loved the physical aspect of it. You finish every play with a one-on-one block. There are not many other positions on the field like that. I love that part of it. I’m a background guy, and that’s why belong on the offensive line.


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Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 9:58 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher has solidified himself as a top tackle in this year’s draft. He had a strong effort at the Senior Bowl and looks like a potential top 10 pick, likely taking himself out of the Rams’ range in the first round.

- Fisher spoke to the media Thursday and discussed his position and how he’s taking aim at being the best tackle in this class.

Want to go No. 1 overall?

“That would be a huge, huge honor, and obviously a dream complete and it would just open up another dream for me. But anybody who would give me the chance to play football I’d really appreciate it and I’d definitely work real hard to be successful on their team.

Pattern game after anyone?

“Joe Staley out of Central Michigan. Obviously he’s the only first-rounder out of my school and being a tackle, it’s really nice to have him to look up to and watch him play and see his progression and the things he does to beat people on the field. I just like watching him play.”

Watch film on pro guys?

“Oh yeah, I watch a lot of NFL film. I think films one of the bigger parts of the game, studying your game and studying other off linemen who have been there and done that to see how they play.

How handle pressure of top 10 pick?

“I don’t put any more pressure on myself then I did back whenever this all started happening. I just play how I know how to play. I’m confident in my abilities and what I can do.”

How much bigger can you get?

“I think potentially I could put on 10, 15 more pounds. The big thing on the offensive line, you always want to be comfortable at the weight you’re at. But at the same time you need to be at a weight that you can do your job and perform well.”

What’s your upside?

“I think I have a lot of room to improve. I definitely don’t think I’ve played my best football. I still have a lot to grow into my body. It’s really come a long way in the last year and physically, I feel a lot better cause obviously I came in, put on over 70 pounds and I took a while to develop into that but I’m finally starting to feel used to a solid 300, 310 pounds and I think I definitely have room for growth, and just looking forward to playing some more ball here.

Goal to be No 1 tackle taken?

“I’m working to be the No. 1 tackle. That’s not up to me in the end. That’s up to coaches and general managers, but that’s what I’m working for.”

What has the past year been like, rising from an unknown to top 10 pick?

“It’s just amazing watching my dream becoming reality slowly. Obviously there’s still 2 months till the draft and I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get drafted as high as possible and make my dream complete, but it’s been absolutely amazing. Just a surreal experience.”

- Fisher checked in at 6’7, 306 pounds in official measurements.


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Oregon OL Kyle Long Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 9:34 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- We caught up with Oregon OL Kyle Long, brother of Chris and son of Howie, back at the Senior Bowl in Mobile last month. Not much has changed for him since then but he has arrived here at Lucas Oil Stadium intent on putting on a show for teams and impressing them in interviews.

- Long talked on Thursday afternoon about a number of topics, including the influence of his brother, former Saddleback CC teammate Menelik Watson, how he fits in the NFL and much more. Here’s some tidbits with some of his thoughts on Watson saved for a later piece.

(On giving up baseball to become a football player)

I couldn’t find the strike zone as a pitcher so I think I’m in the right place as a football player. I love what I’m doing right now.

(On how he can stand out amongst his peers)

Come with the attitude that you want to outwork everybody. You can’t hold the guy down that is going to outwork the world. There’s dozens of guys that are more talented, bigger, stronger, faster than you but if you come in with the intent of working harder than the guys next to you, usually things tend to work out for those guys.

(On how competitive the Long household was as a kid)

I’m sure most households with three boys, things are very competitive. Add to it the fact that my mom is extremely competitive as well. She was a swimmer and stuff in high school so she was an athlete and my dad played a little bit of sports. Things were very competitive. You grow up in that house and you are bound to want to compete whether it’s racing up the stairs when you get home, anything, we compete. Just like most of the guys here, all the guys here. We are all competitors.

(On who has a better Twitter feed between he and his brother)

My brother went to the University of Virginia so he’s kind of a nerd but after being at the University of Oregon for a year, I feel like that helped out my ability to express myself on social media but yeah, Chris has a pretty entertaining Twitter.

(On what makes his brother stand out)

His last play is going to look like his first play. That’s the guy you want to play against but at the same time you don’t want to play against because he’ll make you better every time you step on the field with him.

(On how he can improve)

Technique and knowledge of the game. I feel like the physical tools are there. I consider myself a pretty good athlete and if I can combine that with some good technical stuff and get the X’s and O’s and football stuff figured out I will continue to progress as a football player.

(On what he learned from his struggles at Florida State as a baseball player on and off the field)

I’ve grown a lot as an individual. I was definitely immature and was not independent. I feel like I have grown up a lot as a man the last few years. I take responsibility for the things I have done. It was the worst thing and the best thing that ever happened to me. I have been through hardship and I fought my way back and I am standing here on this podium today as somebody who is at the NFL Combine and I am pretty proud of the things I’ve done. I don’t plan on stopping making progress anytime soon.

(On working at center, something he plans to do before his pro day at Oregon)

I am open to try new things.

(On former Saddleback teammate and highly regarded FSU OT Menelik Watson)

He’s going to open a lot of eyes when he runs and does all that kind of stuff. He’s a great athlete.

(On the fortunes of he and Watson arriving at Saddleback at the same time)

They have great coaching. Mark McElroy the head coach there does a great job with his players developing talent. But I just felt like it was an instance where we just happened to be dealt the right cards. Menelik was a sponge and responded very well to the coaching that he got at Saddleback and any criticism that he got, he took it with a positive attitude and translated it into progress. He was a student of the game.

 

 


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Stanford TE Zach Ertz Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 9:07 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- The tight ends are starting to make their way through the media room and at the top of the list is Stanford’s Zach Ertz.

- Ertz is widely regarded as one of the top two tight ends in this year’s class though he’s got a reputation for being a better pass catcher than run blocker. He addressed questions about that as well as who he looks up to in the league and how he thinks he could fit in at the NFL level.

( On working out at the combine)

I’ll be doing everything. I think all the drills are equally important. I will approach each one with the same mentality and I want to be the best in all the drills. I don’t know if that’s going to happen but that’s something I have been striving for since the season was over and I’ve been training.

(On what he thinks he’ll run)

I trained really hard for the 40. I’d say I’ll run 4.6ish.

(On learning from former Stanford TE Coby Fleener, who was the first TE drafted last year)

He went through this whole process last year but he didn’t run here so it’s a little different situation. In terms of interviews and stuff and just kind of going through the process, he’s been very helpful.

(On seeing how TE’s are being used around the league right now)

I think seeing all those tight ends doing all those things they have been doing is very neat. You see Jimmy Graham out there against corners all the time and just seeing what he does is very impressive. It’s just something that I just hope I can do at the same level.

(On run blocking and pass catching)

I did both at Stanford. I won’t say that I didn’t do it at all. I had my hand in the dirt a lot. At Stanford, we were a run first team.

(On how he views his run blocking skills)

I take a lot of pride in my run blocking. It’s something I have worked on for these past four years and something I look forward to working on more.

(On stacking up as one of the best TE’s in the draft)

Tyler Eifert, Gavin Escobar, some of those guys are very good football players and I am just kind of looking forward to going against them in some of the drills.

(More on run blocking)

I think I can do both. At Stanford, the first thing was the power running game and I took a lot of pride in my run blocking. As a receiver, that stuff kind of came more naturally but I look forward to doing both.

(On the TE he looks up to most in the NFL)

I think Jason Witten is somebody that I have kind of looked toward the last couple years. He truly is a complete tight end, a very good run blocker, a very good pass catcher and I think that’s something I kind of try to emulate.

(On coming from a pro style offense)

I think it helps a lot. At Stanford, we had Coach Harbaugh my first three years there and he runs the same offense essentially for the Niners. I think that helps all the players coming out of Stanford.

- The Rams were pleased with how Lance Kendricks came along in his second year but that doesn’t mean they won’t look to add more weapons in the passing game, be it a receiver or a tight end. Ertz might be a bit repetitive with Kendricks but plenty of teams use multiple tight ends and they need more pass catching weapons.

- Ertz is expected to be a late first, early second round pick. It remains to be seen if he fits what the Rams want but he is worth monitoring as he goes through the workouts on Saturday.


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North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 8:14 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- There’s a lot of buzz in this year’s NFL Draft when it comes to interior linemen. In fact, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock has made it known that North Carolina G Jonathan Cooper and Alabama G Chance Warmack are two of the best players in the draft regardless of position, in his opinion.

- Cooper just took his turn talking to the media, checking in at 6’2, 312 pounds. He said that’s up from the 285 pounds he was playing at during the season as UNC transitioned from a power, pro style scheme to more spread and no huddle in 2012.

- Cooper also discussed how he fits into a power or zone blocking scheme, his versatility and how he’s grown from overweight water boy to one of this draft’s hottest names.

(On playing guard and center)

I played predominantly guard. I did a lot of snapping in practice and played one game at center. It was in 2010 and I didn’t do very well. Our original starting center kind of took that role over and I went back to left guard. I aim to try to be as versatile a player as I can so whether it’s left guard, right guard or center I want to be able to do that at a professional level.

(On gaining weight to get to where he is now)

It worked out fairly well. During the season I had gotten down to about 285 pounds doing the spread/no huddle offense and it just about tripled the number of plays we ran in practice so that kind of sped up my metabolism. But now I am up to 312 and I do feel the difference. I feel the power, I feel like I’ve got just a little more butt behind me and I feel like I am ready to be more of a physical player.

(On how he gained the weight)

Yes. Just trying to eat as much as I possibly could and just eat, eat, eat. And sometimes you had to sacrifice maybe not the healthiest things but just get the weight on and then just work hard to get it where it needed to be.

(On his comfort in any blocking scheme)

We had a few gap schemes and zone blocking schemes. Prior to my senior season we were a big power team. Even this year we had multiple power plays so I feel comfortable in a zone scheme, power scheme, whatever they ask of me I feel like I can do it and do it well.

(On if it’s hard to get noticed as a guard)

I think it is. I am very blessed to be playing guard and to be as highly regarded as I am. I am thankful for that. But it’s not a glamour position. They like guys who run power and run it consecutive times to just smash people until they can’t hardly play. So it’s not a glamour position and it is harder to be scouted but I am grateful because I have been blessed with the opportunity.

(On the chance of being drafted)

The fun part is the possibility of being drafted. It’s been a dream for a long time and even as a guard, people are like there’s no way he can go early, maybe he’ll go third or fourth or whatever but the possibility of being drafted and the possibility of being drafted high (is fun).

(On what he does best)

In game, my biggest thing is I love pulling and I love getting out in space. Those are two of my biggest things whether it’s power and getting on a linebacker quickly and trying to crush him or a screen or pull and getting out into space, I really love that.

(On being the first guard taken)

I know there are a bunch of good guys in this draft and if we all get drafted high and I’m not the first guard taken, I’m not mad at all. I’m a competitor and I love to compete so if I am drafted first out of the guards, I’ll be ecstatic. If I’m drafted high and I’m not the first, I’ll be OK just the same.

(On Warmack)

He is a big guy. I was glad I got to see him in person for the first time and see that he is a human. After all that I hear about him, they just make him seem unstoppable. But he is a big guy, he’s a powerful guy, he usually gets on his lineman and dominates him. He gets to the second level well and he was on a national championship offensive line so obviously they are doing something right and he’s doing well for himself.

(On ignoring mock drafts and rumors)

From any credible sources? Nothing. But I try not to look at all that stuff. But my dad and friends will say ‘Hey, did you see this mock draft and this poll and all this stuff?’ I really try not to look at it because nothing is set in stone yet. For me to get my hopes up off something somebody thought about or created then I’m not doing myself any favors.

(On his playing style)

I’d say I’m a combination of power and athleticism. I can run power, you can look at it from my first three years of film where we were a pro style offense and power was our staple play. Then this year I really showed my athletic ability getting out into space, we ran a bunch of screens to get out into the second or third level and getting on linebackers and DBs and such.

(On his goals for the Combine)

I hope to show that I am a very athletic player. On the bench press, some people feel like I’m undersized and maybe not as strong so maybe put up some good bench numbers and just show I can be a complete player to fit in any system.

(On his targeted amount of bench press reps)

My goal is 35. If I can get that, I’ll be happy with myself. Anything beyond that, I’ll be floating.

(On not being able to play Pop Warner because was too big)

That is true. It definitely was pent up. I was just a fat little kid and always getting picked on. I was like ‘I’m going to play football.’ That’s a dream of mine and I want to play. I was a water boy for my brother’s Pop Warner team for a couple of years and then I was finally able to play my seventh grade year in middle school. I was kind of big and soft but I was able to learn the game, get some toughness about me and I was able to excel.

(On how he got in shape after he started playing)

I had a coach in high school who really taught me mental toughness. He was always trying to break us and he really taught me that you always have one more rep left in you and just keep pushing and you’ll make it. That really helped me with the mental aspect and the physical aspect.

- Cooper is a player that could sneak his way into the top 15 but if he doesn’t, there’s certainly a chance he could be a Ram. The Rams have a need at left guard and with Cooper’s ability to block out in space and provide some power, he could be an ideal fit in that situation. It’s unlikely he’d be there when the Rams pick again at 22 so if they did decide they’d want him, 16 would have to be the spot.


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Wisconsin OL Travis Frederick Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 5:46 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Players are finally starting to roll through the media room and one of the top interior linemen (and the best center in the draft in this corner of cyperspace) made his appearance just a few minutes ago.

- Rocking a beard straight out of Duck Dynasty, Wisconsin OL Travis Frederick answered questions for about 10 minutes and offered his thoughts on what it means to play offensive line for the Badgers, his versatility and what he thinks separates him from other interior linemen in this draft.

- Here’s a sample of Frederick’s thoughts:

(On the tradition of Wisconsin offensive linemen)

Wisconsin has always been a great place with a tremendous tradition for offensive linemen. That’s one of the reasons that I chose to go to Wisconsin. Dating back several eras, it’s gone through and it’s been something to look up to. That’s one of the reasons I went there, the way that they can get new talent in but also it’s something that as a player you want to live up to. You want to be able to fill those expectations and be the next person in that line. That gives you great motivation to continue to work hard and do as much as you can to be one of those guys.

(On his versatility)

Absolutely. I think one of my best qualities is the fact that I can play both center and guard. In today’s age with the smaller rosters it’s really valuable for teams to be able to have somebody that can play both, especially in a backup position or if they can start somebody over mid game they don’t have to back up all three positions and they can do something like that a little bit easier. I think something like that I have is going to help me out a lot.

(On the breakdown of his games at center and his games at guard)

I started my true freshman year the first two games at center, I got hurt then I started the last two games my freshman year at guard. I took a redshirt year my sophomore year. My junior year I started all at guard up until Peter Konz got hurt at the end of the year and I moved over to center. I played about three games at center and then last year, I played completely at center.

(On if his knowledge of center gives him a leg up when playing guard)

I practice a lot at both positions. Even when I was only playing one, I often times would be practicing both of them. I think knowing the other positions, so let’s say I am playing guard, knowing the center position helps you tremendously knowing where the center is going or getting up to the line you should know what the center is calling  and you can be one step ahead and read the next level. By knowing what the other person is doing, it’s going to help you become a better player.

(On what he thinks could make him the best center in the draft)

I think there’s a lot of great talent out there both at center and guard. I have seen some of the other guys play and they are very, very good. I think that I play very well as well and I think I rank up there with those guys. I think the things I do in the run game definitely help me out and in the pass game being able to stop some bull rushes and things like that, that definitely helps me. I certainly have a long way to go in my progression and I’m excited to get a chance to play for an NFL team and get a chance to improve my craft.

- Frederick is projected as a second-round pick or so but could well work his way into the first round mix. The Rams don’t have a pressing need at center right now but that could change depending on how Scott Wells comes back from another offseason knee surgery. Regardless of that, the Rams do have a need for help at guard and Frederick seems capable of stepping in and starting early there as well.

- Should the Rams lose Robert Turner to free agency, Frederick would be a heck of a piece to add to replace him in the near term and a potential long term solution at either guard or center.

 


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Detroit HC Schwartz Praises Walton Hire

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 4:09 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Lions head coach Jim Schwartz just took his turn at the podium speaking to the media and discussed a couple of topics of interest to Rams fans, most notably the hire of defensive coordinator Tim Walton, who spent the previous four seasons working for Schwartz as secondary coach, and recently-released WR Titus Young, an original second round pick of the Lions.

- Schwartz had high praise for Walton’s work with the Lions and said he believed Walton is ready for his new role as Rams DC and thinks enough of Walton that he believes he’ll someday be a head coach himself.

“Tim has been a coordinator in college,” Schwartz said. “He was a coordinator at the University of Miami and also at Memphis. He’s a really smart guy and it was just a matter of time before he was a coordinator. As we went forward last year hiring Marcus Robertson to be our assistant secondary coach, we sort of created a spot for him because I wanted him to be prepared in case Tim got an opportunity like this.

“He’s a smart guy. He’ll be missed but we also have already prepared for him to go. In a couple years, he’s going to be standing up on this podium also. Tim is a sharp guy, a charismatic guy and he’s a little bit under the radar type guy but not for long.”

- Schwartz was also asked about the status of former Lions receiver and recent Rams audition Young. The Lions parted ways with Young after two tumultuous seasons in Detroit and the Rams summarily claimed him off waivers in order to get to know him and see if he could be a fit in the locker room. After about a week, the Rams decided it wasn’t a fit and also released Young, who cleared waivers officially on Tuesday.

“He’s no longer a member of our team,” Schwartz said. “Obviously it didn’t work out for us. It’s very disappointing. He’s a guy we drafted in the second round and a guy that physically was very productive for us and looked like he was going to be a very important part of our offense. But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t all just physically what he could do on the field. As a result, he is no longer with us and we have moved on.”

- Schwartz said he did not have any conversations with Rams HC Jeff Fisher about Young but acknowledged that Fisher got a chance to be around Young during his time away from coaching in 2011.

“When Jeff was out of work that year, he was coming up to see him and was sitting in the stands for three or four of our games,” Schwartz said. “He had some insight but not personal conversations.”

- Schwartz added that Rams assistant secondary coach Brandon Fisher, son of Jeff, is a talented young coach after he spent his first year in the league in Detroit learning from Schwartz and Walton.

- In a non-Rams related note, Schwartz offered some solid dry humor. Asked why BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah struggled during Senior Bowl practices (the Lions staff coached Ansah’s team that week) and then played so well in the game, Schwartz offered a simple two-word response: “Allen Iverson,” Schwartz said, making reference to the famous press conference in which the basketball star lamented the (lack of) virtues of practice.

- Still waiting for some players to roll through. Plenty more to come.

 

 


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Combine Kicks Off Thursday

Posted by nickwagoner on February 21, 2013 – 1:54 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Greetings from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway today.

- It figures to be a busy day here as one of the Rams’ top needs, the offensive line, comes through the media room today after going through their medical evaluations. The Rams have needs at left guard and right tackle but could be open to just about anyone that could bolster the talent and depth on the line.

- Hot topics for today that will be covered: What is the value of an offensive guard? There’s a thought process that Alabama’s Chance Warmack and North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper are both top 10 caliber talents. The question is whether those guys will be drafted that high. Many think that guards can be had later in the draft and developed but if it’s a special talent, does that thought process change? We’ll investigate that and talk to Cooper and Warmack about why they think they should go a bit higher.

- At offensive tackle, the Rams are likely out of range for the top two players: Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. In addition, we covered Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson at the Senior Bowl. We’ll cover those guys today with their comments after they take their time on the dais but more realistically, we’ll take a look at the next group of tackles, guys that could be available for the Rams. That includes Alabama’s D.J. Fluker and Florida State’s Menelik Watson. Some interesting stories there and we’ll get into that today as well.

- The tight ends will also be coming through the media room and we’ll catch up with a number of them including Stanford’s Zach Ertz, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert and San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar.

- Here’s a preliminary list of guys we hope to have interview tidbits from: Joeckel, Fisher, Johnson, Fluker, Watson, Warmack, Cooper, Kentucky’s Larry Warford, Alabama’s Barrett Jones, Oregon’s Kyle Long, Wisconsin’s Travis Fredericks, Ertz, Eifert and Escobar.

- Be sure to let us know if there are others you’d like us to catch up with.

- Workouts start officially tomorrow. Stay tuned throughout the day for much, much more.


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