Tag:St. Louis Rams
Posted on: June 23, 2010 2:04 pm

Atogwe Back with the Rams

In a somewhat surprise move, the Rams have re-signed safety O.J. Atogwe to a five-year deal, believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $5 million per year. Atogwe, who has 15 interceptions over the last three seasons, was St. Louis’s franchise tag player in ’09. He was tendered as an RFA this offseason but was able win his unrestricted free agency. However, his reported asking price of $7 million a season was too high.

The Rams desperately need Atogwe’s services. He is the closest thing to playmaker in a secondary filled with backups.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch offered more:

"Coach Steve Spagnuolo said in a statement: "We are excited to have O.J. back in the fold. "We were always hopeful for this result. We look forward to having his leadership, character and talent back on our defense."

Negotiations have taken twists and turns. The Rams and Atogwe couldn't work out a multiyear deal earlier in the spring, then the team declined to pay him the one-year tender amount of $6,976,000 that he was due as an unrestricted free agent.

Among his career highlights: 19 interceptions and 19 forced fumbles, the largest combined total in the NFL since the start of 2006. He led the NFC in interceptions In 2007 with eight."

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 18, 2010 11:08 am

Bradford confident in himself, Rams offense

For a rookie who was the top pick in the NFL Draft and who will be counted on to be the Rams' franchise player eventually, QB Sam Bradford doesn’t seem to be feeling any nerves. In fact, he says he feels comfortable with how his career is progressing.

“I feel very comfortable with everything we have in right now,” Bradford told reporters Thursday. “I’ve said every time I’ve talked to you guys, the more I do it, the more comfortable I feel.  Obviously having 13 or 14 practices and the minicamp, I’ve got a lot of reps, I’ve got a lot of experience with the plays.  I feel good with everything we have, and I feel like the more I continue to do it, the more I study it, the more comfortable I’ll become.”

Bradford mostly has taken snaps with the second and third-string units, but lately, he’s worked a bit more with the first team. Without last year’s starter Marc Bulger on the team, Bradford will compete with journeyman A.J. Feeley for the starting spot. Bradford also talked about the team’s offensive potential, and he likes the team attitude.

He knows he has more work to do before training camp begins, though.

“It’s going to be a lot (of studying),” he said. “Obviously we did put a lot in, so I’ll go over everything. Then it will be nice because I think at the beginning of training camp we’ll reinstall everything. So really after the rookie minicamp and OTAs and then training camp will be the third time that I’ve seen it, so I should be very comfortable with everything. But I’m definitely going to spend some time when I go home in the playbook.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:04 pm

A week later on Bruce

OK, this happened about a week ago, but I wanted to touch on the announced retirement of WR Isaac Bruce.

More specifically, I just wanted to link to this Rick Reilly column from 2000 when he was still with Sports Illustrated. I don’t know why, but this has always been one of my favorites from Reilly. Say what you will about Reilly today – and many of my sports writer colleagues don’t mind sharing their opinions – there’s no doubt the man, when he was interested, could write.

Last line of the column: even a decade later, it's just a powerful statement. Hell of a kicker.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 17, 2010 10:47 pm

Movement on the Atogwe front

For much of the offseason, much has been made about the saga of free agent S O.J. Atogwe, who was released by the St. Louis Rams after they offered him a $5 million pay cut and he declined to sign. He’s also kind of a big deal, because Atogwe is the most high-profile free agent on the market. 

After a few weeks of almost no movement, The NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reported that the Seahawks finally are showing some interest in him. Atogwe was made the Rams franchise player last season, and although he’s coming off shoulder surgery, he’ll be 29 next week and has accumulated 18 interceptions in the past four seasons. In other words, he's a good, good player.

The problem, of course, is that what team would want to sign him to a long-term deal when there’s so much uncertainty about the 2011 season? The Rams also are going through an ownership change, which certainly isn’t helping matters.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 2:32 pm

Rams Linebacker Fighting Two Battles Right Now

There's an interesting article from Bill Coats on Stltoday.com about Rams linebacker David Vobora today. The third-year pro – who entered the league as Mr. Irrelevant out of Idaho – has two storylines this offseason: clearing his name after last year’s four-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing drug test, and regaining his starting position.

For clearing his name, Vobora is suing the company that provided what he says was a tainted workout supplement. Vobora asserts that he called the NFL substance hotline and got approval for every ingredient listed in the supplement. For damages, he is seeking the $90,588 he lost in compensation during the suspension.

Regarding his starting job, Vobora has an uphill battle. He played strongside linebacker in the Rams’ depleted front seven last season. But in spring, St. Louis signed veteran Na’il Diggs, who grew close to defensive coordinator Ken Flajole when Flajole was the linebackers coach in Carolina. Diggs is a stout run-stopper and, frankly, a better option at this point. Vobora, while a quick-closing, fundamentally-sound tackler, doesn’t always thrive in high-traffic areas (he has trouble locating assignments). Vobora could challenge new weakside linebacker Bobby Carpenter except he lacks the speed to play in space.

The Rams currently have Vobora working behind middle linebacker James Laurinaitis. If he stays there, he’ll only see special teams action in 2010. But at least Vobora has gotten an opportunity to learn multiple positions. Considering he lacks the athletic tools to start, becoming a utility backup gives him the best chance at getting on the field.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
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