Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You Gotta Feel For This Guy

Vobora is one guy, "Mr. Irrelevant", that I've been secretly rooting for all along. Big time underdog and boy does it ever continue for him. Below is an account of what this poor guy has been going through. I hope that he does clear his name and continues to be a member of the team. I think he's got talent and should be given another shot.

To say the Rams' David Vobora has had an eventful year would be akin to saying
the Gulf of Mexico has a small oil problem. Since training camp last year,

— Earned a starting job at strongside linebacker to begin his second NFL season.

— Was suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on
performance-enhancing substances, costing him $90,588 in salary.

— Regained his first-team assignment after being reinstated.

— Filed a suit in federal court against the company that provided the tainted
workout supplement.

— Was demoted after the Rams signed free-agent linebacker Na'il Diggs and
assigned him to the top strongside spot.

Throughout it all, Vobora has remained resolutely philosophical.

"My whole football career, from high school on into the pros, I kind of feel
like I've sort of been behind the 8-ball. It's been an uphill battle," he said.
"But I wouldn't want it any other way. That's what I'm all about, proving
people wrong. And that's what I've got to do again."

In the courtroom, Vobora wants to prove that he wasn't at fault. His agent said
that before taking the tainted supplement, Vobora called an NFL hot line, read
off the ingredients, and was told that none would produce a positive test.

Although he's seeking compensation for the salary he forfeited, Vobora stressed
that money isn't the motivating factor. Clearing his name is.

"Vindication's the No. 1 thing," he said. "Lost wages is lost wages."

On the field, Vobora wants to prove that he's still worthy of a starting role,
regardless of the competition from Diggs or anyone else. "My approach stays the
same: no matter who that guy is, beat him," he said.

Vobora has overcome long odds before. He was the 2008 draft's "Mr. Irrelevant"
— the last player among 252 selected. The University of Idaho product stuck
with the club, on the practice squad at first.

He moved up to the 53-man active roster in October and wound up playing in
eight games, with one start. He won a first-team spot in training camp last
year and was among the Rams' leaders in tackles after the first three games.

Then came the suspension, keeping him out of action until mid-November. Now,
he's battling again to carve out a role for himself. He's been working mostly
at middle linebacker this spring, behind James Laurinaitis.

"He's settled in and kind of concentrated just at 'mike' linebacker," coach
Steve Spagnuolo noted. "But I think any of the so-called backup linebackers
have to be able to play more than one (position). So somewhere along the way
you'll see him play some outside linebacker, too."

The 6-foot-1, 242-pound Vobora, 24, said he feels comfortable in the middle.
"There's a lot of action," he said. And some stiff mental challenges: the
middle linebacker is charged with making the defensive adjustments based on the
looks the offense presents.

"There are a lot of calls and checks in this defense," Vobora said. "James does
a heck of a job, so I'm just trying to ride off that."

Vobora said he understands the value of soaking up as much information as he

"Just learning from the older guys, being able to listen," he said. "And I
can't tell you how much I've learned just from Spags in general. … Once you
start listening to those tips (from) guys that have been around the game, then
the stuff (on the field) really slows down. You're putting your eyes on the
right things; that way your keys are faster and your footwork's better."

All the better to push his career forward, regardless of what obstacles might

"I'm excited for this (upcoming training) camp," Vobora said. "Going into year
three, it's time to take it to the next level and be a playmaker, no matter
whether that's defense, special teams, wherever I'm at. That's what I'm looking
to do."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Should Bradford Be Coddled?

There's a lot of talk about Sam Bradford going to be the face of the franchise but that he should not be rushed into anything. Even the coaching staff is giving off the impression that they are in no hurry at all about starting Bradford.

I'm not really sure if that is really the smartest thing to do in the case of the Rams. If you are going to take a quarterback at such a high pick, outwardly say he's the new face of the franchise, you can't expect him to take second fiddle to A.J. Feely. I'm sorry, it's not right and I don't see how Bradford is going to benefit from this kind of coddling.

If you want your quarterback to learn the ways of the NFL it's not going to happen on the practice field, not with the quarterback position. The only way he is going to learn is to be baptized by fire. He needs to experience the NFL as it really is and not how it looks from the sidelines.