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Rams Stuff From the Post-Dispatch

| September 19th, 2012

Wayne Hunter

The Rams lost their starting left tackle Rodger Saffold to an MCL injury against the Redskins. This means Wayne Hunter will be protecting Sam Bradford’s blind side against the Bears Sunday. Do you know about Wayne Hunter? He was arguably the worst player in the NFL in 2011 and this preseason actually got into a physical altercation with fans at MetLife. His response? Here it is from NFL.com:

“They’re like sharks,” Hunter said. “If they don’t like you, they let you know right off the bat. And even if you’re doing good, they might just not like you for the heck of it. It’s brutal over there. Those fans, they know what they want, and they pretty much demand it. So if you don’t give it to them, they’ll let you know.”

They are like sharks. And Wayne Hunter was Chrissie Watkins. (I deplore pop culture references in sports columns but I make exceptions for Jaws.)

Feisty

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch profiles the return of feistiness to the Rams. That is why Jeff Fisher was insistent on bringing Cortland Finegan over from Tennessee. Finegan is the biggest pain in the ass in the league.

The Redskins’ comeback try took a major hit when the perpetually aggravating Finnegan turned on his motor mouth to bait Washington wide receiver Josh Morgan into throwing the football at him. The ensuing 15-yard penalty essentially killed Washington’s last-chance drive.

If you saw Fisher’s Tennessee teams play, this is all very familiar. “He exudes confidence, which falls on everyone else,” Jackson said.

Confidence. Physical and mental toughness. A willingness to fight through anything that threatens to pull them down, into that bottomless pit of losing.

It will be imperative for Bears wideouts (cough – Alshon Jeffery – cough) to keep their cool when Finegan goes into ball bust mode.

Bradford

First off, take a few moments to read THIS COLUMN by Bryan Burwell of the Dispatch. Not because of the content but just because it is an excellent piece of writing. Truly excellent and having to suffer what David Haugh churns out in the Trib every couple day it was nice read thoughtful, insightful commentary from a columnist. Here’s the bit on Bradford worth noting:

After watching Bradford make so many brilliant passes, finding so many athletic plays, and displaying so much competitive fire to keep discovering ways to lead his team out of impossible holes and keep producing scoring drives when the Rams needed them most, head coach Jeff Fisher was asked if that essentially was a glimpse into the reason he selected the Rams job over all the others. He answered quickly.

“Yes it is. Yeah, it sure is,” said Fisher. “He was dialed in all week and dialed in today. He and Schotty were on the same page. This is a difficult defense. (Washington defensive coordinator Jim) Haslett does a lot of different things and I thought that we had a great plan and Sam had some answers. He knew where to go with the football.”

Schottenheimer wants to dissect defenses underneath and Bradford is a lethally accurate short-range passer.

Danny “Wes Welker” Amendola

The Rams are not a team that is going to frighten you at wide receiver, proven by Sunday’s 7,872 catch performance by Danny Amendola. But Amendola will now draw the focus of secondaries moving forward:

…setting career highs for catches (15) and receiving yards (160) in the Rams’ 31-28 victory.

Amendola, a fourth-year pro, had never had a 100-yard game before in the NFL. He jump-started the Rams’ first touchdown drive with a 56-yard catch midway through the second quarter — the longest catch of his career. He put the capper on that drive with a 1-yard TD catch from quarterback Sam Bradford with 1 minute 58 seconds to play in the first half.

He was spectacular Sunday.

Pettis Returns to Wide Receiver Role

Austin Pettis had emerged as one of Sam Bradford’s favorite targets this summer. After serving a PED suspension, he returns to the Rams lineup in Chicago.

After serving the final two games of a four-game suspension for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, Pettis wants to pick up where he left off now that he’s been reinstated.

“I’ve been smiling all morning,” Pettis said Monday, his first day back at Rams Park. “It was just good to see a lot of these guys’ faces. I missed these two weeks going out there and battling, so I’m just excited to get back and fight with them.” It doesn’t usually happen this way with suspensions, but Pettis served the first two games of his punishment at the end of the 2011 season, then finished it off by sitting out the first two games of this season.

During this month’s two-week hiatus, Pettis trained at Emerge Fitness Training in St. Charles.

“I had a couple of (trainers) who were working me out on the field and in the weight room,” Pettis said. “Just trying to keep myself ready. And I stayed in my playbook. I’m just trying to hit the ground running this week.”

For most of the preseason, Pettis was among the Rams’ top three or four wideouts. If he resumes that role, it will be interesting to see how that affects rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens — who were getting scant playing time as it was. Neither has a catch so far, with Givens targeted three times and Quick once.

If Pettis is active for Sunday’s game in Chicago, it’s possible that Quick or Givens could be inactive if the Rams decide to dress only five wide receivers.

If Pettis suits up he’ll look to make a major impact Sunday as the Rams are desperate for someone to emerge opposite Amendola.

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