2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Awards away: Rams' Jones just another rookie

By R.B. FALLSTROM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-16 21:33

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Barrett Jones played a major role on three national championship teams at Alabama, and has the trophy hardware to prove it.

He insists it's been no adjustment going from highly-decorated college offensive lineman to semi-anonymous fourth-round draft pick with the St. Louis Rams.

Jones is getting most of his work with the third team, partly because of missing the first week of training camp rehabbing from a foot injury, but mostly because he's a rookie. That'll likely be the case again when the Rams play the Green Bay Packers in their second preseason game on Saturday night.

So much for the owner of the 2011 Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman when he was left tackle and 2012 Rimington Award as the nation's best center, four Academic All-American nods for his 4.0 GPA and the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy for off the field work.

``Life's full of cycles where you go from the bottom to the top,'' Jones said. ``When I was a freshman at Alabama it was the same, you're the low man on the totem pole.

``I didn't expect to come in and they give me a job.''

The Rams are taking the long view.

``You like the versatility,'' general manager Les Snead said. ``If you're going to groom a guy, let's just say he's not going to start in Year 1 and you'd love for him to be active on game day, he played every position at Alabama.''

The Rams and Packers have plenty of position battles to monitor, while giving more playing time to the first stringers. Quarterback Sam Bradford anticipates more snaps and more options after ``extremely vanilla'' calls in the opener, and more challenging looks from the defense he's trying to solve.

At some point, they anticipate getting first-round pick Tavon Austin and free agent tight end Jared Cook, more involved. But it doesn't have to happen in Week 2.

``Some guys are going to play significantly more,'' coach Jeff Fisher said, adding it could be ``anywhere from six to 12, 14 plays more than they did last week.''

Veteran outside linebacker Will Witherspoon, re-signed for depth and to help mentor first-round pick Alec Ogletree, takes over as the starter on the other side after Jo-Lonn Dunbar's four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Fisher said the team was ``very, very disappointed'' in Dunbar, the second-leading tackler last year and judged him ``selfish.'' He said the Rams have been aware of the suspension for a while but that it was unrelated to the Witherspoon signing.

``It'll make total sense for us to move Will Witherspooon up - we're glad he's here,'' Fisher said. ``He's started a lot of games. We'll make a decision when Jo-Lonn comes back as to who's going to take that position.''

Fisher said Dunbar would play in the preseason, but probably not with the starters.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy seeks ``big improvement'' on offense off a 17-0 loss to the Cardinals, the first shutout for the franchise since Aug. 22, 1987, although there should be an asterisk given quarterback Aaron Rodgers played just one series.

``I want to make sure everybody has an opportunity,'' McCarthy said, ``but we need to play a lot better, we need to be a lot more productive.''

However long the starters go, offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse said performance counts whether it's a win or loss. The Rams tied for the NFL sacks lead last year.

``A lot of good pass rushers, a lot of good guys against the run,'' Newhouse said. ``We've got to go in and show what you can do with limited plays.''

Like every preseason game every year, neither team vows not to tip their hand.

``The less we show in the preseason, sometimes the more productive you are,'' Fisher said.

McCarthy refused to disclose the Packers' strongest position, saying ``I'd love to sit here and help you fill out your depth charts, but I'm not going to do that. ``

Both teams have a crowd at running back, the Packers with second-round pick Eddie Lacy challenging incumbent DuJuan Harris for the starting job and the Rams with three candidates competing to replace the production from departed Steven Jackson.

Daryl Richardson, the next-to-last pick of the draft last year, remains the front runner after a strong rookie season. Isaiah Pead, a second-rounder last year who played sparingly, had a costly fumble in the preseason opener, and rookie Zac Stacy is in the mix.

St. Louis has an opening on the offensive line, but Jones isn't ready. Left guard is a battle between Chris Williams and Shelley Smith, with Williams starting the preseason opener and Smith scheduled to start this week.

---

Online:

AP NFL site: http://pro32.ap.org/

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 07:53p

Free-agent RB Chris Johnson's (Titans) visit with the New York Jets reportedly went well Tuesday, April 15, but he left without a deal. Other teams are involved with him, too.

Rolando McClainApr 15 07:53p

The Baltimore Ravens worked out LB Rolando McClain, and it reportedly wasn't a success. McClain didn't finish his conditioning test and didn't perform drills.

Terrell ManningApr 15 05:43p

The Minnesota Vikings claimed LB Terrell Manning off waivers from the San Diego Chargers Tuesday, April 15.

Adam PodleshApr 15 05:13p

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed free-agent P Adam Podlesh (Bears) to an undisclosed one-year deal Tuesday, April 15.

Allen ReisnerApr 15 03:53p

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday, April 15, that they've signed free-agent TE Allen Reisner (Jaguars) to an undisclosed deal.

Daniel KilgoreApr 15 03:23p

San Francisco 49ers OG Daniel Kilgore was found not guilty of public intoxication related to his arrest in January in Tennessee. His case was dismissed following his appearance in [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 15 02:23p

The Green Bay Packers agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal to re-sign QB Matt Flynn Tuesday, April 15, according to a source.

Dion JordanApr 15 01:53p

Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey is expecting big things from DE Dion Jordan in his second season this year. He's a very talented player and this is a [ More ]

Brandon LloydApr 15 01:33p

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent WR Brandon Lloyd (Patriots) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, April 15.

Chris JohnsonApr 15 12:23p

The Buffalo Bills have shown some interest in signing free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), according to sources.

Duron HarmonApr 15 10:57a

New England Patriots SS Duron Harmon is the leading candidate to take over as the Patriots' top strong safety now that Steve Gregory has been released.

Eli ManningApr 15 10:23a

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said it's 'ludicrous' to think that Giants QB Eli Manning is in decline. 'There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 09:33a

The New York Jets are visiting with free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans) Tuesday, April 15.

Will MontgomeryApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It's not known whether C Will Montgomery or C Manuel Ramirez will start at center.

Sidney RiceApr 14 11:52p

The Carolina Panthers might show an interest in free-agent WR Sidney Rice (Seahawks), but only at the right price.

Manuel RamirezApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It remains unclear whether OT Orlando Franklin, OG Ben Garland or C Manuel Ramirez will be the team's left guard.

Terrell ManningApr 14 05:32p

The San Diego Chargers have released LB Terrell Manning.

Nate IrvingApr 14 05:12p

Denver Broncos LB Nate Irving appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker at this time, but the team is expected to select a middle linebacker during the 2014 NFL Draft.

Leon HallApr 14 04:12p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles') has been cleared for all football drills as part of his rehab.

Jamarca SanfordApr 14 04:12p

Minnesota Vikings SS Kurt Coleman will likely be a contributor on special teams this year and enter the year competing with SSs Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for a backup safety spot.

Dustin KellerApr 14 03:42p

The New England Patriots could show interest in free-agent TE Dustin Keller (Dolphins) at some point this offseason.

Jermichael FinleyApr 14 03:32p

Updating a previous report, the Miami Dolphins have told the agent of free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (neck) that they could be interested in signing Finley if he is cleared [ More ]

Von MillerApr 14 03:32p

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller (knee) said his surgically repaired knee is feeling good and hopes to play better than he did before he suffered his injury. 'I'm a [ More ]

Kurt ColemanApr 14 03:22p

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with free-agent SS Kurt Coleman (Eagles). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sidney RiceApr 14 02:52p

Free-agent WR Sidney Rice (knee) has been cleared to participate in football activities by Dr. James Andrews, according to a source. The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, New Orleans [ More ]

Chris CulliverApr 14 02:22p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and felony possession of brass knuckles. Culliver was arrested March 28 for allegedly hitting a [ More ]

C.J. SpillerApr 14 01:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles tried to land Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller before they traded for RB Darren Sproles this offseason, according to two league sources familiar with the situation. [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group