Hal Pilger's St. Louis Rams' training camp notebook for Tuesday
By HAL PILGER
ST. LOUIS — Can third-round draft pick JONATHAN WADE, a cornerback out of Tennessee, make a serious, immediate contribution for the St. Louis Rams this season?
“Yeah, no question,” said Rams coach SCOTT LINEHAN. “I really anticipate he's going to continue to compete to be on the field on defense, where's he's a corner or in the nickel spot or wherever it is. That's our goal, and he's not disappointing. He's really improved his conditioning.
“I think he's going to be one heck of a special teams player as a young player.”
Wade didn't seem to share his coach's optimism regarding his level of play during the first several hot and steamy days of camp. And that's probably a good thing for a rookie.
“I'm probably the wrong person to ask,” Wade said. “I think every day's bad. I’ve just got to keep working; that's what we're out here for. It's about getting better each and every day.
“There's still a lot to learn. I mean, there's a whole new football team to learn. Whoever's standing around me, I'm asking questions.”
n ALSO STILL LEARNING: Diminutive speedster DANTE HALL says he's still learning when it comes to performing as an NFL wide receiver, despite being an eight-year NFL veteran.
“I tell you one thing — I'm learning a lot from TORRY HOLT and ISAAC BRUCE, every day,” Hall said. “And I tell 'em, ‘Hey, don't get mad if I steal a couple of your moves’ and stuff like that.
“It's been great, being able to play with these guys, watch these guys, because I didn't play receiver all my career. I just started playing my second year into the league, so even though I've been playing eight years, playing receiver's still sort of new to me.
“So it's great to be able to play with, in my opinion, two future Hall of Famers.”
n EYE OPENERS: Linehan said he's been impressed with the run-stopping ability of rookie linebacker QUINTON CULBERSON, acquired as a free agent out of Mississippi State.
“He put the pads on; he's a natural,” Linehan said. “He was bringing it. I noticed when he put the pads on, a light comes on with that guy, so that's always good to see with those guys who are maybe considered long-shots.”
Linehan said another “long-shot” who has impressed with his coverage skills is 5-foot-8 rookie cornerback DARRIUS VINNETT, signed as a free agent out of Arkansas.
“Right now it's wide open, and we’re going to keep the best 53 players on our roster,” Linehan said.
n NO DOUBT: If you plan to play tight end for Linehan's Rams, you better plan to block and block very well in addition to catching the football.
“Tight end's one of the old-school positions, and some places, I guess, it's considered more of a receiver than a blocker,” Linehan said. “I consider it both.
“I think it's the ultimate offensive weapon, because to have a great running game, your tight end's got to block. And that's where we start. We want to be able to establish our run here. Once we do that, then the passing game comes, and then so does the tight end involved in the passing game.
“But it's in that particular order.”
n END QUOTE: Newly acquired guard MILFORD BROWN, who didn't arrive at the Rams' hotel until about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, on his plans that afternoon following his first camp workout: “I'm going to sleep. Hopefully I have a couple dreams.”
Hal Pilger can be reached at 788-1548 or email@example.com.