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News » St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2009-04-10

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2009-04-10

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2009-04-10
When the Rams' minicamp opened on April 2, it was expected that quarterback Gus Frerotte would be on the field as the backup to Marc Bulger.

But minicamp came and went without Frerotte, and within a few hours after the final practice was over, the Rams had their new backup. But it wasn't Frerotte. Instead, it was Kyle Boller, who quietly had a tryout April 3 and signed a one-year contract the next day.

Boller was Baltimore's first-round pick in 2003, and during an inconsistent career with the Ravens, he started 42 games, played in 53, passed for 7,846 yards with 45 touchdowns and 44 interceptions. He spent all of the 2008 season on injured reserve with an injury to his throwing shoulder.

The injury was a partially torn labrum, and after it happened in the preseason, he opted to have surgery immediately. He was throwing by the end of the season and now proclaims the shoulder to be "100 percent."

Boller had an anchor put in his shoulder, similar to the surgery New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees had in 2006.

Boller told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "It's one of those deals where I feel very confident that the surgeon that did it, did it fine. I was talking to Drew Brees because he's one of the guys I work out with in San Diego and he told me he had 10 anchors put in his shoulder and I only had one so if he can come back from that, I'm sure I'll be just fine."

"One of the things is you work so much shoulder strengthening that my arm actually feels stronger than it did before just by all the rotator cuff stuff you do and working your biceps tendon so it does feel stronger."

Said general manager Billy Devaney, "We think he's a good fit for us backing up Marc. He's a young guy that still has a ton of ability and a lot of upside. This is a really good pickup for us."

Boller's arrival had some irony because of comments center Jason Brown made after signing with the Rams early in free agency. Talking about the importance of protecting the quarterback, the former Baltimore center said, "That relationship between the quarterback and the offensive line, it's more important than what people think because we give that guy confidence. Kyle Boller with the Ravens, I love him to death, but you see what getting hit one too many times early in your career can do to you.

"He became gun shy instead of getting the ball and standing back there with poise and then being able to step up. If there was a flash of anything, something, it might have been far to the edge, he was like (flinching). And he started to scramble. You have to have the faith in your offensive line to where you say, 'Hey, I know these guys are going to give me the seconds that I need in order to get this ball off.' "

Boller acknowledged he was disappointed when he heard what Brown said, and added that Brown "was surprised to see me" when he showed up for his tryout.

But, Boller said, "I talked to Jason. I've been with Jason for the last four years, and I don't have a bad thing to say about him. I think if you talked to him, we've never had any problems. So we cleared that up right away. It wasn't a big issue at all."

Asked about the "gun-shy" accusation, and whether it was accurate, Boller said, "No. I don't think so at all. I've never had anybody tell me I was gun-shy before. I'm not afraid to go back there and throw that thing."

What Boller is most excited about is getting a new opportunity and working in the West Coast offense being implemented by offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

"(It's) an offense I have always wanted to be in," he said. "You get the ball out of your hand fast, run the football and get your downfield shots. It's something I am excited about. Coach Shurmur said this was an offense he thought I would thrive in. I'm looking forward to picking his brain and trying to learn as much as I can from him and go from there."

As for the new beginning, Boller concluded, "I'm ready for a fresh start. I could've gone back to Baltimore. But with the situation and stuff, I was just ready to get out of there. I was ready for a clean start, new faces, new places - everything.

"It's a tough business and there's a lot of stuff you have to go through but I think that's what separates guys that make it and have long careers and guys that don't. You have to be mentally strong; a huge part of it is the mental part. If you let the little things scare you and bother you, you don't have a chance. I was thrown in early, learned my lessons and hopefully my next 10 years will be the best years of my football career."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

Anthony Becht Name: Anthony Becht
Position: TE
Age: 30
Experience: 9 years
College: West Virginia
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