Rams like aggressive play of starting tackle
Thursday, December 22, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams are liking the aggressive play they are getting from right tackle Harvey Dahl.
Even it sometimes comes at a price.
Dahl, in his first season with the Rams, was called for holding during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals with his team 13-6 at the time.
He got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, too, perhaps because he used a profanity that was picked up on the microphone of referee Jerome Boger. It was just a matter of time before the play — with the audio — wound up on YouTube.
Dahl said the incident was atypical for him although he is known for his physical style of play. And the Rams (2-12) need every spark they can get this season with a visit to Pittsburgh (10-4) on Saturday up next.
“I learned a lesson. You can’t say anything to the refs. That’s my fault,” Dahl said Thursday. “That was frustration there. I made a bad situation worse. Obviously, you’ve got to stay composed there. I hurt my team. I didn’t know the microphone was on.”
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo did not delve into the correctness of the call on Dahl.
“I’m going to have to give it the old, ‘No comment,’” Spagnuolo said.
Dahl has had a solid season. He started the first 11 games at right guard before sliding over to right tackle the last four weeks. He started 43 games at right guard for Atlanta before coming to St. Louis.
The Rams have gotten what they wanted this year from Dahl, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said.
“When we got Harvey, we thought we were going to get a guy that was going to add some toughness,” McDaniels said. “He’s a great worker. He’s a great example for what we want our young guys to see. He’s been so unselfish with his role and what we’ve asked of him this year that I couldn’t say enough good things about him. (I’m) real glad to have him on our football team.”
Running back Steven Jackson agreed.
“He brings that attitude, that edge that you want upfront out of your guys,” Jackson said. “He’s pretty athletic and versatile that he can play two positions. You can see why he was really sought after in free agency.”
Dahl moved to tackle when Jason Smith suffered a concussion against Dallas.
“It’s a challenge,” Dahl said of the move. “It’s different technique. I feel like it’s going all right. I think it’s working out well. To help out and doing what the team needs is important. They ran it by me and I was open to it.”
That versatility has caught Spagnuolo’s eye.
“It’s not easy to go from guard to tackle,” Spagnuolo said. “With some of the people you see out on the edge there, he’s going to be challenged again this week and yet I think he functions really well. That’s a credit to him. I’m sure glad we’ve got him and I like the kind of guy he is. He’s good for our football team and he’s been really key with all the injuries we’ve had to be able to put him out there at right tackle.”
While Dahl has played well at tackle, Spagnuolo said he hasn’t pondered making it permanent.
“I’m not sure I’ve even thought that way yet,” Spagnuolo said. “But I know one thing, it’s nice to have a guy that can do both. It really is, that’s good to have.”
Notes: QB Sam Bradford (ankle), A.J. Feeley (thumb), CB Justin King (shoulder) did not practice. Bradford remains doubtful for Saturday’s game at Pittsburgh. ... CB Josh Gordy (abdomen) returned to practice.
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