I hate reading about injuries, especially to second round draft picks (Donnie Avery) and offensive linemen (Setterstrom). Gun shy after last season. Fortunately, neither injury seems to be of the debilitating sort, nothing that looks to impact their regular season.
That's kind of the big news out of camp from yesterday. But there's another item worthy of discussion. Right now, there's talk of kick returning sensation and 2007 bust Dante Hall grabbing the 3rd spot on the Rams' wide receiver depth chart. Really?
Early camp reports noted Hall's enthusiastic approach to off season conditioning in the wake of last season's injury. It's also been said that the man who made kick returning sexy again - Hester version 1.0 - has looked sharp taking reps at WR, and in his chat yesterday, PD Rams beat reporter Jim Thomas, stated that Hall is #3, at least until rookies Avery and Burton emerge. Nick Wagoner mentioned the same thing in his 7/28 camp report.
Hall's no stranger to working at WR, and during his time in KC, when Al Saunders was the Cheifs OC, the Cheifs - never overstocked with receivers - used Hall as the #3, the slot guy. Similar reports circulated out of the Cheifs camp way back in 2002. And he was moderately successful there, topping out with 40 receptions in 2003 and 34 in 2005 to go with 436 yards and 3 TDs, by far his most successful season in the WR role. Hall's only 5'8" putting him at pretty severe height disadvantage compared to the 5'11" Avery and 6'1" Keenan Burton. It also means, as a 30-year-old, the Rams compromise Hall's value as a proven returner by using his legs more on long down field routes, because his size would necessecarily put him down the field behind the physical play in the middle, and upping the risk. Here's what Dick Vermeil told the Chicago Tribune, asked about the Hester situation, about returns doing double duty as receivers:
"When they start going backward on the returns, it's normally because they are playing full-time either as a running back, defensive back or wide receiver. The mental preparation is different. The competitiveness at that position isn't as intense as it was when he was just a returner."
Of course, if Hall works at WR, then by all means, but if other receives emerge then why not let Hall do what he's famous for? We're 5 days into camp, so lots of things are going to change between now and then.
Bottom line: the more guys turning around their seasons the better.