Quinn helping Rams on special teams

Updated: November 4, 2011, 5:54 AM ET
Associated Press

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ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis rookie Robert Quinn is still fighting to establish himself with the Rams coming off a prolonged period away from football due to the lockout and a lost season at North Carolina last year.

The defensive end, chosen 14th overall in April's draft, took a big stride toward his goal when he blocked a punt in St. Louis' 31-21 upset of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Rams got the ball at New Orleans' 15 and scored two plays later.

"It was one of our calls," Quinn said. "(Special teams coach Tom McMahon) dreamed it up and I made a dream come true in a way. It felt great, but the `W' was a better feeling at the end of the day."

Quinn won the NFC special teams player of the week honor over Arizona's Patrick Peterson, who had a kickoff return for touchdown. The Cardinals and Rams play Sunday. Both teams are 1-6.

Earning the recognition meant a lot to Quinn, who was drafted by the Rams after he was declared ineligible last season at North Carolina due to accepting gifts from an agent. The lockout caused Quinn to fall behind as he missed participating in minicamps and offseason workouts.

Quinn wants to make a contribution to the team, but knows it's a process that will take time.

"Of course, everybody wants playing time," he said. "When you get your time that's when you've really got to show up. We've got a good group of D-linemen with James Hall and Chris (Long). When you go out there, you've got to perform."

He did against the Saints, also recording a sack of Drew Brees.

"If you want to say it's a breakout game, OK," Quinn said. "I want to do a little better, but hey, I'll take it."

So will his coaches.

"He has progressed as a defensive end," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's in there playing more. You're talking about a guy who didn't play any football last year, no offseason. He's on a gradual uphill, and he's doing a good job of it."

Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole liked what he saw and is looking for more.

" I think his natural pass-rushing ability in a game like that kind of shown through," Flajole said. "It was good to see him have some success. Hopefully, he can build on it."

Quinn's teammates also have noticed the improvement, voting to give him the hard hat that is awarded each week in recognition of a job well done.

However, Quinn isn't wearing it.

"My head's a little too big; it doesn't fit," he said. "I guess it's really a symbol of unity within the locker room."

Game notes
QB Sam Bradford (ankle) did not practice but he did some individual work for the first time. "Sam's is trying to do stuff," Spagnuolo said. "He's trying. He's not quite there yet. We'll see what happens tomorrow." ... Retired St. Louis manager Tony La Russa was at Rams practice Thursday and watched for a while. ... WR Danario Alexander (hamstring) did not practice. ... LB Bryan Kehl (ankle) was hurt during special teams practice.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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