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Rams E.J. Gaines unfazed by changing roles

Rams E.J. Gaines unfazed by changing roles
rams-ej-gaines-unfazed-by-changing-roles


EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Aside from the fact that this is http://www.chiefsnflofficialproshop.com/Alex-Smith-Jersey indeed his first year in the NFL, there's very little about St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines that would let you know he's only a rookie. Gaines' game tape offers some ups and downs as many rookies have but he's also a cornerback, a position with more volatility than any on the defense. For the most part, though, Gaines has left almost anyone paying attention impressed with how the sixth-round draft pick has adapted to the NFL. "I feel like being a rookie playing so much you have to get better as the season goes on," Gaines said. "You can’t stay the same and keep using rookie as an excuse to make a mistake. I like to get out there and try to do better each and every game." So far, Gaines has succeeded in that quest. In nine games, Gaines has 39 tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and five pass breakups. For what it's worth, Pro Football Focus grades Gaines as the Rams' second-best defensive player, coincidentally only behind another rookie in Patriots Chandler Jones Authentic Jersey defensive tackle Aaron Donald. That same grading scale rates Gaines in a tie as the 11th-most productive corner in the league. Perhaps more impressive is how Gaines has handled everything that's been thrown at him. After the third preseason game, Gaines was thrust into the starting role when Trumaine Johnson suffered a knee injury. He has since stepped in and started every game outside. When rookie nickel corner Lamarcus Joyner suffered a groin injury against Arizona last week, Gaines had little problem sliding into the slot and taking on a different role. "He was fine," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He got his hands on the ball. Didn’t have any problems … we didn’t have to scale down the third-down package per se. He prepares mentally for it and thought he plugged in nicely. "[It] tells you a lot about him, he’s gone from outside to inside just during the course of a game." Signs point to Gaines having to do even more work in the nickel this week against Denver with Joyner not practicing because of a groin injury. Playing in http://www.nfllionsofficial.com/Brandon-Pettigrew-Jersey the slot against the likes of Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders is no easy task for any corner, never mind a rookie who hasn't spent much time playing inside where things happen faster and there's more space to cover. But Gaines said Wednesday he doesn't expect it to be much of a problem and cited the chance to work on it more during the week as a reason he'd be better prepared to handle nickel duties than he was a week ago. "It’s a lot on my plate but I feel like I’m definitely ready for it," Gaines said. "I try not to look at myself like a rookie. I try to play like a vet. I do as many things as I can like a veteran to help this football team, help this defense out."

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