Another installment from my weekly column at 101ESPN. This week I interviewed Rams second year tight end turned full back Ben Guidugli.
What a difference a year makes
Exactly a year ago, I wrote about how the Rams defense needed to develop a focused identity. I specificially put James Laurinaitis on notice and said he needed to take charge in forging a strong Rams defense. (Laurinaitis stepped up to the challenge in 2011 by recording his best season with a combined 142 tackles and three sacks.)
It was also the 91st day of the NFL lockout. Lesser NFL players were taking other jobs to make ends meet, and free agents’ families were in limbo as everyone waited on NFL owners and the NFLPA to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement. On July 25, 2011, all the anxiety and frustration came to an end. Hallelujah!
But the one thing all 32 teams couldn’t get back was the valuable time lost. The 2011 rookie class didn’t have the luxury of OTAs (organized team activities), minicamps and weeks of absorbing the playbook. They basically got a crash course in the ways of the NFL, and for the Rams that wasn’t a good thing. Yeah, I’m trying to delete the 2-14 record from my memory.
It’s pronounced “guh-DOO-lee.”
I remember taking note of Ben Guidugli during a condensed training camp last summer. He was an undrafted free-agent tight end from Cincinnati who, on paper, didn’t seem to have a great shot at making the Rams’ final 53. He was competing for one of four tight end spots. The words “long shot” immediately darted into my head as the catchy pronunciation of his name stuck in my brain. (Say it with me now: The second “g” is silent, “guh-DOO-lee.”)