Brockers optimistic on making NFL debut

BY foxsports • September 26, 2012

ST. LOUIS – Michael Brockers wouldn't say what he did with the big, bulky boot he was forced to wear on his right foot the past few weeks. But rest assured, he gladly disposed of it.

"Oh yeah, it's gone," Brockers said. " That's a taboo. You don't want to keep that around. Get that thing away."

The defensive lineman was back on the field Wednesday, practicing for the first time since suffering a high right ankle sprain during the second quarter of the Rams fourth and final preseason game.

And if all goes well, the No. 14 overall pick could make his regular season NFL debut this Sunday.

"I think there's a pretty good chance I play Sunday," Brockers said. "I did pretty well today, a little limited but I felt good on the ankle. It held up in individual drills. I felt pretty good.

"I am real anxious to get this thing started and help the defense out. I feel that this high ankle sprain has some more weeks to go but I feel like I'm able to hold off offensive players and be able to make some plays. I feel pretty good."

Coach Jeff Fisher was less committal about the status of the 6-5, 322-pound Brockers, saying, "He was limited, but he practiced today and that's a good sign.

"If he's back and able to play, he would have an impact on our front, from the pass-rush standpoint as a run defender. He's clearly behind because he has missed some valuable time, but he's very talented and that's why he's here."

Brockers played just two seasons at LSU after redshirting in 2009. The defensive tackle had 54 tackles, 10 for losses, and two sacks as a redshirt sophomore last season — his only year as a starter.

He was chosen second-team All-SEC after starting all 14 games at left defensive tackle and helping LSU finish second in the nation in total defense (261.5 yards per game) and scoring defense (11.2 points per game). They were fifth nationally in rush defense (90.1 yards per game).

In two seasons at LSU, Brockers appeared in 27 games and was credited with 79 tackles (34 solo), two sacks, 11 tackles for losses and five quarterback pressures. He forced one fumble, blocked a kick, intercepted a pass and deflected three others.

And he was making great strides in the preseason before going down just a few plays before his preseason action was set to end.

"He improved since the rookie minicamp all the way through camp," Fisher said. "He's been studying. He knows exactly what to do. He's maintained his upper body strength. He should be in good shape when he returns."

Said Brockers of the unfortunate timing, "It stunk, especially because it's the game you love and you want to be out there with the guys making plays. It was tough, but it was something I had to do and all I want to do is come back and have some production and make this defense better."

Getting the run-clogging Brockers back Sunday would be perfect timing for the Rams, who are stuck with the tough challenge of stopping the NFL's leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks are 2-1 after winning Monday night's controversial game against the Green Bay Packers.

And while the ankle may not be 100 percent just yet, Brockers believes he'll be good enough to contribute come Sunday.

"It might be a little pinched sometimes but the adrenaline, playing in a game, that will get over it," Brockers said. " I think I'll be able to play very well.

"Just come to play. Forget about the ankle, forget that I was injured and come to play like I'm 100 percent."