Rams Add Wragge, Spach

Posted Sep 5, 2011

The Rams added a pair of re-inforcements on Monday, both coming from NFC West Division rivals.

After a flurry of activity all offseason and over the weekend, the Rams continued to tweak the 53-man roster by adding offensive lineman Tony Wragge and tight end Stephen Spach. To make room for the new additions, the Rams released lineman Hank Fraley and tight end Ben Guidugli.

“Obviously we had gone against the 49ers so we thought he would add something to the team depth wise,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “And the same thing with Stephen Spach. I was actually in Philly when Stephen was a rookie. I knew him that way. It’s a couple of guys that you don’t know are going to appear and they did so we made those moves.”

In Wragge, the Rams added another tough, big, versatile lineman capable of being active on game days because of his ability to play anywhere on the line.

Wragge came into the league in 2002 with Arizona but didn’t have his NFL breakthrough until 2005 with San Francisco. Before that, he spent time with the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League.

In 2006, Wragge was allocated overseas, where he played with current Rams guard Harvey Dahl on the Rhein Fire.

All told, Wragge has played in 67 games in a seven-year career, six of those seasons coming in San Francisco.

The 6’4, 310-pound Wragge earned a reputation for being a big, physical type of player but says he tries to be fundamentally sound in addition to his natural mean streak.

“I like to mix them both,” Wragge said. “I would say I am a technician because that’s what keeps you in the league a long time, allowing you to work your craft and hone your technique but don’t get it misconstrued because you better be a mean SOB when it comes down to it so I’m a little bit of a mauler. I’d say I’m a little bit of both.”

Being more than one thing has helped Wragge carve out his NFL niche. He’s spent the bulk of his time in the league playing guard but he can play center and has even kicked outside to tackle.

For the Rams, that versatility is vital because they generally have dressed just seven offensive linemen for games.

“It doesn’t matter to me (where I play),” Wragge said. “I have made a career of being the swing guy and even if I just kick out to tackle, I’ve done that a couple of times, and that’s how I’ve made a living doing it. I just go about my business. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll operate wherever you put me.”

Spach has earned his way in the NFL with a similar do anything it takes mindset. He entered the league in 2005 as an undrafted free agent with Philadelphia. There, he first met Spagnuolo and spent a season with the Eagles.

Since, Spach has spent two seasons in New England – one with current Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels – and the past three years with the Cardinals.

For his career, Spach has 20 catches for 135 yards but at 6’4, 260 pounds, he’s an accomplished in line blocker.

According to Spagnuolo, it’s unfair to pigeonhole Spach as just a blocker, though.

“I mean it’s like when (TE) Billy Bajema came here and everybody tags him as that,” Spagnuolo said. “I don’t think they particularly like that because they’re tight ends, they’re athletes. We’ll find out what all these guys can and can’t do and try and take advantage of their assets.”

For his part, Spach says he’ll simply do whatever is asked of him to help the team win.

“I just want to contribute any way I can,” Spach said. “If it’s blocking on the line, if it’s doing the F stuff, whatever they want me to do, I want to be able to come in and contribute.”

INJURY REPORT: The Rams only had two players unavailable to practice Monday as defensive end Eugene Sims nursed an oblique injury and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui continues to recover from a calf ailment.

Spagnuolo expressed confidence that Sims would be available this week, perhaps as soon as Wednesday’s practice.

Hoomanawanui’s status, on the other hand, continues to be in doubt.

“This one’s a big question mark,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll have to take it day-to-day literally and see what happens. Watching…he did some, what we call group install or walk-through. He was out there the whole time. He’s watching and he was in a walk-through. But all he was doing was the mental stuff. But he has a long way to go.”

Linebacker James Laurinaitis (pectoral) and defensive tackle Fred Robbins (back) returned to practice after sitting out the preseason finale.

TUNNEL VISION: Ever since his arrival, Spagnuolo has made it a point not to look too far ahead and that certainly hasn’t changed this year.

Spagnuolo did admit to look forward to the regular season opener against Philadelphia during the preseason but when he was asked about the difficult of the Rams’ early season schedule, he gave his standard response.

“The four preseason games are in the rearview mirror and the only thing that’s in the forefront is Philadelphia,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s only the way I can describe it or do it. Philadelphia is an elite team. It’s going to be a hell of challenge, and I think our guys are looking forward to it. But in this league all 16 are going to be challenges so we’ll try to face them one at a time and just focus on the one at hand.”

RAM BITS: The Rams completed the practice squad by adding two more players Monday. Tight end DeMarco Cosby, who was with the team in the exhibition season, and linebacker Scott Lutrus, who came from Jacksonville, rounded out the practice squad.