ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams’ first-round pick knows how to get to the quarterback. Robert Quinn has made himself useful in other areas, too.

Quinn, chosen 14th overall in April’s draft, also plays special teams. He blocked a punt Sunday in the Rams’ 31-21 upset of the New Orleans Saints.

The Rams got the ball at the 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 each other Sunday. Both teams are 1-6.

Earning the recognition meant something 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.

As a result, Quinn has yet to establish himself fully with the Rams.

“Of course, everybody wants playing time,” Quinn 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. Besides his special teams play, Quinn recorded a sack on 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.”

His coaches see improvement from Quinn.

“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.”

A player has to earn the right to rush the passer, defensive coordinator Ken Flajole.

“To help him out a little bit, again the offense did a nice job and they got us a lead and I think his natural pass rushing ability in a game like that kind of shown through,” he said. “It was good to see him have some success. Hopefully, he can build on it.”

His teammates see him getting better. There’s a hard hat in his locker this week. The players vote on who get the construction hat each week.

However, Quinn isn’t wearing it.

“My head’s a little too big; it doesn’t fit,” Quinn said. “I guess it’s really a symbol of unity within the locker room.”

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 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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