Veteran S Mikell experiencing 'rebirth' with Rams

Posted Oct. 11, 2012 @ 6:04 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

You can rest assured Jeff Fisher issued a huge sigh of relief when starting SS Quintin Mikell returned to practice Wednesday feeling no worse for the wear after suffering a head injury in the second quarter of the Rams’ Week Five victory over the Cardinals that initially looked like it could be pretty serious.

After colliding with teammate Josh Hull while trying to bring down Cardinals TE Rob Housler after a 13-yard catch, Mikell was down for the count for a few minutes before being able to walk off the field unassisted.

But no doubt benefiting from a few extra days of rest after a Thursday-night game, it looks like the former Eagle won’t miss a beat in what one team insider considers “a bit of a rebirth” this season.

“He’s played his best football as a Ram so far this season,” the insider said of Mikell, who missed his share of tackles last season and was uneven in coverage. “They’re using him in the box a lot, and he’s very good there. He’s very instinctive, and he’s been a much surer tackler. He’s also been pretty effective blitzing off the edge. He doesn’t have any sacks, but he’s hurrying a lot of throws. After the Miami game, we’ll see how he holds up in coverage against teams that throw the ball a lot more (Packers in Week Seven, Patriots in Week Eight).”

One thing that appears to be helping Mikell is a much clearer delineation of his duties under Fisher. Under previous head coach Steve Spagnuolo, there did not seem to be much difference in the roles of the free safety and the strong safety.

“In this system, Mikell is clearly the stronng safety and (Craig) Dahl is the free safety," the insider said. There is a strict separation.”

A 10-year veteran, Mikell offers another valuable dimension with his leadership.

“That’s a good point,” the insider said. "(Free-agent CB) Cortland Finnegan is getting most of the recognition for his leadership, but Mikell is also a good leader."