Rams rookie was never irrelevant

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams brought a measure of fame to Idaho linebacker David Vobora when they made him "Mr. Irrelevant" as the last player chosen in the 2008 NFL draft. Vobora wasn't the Rams' only seventh-round linebacker this year. The other, Chris Chamberlain, has been more impressive through two exhibition games. The former Tulsa standout was nice enough to share a few minutes of his time after practice earlier this week.

Sando: Your backups played most of the way against a physical Titans team in the opener. Have you had your "welcome to the NFL" moment?

Chamberlain: Man, we were already shorthanded without five defensive starters. We were pretty thin and so I got in there and in that second quarter, I was already doing special teams, the offense wasn't moving the ball and we were not doing a good job on defense. I felt at halftime I had played a whole game. One of the biggest surprises, I sat down and about 2 minutes later they said, 'All right, you have 3 or 4 minutes.' I didn't know halftimes were so short. I was gassed from one quarter and we open second half with the kickoff. That was a pretty big shock. Obviously, the physicalness that team played with. We have definitely improved since then. It was a great first game to get under the belt."

Chamberlain made the game-saving pass breakup on a fourth-down play to preserve the Rams' 7-6 victory over San Diego in the second exhibition game. You can't tell a seventh-round rookie these games don't count when, in fact, they mean everything to guys trying to earn roster spots.

Chamberlain stands a good shot at sticking in St. Louis. He is rotating with the second-team defense at weak-side linebacker and also playing with the second dime defense. He lines up over the tackle on the right side of the punt-return team. He's playing the right side on the kickoff team, flying downfield with bad intentions. Chamberlain is also on the kick-return team, where he has rotated with Vobora. He's behind Pisa Tinoisamoa on the punt team.

I'll include the rest of our conversation below for die-hards who can't get enough (and you know who you are). Chamberlain is a former small-school quarterback and safety at Bethany (Okla.) High School, where he rushed for 2,000 yards and passed for 1,000 yards in one season while leading his team to its first Class 2A state championship.Sando: What was your philosophy for making this team going into camp?

Chamberlain: My philosophy was really just controlling what I could control. Give my best effort, do the best I could. I figured everything would work out if I could do that.

Sando: How are things going so far?

Chamberlain: I feel like it's gone great so far. I got put in a great situation in that the coaches and schemes and other players around me, I fit in well. Been a great fit.

Sando: Zach West of The Oklahoman wrote a story about you mentioning your prowess in the bench press during high school -- 185 pounds?

Chamberlain: "I'm still not the strongest in the world. We did a rep test and I did 250 like 15 times or something like that. I'm definitely a lot stronger than I was then.

Sando: Against the Chargers, you broke up the pass on fourth down, right?

Chamberlain: I was able to have a nice pass breakup, the last defensive play and we held onto the lead. It was a great feeling coming off the field.

Sando: Was it man coverage?

Chamberlain: We were playing Cover 2 and the inside guy broke out and I was able to make a good break on the curl route.

Sando: What was the key to playing well against the Chargers?

Chamberlain: Just having that confidence. Confidence is a major part of everything in this league. Getting that first game behind me, having some confidence, then being able to make some plays, it was a great feeling to contribute. It was another building game toward the regular season, working on the little adjustments, minor alignment changes. There is nothing better than that on-the-job training.