ST. LOUIS (AP) -It's been a steep learning curve for St. Louis Rams rookie Adam Carriker.
A defensive end at Nebraska, the Rams grabbed Carriker to bolster the leaky defense. In training camp, Carriker switched to the three-technique position. During the first eight games, Carriker played there and then switched to nose guard and has gone back and forth in the two positions.
There have been some bright spots. Against Arizona, Carriker blocked a 39-yard field goal attempt by Neil Rackers. He had a career-high five tackles against Baltimore. In Sunday's 27-20 loss to Cleveland, Carriker had his first sack - getting quarterback Derek Anderson for a 7-yard loss in the fourth quarter.
``It's taken a little bit of time getting used to nose tackle and three-technique,'' Carriker said Tuesday. ``I'm more comfortable now.''
Getting the sack helped his frame of mind as the Rams are off this week with a bye before returning to play at New Orleans.
``I finally got a sack, which is nice,'' Carriker said. ``I feel like I'm making a contribution to the team.''
Carriker's willingness to adjust has helped him, according to Rams coach Scott Linehan.
``I think the thing that helped Adam is he came here with the idea that he knew he was going to be playing nose guard which probably isn't his natural position, but he plays it very effectively,'' Linehan said. ``For him to be able to play more from the three-technique and the nose is making him much more comfortable. It probably is a more suited position for him.''
The slow start frustrated Carriker. Used to success at Nebraska, coming to the NFL and being thrust into a new position presented him with a challenge.
Then, as the season has progressed, the Rams are winless in their first eight games. Carriker knows it takes time to make an impact at the professional level but that doesn't mean he is happy about it.
``I played well all camp and in the preseason and then it wasn't bad but it wasn't great,'' Carriker said. ``It's been frustrating. I know it just takes time.''
Linebacker Will Witherspoon said Carriker is being hard on himself. The veteran pointed out the rookie is playing well.
``We call him 'Bam Bam' because he's such a beast in there,'' Witherspoon said. ``He's still learning but he does some great things out there. It's a big adjustment. It shows you the capability he has and the kind of player he is.''
Carriker said he is going to enjoy his bye week. He will be going to visit a haunted house with his wife and then ``just rest.'' In addition, he said he will enjoy the new addition to the family - a rescued dog.
``We named him Rambo and I've never had a big dog before,'' Carriker said. ``He's a great dog.''

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