The Nuclear Option
The place was the Edward Jones Dome. It was September 10th, 2006....12:02 pm CST. This moment in time was better known as the 2006 Opening Kickoff. And on the field for the Rams were....
WR 81 T.Holt
LT 76 O.Pace
LG 68 R.Incognito
C 67 A.McCollum
RG 62 A.Timmerman
RT 70 A.Barron
TE 82 J.Klopfenstein
WR 80 I.Bruce
QB 10 M.Bulger
FB 31 P.Smith
RB 39 S.Jackson
LE 91 L.Little
UT 97 L.Glover
NT 73 J.Kennedy
RE 95 T.Hargrove
SLB 54 B.Chillar
MLB 51 W.Witherspoon
WLB 50 P.Tinoisamoa
LCB 22 Tr.Fisher
RCB 34 F.Brown
FS 21 O.Atogwe
SS 25 C.Chavous
In a perfect world, those same individuals would be on the field 16 weeks later as well. However, we all know injuries are as much a part of football as the football itself. It's going to happen. Even now, some of these names are not on the field, nor will they be until 2007.
So, let's extrapolate the injury issue into a full blown Greek tragedy. What happens if we lose EVERY starter? What does the team look like? Join me in this walk through hell, will you?
QB - Ferrotte - Is he a starter? Absolutely not. However, Linehan has enough faith in him to keep him in his pocket in Minny and Miami. Can he handle a game or two yea, but an extended stay in the pocket could get ugly.
RB - Committee - If S. Jack goes down, there is no feature back left on the roster. Davis used to be, but no longer. Fisher never was, never will be. I'm not fond of committees, but used properly these two together may move the ball better than expected
FB - Hedgecock - With Smith out, this is where we stand now. The kid is still young, and learning his 2nd NFL offense in as many years. But once he's comfortable, this kid will be a wrecking ball. He won't carry the ball, nor do we want him to. He does one thing and does it well.....lead block.
WR - Curtis & McDonald - It's just not fair in this case. Both these guys are quality wideouts and would start on a lot of other teams. So I have no problem with them as starting wideouts. The problem I have is the dropoff from Holt/Bruce to Curtis/McDonald. C & D are more than servicable.....but when is the last time "servicable" ever passed muster when referring to a Rams wideout?
TE - Walker - He was impressive in his limited time. I don't think he's the pass catching threat of Klop, but I love his blocking skills. He would do a fine job, assuming Linehan adapts to the differences between Klop and Walker
OT - Steussie/Strojny - Here's where it turns ugly. Other than Pace and Barron, there's only one other OT on the roster, Steussie. So now we have to dip into the practice squad with Strojny. The only thing that keeps me from sweating bullets on this one is because in this scenario Bulger is already hurt. They can't hurt him twice.
OG - Goldberg/Setterstom - This spot has already seen plenty of flux this year, but assuming day 1 starters (RI & AT) are out, I don't have a huge problem with Goldberg and Setterstrom. Goldberg is proving himself now, and I think Setterstrom is better than a typical 7th round rookie. Wouldn't want to leave with them forever, but I like the OG position better than the OT position in this one.
OC - Incognito - Again assuming day 1 starter (McCollum)....oh wait, no need to assume. This one is reality and will be the rest of the year. Personally, I'm all for it. I think RI is doing a great job adapting to the spot, and I'd like to see him stay there.
DE - Adeyanju/Green - Vic is already getting his time and proving to be solid in the run game. His pass rush hasn't shown itself yet, but maybe that's around the corner. Green is green....high motor, all-effort...but nothing spectacular.
DT - Fisk/Wroten - After preseason, I was very excited to see what Wroten was going to bring. Apparently, the coaching staff has yet to share my thoughts. For now, Wroten still has that "potential" albatross around his neck. As for Fisk, solid veteran who is doing a decent job of sucking up linemen to open holes for blitzers.
SLB - Smith - I'm not going to lose much sleep over this one. Chillar has not been everything I hoped for, and Smith could do just as well in my opinion.
MLB - Brooks - The preseason phenom. Can he translate that to the regular season? I'm guessing no, but as with the WR spot, he's backing up today's icon, so Brooks won't get a fair shake if he has to take over.
WLB - Coakley - From what we've seen so far, DC has returned to a younger form. He's playing both the run and especially the pass pretty well, when he's in. If he had to take over for Pisa, I'd certainly miss Pisa, but DC would be effective
Corner - Hill/Butler - Hill will still make rookie mistakes, but his time to start is right around the corner. Butler on the other hand must not be right, either physically or mentally. Can Butler come back to form? If so, I don't have a problem with him and Hill at the corners
FS - Bartell - A huge question mark. I'm pretty certain Bartell will not be as comfortable as Atogwe is at this point, simply from lack of experience, but Bartell has all the physical and mental tools to be a decent centerfielder, at least comparable to Atogwe.
SS - Carter - I can't get excited about Carter, especially following Chavous. There's no doubting his work ethic or how much effort he displays, but his coverage skills make him look more and more like a small LB rather than an effective SS. However, he has more experience than most on this list, so who's to say?
So, would this team make it happen? Probably not, but then again I'm not convinced the 1st string will take us to the promised land either.
I'd feel okay about our offense with the exception of OT, and that's a bad spot to be uncomfortable about when talking about moving the ball. On the defense, the pass rush would be non-existent, so I'm afraid opposing QBs would pick us apart like fish in a barrel.
THIS WAS A TEST OF THE EMERGENCY BROADCASTING SYSTEM. HAD THIS BEEN A REAL EMERGENCY YOU WOULD HAVE NOTIFIED OF WHICH NEAREST DOOR TO GO SLAM YOUR HEAD IN WHILE WAITING FOR THE SEASON TO END AND STARTERS TO GET HEALTHY.
WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLLY SCHEDULED SEASON.
Re: The Nuclear Option
It's not all that bad, we actually have decent depth this year I think. Even with that worst case lineup we'd still be able to beat a team or two (Oakland, Tennessee etc. teams on that level). There's definitely a big big dropoff at tackle though. I like how younger guys are stepping up on the interior O-line, Goldberg, Incognito etc. looks promising for the future, we badly needed young guys in there.
Re: The Nuclear Option
He he I enjoyed that little trip into fantasy land but boy was I happy to return to reality because gus ferotte as qb is a nightmare