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  1. #1
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Another Point Of View

    Training camp begins today and everyone will be scrutinizing our young team in hopes of finding that little sparkle from one of our many "diamonds in the rough" or looking to weed out players who are not helping the team. The wide receiver and the corner back positions seem to be the most interesting battles to watch as our young players strive to make it big on the NFL level.

    But what about our coaching staff who are in many ways young themselves? How long are fans willing to give these guys a pass before we finally give up and say, next! Overall coach Spagnuolo and his staff have done an excellent job of weeding out overpaid and under preforming players from the roster. I have read about Spags ability to self reflect and examine his own progress as a NFL head coach, which is personally a character trait that I consider invaluable in any person. But, the fact of the matter is, are the fans at a point where they are so enamored with this coaching staff where they can gauge them from a neutral stand point? That is a question that I often find myself asking as a win starved fan who feels like I often have to defend my team, while other fans just seem incapable of letting go of the glory of the past. The fact of the matter is, that Spagnuolo is by far the best coach this team has had since Dick Vermil. and I don't know if that's a good thing since that's been eleven years.

    More to the point, these are the moves made by this regime that concern me greatly.

    Will Witherspoon traded for Brandon Gibson a 5th round draft pick! Now this is interesting because Will Witherspoon was released by the Eagles to be snatched up by the Titans. Brandon Gibson is another guy who may or may not make the Rams roster, but regardless, the Eagles might be in a position to let a starting linebacker like Spoon go but the Rams sure in the hell aren't.

    Adam Carriker the Rams former number one draft pick was traded for a fifth and a seventh round draft pick. Guess who orchestrated that trade? Former head coach Jim Hasslett. When you have a player who is a number one draft pick with a good character and a good work ethic, you do not trade that player. You let him play it out and see if he can become the player you invested in. It's like buying stocks in Apple Corporation when the stock is through the roof and turning around and selling it as soon as it goes down for a year or two, that is not smart business.

    Can anyone tell me why in the hell the Rams did not participate in the supplemental draft this year? The Bears walked away with Harvey Unga with a seventh round draft pick, a seventh. I know, but wait, we traded our seventh round pick to the Bears for a safety Kevin Payne. There is no one out there can convince me that Unga is not worth a six round draft pick and the only reason why Payne will probably make the roster is because the depth at safety is so sickening shallow we have no other choice but to keep him. If nothing else look at Harvey Unga as a player who could have helped our only star player stay healthy for another year, but instead they opted with a depth guy who is no more talented than any other street safety out there. Make no mistake the Rams will probably have to sign a veteran free agent running back and they will be paying more then the cost of a sixth rounder for that veteran.

    Next I am going to talk about two players brought in by Spags who need to be seriously viewed as potential bust considering their respective lucrative pay days.

    James Butler, has a four year deal, with incentives that could land Butler around $17 million. This guy needs to prove that he's worth the money or he seriously needs to go, he's been average at best.

    Jacob Bell, six year contract, six million dollars, seven million dollar signing bonus 2 base salary's guarantee and the Rams are taking a seven million dollar cap hit on this guy this year. Anyone else spot a mistake here? Unlike safety there is some decent depth at the guard position, Fraley, Shueing, Grecco, Settersrorm.

    Feel free to bash me for not being a real fan and not predicting the Rams to win six or more games this year. Good day.
    Last edited by mikhal5569; -07-29-2010 at 12:07 PM.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    there is some decent depth at the guard position, Fraley, Shueing, Grecco, Settersrorm.
    Setterstrom is going to IR, and Shuening has been gone for a couple of years. Grecco or Fraley will probably be starting on the right side.
    There is no one out there can convince me that Unga is not worth a six round draft pick
    Actually all 32 teams said Unga was not worth a 6th round pick. Of those 32, there were 31 who said he wasn't even worth a 7th round pick.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Setterstrom is going to IR, and Shuening has been gone for a couple of years. Grecco or Fraley will probably be starting on the right side. Actually all 32 teams said Unga was not worth a 6th round pick. Of those 32, there were 31 who said he wasn't even worth a 7th round pick.
    Thanks for the correction on Shuening, your 100% correct. That really wasn't the point I was trying to make, but you are correct.

    But, since we are correcting each other. The Dallas Cowboys did participate in the supplemental draft this year as well as the Bears.

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Quote Originally Posted by mikhal5569 View Post
    There is no one out there can convince me that Unga is not worth a six round draft pick and the only reason why Payne will probably make the roster is because the depth at safety is so sickening shallow we have no other choice but to keep him. If nothing else look at Harvey Unga as a player who could have helped our only star player stay healthy for another year, but instead they opted with a depth guy who is no more talented than any other street safety out there. Make no mistake the Rams will probably have to sign a veteran free agent running back and they will be paying more then the cost of a sixth rounder for that veteran.
    It shouldn't be discounted that we are first in line when it comes to the waiver wire. As far as the cost of signing a backup running back goes, there is no cap this year, why worry about that? Apparently Billy and Spags felt there was more to be gained from the waiver wire than giving up a pick for Unga. I'm willing to trust their judgment on this. Bear in mind that coaches talk to one another off the record all year long. DeSpags surely already have a short list of guys who will likely be available when mandatory roster cuts occur. I don't believe for a minute that our GM and head coach are ignoring the backup running back issue. After all Spags mantra is a strong running game first and foremost. Let's wait and see what transpires as preseason unfolds around the league. Brian Westbrook will probably hold off on signing with a team until camp is almost over ala Farve. There is still a good chunk of time left to find a backup for Jackson ..

  5. #5
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    I believe Jacob Bell was brought in prior to Spags arrival. Although he certainly is part of Devaney's decision making. Nonetheless, you make valid points that Butler and Bell must prove their worth this year. In fact I feel Avery should be on that list as well despite he being a draft pick not a FA.

    This will be an interesting year as the new system installed by Spags should be more effective. That is the usual time frame in the NFL for new coaches to get their feet under them so to speak.

    Go Rams!

  6. #6
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Seems to me that some people equate impatience with passion.

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    Re: Another Point Of View

    The Dallas Cowboys did participate in the supplemental draft this year as well as the Bears.
    What did the Cowboys offer for Unga?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    What did the Cowboys offer for Unga?
    Had to have been a 7th rd pick .. anything higher and Unga would be in Dallas .. right?

  9. #9
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    Had to have been a 7th rd pick .. anything higher and Unga would be in Dallas .. right?
    Only mikhal would know. He said my statement that all 32 teams did not see Unga as worth a 6th rounder should be corrected by stating the Cowboys participated as well. Since it's a blind bid, I'm just wondering what the Cowboys bid for Unga.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  10. #10
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    "How long are fans willing to give these guys a pass before we finally give up and say, next!" ?

    More than one year is my answer. As you say, it took a number of bad years of decision making to create the mess & it'll take more than one to correct it. Nothing went right for The Rams last year in the "out of our hands' category of events such as injuries. That is most definitely not true for the teams that have made miracle one year turn arounds recently like ATL and Miami. I think this is borne out by the fact that both failed to build upon that success in the following year when some similar problems arose for them. It takes years to build a program that is deep/stable enough to withstand key injuries,etc. Not sure why that even needs to be said.

    I think we need to wait a bit longer than one year to evaluate Spags on the moves you list. So far, as you noted, Devaney's decisions regarding personnel have been mixed but largely seem solid to me. Guys like Holt,Pace, and Pisa did not contribute to their new teams at anything like a level commensurate with the salaries they commanded with the Rams. Blame the prior regime for not letting them go earlier when they still had a higher trade value or for structuring long back-loaded contracts that made such moves impossible under the CBA,imo.

    The early returns on the Spoon/Gibson deal,imo, are mixed but I lean towards a positive review. WW had one good game then faded in Philly.When you consider the disarray of the Ram offense overall and the fact that he was a rookie without the benefit of the off season training period with The Rams, I thought Gibson's talent was clearly evident. The Titans may have "snatched" Spoon up but it remains to be seen what they got. Philly sure didn't get much,imo, which is why he was there to be snatched. The issue I have is more with Flajole failing to get more out of guys like Grant & the decision to unceremoniously dump the much cheaper & still useful Draft. Hard to argue with the Lau pick now but there was a lot of wailing & gnashing of teeth over taking him instead of Rey. And the Carpenter move for Barron seems like a pretty bold-but-sound two-fer on paper to me.

    Comparing Carriker to Apple stock is a little unreasonable . He has barely stepped on the field since his rookie year. More like Ford stubbornly stocking their dealerships with Edsels when nobody wants to buy them. After suffering through years of watching opposing OCs dismantle Haslett's game plans, I don't think his advocacy for AC is much of an affidavit. And then there's the fact that The Skins are implementing a 3/4 D which many think may be the scheme that AC needs to become even useful. Assuming he can stay healthy, of course.Since the picks The Rams got in the AC deal were used on intriguing developmental projects at spots like TE and DE which are even bigger holes than DT after the acquisition of Robbins and Hovan, I think The Rams made the best of a bad situation from a "big picture" point of view. Are DeSpags trying to MacGyver a balanced roster from bits of draft/FA duct tape and safety pins? Sure, but what choice did they have? Two developmental birds in the hand are better than a perenially broken potential stud in the bush for me.

    As to the Unga thing, I think The Rams have enough mediocre/ green talent at RB. What they need is a savvy vet who can seamlessly jump in to give SJ a breather as a runner but, more importantly, give Sam reliable pass pro and a reliable outlet target as a receiver, hence the continued interest in Westbrook.I'd never heard of Unga before the supplemental draft. I think you're mistaking media hype with actual value there & the fact that no one risked a higher bid for the guy hints that the NFL overall feels the same. He's a developmental prospect.At least Ogby and Darby should have a better grasp of the scheme at this point.

    Not sure why you have such a low opinion of Payne. He's a more accomplished safety already than Bassey or Todd Johnson, his back-up predecessors,imo, and may have significant upside, like Dahl. I'm basing this on watching his performances over the last two years, esp in the games vs The Rams.

    I agree that Butler needs to play better & stay healthy to justify that contract but ,in tandem with OJ, there were signs that he could. If he doesn't...or one of the others supplants him, he won't earn the incentives & will be gone with minimal financial footprint. I hope that as the DB unit gets better around him, he'll look better. Easy to look like a fool as a safety when you have a DL that generates no pressure and a crew of either talented but green or gimpy vets at CB.

    I think Bell is another guy who made a poor first impression-some due to his own health problems & also the play of those on either side of him & gets less credit for his recent performance because of it. Look at the OL power rankings for last year. The Bell/Barron side of the line was very good at runblocking. It wasn't until Bell got hurt & we had the likes of Allen at LG that the sack carnage became truly horrific.

    In short, I think we need to see how these issues play out-rather than making assumptions on pretty sketchy 3rd hand opinion and one injury-plagued year before we "finally' give up on a coach/FO who stepped into such a mess.

  11. #11
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    I don't get your suplemental draft point. Why should we offer a 6th round pick when no one else is offering more than 7th. Kevin Payne is backup safety on almost every team in this league, Unga is a 7th round pick no where near a guarantee to make the team.

    I have to disagree because IMO safety is on of our deepest positions. Dahl was verry versatile last year and was good blitzing and was a sound tackler he wasn't terrific in coverage, but he is more than adequate as a 3rd safety. Kevin Payne is also a solid 3rd safety type in this league. James Butler was the starting safety in the super bowl, and all things considered he isn't being paid like an elite safety. He is playing like a slightly above average safety and when healthy he is that. OJ Otogwe is a turn over machine. Safety probably is right there with CB and guard as the deepest position on the team.

    Ya Bell missed some games, but only Brown gave up less sacks this year.

    Is weatherperson a starting LB? He is backup in Tennessee didn't play well in Phili we got something for a guy on the downside.

    You talk about Spags doing a good jon weeding out the overpaid and under performing players, what was Adam Carriker then. IMO for his production besides his rookie year overpaid and definitely under performing.

  12. #12
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Once again Hubison, I think you are 100% correct and I have no problem saying I stand corrected. I actually googled to see who participated in the NFL 2010 draft before responding to your post and the Cowboys did participate, but it was for Price Brent. Thanks for making it out like I was blatantly lying, your a real class act.

    I think this post was very much a mix of frustration and needing a way to vent. I surprised myself with how worked up I got when writing it. I like the Rams coaching staff and front office as well as the decisions that have been made as whole.

    I really appreciate all the insight and opinions presented by the other clanram members who posted in this thread. ( except hubs, kidding.) I'm going to chalk this one up to the off season jitters and prepare for the season.

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    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Thanks for making it out like I was blatantly lying, your a real class act.
    I think you misread me, mik. If I thought you were bltantly lying, I would have said you were blatantly lying. I was just wondering where I needed correction.
    I'm going to chalk this one up to the off season jitters and prepare for the season.
    I got'em too; I bet most of us do. We've got a pot 'o gold invested in some kid fresh off major surgery..........and he's yet to see the field, even the practice field.

    Here's the real kick in the bean bag:

    I doubt these jitters go away with the opening of the season. Everytime Sam the Ram drops back, we'll all be holding our collective breath until he gets rid of the ball. For that reason alone, I see season long jitters for most of us.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  14. #14
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: Another Point Of View

    Thanks hub and Azul excellent post. Just to clarify one statement.

    "before we "finally' give up on a coach/FO who stepped into such a mess."

    I never said anything about giving up on our new coaching staff and front office. The real gripe I was trying to make with this post is. I think when posters try to make a critique or an evaluation based on a move made by the new front office. I think those peoples opinions are often viewed as if they are not being supportive or being negative. I think that many fans are definitely going through the "honeymoon phase" with this front office. I don't think Spag's and company have made any moves that can be really considered to be awful, but I don't feel that they made any moves to aggressively improve this team either. They seem to be playing it safe with smart roster decisions, while putting their money away, hoping a few of these low or undrafted rookies develop into NFL starters. Now, that's probably the smart move, but I don't see how anyone can suddenly start singing the praises of this front office or predicting a 8 win season when the front office has only been nothing but solid.

    I think most of us have been around long enough to expect a lot of growing pains from both the young players and a young coaching staff over the course of the year. I think that the first four to six games will tell us a lot in terms of how much the coaching staff has learned or hasn't learned from their on field mistakes and lack luster play calling. Personally I'm still waiting to see this run based offense I've been hearing about, or at least the run stopping defense that Spags is so famous for. Instead they have chosen to go the route of pleasing the common fan and a new potential owner with a new flashy franchise QB, talks of chasing T.O. and let's not forget the most important off season addition to the Rams organization "Rampage" our new mascot.

    I will be watching this upcoming season just as optimistically as anyone else, but I will be watching the development of the young players even more, opposed to looking for wins. Some how I can't but help but doubt somewhere during the course of the season if I will be asking myself if this coaching staff really did all they could to improve my team this year.
    Last edited by mikhal5569; -07-30-2010 at 10:49 AM.

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    Re: Another Point Of View

    I made a post on the Witherspoon trade previously.

    The trade was a good one for the Rams. Spoon was in line for a massive salary, and the Rams got something for him when they could. Now, you say the Eagles are in a better position to get rid of a starting linebacker than the Rams, but the Eagles only made the trade for Spoon because they were desperate for help at linebacker. Also, Spoon's performance at LB both for the Rams and all but one game for the Eagles in 2010 was poor. He had one good game for the Eagles against the Skins, but apart from that he averaged something like 3 or 4 tackles a game, and didn't pick up any sacks, fumbles or interceptions. He is on the downside of his career. As far as I can tell, he is currently a back up for the Titans, and will only be playing because the starting LB will be suspended for the first four games of the season.

    As for Gibson, he is a young WR with good hands, and certainly did very well considering he was thrown to the dogs soon after joining the Rams

    The main question is this: Did the Rams see a drop off in production at the LB spot when Spoon left? I would have to say that they didn't.

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