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Thread: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

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    Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Rams thanking RG3 deal for influx of talent

    By Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – 2 hours 8 minutes ago.. .

    As the Rams concluded the 2013 draft, happy with the latest additions to one of the youngest rosters in the National Football League, there is one inescapable fact that helped the Rams be in the position they are right now: If it wasn't for the disastrous lockout-stained 2011 season, Jeff Fisher and Co. wouldn't have been in position to make the franchise-changing decisions that have occurred the last two Aprils.

    It was a perfect storm, if you will, that began with the dismal 2-14 record the franchise experienced in 2011 following the hope of a 7-9 year in 2010. General manager Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo were ushered out the door, with Fisher and general manager Les Snead following them inside.

    There probably would have been the same departures had the Rams won even four games in 2011, but if they had, they wouldn't have had the second overall selection in the draft in a year where it was apparent there were two franchise quarterbacks available: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

    With the entire free world knowing the Indianapolis Colts would take Luck, the Rams went about auctioning off that second selection to teams that would want Griffin. Cleveland and Washington were the most serious potential partners, and well before the draft the deal was struck: the Redskins got the second pick with the Rams acquiring Washington's sixth overall pick, a second-round choice and first-round selections in 2013 and 2014.

    Suddenly, the Rams had a lot of chips on the table. They parlayed the sixth pick into another second-round choice, trading down to Dallas' 14th spot and selecting defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

    Surely, last year's second round will be eventually defined by how well wide receiver Brian Quick and running back Isaiah Pead develop after disappointing rookie seasons. However, armed with three second-round choices, the Rams felt comfortable taking a chance on cornerback Janoris Jenkins. With one second-round pick, they don't choose Jenkins. They might not have with two. But the two extra choices made it a reasonable risk.

    Which brings us to this year's draft. The Rams, like many NFL teams, were impressed with Tavon Austin, the do-it-all wide receiver from West Virginia. In some ways, it's not accurate to call Austin a wide receiver. He'll be in the slot, line up at running back and return kicks. Most everyone agreed he was the most dynamic playmaker in the draft.

    Because of that, it seemed far-fetched that he would last to where the Rams had their first choice at 16th overall.

    When Fisher was asked the Monday before the draft if there was a player worthy of exercising a trade up, he coyly replied, "Possibly." The question was how far would the Rams to go to get Austin.

    We found out very quickly. Not taking any chances, the Rams pulled the trigger on a deal that also sent second- and seventh-round round picks (with a swap of third-round picks) to Buffalo for the eighth pick in the first round. It was an unprecedented move for a receiver smaller than 5-9. Since 1988, there have been 44 receivers selected in the top 15 of the first round, and only 10 of them were shorter than 6-0. None were shorter than 5-10. But a changing NFL made the deal make sense, provided Austin can stay healthy by avoiding most of the big hits that are part and parcel of NFL life.

    Still, the Austin trade likely doesn't happen if the Rams didn't also own the 22nd pick in the first round, which provided them the opportunity to trade down and recoup some picks lost in the Austin deal. Snead's relationship with the Falcons helped because it was known Atlanta was interested in moving up from the 30th slot for a cornerback.

    That's exactly what happened. The Rams moved from 22 to 30, while also sending a seventh-round pick in 2015 to the Falcons, and acquired third- and sixth-round picks from Atlanta. They used the No. 3 pick on Austin's teammate, wide receiver Stedman Bailey, and packaged the sixth-round choice with their own to move back into the fifth round for a second pick in that round for running back Zac Stacy.

    Of course, with the 30th choice, the Rams took linebacker Alec Ogletree, who, like Jenkins in 2012, would have gone higher had it not been for off-field issues that included a DUI shortly before the Scouting Combine in February.

    Outside linebackers are generally not difference-makers in a 4-3 defense, but Rams coaches believe Ogletree is special, similar to a guy that played for Fisher and assistant head coach Dave McGinnis in Tennessee: Keith Bulluck.

    Of Bulluck, Fisher said, "There are a lot of similarities when you watch him on tape. Long arms, quickness, slippery, can take on, can tackle sideline-to-sideline. Very explosive player. That's a by-product of his safety background."

    Almost eerie is that Bulluck also started out as a safety and was 6-3, 244 pounds. Ogletree is 6-21/2, 244.

    Oh, did we mention that in 2000, Bulluck was the 30th pick in the draft?

    Like we said, simply a perfect storm that should continue the Rams' ascension.

    Concluded Fisher, "I feel great, going back to the beginning of the process. Les and his staff did a great job, just getting started and then we got the coaches involved. From top to bottom, it couldn't have gone better for us. We certainly took advantage of what we started last year with, with the Washington trade. Obviously, we're looking forward to continuing that next year. We feel like, not only through free agency, but also through the last three days that we've improved this football team with players that have played positions that create problems and help us to get better."


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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Concluded Fisher, "I feel great, going back to the beginning of the process. Les and his staff did a great job, just getting started and then we got the coaches involved. From top to bottom, it couldn't have gone better for us. We certainly took advantage of what we started last year with, with the Washington trade. Obviously, we're looking forward to continuing that next year.
    After already cashing in on a wealth of talent so far in the RG3 trade, we STILL have another draft with two first round picks. It almost doesn't seem fair.

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    This really should settle the argument once and for all as to whether the rams are better off losing games at the end of a lost season from time to time. Does anyone seriously believe that if we had won the last game of the season and wound up with the #3 pick instead of the #2 pick, we would be in the same shape right now? It's actually a laughable discussion. Like many things in life, sometimes short term losses are the best way to achieve long term gains.

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    It's actually a laughable discussion.
    I'll bet most of the guys who line up to play in those last few games in a lost season don't see it that way. Just a hunch.

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    In the immortal word of Herm Edwards,

    " you play to...
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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by vegasram View Post
    in the immortal word of herm edwards,

    " you play to...

    hello!!!!!

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post
    In the immortal word of Herm Edwards,

    " you play to...
    Cliffhanger!!

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Outside linebackers are generally not difference-makers in a 4-3 defense
    I beg to differ after seeing what happens when you don't have any.

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post
    In the immortal word of Herm Edwards,

    " you play to...
    I believe he was talking specifically about a player's mentality.

    Which is sometimes different from a fan's point of view.

    And like the General said (in other words), there's not a single real fan here, who would've preferred a meaningless win in a long lost season, over the position we find ourselves in today.

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    This really should settle the argument once and for all as to whether the rams are better off losing games at the end of a lost season from time to time. Does anyone seriously believe that if we had won the last game of the season and wound up with the #3 pick instead of the #2 pick, we would be in the same shape right now? It's actually a laughable discussion. Like many things in life, sometimes short term losses are the best way to achieve long term gains.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    It is a strawman to say that anyone has ever argued we are not now better off. That argument has never been made.

    However, I would bet the farm that no part of the Rams organization has accepted losing as an option. For them, there's no such thing as a "meaningless" game.
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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I would bet the farm that no part of the Rams organization has accepted losing as an option. For them, there's no such thing as a "meaningless" game.

    In the grand scheme of things, I'd say you're absolutely right Hub.

    But the players, coaches, front office personnel, and owner's viewpoint was never intended to be a part of this discussion.

    It was purely spoken of from a fan's point of view.

    At least, that's the angle I always took.

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    i see what GC is saying though. It's probably the difference between getting guys like Brockers, Jenkins, Ogletree, Pead and Watkins, compared to staying at 3 and picking someone like Blackmon

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    History will look back on this trade listing all the players that where picked with the draft picks and the picks created from trading back. But I don't think it will factor in the leverage it created which allowed the Rams to take a shot at Jenkins. Allowing the Rams to be really aggressive and go get Austin perhaps over paying in the process. And then recouping picks and taking another chance on a high risk high reward player in Ogletree.

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I'll bet most of the guys who line up to play in those last few games in a lost season don't see it that way. Just a hunch.
    Yeah cause most of those guys didn't play another down in the NFL.
    gap likes this.

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    Re: Balzer: Rams Thanking RG3 Deal For Influx Of Talent

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuninerhater View Post
    In the grand scheme of things, I'd say you're absolutely right Hub.

    But the players, coaches, front office personnel, and owner's viewpoint was never intended to be a part of this discussion.

    It was purely spoken of from a fan's point of view.

    At least, that's the angle I always took.
    Fair enough. And as a fan, I, of course, am enjoying the fruits of that miserable season. As the saying goes....."To the losers, go the spoils". Ok, so that's not exactly how the saying goes, but that is the manifestation in this case.

    Having said all that, my heart simply won't let me root for a Rams loss in the heat of battle.
    macrammer likes this.
    "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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