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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Bernie Bytes: The Atogwe Decision

    Bernie Bytes: The Atogwe decision

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ
    Friday, March 4, 2011

    * The Washington Redskins swooped in to take safety O.J. Atogwe away from the Rams with a 5-year deal for $26 million that includes $13 million in guaranteed funds. This doesn't necessarily mean the Rams made a mistake by not matching or topping the offer. I say that because the Redskins have an obvious and fairly comical history of making crazy impulse purchases in the free-agent market. Many of Daniel Snyder's free-agent sprees have ended in a lot of embarrassing headlines and wasted money.

    * And I also realize that Atogwe's role had changed in the Steve Spagnuolo defense. Atogwe was no longer a sweeper back, looking to pounce on loose footballs at the rear of the Rams defense. Atogwe had to line up more frequently in the box, or close to the box. This cut down on Atogwe's takeaway rate. Rams safeties have to be enforcers in the Spags system. Atogwe was more of a free-lancer with nice range. This wasn't an ideal fit.

    * That said, Atogwe is a good football player with a terrific instinct for the ball. He's been very good at times. He's certainly better than any of the remaining safeties on the Rams roster. If the Rams didn't think Atogwe was worth the money, that's a separate issue. But if they fail to do something to improve the position, they're kidding themselves. This is a poor lot. The Spags infatuation with Craig Dahl borders on the bizarre. James Butler can't run anymore. Darian Stewart has potential, but it's too early to tell about him. This isn't a good year for safeties in the draft. The free-agent list is nothing special. Atogwe had 30 INTs, 16 forced fumbles and 8 fumble recoveries in six seasons. Dahl, Butler and Stewart have had 20 combined takeaways in their 10 combined seasons.

    * If the Rams didn't want to spend for Atogwe, then what? This makes absolutely no sense unless the Rams can find an equal or superior player to take over his role. If not, then how are the Rams better without him? Remember, this was also a team leader that drew considerable praise from Spags for his personal character. If the Rams didn't want to pay Atogwe's roster bonus, then why not turn around quickly and make a revised deal? It can be done. Green Bay passed on a $10 million roster bonus for ILB A.J. Hawk. The Pack cut Hawk then pivoted into a new deal with him.

    * The Atogwe episode certainly will increase the scrutiny on Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Perhaps Kroenke, like other NFL owners, is hesitant to write checks until there's a new labor agreement. But when there is a new CBA in place, and free agency gets underway, it will be very, very interesting to see if Kroenke is willing to spend money to help push his team to a higher level.

    Moving on...

    * Jacksonville cut WR Mike Sims-Walker. Would the Rams be interested? He's 6-2. He caught 14 TD passes, total, over the past two seasons. He's said to have deep-pass receiving skills, but a check of the numbers shows that Sims-Walker had only 11 receptions of 25+ yards over the past two seasons (29 games.) Put it this way: Mark Clayton had 5 catches of 25+ yards for the Rams in only five games last season before blowing out the knee. Sims-Walker's big-play rate isn't game-breaking stuff. And he's had some injuries, raising questions about his toughness. Interesting guy. Could get more done in a more sophisticated offense, and with a more accurate QB. I'm more intrigued than excited over his availability.


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: The Atogwe Decision

    I don't feel the need to scrutinize Kronke over this. Does anyone?


    Mike Sims-Walker. Yes.

  3. #3
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: The Atogwe Decision

    Mike Sims-Walker does nothing for me. We don't need another guy on the roster with OK stats or "potential". We need a guy who is a game breaker in the eyes of many in the know.

    Not real clear on the Otogwe situation. Did he want too much money? Was he a bad fit? Do the Rams have someone in mind to fill the void? Were there other issues? Weakening another spot on the team by not signing him to a deal doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    Of course the last safety Washington scarfed up- Adam Archuleta- didn't exactly light the world on fire for them.

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    GROUND DOG 39's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: The Atogwe Decision

    I definately would like the Rams to sign Sims -Walker, no doubt in my mind. With the possible lack of options for teams looking for WR help, like the Rams. It would be wise to bring him on board when they get the chance because there is so many ???? regarding the WR position this year in the draft and free agency. Im worried a little that if things fall badly come draft day, we may end up reaching for someone at WR?
    Sims-Walker is the type of reciever McD likes for his offense. I know he is no world beater, but he is a lot better than the majority of the WR's on our roster. I hope we can sign him if were interested ?
    GO RAMS
    Last edited by GROUND DOG 39; -03-04-2011 at 06:53 PM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: The Atogwe Decision

    I'd like to see us go after James Jones from the Green Bay Packers.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  6. #6
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: The Atogwe Decision

    I agree that the wisdom of Atogwe's release will largely be judged on how the team fills the gap created by his departure. His skill set may not have been the best fit for the system, but he was still one of our most talented defensive players. If we can find a player whose strengths are more in line with what the coaching staff ask our safeties to do and still have sufficient resources to address our other needs, the move will look pretty smart. If replacing Atogwe interferes with our ability to acquire a strong back-up for Jackson, improve the line, fill holes in the defense, etc, then the move still looks pretty suspect.

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