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Thread: Bernie Bytes: Rams' needs for 2013

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    Bernie Bytes: Rams' needs for 2013

    Bernie Bytes: Rams' needs for 2013

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ

    I hope everyone had a safe and joyous New Year’s Eve.

    A blessed New Year to all. I hope all of your hopes and dreams come true in 2013.

    Just one bloke’s opinion (that would be me) … here is what I’d like to see the Rams add next season in terms of addressing specific positions. And this assumes Steven Jackson will be back in ’13.

    Warning: this is a realistic list. You won’t find a whole lot of nonsense here. You won’t see me making insane demands to cut Sam Bradford and draft a quarterback in the first round, or to cut Chris Long, or to dump James Laurinaitis, or engage in some other howl-at-the-moon craziness that bubbles up in this market for reasons that are bizarre and beyond understanding.

    You won’t find concocted fantasy trades, the kind of deals that are apparently conceived with the considerable assistance of Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. Deals that have zero chance of happening. (“Say, Jim Thomas, you think the Rams could trade Shelley Smith and a draft pick for Larry Fitzgerald?”)

    There's no whining over Danario Alexander. (For additional details, see Laurent Robinson.)

    There are no curiously backdated wails of regret over MLB London Fletcher ... (I really like Fletcher, and the Rams made a huge mistake in letting him walk after the 2001 season. But ... that was 2002 ...You know, like 11, 12 seasons ago. I'm astounded by the frequent real-time mentions of him in our village. You'd think the Rams cut ties with Fletcher in August 2012, or something. Yo: keeping Fletcher in place wouldn't have prevented the collapse of this organization. Declining to re-sign Fletcher was one of approximately 3,210 idiotic decisions made by Rams football people between 2002 and 2011 ... and here's some trivia for you: since Fletcher left the Rams, the teams that he has wprked for have a 77-99 record when he plays. Can we move on? Please? Thank you.)

    Anyway: this is a real-world list. At least I think it is.

    Thanks.

    • Wide Receiver: There’s still a need for more impact. Yes, Chris Givens and Brian Quick should be better in their second NFL seasons. But Quick played only 187 snaps on offense this year as a rookie and it’s difficult to know what to expect from him. Brandon Gibson can become an unrestricted free agent. Danny Amendola’s contract must be addressed. The Rams need talent here; preferably a veteran free agent that can elevate this group. Even with the addition of a free-agent wide receiver, Givens and Quick would be in line to play major roles. This wouldn’t limit their growth.

    • Offensive right tackle: First of all, Barry Richardson played better at RT than I thought he would. He improved significantly under O-line coach Paul Boudreau, who reaffirmed his rep as one of the best in the business. Richardson -- among the worst OTs in the NFL in 2011 while playing for Kansas City -- was rated the 36th overall among offensive tackles by Pro Football Focus. (That’s among players that played at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps.) He was rated No. 39 as a pass blocker among all tackles. That said, Richardson allowed seven sacks, 13 hits and 24 hurries. Can Richardson improve again in 2013, or has he maxed out? Either way, this is a position that needs to be reinforced for the future.

    • Free safety: Quintin Mikell is one of the league’s best “box” safeties. Outstanding against the run, and a good blitzer. He’s a keeper, although I believe the Rams would like to adjust his contract to make it more cap friendly for 2013. But the Rams desperately need a free safety that can range for balls in the air and make plays. Craig Dahl can’t cover, and he misses too many tackles.

    • Outside linebacker, and I don’t think I really need to elaborate. This has been a need for quite some time. Jo-Lonn Dunbar played well against the run this season. (Pro Football Focus ranked him No. 3 in run defense among all OLBs.) I’d assume the Rams would like to stick with Dunbar. But they clearly need a starter on the opposite side. And they could use someone to perhaps spell Dunbar more often on passing downs.

    • Guard: Yes, the big fella Rok Watkins (who spent all but one game of his rookie season on IR) could be a factor here in 2013. But according to Pro Football Focus, Harvey Dahl was the only Rams’ guard to end the season with a positive grade. Their other guards received a minus rating. Robert Turner was much better at center than he was at guard. The Rams need an upgraded starter at left guard.

    • Defensive tackle … you can never have enough of them. Rookie Michael Brockers showed why Les Snead and Jeff Fisher coveted him in the first round of the 2012 draft. The big man can become a very special player. He was rated 19th overall -- already -- among league defensive tackles by Pro Football Focus. But the season was a struggle for acclaimed free agent Kendall Langford, who ended up near the bottom of the PFF ratings at the position. In Langford’s defense, he played out of position and had to adjust. (I’ll spare you all of the “3 technique” talk.) I would look for the Rams to either move Brockers over the center/guard next year or for the Rams to draft a true nose tackle in the middle rounds of the draft. I truly believe Langford can and will be better in 2013. But I’d like to see the Rams add some muscle at DT.

    • A pass-catching tight end: Lance Kendricks improved in his second NFL season, but the Rams could use a specialist at the position. A tight end that can be a real asset by creating mismatches on passing-down situations.

    That’s all, at least for now.

    Thanks for reading …

    — Bernie
    RamFan_Til_I_Die and ZiaRam like 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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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams' needs for 2013

    I'm typically not a big Bernie fan, but I think he summed it up pretty well.
    RamFan_Til_I_Die and ZiaRam like this.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams' needs for 2013

    If Jackson doesn't return running back will be a need.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams' needs for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by mh-i View Post
    If Jackson doesn't return running back will be a need.
    Just one bloke’s opinion (that would be me) … here is what I’d like to see the Rams add next season in terms of addressing specific positions. And this assumes Steven Jackson will be back in ’13.
    He stated that Jackson will be back in ’13

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Rams' needs for 2013

    Tend to agree with Bernie here. Biggest needs that jump out to me are:
    1) OT. I respect that Richardson played decently and above expectations for the most part but he's a little weak in pass protection and would make a better backup than starter.
    2) Safety. No more Craig Dahl, ever. I know Stewart had injury issues this year but it doesn't appear that the coaching staff thinks too much of him. Let's find someone they do think a lot about.
    3) Experienced and talented WR. Not a Steve Smith either. Drafting a hero at WR isn't going to help as much as bringing in a guy with talent and experience. Rams already have plenty of young WR's that are developing so let's go for a home run here if possible.
    4) Strong Side LB.
    5) Another guard

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