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Thread: Burwell: 5 burning questions about the Rams

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    Burwell: 5 burning questions about the Rams

    1) Is Sam Bradford fully recovered both physically and mentally from the beating he took last season

    A year ago, Sam Bradford was entering training camp as the reigning NFL offensive rookie of the year, and there was so much promise that his growth as a franchise quarterback would continue along the same dramatic arc from his first NFL season. But last season was a major setback for Bradford, both physically and emotionally. Bradford is one of those fierce competitors who probably hates losing more than he loves winning. There were times last season after those repeated losses when you could see it in his eyes just how dumbfounded he was by all this failure. He wasn't familiar with losing, and it ate at him like an incurable illness.

    With a new coaching staff, new front office and a new offense to learn, Bradford has immersed himself in the playbook and seems to be as eager as anyone on the team to rid himself of any remnants from last season. It shouldn't take long to see how well he has recovered.


    2) Will the Rams' offensive line be good enough and healthy enough to protect Bradford?

    The emotional part of Sam Bradford's recovery will all be up to him. His physical well-being will be a collective effort of the big men who have been hired to protect him. With a new offensive line coach in place, will tackles Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold (above) not only return to camp healthy, but will they have recovered from their strange technique struggles last season? The two young tackles have the talent to be Pro Bowl-caliber anchors for the next six or seven years. But last year Smith's concussions were a big issue and Saffold struggled mightily with injuries and a major decline in play after an impressive rookie season in 2010.

    Better coaching should straighten out both Smith and Saffold in a hurry, and with the addition of Pro Bowl center Scott Wells and the return of veteran guard Harvey Dahl, the protection should be dramatically better. The only major question is who will be the other guard. My money is on massive rookie Rockevious Watkins (6-foot-3, 338 pounds).


    3) Does Sam Bradford have enough weapons at his disposal to run a more effective offense?

    Every day of camp, all eyes will be on the rookie receivers. Second-round draft pick Brian Quick (above) and fourth-rounder Chris Givens are supposed to be immediate impact players. Veteran Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson made it quite clear before the end of minicamp that he expected Quick to spend the time leading up to training camp doing everything he can to make sure he will be ready to be a major factor.

    But there are other veterans who better show up ready to go, too.

    It's time for wide receiver Danario Alexander to stay healthy, because he has shown that when he is healthy, he makes big plays. The two young tight ends on the roster, Mike Hoomanawanui and Lance Kendricks, have to stay healthy, too. In this offense, multiple tight ends are critical weapons as receivers and blockers.

    Perhaps the most important player in the offense is slot wide receiver Danny Amendola, who is returning from season-ending injuries a year ago and was Bradford's most reliable weapon two years ago.


    4) Has the Rams' run defense been upgraded significantly with the drafting of first-round pick Michael Brockers?

    First-round draft pick Michael Brockers is a huge man (6-6, 322) and should be a massive anchor on the interior of this defense, which desperately needs a true run-stuffer in the middle. He dominated in the rugged Southeastern Conference against the run but is still an unpolished pass rusher. But I would be shocked if Brockers isn't starting from the first day and keeping offensive linemen off of middle linebacker James Laurinaitis.

    Veteran free agent Trevor Laws ought to help immediately as well. But keep an eye on last year's first-round pick, Robert Quinn, who looks like a natural pass rusher but has a lot of work to do against the run before he can be considered an every-down lineman.


    5) Does Jeff Fisher believe he has enough talent at linebacker?

    Other than James Laurinaitis in the middle, does anyone know who will be the starting linebackers for Jeff Fisher? Lots of question marks. I can't wait to see who will emerge (or if anyone will emerge). I just hope we don't get a repeat of last season when it was apparent that mistakes were made by the front office in bringing in too many over-the-hill outside linebackers, which also contributed to why the Rams had one of the worst run defenses in the league.

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    Re: Burwell: 5 burning questions about the Rams

    Does Sam Bradford have enough weapons at his disposal to run a more effective offense?

    I hate to answer a question with questions but it's hard to say he does or doesn't have the weapons.

    What kind of impact will Quick, Givens and Pead have as rookies?

    Does Lance Kendricks play better in his second year?

    Does Steve Smith return to the Smith of 2009?

    Does Mike Hoomanawanui stay healthy long enough to have an impact?

    Does DX stay healthy and make the team?

    The only two players that we really know what they can do are SJ and DA. The rest of the offense is a wait and see and the includes the O line.

    Tackles Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold are two more questions that we just don't know until they start playing.

    I'm not sure how anybody can handi cap this Rams team period.

    New Coaches
    Seven new starters on defense.
    With the return of DA potentially all new receivers on the field in 2012 DA,Givens,Quick and Smith.
    New Punter
    Rookie FG

    I really don't know how anybody can say this Rams team will be good or bad, until we see them play. Just too many new players, coaches and schemes IMO.
    Last edited by Rambos; -07-18-2012 at 05:22 PM.

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    Re: Burwell: 5 burning questions about the Rams



    2) Will the Rams' offensive line be good enough and healthy enough to protect Bradford?

    The emotional part of Sam Bradford's recovery will all be up to him. His physical well-being will be a collective effort of the big men who have been hired to protect him. With a new offensive line coach in place, will tackles Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold (above) not only return to camp healthy, but will they have recovered from their strange technique struggles last season? The two young tackles have the talent to be Pro Bowl-caliber anchors for the next six or seven years. But last year Smith's concussions were a big issue and Saffold struggled mightily with injuries and a major decline in play after an impressive rookie season in 2010.

    Better coaching should straighten out both Smith and Saffold in a hurry, and with the addition of Pro Bowl center Scott Wells and the return of veteran guard Harvey Dahl, the protection should be dramatically better. The only major question is who will be the other guard. My money is on massive rookie Rockevious Watkins (6-foot-3, 338 pounds).
    One question I have regarding the line's poor performance last year is this: How much did J-Mac's decision to place the responsibility of making all the line calls on the QB affect the O-lines play? A second year QB learning a new offense coupled with no off-season coaching, is saddled with making the line calls i.e. blocking assignments? It stands to reason there may have been some confusion among the ranks as a result. There hasn't been much press on this, but surely this didn't help the performance of the O-line.

    The fact Fish and Snead went out and signed a cerebral and thoroughly seasoned center, indicate the QB making line calls issue likely was a detriment to the O-line's performance. A couple of injuries here and there helped make thicker icing for the cake too ..
    live4ramin and RockinRam like this.

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    Re: Burwell: 5 burning questions about the Rams

    As far as the line is concerned, you cannot convince me that they shouldn't be better than they showed last season. While I wholeheartedly agree that there hasn't been enough talent on the Rams over the past several seasons, it's too easy to use that excuse across the board. Guys like Smith and Saffold should be good enough to anchor that line and be solid players.

    Until I see a season of Quick, Givens and company, I will have questions about this unit. Until now, no one has shown themselves to be a feature receiver. Amendola is a good complimentary guy- a third option on a good team- who has been force-fed time as a first option, and he cannot carry a football team, nor should he have to. Alexander is an injury waiting to happen, and Salas needs to stay healthy as well. Is there potential here? I think there is, but talk is cheap. I want to see it on the field.

    Just as importantly, a toughness must materialize on this team which was missing last season. It is no coincidence that good teams have an abundance of healthy players and aren't destroyed when a key guy or two goes down. Injuries are a part of football, but I strongly feel this has been a soft team. It is vital that Fisher instills that fierce, combative mentality necessary for success.

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    Re: Burwell: 5 burning questions about the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    It is vital that Fisher instills that fierce, combative mentality necessary for success.
    It's time for Fish to bring out the alligator.
    The break, don't bend offense.

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