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Thread: Burwell: Rams are moving up in the NFL ..

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    Burwell: Rams are moving up in the NFL ..

    BY BRYAN BURWELL, Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:20 pm

    Rams GM Billy Devaney, QB Sam Bradford, Coach Steve Spagnuolo

    As we pause for a moment and take a break from our primary late-spring civic preoccupations (ducking tornadoes and pondering the precarious fate of the Cardinals closer situation), there is at least a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

    It really does look like the Rams are getting better.

    In NFL circles the surest sign of promise (which is never to be confused with confirmation) is the release of the new national TV schedules. If your team is perceived as championship worthy, has some magical star, or shows even the most remote hint of potential sizzle on its roster, the NFL schedule-makers and TV suits will find a way to put your team on the national TV schedule.

    But if you're a lifeless, colorless, sizzle-impaired mess, TV won't touch you.

    Sadly in recent years, your Rams descended to that miserable status.

    They were worse than bad.

    They were irrelevant.

    On Monday, the NFL recognized that the Rams have escaped from the television irrelevance. For the first time since 2006, league schedule-makers put the Rams on the Monday Night Football schedule, not once but twice for the 2011 regular season. A Week 2 date in New York against the Giants will be on ESPN, and the Rams make another appearance in December at Seattle. That signifies that in the opinion of the NFL image makers, the Rams have upgraded significantly from laughing stock to the verge of appetizing.

    This is one of the surest signs that the Rams have arrived at that wonderfully fascinating athletic purgatory, suspended somewhere between football heaven and hell. The rapid jump from the 1-15 nightmare of 2009 to the surprising 7-9 finish in 2010 shows that this franchise is well on its way to a potentially bright future.

    Another sign of that progress?

    General manager Billy Devaney isn't holding onto all his selections in next week's NFL Draft like they're irreplaceable precious metals. In recent days, he has sent out smoke signals around the league that he is in the mood to trade up from his No.14 position in the first round if it means landing a difference-making player.

    "You know how it was around here," the GM said as he sat in an office looking out on the empty Rams Park practice fields. "In the past, we had so many needs to fill and had to find a way to put this foundation together. We couldn't afford to trade away any of our picks because we had so many needs, so many holes. Then again, in years past, there also was no need to move up because unfortunately we were already at No. 1 or No. 2. But things are a little better now. I'm not saying now we're just one player away from putting this thing together. But on the same token I feel good about our foundation. So if (a potential trade) was something reasonable — I'm not saying a high pick — I would feel more willing to do it than in years past."

    The Rams are on the right path, but Devaney knows this is a precarious time. The respect the franchise is getting from the schedule-makers is not to be confused with confirmation that the Rams have officially arrived as legitimate NFL championship contenders. The 2011 schedule is as nasty as can be, with dates against Super Bowl champion Green Bay and the AFC champion Steelers. Including the Packers and Steelers, the Rams will play six playoff teams (Giants, Packers, Steelers, Ravens, Saints and Seahawks).

    So even as the lockout lingers, Devaney and his personnel and coaching staffs are on the clock and they have to keep making decisions that will make this team better. Next week's draft is another chance for Devaney to find a way to make up for all the lost drafts of the previous regime, and I hope he finds a way to get that signature game-breaking wide receiver Julio Jones in a Rams uniform.

    It doesn't matter whether we would make a trade to move up and get Jones. But it does matter whether or not Devaney would, and it sure does sound like he's interested.

    If it doesn't cost more than tossing in a third-round pick, I say go for it. But if it means the price is steeper than that, the Rams can't afford to do it. They still need more players and the draft is the place to get that done. They need linebackers, interior offensive linemen, a few more offensive playmakers and more depth on that defensive line. You don't give up too much at this point, particularly if Devaney believes that a difference maker will be there no matter what at No. 14.

    "It's not just one guy (that the Rams are targeting)," Devaney said. "We have more than one player that we would be happy with if we stayed at 14 and feel good that at least one or two will be there. But on the day of the draft we will be looking because everything is in play. If we have four guys that we kind of think may be there at 14 and three of them go bang, bang, bang (off the board) pretty quickly, now I'm getting a little nervous."

    Devaney smirked a little bit. "If I start seeing all these guys go off the board and only one guy is left that we really want, let's just say I'm looking at my guys and saying, 'Okay boys, let's see if we can (trade up) and get him."


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    Re: Burwell: Rams are moving up in the NFL ..

    We play 6 playoff teams but he said the giants and the giants didn't make t the eagles did.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams are moving up in the NFL ..

    We play the Eagles too...
    This space for rent...

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    Re: Burwell: Rams are moving up in the NFL ..

    Quote Originally Posted by thoey View Post
    We play the Eagles too...
    I was implying that the 6 teams that we face that are playoff teams are Eagles, Packers, Steelers, Ravens, Saints and Seahawks. Although we face the Giants they weren't a playoff team last year.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams are moving up in the NFL ..

    Theirs no reason we cannot compete in that so called brutal first half schedule. Hopefully the offense will make that expected jump and the defense should be as good as last year?
    Why not let some of the other teams worry when they come to our house, instead of doubting our team before they even kick off the season.
    sosa39rams likes this.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams are moving up in the NFL ..

    Quote Originally Posted by sjacksonrules View Post
    I was implying that the 6 teams that we face that are playoff teams are Eagles, Packers, Steelers, Ravens, Saints and Seahawks. Although we face the Giants they weren't a playoff team last year.
    Yeah that is true. Unless he means playoff-caliber, he cannot be talking about the Giants as having made the playoffs, as they didn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by GROUND DOG 39 View Post
    Theirs no reason we cannot compete in that so called brutal first half schedule. Hopefully the offense will make that expected jump and the defense should be as good as last year?
    Why not let some of the other teams worry when they come to our house, instead of doubting our team before they even kick off the season.
    Well, its a shame that, as bad as we have been prior to last year, that the disrespect was well-deserved. Hopefully, we punch all of these teams in the mouth early, set the tone for the whole game, and play hard with intent to win.

    Heres to all of this! Heineken anyone? Or do you prefer Hennessy on the rocks?

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