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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams
    E-MAIL PRINT COMMENTS 1 WATCH THIS TOPIC
    Posted: July 2, 2008
    Jim Thomas
    For Sporting News



    Sporting News continues its breakdown of all 32 NFL teams while counting down to the start of training camp. Today's team is the Rams:


    No coach in the NFL enters the season on a warmer seat than Scott Linehan. His second Rams team started 0-8 a year ago and stumbled across the finish line at 3-13 -- the second-worst record in the league.

    The empty seats and blacked-out games didn't go unnoticed by team management, which not only struggled through a bad product on the field but also endured the death of owner Georgia Frontiere after a long battle with breast cancer. With Frontiere's son, Chip Rosenbloom, assuming majority control of the team, there's nowhere to go but up for this franchise.

    In fairness to Linehan, he inherited the aging remnants of what once was an electrifying offense. But as the losses mounted last season, more veterans publicly snapped at him.

    The "action" on the sidelines often proved more gripping than anything on the field. Linehan must regain the veterans' trust and reestablish himself as a leader.

    Offense

    Al Saunders was part of the "Greatest Show on Turf" in St. Louis at the start of this decade. And the offense he runs is very similar to the Mike Martz system. It involves using lots of shifts and motions to create favorable matchups. In terms of route-running, the system uses every part of the field.

    The difference with Martz is that Saunders also stresses the run and knows how to use a big back like Steven Jackson.

    Defense

    Coordinator Jim Haslett loves multiple looks with his front seven, and favors man-to-man coverage in the secondary. He isn't afraid to take chances and will blitz repeatedly if the front four isn't generating a pass rush. The variety of packages and mix-and-match personnel can give even the most experienced QB headaches. The addition of rookie defensive end Chris Long adds another versatile piece to the puzzle. With a bit better health, this could be a top-15 unit this season.

    The book on: Marc Bulger

    A rival sizes up the Rams' veteran quarterback:

    "He's really one of the most accurate passers in the league right now. You just have to give him time. You have to protect him, and they've had some offensive-line breakdowns lately. But if they shore that up and (Orlando) Pace is healthy. . . .

    "He's not great under pressure. He's not the most physically gifted guy. He's not real mobile. He'd rather sit in the pocket because he has such a quick release. He's not one that does a lot of improvising. He's had problems with injuries. He's not a very big guy; that could always be his issue with injuries.

    "He's going to get nicked up. But if he's healthy and he has time, he's as good as anyone throwing the rock. He's got one of the most underrated arms in the league. But I like Bulger. Bulger's fine. He's not their problem."

    Bottom line

    No team in the league has as much of a chance for rapid improvement as St. Louis. This was a team that was crushed by injuries in the first half of the 2007 season and never recovered. Better health alone should result in two or three more victories from last season's debacle.

    The Rams had a good offseason, with a solid draft coupled with the addition of guard Jacob Bell and kicker Josh Brown. But they needed a great offseason. Throw in a brutal opening schedule, with the entire NFC East, New England and Seattle in the first seven games, and a 7-9 finish may be the best St. Louis can do. SN prediction: 7-9, second in NFC West.

    Jim Thomas covers the Rams for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Sporting News.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    Nice article.


    I especially liked the top 15 DEFENSE. (Now that would be nice) I would venture to say that if our defense is in the top 15 we will win more than 7 games.

  3. #3
    Josh Guest

    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    ok. if we have a top 15 defense there is no way in heck that we will be 7-9. with a healthy offense and a top 15 defense we should be atleast 10-6.

  4. #4
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    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    I agree Josh, as despite the great things I see for Long working one on one with Little on the other side and Carriker taking up attention inside, the fact of the matter is, our defense is still our liability. Then again, last year our liability was the offensive play calling so maybe it's a moot point.

    In any case, if our offense actually comes to play this year our defense WILL do much better just because they won't be dog tired at the end of the game and get run over. Last year we held our own in the first half, but then our defense tired out and we lost. So can our defense be to 15? Sure anything can happen, but for that to happen, our offense is going to have to be firing on all four(GSOT) cylinders.

    Here's to hoping that Saunders works his magic.

    P.S. Randy's definitely my sleeper for fantasy. After all, as Saunders said, he has a pro bowl TE every year.

  5. #5
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    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    If we have a top 15 defemse amd the rams rank on or around the top 15 with the turnover ratio then yes we will be much better than 7-9..

  6. #6
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    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    "No team in the league has as much of a chance for rapid improvement as St. Louis. This was a team that was crushed by injuries in the first half of the 2007 season and never recovered."

    I tend to agree with this statement. Last year's injuries and the poor play calling killed us. We have a lot of reasons for hope this year. Hopefully, we stay healthy this year, we've added solid depth on the offensive line, Chris Long should help with the pass rush and stopping the run, a couple of rookie burner wide receivers, Al Saunder's playbook and the emergence of Randy McMichael should all help to elevate our game this year.

    Yes. we have a tough schedule coming out of the gate, but if we can put it all together, we'll really have something to look forward to.

    Go Rams!!!

  7. #7
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    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    Camp is were it all begins. At this point is where the Rams must make the commitment and set goals. Everyone on this team must pull his weight, we all need to come together as One with a sense of pride and purpose. Last years camp should be considered a failure as the Rams slept walked through the (0-4) pre-season that carried over to the dismal (3-13) regular season. The Rams are once again the laughing stock of the league, simply because they either failed to prepare or they just didn't give a $#!t*....

    'Fail to plan~Plan to fail' rang so true for the Rams last year. Linehan should take most of the blame for not having this team ready. Under his tenure this team has under achieve by going through the motions. I'm afraid this will be coach Linehans' last training camp with the Rams.

    The major players who need to establish a postive tone in camp going into the 2008 season:

    The offensive front line
    Orlando Pace - Does he have purpose and passion to stay healthy and recapture pass glories?

    Alex Barron - So must potential, will he be dedicated to work on his short comings while in camp?

    Ricthie Incognito - Control that tiger inside, stay healthy, get it going in camp!

    QB
    Trent Green on the Rams bench is a good thing. The last time the Rams won the Superbowl, it was Green on the Rams bench and in Kurt Warner's ear behind the scenes.
    Trent still believes he has something to prove and will push Marc Bulger to put a little more pep to his step!

    RB
    Steven Jackson didn't play in the preseason and it seem to backfire for the Rams. All that's remembered about Jackson last year is that he fumbled twice on openning day and was pretty much sidelined with injuries the rest of the year.
    Please Steven, no preseason predictions! Take advantage of camp and show us that this is your time to shine.

    Receivers
    Torry Holt - Stay Healthy and keep doing what you do!

    Drew Bennett - Last year was not pretty, maybe you were settling in. In this years camp you can start by proving your worth and that last year was a fluke.

    Randy McMichael - There is alot of hype about Randy for this coming season, hope he can live up to it. Have a good camp!

    DEFENSE
    Hasslett - 'GIT 'ER DUN!'

    OVERALL
    What the Rams need is a mean strike about them, they should be pissed about the Ass kickin they were handed last year. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a few scuffles in camp this year.

    I'm all ready for the '08 camp countdown, Hope we learned our lesson from the '07 camp and that is "Don't take camp lightly, shine the light brightly, morning noon and nightly, take flight to the highest heighties, by spreading your wings ever so rightly!

    GO RAMS!
    Last edited by dgr828; -07-06-2008 at 04:06 PM.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Dominating D's Avatar
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    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    No team in the league has as much of a chance for rapid improvement as St. Louis. This was a team that was crushed by injuries in the first half of the 2007 season and never recovered. Better health alone should result in two or three more victories from last season's debacle.

    The Rams have started slow and as mention previously crushed by injuries last year. They still managed to win 3 games and with the additions from this years draft and a K who will hopefully be an improvement from last year this team should be very competitive. I know Tex would disagree but I feel Hill and Brown will be a big reason for the Rams improvement for next year.....

    Go Rams

  9. #9
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    Re: Camp Countdown '08: St. Louis Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    Camp is were it all begins. At this point is where the Rams must make the commitment and set goals. Everyone on this team must pull his weight, we all need to come together as One with a sense of pride and purpose. Last years camp should be considered a failure as the Rams slept walked through the (0-4) pre-season that carried over to the dismal (3-13) regular season. The Rams are once again the laughing stock of the league, simply because they either failed to prepare or they just didn't give a $#!t*....

    'Fail to plan~Plan to fail' rang so true for the Rams last year. Linehan should take most of the blame for not having this team ready. Under his tenure this team has under achieve by going through the motions. I'm afraid this will be coach Linehans' last training camp with the Rams.

    The major players who need to establish a postive tone in camp going into the 2008 season:

    The offensive front line
    Orlando Pace - Does he have purpose and passion to stay healthy and recapture pass glories?

    Alex Barron - So must potential, will he be dedicated to work on his short comings while in camp?

    Ricthie Incognito - Control that tiger inside, stay healthy, get it going in camp!

    QB
    Trent Green on the Rams bench is a good thing. The last time the Rams won the Superbowl, it was Green on the Rams bench and in Kurt Warner's ear behind the scenes.
    Trent still believes he has something to prove and will push Marc Bulger to put a little more pep to his step!

    RB
    Steven Jackson didn't play in the preseason and it seem to backfire for the Rams. All that's remembered about Jackson last year is that he fumbled twice on openning day and was pretty much sidelined with injuries the rest of the year.
    Please Steven, no preseason predictions! Take advantage of camp and show us that this is your time to shine.

    Receivers
    Torry Holt - Stay Healthy and keep doing what you do!

    Drew Bennett - Last year was not pretty, maybe you were settling in. In this years camp you can start by proving your worth and that last year was a fluke.

    Randy McMichael - There is alot of hype about Randy for this coming season, hope he can live up to it. Have a good camp!

    DEFENSE
    Hasslett - 'GIT 'ER DUN!'

    OVERALL
    What the Rams need is a mean strike about them, they should be pissed about the Ass kickin they were handed last year. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a few scuffles in camp this year.

    I'm all ready for the '08 camp countdown, Hope we learned our lesson from the '07 camp and that is "Don't take camp lightly, shine the light brightly, morning noon and nightly, take flight to the highest heighties, by spreading your wings ever so rightly!

    GO RAMS!

    Yes... yes... yes... yes and YES! I agree.


    But you know what else this team needs. Something that can really inspire. something that just makes them dig deep into the gut; to find confidence, I don't know.... something that just really makes them work like crazy, like a really really good tagline. That's it! How about a really good motto! say............. something like

    "I believe" mmmmmmm, that'll do it.

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