By Jeff Gordon
Monday, August 13, 2007 01:00 PM CDT



Tom: I read that the Broncos are actively trying to trade Gerard Warren and that the Colts or Rams could be possible suitors. If the Broncs keep Kennedy and cut Warren loose it doesn't say much for Warren. What is your take on this?

Jeff Gordon: Denver has a zillion DTs and NTs in camp. The Rams would be interested in one of the extra guys, as long as it wasn't Kennedy.

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matt: Do you think we will see Brian Leonard in more of a fullback role once Steven Jackson is in the backfield?

Jeff Gordon: Final answer: Leonard will definitely play some fullback to create a dangerous two-back option. But I see him spending a lot of time ther as a blocker; he has too much overall talent for that.

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Gus: Any chance the Rams take a QB in the early rounds of the 2008 draft as a long term project? Chad Henne is a fav of mine. Soon to be Four year starter at Michigan, high character guy. I'm sure Linehan wants his own QB instead of all of Martz's habits inbedded in Fitzpatrick's head.

Jeff Gordon: There's always a chance of that. Bulger and Frerotte are old-timers and the team would want another kid to push Fitzpatrick for the heir-apparent role as time moves on.

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Scott from So. Cal: Good am Gordo -

I thought Fitzpatrick looked very skaky and ineffective for the most part Friday night.

On the other side of the coin, Berlin led the Rams down for that 4th quarter comeback.

Do you think it was mostly due to the play, or should I say, non - play of the O line for Mr. Harvard ?

If things continue this way, might we see a new # 3 ?

Jeff Gordon: Bill Coats assures me that Fitzpatrick still has a sizeable edge over Berlin for that spot. Ryan didn't get a lot of help Friday night.

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John Trowling: Jeff-

Any chance in hell that Fakhir Brown gets a reduced suspension? Bartell was less than impressive against a subpar offense like the Vikes. I don't want to watch our secondary get toasted by the likes of Carolina & others.

John T.

Jeff Gordon: The league is tough on suspensions, even though Brown's explanation sounded plausible. Bartell does have a ways to go, which puts Wade into the fray . . . which is scary. Walls looks like a depth guy, so the team will be vulnerable until Fakhir returns. And what if somebody gets hurt?

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David: How well do you think the Rams will do in the NFC West this year? I hear all this talk about the ***** and I am sick of it! I think the Rams have improved enough on both sides of the ball to be a contender!

Jeff Gordon: Don't forget about the Seahawks. They have the division's best coach and they proved capable of overcoming a ridiculous number of injuries last year.

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Andre: Why is it that the Rams are really getting little respect? In a way, I prefer it to be that way. But when the 49's have all of a sudden become a "real contender", why is it according to the press, that the Rams are not? There is a fine line between a defense improving and often it is just attitude.

Jeff Gordon: True, but the Rams got gashed over and over and over last season. When the Rams prove they can contain Frank Gore and Shaun Alexander, they will get respect. That has to come on the field.

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Dennis Barr: Whereas, this is a team game ... do you believe all three teams will play good enough to make the playoffs. If you do how deep do you think the Rams will go?

Jeff Gordon: Anything is possible in the NFC this year, but this "D" would have to make big strides to give this team any lasting power at all. First things first: Make the playoffs again. Linehan is making this a better outdoor/road team, but the Rams would have to catch some serious breaks to become much more than a 9-7, one-and-done team.

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Jonathan: Hey Jeff, I’ve enjoyed your work on the chat.

Two Rams questions:

1. Is there any reason to believe the Rams may cut Dane Looker in favor of Stanley or Hagans? It seems to me they need to keep 6 WRs, in which case it makes sense to keep a proven, if not flashy, commodity in favor TWO of the three developmental guys: Hagans, Thompson and Stanley

2. Under what circumstances does Byrd make this roster and whose spot would he take?

Jeff Gordon: Looker is the holder—and a good possession receiver—so there is no need to move him out. He could be a decent No. 3 guy if Bennett had to move up to No. 2.

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James Wylie: Hi Jeff,

After a strong showing by numerous receivers is there a chance that the extra roster spot that is available because we likely will only have one fullback possibly going to go to another receiver? could Dante Hall’s playing time in the offense be up for discussion with some good, young talent coming through? Is there also a chance kicker Kevin Lovell will be signed to the practice squad this season? Thanks!

Jeff Gordon: Lovell is trying to get on the emergency call for other teams. So far, so good for him. If somebody loses a kicker or becomes unhappy with their guy, he ought to be a candidate for a tryout. Practice squad spots go to guys capable of helping a team practice. As for extra receivers, Linehan doesn’t use as many as Martz did. So, again, special teams will decide how the reserve spots are divided up between positions. It all depends on what the team needs for kick coverage and kick blocking heading into the season.

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Perry: Who made the most impact for the third running back position against the Vikings? Should Stephen Jackson follow LT’s example and sit out these preseason games? What did you think of the offensive line? Thanks Gordo. I know the Ram fans here in Montana are hanging on your every word.

Jeff Gordon: The OL looked great, except for the tackles behind Steussie and Goldberg on the depth chart. If somebody gets hurt, that could be trouble. Shackleford has been hurt, so we don’t know what he has. That is a minor concern. Harris is a great special teams player, so that could give him a leg up at RB. None of the guys behind Leonard did enough to turn heads.

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Hang Time: Greg Olson and Linehan seem very reluctant to stretch the field in the passing game. With the new additions on offense, do you expect Olson to throw deep more often? This offense may score a bunch of points, but it seems like a dink and dunk, safety-valve dependent, attack---clearly, not a Martzian arsenal.

Jeff Gordon: We got a lot of complaints about this last season. Olson does need to make some more big strikes once teams bunch up on the run. The addition of Bennett as a quality third WR should help. He lacks Curtis’ speed, but he should help free up Holt or Bruce in three-WR sets. He is a respected target.

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Logan Bolle: Hey just wondering why the rams didn’t give steveo any carries in their first preseason game? Also I heard him on an interview on cbs for fantasy football and he said that d-byrd and randy mcmicheal are their tight ends...does that mean that byrd has the edge on j-klop for the no.2 tight end job and does that mean the rams are considering klophenstein a bust?

Jeff Gordon: Klopfenstein was brilliant as a rookie, so, no, he isn’t a bust. Byrd has the tools to be an impact player, but he didn’t apply himself at as a rookie. So he still has work to do.

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B.Champ: Due to the newly acquired recievers, will they use more shotgun and four reciever formations? It shouldn’t be a problem scoring 35 or more points a game, and dareing the opponents to keep up, (that’s super-bowl rams talk).

Jeff Gordon: Linehan isn’t a big four-WR guy. He wants to use a lot of two-TE and some two-RB formatins as well and muscle up. Martz passed to set up the run. Linehan is an old school, run-first guy.

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Alex Alvidrez: How does Michael Irvin, with a questionable background, get in the Hall of Fame when other great WRs like Art Monk and eventually Isaac Bruce, who have superior stats, and who both have superbowl titles under their belt get left out? I know Bruce is not eligible yet, but more than likely, he won’t get in any time soon after he retires?

Jeff Gordon: Irvin was a playmaker, no denying that. I covered Monk and considered him the consumate pro. All he did was catch passes and win. He wasn’t flashy, though, and the committee doesn’t give him much love. Bruce will have a great chance because of his Super Bowl heroics. Without that, numbers alone wouldn’t make him a lock.

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Guard: Gordo,

Which group on the Rams is looking the most vunerable to you right now? I think the Defensive Back position may be thin and inexperienced.

Jeff Gordon: The Rams are young at CB for sure. And the starting safeties have a lot to prove after last year’s breakdown. But then again, the LBs have a lot to prove, too. I would expect all the fresh blood on the D-Line to make that unit much better, but we’re all curious about the rest of the defense. Haslett will have some interesting early tests.

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Guard: Hi Gordo,

After McMichael and Klops, who has a leg up for the 3rd TE spot between Byrd, Anelli, and Walker? Do we keep more than 3 TE’s on the roster? Thanks.

Jeff Gordon: Byrd is a great athlete capable of helping on special teams. Walker is very reliable. How many WRs, TEs, RBs and FBs the team keeps will depend on somewhat on special teams. Which players stand out?

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Loren: I am curious about Ryan, will he be in the rotation this year and do you believe he was a diamond in the rough. Also is Jackson going to be the odd man out.

Boiseramfan

Jeff Gordon: Ryan made a strong early showing. Since the team would still consider adding a veteran, that is critical. Jackson needs to work his way into consideration. There is a lot of depth there. Now, if somebody gets hurt, the equation changes.

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Curt: Hey Jeff,

What are your thoughts on Marques Hagans becoming the Rams 3rd-down RB. He was an option QB in college and ran quite well, can still throw the ball on pitches, and can obviously catch and return. Since the Rams may only keep one FB on the roster (due to Leonards’ versatility), they can keep four RB’s. This would open a spot for Derek Stanley as the fifth receiver, no?

Jeff Gordon: Both Jackson and Leonard can catch the ball out of the backfield, so there is no need for a small third-down back. The team’s No. 3 RB will win or lose his job on special teams.

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Reynill: Do you think the Rams have any interest in Simeon Rice? He went to a couple of pro-bowls like Glover and could provide leadership to the rookies on the defensive line. He could back up Little while keeping Victor/Hall as RDE. I say get him if we don’t overpay for his services.

Jeff Gordon: The Rams have expressed interest. But it has to be at the right price, as you say. Rice may sit back and wait from somebody to retire (Strahan?) or get hurt. That way he could command more.

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Jack Youngblood: Is there any chance that Hagans or Stanley could take the return duties from Dante Hall?

Jeff Gordon: Not unless Hall gets/stays hurt. The Rams made a big investment in him. They will see this through.

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Mitch Brian: I’ve been a Rams fan since before one of Charlie’s Angels sang the Star Spangled Banner before the Superbowl agains the Steelers.

I’ve suffered through Wendal Tyler and his fumbles, Rod Perry and Pat Thomas being burned by Stallworth, and heaven forbid,the Tony Banks era.

My question is this, after a few years of mediocrity, and with the rest of the NFC WEST getting MUCH STRONGER, how is our defense going to improve enough to get us into the playoffs. I just do NOT see it happening this year. The defense will be improved, but I think we are still living in a bit of a Martz hangover and defense is a luxury, not a necessity.

How will the defense get us over the hump?

Jeff Gordon: Haslett takes the D very seriously. The Rams went after it in the draft with Carriker, Wade and Ryan—three potential impact guys. The team got Draft and Hall in free agency, too, and turned over veterans with lesser work ethic. Will the D be stout this year? Don’t know that. But it should be better—and it should benefit from a ball-control offense capable of controlling games.

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Kevin: Hey Gordo,
After viewing Fridays game against the vikes, how did the defense and special teams look to you?
Thanks!

Jeff Gordon: The D was fine, although Minnesota could be really bad this season. Carriker held up nicely against Birk, which was the big story. Hagans showed some flash on special teams, so that helps his case—although it is way too early to talk about special teams. Many of the players handling those roles this early are long shots.

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Ronnie Mason: I havent seen alot of the defense this year, but I still have concerns about the Rams linebacker corps. Chillar and Tinoasamoa dont impress me as much as the potential of a couple of the second tier linebackers; not in experience or intelligence, but in size and playmaking ability. How likely will the starting outside linebackers be anyone besides Chillar and Tinoasamoa?

Jeff Gordon: Barring injuries, I’m guessing they will start. Chris Draft will factor in there as he learns the system and Alston is coming on in camp, but the coaches seem to like Brandon and Pisa. The coaches also believe Witherspoon can thrive in the middle, despite being under-sized,

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clyde: Good morning Jeff, What kind of feel do you get from the team as far as what they think of the general lack of respect the Rams get from the national media and the league? I know what the players are saying publicly, but what do they really think. I couldn’t help but notice that the NFL network is only replaying the last week’s game twice while some are run over and over again. The highlight clip for the game on NFL.com is mostly Viking highlights—I thought the Rams pretty much dominated the game except for one really bad play. The announcer at the begging of the clip say the only player they are really looking for is Adrian Peterson.

Jeff Gordon: It’s nice to be overlooked. Some players draw from that. But the Rams are just a .500 team with a head coach still learning the ropes. They will get respect when they earn it during the regular season.

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Bill: Why has it been so difficult for the first team offense to get points on the board?

Jeff Gordon: Linehan is bringing Holt and Pace along slowly. He is being careful with Bruce. He won’t expose Jackson to needless hits. So I wouldn’t put much stock in the first-team offense until the third preseason game, when Linehan will want to put a solid half together before pulling his stars until the real games.

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Steve Watson: It appears to me that Jonathan Wade, although a rookie, has the most talent at cornerback. I was very impressed with his play in the first preseason game. Could he become a starter in the 2007 campaign?

Jeff Gordon: At some point, sure. In the least, he will play a lot in five- or six-DB situations. He could bump Bartell to the nickle slot by continuing his progress. With Brown out for four games, all the kids have to play. Let’s see what he does with his chance. But the kid can fly, so that’s a start.

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rob: Gordo, Do the rams have a serious interest in S. Rice? I think if he’s healthy he would add a nice 3rd down passrush specialist and we are thin at DE

Jeff Gordon: For the right price, Rice would be a nice addition. He would provide insurance right away and allow Haslett to move Little around in pass rushing situations. It’s hard to get exciting about any of the Rams DEs past the top three.

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Mario Alatorre: Is Steven Jackson better LaDanian Tomlinson?

Jeff Gordon: Different types of back. Tomlinson is extra explosive and more likely to deliver breathtaking big plays. Jackson can break plays, but he is at his best pounding out 4-to7-yard runs to wear down a defense. Each player could lead their league in rushing and total yards from scrimmage, but most GMs would take Tomlinson over Jackson right now. Tomlinson can change the game on any touch.

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Nate: Gordo:
What do you think about Stephen Jackson’s comments in SI about Faulk not mentoring him as much as he could have? I know that Jackson likes to speak his mind, but this reminds me of the whole “don’t sell your tickets to Bears fans” comment he made last year. I like that he’s a competitor and isn’t afraid to speak his mind, but why say that at all?

Jeff Gordon: It was a odd comment, since Faulk handled his reduced role here with great class. I’m sure Marshall did help Steven, because that is the sort of teammate he is. But Steven should remember that Faulk is a future Hall of Famer. I’m sure Marshall wanted Steven to earn some of that mentoring as well.

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Hugh: Hey Gordo-
What’s your take on the new NFL rule about a five yard penalty for spiking the ball on a non-scoring play? If they’re going to do that, why not have a penalty for all of the other nonsense that happens after a scoring play?

Jeff Gordon: Ah, the No-Fun League strikes again. It is all silliness. What’s next, a 10-yard for signaling first down? Come on, guys, this is a game of emotion. These guys are flying around and killing each other for our amusement. Let them spike the ball.