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  1. #1
    Bosna-Ram's Avatar
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    Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    By: Vanram

    St. Louis Rams GM Billy Devaney took some time away from the team's Combine prep to answer questions for fans at the PD. Credit Big Billy; he answered questions and didn't recite talking points, always a plus. Of course, if you're looking for any clues as to what the team is thinking with their first round pick, you're out of luck. However, Devaney did shed some light on a couple of key personnel matters.



    Let's start with the safety position, a huge question on the minds of Rams fans after the team's decision to release Oshiomogho Atogwe last week. Darian Stewart hasn't been mentioned much in the wake of Atogwe's release, but Devaney gave him a pretty good endorsement today. The GM:
    "I thought he showed a lot of promise last year when he was on the field. He's got a lot of upside and we expect him to make a big jump this season."
    Spagnuolo has done wonders with defensive backs in recent years. Craig Dahl, another undrafted free agent, may not be the answer at SS, but he's thrived to the best of his abilities under this regime. Bradley Fletcher, a third round pick, played his way into a starting job as a rookie, before injuries derailed his season. This year, he was arguably the team's best corner.



    It's not all success stories, but Spagnuolo, a former defensive backs coach, and his staff have done a good job coaching up players. So, is Stewart next? Maybe. After all, they were confident enough in Stewart to risk losing Atogwe.

    Like Dahl and James Butler, Stewart was signed as an undrafted free agent. In fact, the Rams snapped him up the day after the draft. Stewart played both safety positions at South Carolina, and saw time at strong safety last year. Remember, the Rams under Spags prefer more interchangeable safeties.



    None of this means Stewart is already ticketed as Atogwe's replacement, but it is a sign that they expect him to play a larger role this season.



    Speaking of safeties, Devaney said that the Rams were not bringing in former Colts safety Bob Sanders for a visit. He acknowledged discussing that option and refused to completely rule it out, though.



    Sanders isn't the only safety on the free agent market right now, and he won't be the last. Safeties are potentially on the chopping block for several teams.


  2. #2
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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    Darian Stewart > O.J Atogwe? Sorry, but I just don't see it.

    Atogwe may not be the best safety, but Stewart was average last year, albeit he was still young and a rookie.

    If this is what Devaney has in mind, we'll see how it rolls.

  3. #3
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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    I'm hoping this is simply negotiation posturing from Devaney. You know; prop up the concept that Atogwe's value is not as great because his replacement is already on the roster.

    And maybe one day Stewart is better than Atogwe, but I doubt it is any day in 2011.
    "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: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    Darian Stewart > O.J Atogwe? Sorry, but I just don't see it.

    Atogwe may not be the best safety, but Stewart was average last year, albeit he was still young and a rookie.

    If this is what Devaney has in mind, we'll see how it rolls.
    I don't really think it's like that. I think Devaney was just complementing Stewart on his play, and hinted at a larger role this year, at whatever position that may be. I certainly hope we have a plan for life with or without Atogwe, however.

    This trend seems to be recurring though, and the front office always seems to know what they're doing in hindsight. (Witherspoon, Barron, etc.) So all we can really do is trust their decisions, and endlessly speculate during a particularly uneventful off-season!

  5. #5
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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    In Spags we trust?

  6. #6
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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I'm hoping this is simply negotiation posturing from Devaney. You know; prop up the concept that Atogwe's value is not as great because his replacement is already on the roster.
    Yep, this is all part of the process. Atogwe and his agent talk to other teams, and the Rams talk up young players on the roster that could be a replacement. Both sides are trying to get an edge as well as leverage, which is to be expected. Who knows how it will eventually shake out, but we're definitely in the posturing phase.

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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    The only thing I don't understand at this point, is why they negotiated this way in the first place. It became fairly obvious last year once the contract details were revealed, that this situation seemed a likely scenario. Why put each other through this again?

  8. #8
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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    I don't really think it's like that. I think Devaney was just complementing Stewart on his play, and hinted at a larger role this year, at whatever position that may be.
    Down the stretch, Stewart was the third safety on this team, spelling players in the secondary and contributing in nickel packages. So a larger role than that would be either the first or second safety, a.k.a. a starter, no?

    I really don't know if Devaney is talking up Stewart because he legitimately feels that way about him or due to a negotiations ploy. My understanding of Stewart is that his skillset is probably better suited for the strong side than Atogwe's old post, so I doubt O.J.'s agent is putting much stock in this.

    Ultimately, I hope the Rams have a better plan for the safety positions than a Stewart/Dahl combo.

  9. #9
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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    Lol... Are they seriously considering Stewart over Otogwe?

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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
    Lol... Are they seriously considering Stewart over Otogwe?
    No, there considering 200,000 over 11.5 million. Atogwe and the Rams both knew he would not be getting 11.5 million sorry... Maybe they will re-sign him for cheaper which I would like but he is certainly not irreplaceable.

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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    I'm sorry but Stewert will never be > or = to OJ. Unless, OJ walks into traffic and breaks 15 bones. THEN and ONLY then would Stewert be better than OJ. Amazes me how well OJ plays with all the turnovers and tackles he tallies up but gets no appreciation at all because he is not Dion Sanders in coverage... Give me a freakin break!
    That grass on the other side really does look greener.........*slap*

  12. #12
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    Re: Devaney sheds light on the Rams safety situation

    I just saw Stewart in the last couple of games, but he really impressed me. I said who is that? He can tackle.

    Refreshing.
    "The horror"

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