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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    Wednesday, Mar. 15 2006

    Free agency is a funny deal in the NFL. Rams Nation has watched starter after
    starter leave via free agency over the years –- and almost every one of them
    got seemingly outrageous offers from other teams.

    Adam Archuleta is just the latest; he got $30 million from the Redskins after a
    terrible season. He has always been a mediocre cover safety and injuries
    seemingly robbed him of his hard-hitting ability.

    He recorded some sacks last year, true, but many of them came on unblocked
    blitzes. Yet most scouting services ranked him as a solid pick-up for
    Washington and the Redskins seemed pleased to have him.

    With that in mind, we must temper our enthusiasm about the free agents arriving
    at Rams Park. Just as the Dre’ Blys and Ryan Tuckers were overvalued by other
    teams, the Rams have added numerous veterans (Chris Claiborne, Jamie Duncan,
    Kim Herring, et al) that didn’t make the desired impact.

    Will the ’06 class be any better? We mined the Internet to gather expert
    opinions on the four potential defensive starters the Rams have signed so far.

    Here goes:

    Will Witherspoon, MLB: Scouts Inc., a premium service on ESPN.com, rates him a
    “solid starter.” We are warned that Witherspoon “is not built to be a power
    run stopper” and “is a little undersized to be a physical presence in the box.”

    On the other hand, Scouts Inc. reports, Witherspoon “is very quick to read
    plays and has great lateral movement. He uses his hands well in slipping
    blocks, and he has the range to play sideline to sideline.”

    ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli has this assessment: “Pure speed 'backer who has
    posted three straight 100-tackle seasons, has averaged 105.3 stops for his
    career and who, at age 25, still has his best football in front of him. Can
    cover and has some blitz skills, has to play in a system that puts him in
    space.”

    Similarly, CBS Sportsline.com’s Clark Judge writes: “He was a three-year
    starter, and he's only 25. A great run-and-chase guy, ‘He's athletic, and he's
    solid,’ said one scout. ‘There are no ups and downs with this guy.’”

    All of this sounds like an upgrade over Clairborne, so we’ll see.


    La’Roi Glover, DT: Scouts Inc. grades him as a “solid starter,” noting that
    “when he plays, he plays well, and he still has value in this league as an
    every-down player in the right system. Glover can still play, and some NFL team
    is going to get themselves a bargain if they pursue him.”

    Since he is taking the place of useless Damione Lewis, that sounds encouraging.


    Corey Chavous, S: Scouts Inc. rates him as a “good starter,” which is a notch
    below “solid starter” on its scale.

    His downside? “He tends to get back on his heels in his backpedal and loses a
    few steps in transition,” Scouts Inc. writes. “His quickness will let him match
    up in a restricted area, but he lacks the ideal speed to cover the deep
    receivers and the ability to make up for a mistake.”

    His upside: “He plays with great intelligence and takes good angles to the ball
    in pursuit. He gets a great break on the ball when it is thrown and has very
    good leaping ability.”

    Clark Judge of CBSSportsline.com offers this endorsement: “A starter the past
    four seasons, he became expendable when the Vikings re-signed his backup,
    Willie Offord. Chavous is smart, solid in pass coverage and a student of the
    game.”


    Fakhir Brown, CB: Scouts Inc rates him as a “good back-up.” The good? “He is a
    physical corner and does a good job on press coverage. He is strong in the
    upper body, he does a nice job of using his hands to shed blockers and he is
    strong enough to disrupt most receivers out of their route.”

    The bad? “The problem with Brown, he is a lot quicker than he is fast,” Scouts
    Inc. tells us. “He does not have the top end speed to keep up with the elite
    receiver in the league. He lacks acceleration and a second gear to recover when
    he gets out of position.”

    Still, ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli suggests he will be a solid addition. “Fell
    out of favor with the Saints' staff in 2005, but some coaches still felt that
    he was a tough, on-ball defender who could explode to the action,” he wrote.
    “Has pretty nice burst moving forward, and might provide someone a good No. 3
    corner for a modest price.”

    New defensive coordinator Jim Haslett believes in Brown -– and Haslett is still
    in his honeymoon period. For now, we’ll trust Haslett to coach him up.


    How will these additions impact the Rams’ draft preparations? Yahoo.com's
    Charles Robinson and FoxSports.com both have this team zeroed in on Virginia
    Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams with the 11th overall pick. He is a big cover
    corner with the tools that make scouts drool.

    The Rams have already suggested that ’05 draftee Ron Bartell could move to
    safety -– the position he played earlier in his college career -– to make room
    for Brown and Jerametrius Butler, who is coming back from the knee injury that
    eradicated him last season.

    ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Maryland tight end Vernon Davis dropping to the
    Rams at the 11th pick, with defensive end Tamba Hali, defensive tackle
    Broderick Bunkley and linebackers Ernie Sims and Johnathan Joseph next on his
    board.

    All this off-season maneuvering should leave Rams Nation guardedly optimistic
    about next season. It will be fun to see how the new faces mesh with the
    returnees as the fiery Haslett installs a new system and (he hopes) instills a
    new attitude.


  2. #2
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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    I have to say I'm excited about these signings as I typically am when an organization I am a fan of makes a change they feel will be for the better and, from all indiciations, appears to be. I look forward to seeing these men in uniform and observing what they can do for myself.

  3. #3
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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    I HOPE we don't go TE Vernon Davis. For 3 large reasons:

    1) He moved up the charts late with his workouts. Workout Warriors (as they're called) are busts more often than not. They certainly don't rate up their with instinctive, natural football players. Vertical jumps and sprints don't mean much on Sunday .. it's been proved over and over again.

    2) Many of the First Round Tight Ends don't live up to their potential. Davis has been compared to the tall and fast Tight End Oakland drafted in the first round and he never amounted to anything. Rickey Dudley was his name.

    3) Our 30th ranked Defense needs help. We lost our Best performing DEF Lineman from last year. Coakley is old and coming back from an injury. And we've tied up a lot of money in the Tight End position already with Manu's contract.

    .

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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    1) He moved up the charts late with his workouts. Workout Warriors (as they're called) are busts more often than not. They certainly don't rate up their with instinctive, natural football players. Vertical jumps and sprints don't mean much on Sunday .. it's been proved over and over again.
    Fabian Washington, anyone?

  5. #5
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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    I find it amusing.

    If fans get a little bit happy about something that happens with the team, some sportswriter is bound to write an article suggesting that fans need to lower their expectations.

    If fans are upset about something, some sportswriter will write an article telling fans that they are overracting.

    As is the sportswriters are the voices of reason! Please.

  6. #6
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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    That's why I do editorials.

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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    Only believe half of what you see, And nothing that you read!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    There's two sides to every story.

    The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    One thing I'll say about the article is that I don't think there's any Question that Scott Linehan and Jim Haslett know more about these players than do ESPN and the media outlets.

    Not even close.

    .

  10. #10
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    Re: Don't go overboard (yet) on these Rams' signings

    Media outlets are only privvy to a sliver of information compared to what coaches and head offices are on a daily basis. An overwhelming majority of the time, opinion and personal slants have to be used along with several articles of "duh" stuff just to get deadlines covered.

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