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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Dysfunctional Rams need to have a productive offseason

    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Jan. 16 2005

    In the immediate aftermath of the humiliating 30-point loss in Atlanta that
    kicked the Rams into the offseason with a sickening thud, coach Mike Martz put
    on a calm, optimistic front.

    "I'm excited by the way we ended the season, overall, and the direction this
    team is going," Martz said. "We're not very far away. We're making progress."

    Martz wasn't singing in his pain; he has reasons to feel hopeful about the
    Rams' future. It's true what he said: young players emerged in 2004, including
    a few on defense; quarterback Marc Bulger raised his game to an impressive
    level; the offense seems primed to return to the days when scoring 30 points
    was routine.

    And, of course, the Rams have the cushy NFC West as a landing spot. But after
    the many exaggerated claims of improvement, reality and the Falcons slapped the
    Rams upside the head. Propped up by the NFC West and deceived by their
    in-division success, the Rams were reminded in Atlanta of how many rungs they
    must climb to get back to the elite level.

    Here's an unpleasant but revealing fact: The 2004 Rams had a 6-1 record against
    NFC West teams but were 3-8 outside the division and lost the eight games by an
    average of 18.2 points.

    The Rams have experienced a gradual drain of talent. They're starting to fill
    the voids, but it would be an error to assume everything is on track. How
    should we view the Rams? It depends on your perspective. Optimists would say
    the Rams have retooled through hard times and are on the verge of something
    special. Pessimists would frame 2004 as the last gasp for a fading team. For
    reasonable minds, the answer is somewhere in between.

    I agree that the Rams have made progress, as Martz claims. But they could go
    the wrong way if they aren't careful. With a productive offseason, the Rams can
    make gains. But if Martz and Rams management are fooled by the triumphs in the
    NFC West - and operate with a misguided sense of where this team really is -
    they're headed for trouble.

    Here's what the Rams need to address:

    Front-office dysfunction: Team president John Shaw must get Martz, general
    manager Charley Armey and director of football operations Jay Zygmunt on the
    same wavelength, or the mistakes in the draft and in personnel will continue.

    Martz madness: Shaw should persuade Martz to reduce his load of responsibility
    and spend more time on coaching. When focused, Martz is outstanding. When
    distracted and overwhelmed, he's terrible.

    Special teams: It's past time for Martz to make special teams a priority.
    Martz has to save roster spots for players who excel on the special teams. This
    area can no longer be treated as an afterthought, a nuisance.

    The Big O: Enough already. If Orlando Pace won't sign a long-term contract,
    then the team should seriously consider trading him.

    Beef up: The Rams need a rugged, physically imposing middle linebacker who can
    wreck the opposition's running game. We are all tired of watching these
    lightweight Rams linebackers prancing around, getting wiped out at the point of
    attack. Go get a tough-guy LB via free agency or trade. Or do the Rams prefer
    to suffer more humiliation like the beat-down they took in Atlanta?

    Marshall Faulk: If No. 28 comes back, will Martz use him as a spot back?
    That's the smart plan, because Faulk is effective on a limited basis. But if
    Martz defers to Faulk and holds back Steven Jackson, the growth of this offense
    will be stunted.

    This is just a partial, bullets-point listing of the most pressing priorities.
    The Rams also need guards, safeties, a backup QB and across-the-board defensive
    help. And there's also defensive end Leonard Little and his murky immediate
    future because of legal problems.

    As is always the case, the Rams will go only as far this offseason as their
    leader, Martz, takes them. As Martz himself would say: Shoot, the Rams have to
    fix it.


  2. #2
    txramsfan's Avatar
    txramsfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Dysfunctional Rams need to have a productive offseason

    This is Bernie at his best. Unbiased yet still rooting for the home team. Everything he said is true.

    The Rams are on the teeter totter. It's a 50/50 shot now for this team. They can get balanced and keep going, or they can fall off one end and that be it.

  3. #3
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Dysfunctional Rams need to have a productive offseason

    TX, what's the skinny on TURLEY. Is the malay with Martz and security true and is Turley surely gone next year and if so, Is he gonna be another cap hit? :upset:

  4. #4
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Dysfunctional Rams need to have a productive offseason

    If he decides to retire or the Rams cut him it is a cap hit. Not sure exactly how much but I bet a dollar to a doughnut it's significant.

    Who really knows what happened exactly except for everyone involved. Seeing Turley's demeanor, I bet something happened but I bet it was slightly overblown also. My money says not to expect him to ever don a Rams uniform again and plan to replace him.

  5. #5
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Dysfunctional Rams need to have a productive offseason

    I kinda felt he might not have been the best FA player to get but live and get burned!

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