Gordo Live
Friday, September 5, 2008

Charlie: 1) How much playing time do you foresee Keenan Burton getting against the eagles?
2) What veteran tackles on the free agent market do you think the rams front office would pursue if Pace is injured again?

Jeff Gordon: Burton plays Bennett's spot, so let's see how healthy/productive Drew is. If Drew gets hurt again, Burton could play a LOT. We'll see him some, anyway, if Drew plays well.

As for tackles, the "hot list" changes weekly as other teams sign replacements. It will be harder to find replacements as the season progresses.
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chattylicker: We know the eagles are a very good screen team with westbrook do you think the rams will be able to stop that? Also do you like the matchup with pace vs cole

Jeff Gordon: The Pace match-up should be OK, as long as his arm stays attached. The screen passes could put big pressure on the LB corps that many scouts dismiss. Chavous, too, could be tested. Let's see who passes and who fails.
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Rambunctious: Hi Jeff!
1) Are the Rams pursuing Willie Anderson agressively, or just telling him they'll be calling if an O-line injury occurs?
2) What were the results regarding the Rams exam of LeCharles Bentley's knee? Was he deemed healthy, or damaged goods? Thanks!!

Jeff Gordon: The Rams monitor these guys in case somebody gets hurt and they have to make a quick call. Bentley hasn't played football in a while, so that was the big concern. That's a lot of rust and uncertainty.
The Rams talked to Willie Anderson earlier in the week. Such veterans will be on the short list.
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JD: Gordo: Any idea of who the Rams will not have active this week against the Eagles?

Jeff Gordon: I'm guessing that Avery will be out, given his injury. Beyond that I'm not the best guy to ask about the final few active roster slots. Health and special teams will dictate what happens there.
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Solvang Ram Fan: Do the rams plan on blitzing alot and/or putting 8 men in the box against westbrook and mcnabb. And is McNabb still enough of a threat to run to put a spy on him? If so, who would that be? Do they plan on using a spy on Westbrook - cant imagine not as he is such a high percentage of thir offense.

Jeff Gordon: I'm sure the Rams will sit on Westbrook as much as they can. And I'm sure Haslett has some blitzes cooked up IF the Rams can get the Eagles to third and long. But McNabb is healthy, so he is the big X factor in the game. He can still move a bit and he has seen it all.
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therealdealankiel: Gordo, in light of the Rams starting off on Sunday, which team do you expect to show up against the Eagles? If I make my way to a Sunday ticket bar, do I even stand a chance of watching a win?

Jeff Gordon: The Rams are big underdogs against a veteran team coached by a veteran staff. A Rams victory wouldn't shock me, but it would surprise me.
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al rams fan: thanks for you time Gordo

Here is my question ,,,well more of a comment

This season is reminding me a lot of the year we won the suuperbowl. Know one is giving us a chance we drafted a young WR ( Avery is know Holt) if he healthy he can really help and our D looks good to me...I think were going to beat Philly....and start the season of right...

Jeff Gordon: There are some similarities to '99, but the schedule is tougher and this team lacks some of that team's star power. Also, that team stayed almost injury free. This team already has concerns, losing King at CB and having Brown and Avery banged up before the season.
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NotMyHome: Gordo: Thanks for taking our questions. Who should be a better runner in the rain, Jax or Westbrook? It is beginning to sound like the Rams will play on a sloppy field Sunday.

Jeff Gordon: Westbrook, at home, running against the Rams defense would appear to be the better bet.
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old cowboy: One other question, Please tell me why Madison Hedgecock was not kept by the Rams!!

Jeff Gordon: Fair question, since he fit so nicely with the Giants. There was some conflict with the coaching staff -- a staff that has since been overhauled.
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old cowboy: Good Day Jeff, After watching the Giants/Redskins game I was wondering in your opinion if you thought Wash was not confidant in their QB to throw downfield or was it out of respect for NY defense?

Jeff Gordon: As for the Skins, they just aren't very good offensively. New scheme, new coach, same old problems. And the Giants are very good.
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HEG: Gordo does it seem to you in observing the Rams that a lot of the time the defense is similiar to the offense; in that the Rams run a spread offense & a lot of the time it looks as though they are running a spread defense when they get torched so often vs. the run?

Jeff Gordon: I'm less worried about the run defense than most. Adeyanju is a pretty good run stuffer. He can mix in if other teams try to pound on the ground. But if Witherspoon gets hurt at LB, look out. I still think that group is thin.
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jon in kentucky: If the rams win consistently, fans will fill the seats, keeping the new owners happy. But, if we are losing, is there an above average possibilty that the team will be sold, and moved to LA?

Jeff Gordon: A sale could happen regardless of winning/losing or attendance. Chip Rosenbloom doesn't have the capital necessary to keep the team -- unless he brings in more investors. As for the team moving, anything is possible in the longer term. In the near term, they will stay put.
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jon in kentucky: How important does the rams organization feel about winning tonights game. After such an awful season last year, full of arguing, lack of discipline, and virtually no hope for success. Is a win here in week 1 a must to get our heads in the right place? Especially since we have New York in week two. If we win, will we have better fan support at home against New York? Speculating, if we were to win our first two games, one on the road and one at home, against the defending Super-Bowl champs, what would that do for our team? Unlikely i know.

Jeff Gordon: Winning would do wonders for the Rams. They will pull out stops to make that happen. But that is a veteran team on the other side and a better coaching staff overall.
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jon in kentucky: Thanks again for your time. My question is, Who will have a bigger game on sunday? Jackson, or Holt for the Rams. And of the 2 star backs, who will have a bigger day, westbrook, or Jackson.

Jeff Gordon: I would take Jackson over Holt and Westbrook over Jackson. Sound likes like a fantasy football dilemma . . .
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jon in kentucky: Thanks for your time Gordo. I a couple of short questions regarding our offensive line. 1. Even with Romberg healthy is Leckey the starter for the season, he has shown some great run-blocking.
2. All signs point to Pace as one of our x-factors. If Pace goes down, and Goldberg comes in, how confident are you that he can play at a level necessary for us to win.
3. Would you give us a better grade for pass protection, or run blocking.

Jeff Gordon: I like the run blocking better. That is Barron's strong suit. Goldeberg could become a liability in pass protection if Pace gets hurt. Leckey had a great preseason, but Romberg has proven himself at center.

It'll be interesting to see if this group can stay together for a while and develop chemistry.
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Ramfrank: Hey Gordo -

What's the TE situation with the Rams? Is Becht REALLY healthy and will Klop fit into the mix AT ALL?? Finally, how is Avery's health?

Frankie the Spoon

Jeff Gordon: Donnie is NOT healthy. I think Becht will be good to go, which will boost the blocking. Klop could be a passing factor, depending on how the active roster breaks down.
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NYtom: Jeff, my good man:

My questions are regarding the RAMS this Sunday - I think the best best for StL is to run run run SJ until the Eagles put eight 'in the box' then use some play-action to enhance the passing game. Ball control (and minimal turnovers) will keep McNabb's offense off the field and perhaps induce impatient play calling from Andy Reid.

Do you think SJ will surpass 100 yards on the ground?
With the Rams 7 point dogs and an over/under at 44, can they pull off the upset? (they'll most likey need to score 24 points or more)

Jeff Gordon:
The Eagles want to blitz Bulger and knock him back to Stupidville. So if the O-line can muscle up, sure, send Jackson into the line over and over and over. The Rams need to get Bulger going, but it's easier to get going on second-and-4 then third-and-11.

Feel free to come by to "The Sports Edge" removes -- Monday at Dickey's BBQ in Valley Park (next to the Drury Inn, Tuesday in Bridgeton at the Sports Cafe on Natural Bridge (near the Rock Road and 270) and Friday at in West County at Fandango's (Daugherty Ferry at Big Bend).
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JS5981: Hey Gordo, of the 3 major sports teams in St. Louis, which do you feel is most on track to be successful in the next couple of years and why? Which do you see as the least successful of the 3 and what would you have done differently? Thanks

Jeff Gordon: 1) Cardinals -- good talent base, good prospects, lots of money.

2) Blues -- good prospects, good plan.

3) Rams -- uncertain future. Ownership change? Front-office change?
Coaching change?
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Jeff: Listening to various national media sources no one is giving the Rams much of a chance this year. I realize they are coming off a 3 win season but given the talent on the team and assuming they stay healthy, I am compelled to think they will challenge for the division. Do you agree or am I just looking at life through Rams colored glasses?

Jeff Gordon: I'm not as optimistic. Seattle will find a way to compete despite all its injuries. That is what great coaches do. Arizona is further along, especially with Kurt at QB. I see a third-place finish, owing to the tough schedule.
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Joe Stafford: Gordo, Here we go again, the great Drew Bennett signing is rearing it's ugly head. Why didn't the Rams just pay Ike Bruce to finish his career here, instead of having to watching him in of all things a Niners uniform! We waisted several of our draft picks on recievers when we already had Bruce, Curtis, and McDonald!

We need some linebackers, with all due respect to our seventh rounders! Why didn't the Rams just release Bennett, what has he done to earn a 40 million dollar contract that Isaac Bruce hasn't? If I remember right, didn't Bruce catch a 73 yard td pass to win a Superbowl? I would rather have gave Bruce 80 million then a penny to Bennett! Lets start the Clock on the Losehan firing right now!

Jeff Gordon: I would have kept Bruce, because their was cap money there. And I'm not a big Bennett fan. But I'm not sure Curtis is worth the money he got and McDonald isn't worth mentioning.
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okcarhauler: Jeff, thanks for your time. What do you think of this years team? I personally with no hard feeling towards Linehan think he should have been fired last season. He flat out lost this team, and looked lost when he was coaching. I don't see how hiring Al Saunders will help him. They should have hired him as Head Coach and started over. I think Chris Long will be great, but he will take time to learn the system.

And to bring up another sore subject, Here we go with the Joke Drew Bennett signing. We could have had a proven player in Kevin Curtis signed for the same money, and Drafted Linebackers that we badly need in the second round. Is this guy ever going to produce? I have been a fan for 30+ years, and want them to win, but if we win more then 4 games this year, I will be shocked. Please give me some type of positive sign that this team will at least compete this year. Thanks.

Jeff Gordon: There is a chance the Rams could collapse again, but if Jackson and O-line hold up, this team will look a LOT different than last year's team. You can certainly argue against Scott getting another chance this year, but I don't think the team has given up on him. And Saunders is having a huge impact.
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Jeff: Hey Jeff, enjoy the chats on monday. Football starts this weekend. what's your early prediction for the super bowl. also what do you think about the rams' chances. defense looks improved and offense may be alright. With the way the NFC West stacks up we may have a small chance. Thanks

Jeff Gordon: Rams look like a 7-9 team, with a chance to move up if other teams take big injury hits.

Super Bowl? Philly is a trendy pick from the NFC, but I'd rather see New Orleans get there -- that would be entertaining! In the AFC, the Patriots are still the Patriots, unfortunately.
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AlaskaRam: Yo Gordo,
Most of us know Will Witherspoon is the "centerpiece" of the Ram defense. And for good reason, Spoon is a great player and is the key to making Hasletts complex schemes work.

My question: To your knowledge, has Linehan (or Haslett) tried to get Spoon to take on more of a leadership role on the field? Seems to me the guy with a green sticker on the back of his hat might be the best candidate to give his teammates on the field a kick in the pants once in awhile.

Jeff Gordon: I think he is that type of player. He may not be as vocal as Glover, but he is on the field all the time and he sets the tempo.
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Tackleberry: Last week you wrote a column touching on the topic of the Rams' lack of depth. Isn't it fair to say that this organization's biggest downfall post-2000 has been an inability to identify talent in both free agency and via the draft? The city will always tip their cap to the Faulk-trade, and Martz could always identify WR talent, and if we are going to go all out I suppose Warner was a find too.

But outside of Witherspoon, there have been almost no quality free agents signed (Fahkir Brown doesn't count), and it seems like the draft is still producing results similar to that of Rams' special teams, junk. While Devaney may be part of the answer, is he not constrained by the old regime that still has a major voice, the same regime that drafted these players in the first three rounds since the Super Bowl win:

2006: Hill (1st) & Klopfenstein (2nd), Wroten, Alston Byrd (3rd)
2005: Bartell (2nd)
2004: Hargrove (3rd)
2003: Kennedy (1st)
2002: Thomas (1st) Fisher (2nd) Gordon & Crouch (3rd)
2001: Lewis Archuleta, Pickett (1st) Polley (2nd) Brian Allen (3rd)

If half of these picks are spent on players that materialized this team is a perrenial playoff contender. 14 of the 17 players listed above aren't even on the team anymore. In any other organization Zygmunt & Shaw would be on the street. This organization will never improve, regardless of the head coach, until it re-tools the front office with real football people.

Jeff Gordon: The last two years have gone better, although the Bennett signing was a terrible mistake. Burton was an especially good draft pick this year. Greco will pay off, too. Long will be a good player, although it will be tough to live up to that draft status.

It's early to assess the Bell signing as a FA, but it looks fine for now.

Devaney was a great hire, but it remains to be seen what this football operation will look like in '09. A lot could happen, including a coaching change and even an ownership change. There could be a whole new group running the show.
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ram4life: for some strange reason i think this year will be a changing of the guard in the nfl. i think this is the year that were out with the old and in with the new. teams that have dominated for so many years, the patriots, will be also rans this year. i also think dallas is overrated and that the rams have a better receiving corp and running back than they do. watch what i say. there will be new blood rising to the top of the nfl this year. id like to see the rams there but i just dont have confidence in Linehan. (i had lost confidence in Vermeil too though and i was proved wrong).

Jeff Gordon: As always, we'll see some change in the NFL. At least one also-ran will make a run. Like you, I doubt it will be the Rams. Linehan DOES have much to prove.
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DeRam4life: Ive been a loyal Rams fan since 1976. Ive got a closet full of jerseys, hats, jackets, t-shirts, even a rams pocket knife and door key. What i want to know is why did it take 32 years for them to realize they need a personnel man? Look at our picks ,just to name a few, over the last 12 years. Lawrence Phillips over Eddie George and Terrell Davis. Eddie Kennison over Marvin Harrison, and, does anyone remember Dieter Brock?

The qb from the canadian league who couldnt throw in bad weather? We traded Eric Dickerson, allowed Bruce and Warner to get away, and made London Fletcher play on his undrafted rookie contract. I guess its painfully obvious when an organization wants to make profits instead of win for the fans.

Jeff Gordon: I believe, like you do, in employing a strong personnel men. Too many teams turn it over to coaches (Mad Mike!) and/or their cap guy (Jay Zygmunt). Charley Armey did a fine job when he had the power to do it. But, yes, the franchise had issues before his reign and after it.
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DeRam4life: Gordo, Chris Long was not a favorite pick of mine. How has Glenn Dorsey and Vernon Gholston done so far in preseason? I think this Long kid is going to make a good backup for somebody after he collects all this money from us and makes us miss out on future hall of fame defensive ends coming out of college. Why did we not make an attempt at Rudi Johnson as Jacksons backup? seeing as how Stephen is not in hitting shape after his holdout and is clearly on his way to an injury early this season, we open up against one of the most physical defenses in the league.

He's a bruising back, unlike Tomlinson who avoids hits, and we already saw last year, after the rams saved him thru the preseason, that he will be injured. Brian Leonard should be in somebodys drive thru handing out greasy bags of overcooked sandwiches instead of perpetuating the fraud as a football player. Too small for a fullback, too slow for a halfback. what the @$*% does that say about our scouting department?

Jeff Gordon: Leonard is a pretty good third-down back and has been fine as a fill-in. But Pittman has more promise as a feature back -- and I have no problem with him filling that role instead of a faded veteran like Rudi.

Long will be a solid pro. Will he be a star? He still has to prove that. Dorsey suffered an early injury setback, but I'm sure he and Vernon will be just fine as rookie. It WILL be fun to see how these three compare in three or four years.
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DeRam4life: Why did we not resign Isaac Bruce? Drew Bennett all but showed last year that he is really a fringe player. Isaac should have gotten that money instead. I looked at our payroll and Bennett is one of the highest paid rams. This is a travesty and makes us look like a joke. Bennett came from the Titans, my home team, and we all know that they are 3 yards and a cloud of dust team. What idiot made this decision? Also, in the past our front office would not have signed Manning Jr. Im liking Devaney more and more every day. Your thoughts Gordo.

Jeff Gordon: Devaney is a sharp man. This draft underscores that. Everybody picked can play. Bennett was clearly a mistake, especially at those dollars. I'd rather have another year of Bruce, who would have helped Avery and Burton adapt to the NFL.
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DeRam4life: the rams have taken an undrafted linebacker and made him into one of the best in the league(London Fletcher). i still dont know why he was allowed to leave, our defense hasnt been the same since, and now we get "Q". Will this guy be as good as advertised?

Jeff Gordon: Culberson will be solid, but he's not another "dot.com." Obviously the previous regime made a big mistake letting Fletcher go. The guy was a playmaker.