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    Gordo Live: 7/23/07

    Gordo Live
    By Jeff Gordon
    Monday, July 23, 2007

    Scott from So. Cal: It concerns me that the Rams D is putting all of this pressure on an untested rookie (Carriker). Is there a plan B if AC is not quite ready ?

    Jeff Gordon: Plan B is probably another rookie, Jackson. Wroten and Glover could start, I suppose, but Haslett wants a big guy in there.
    bash-on: Offensive lineman Adam Goldberg, is one of only a few University of Wyoming players to ever make it in the NFL. What's the chances of him continuing his career in St. Louis?

    Go Pokes!

    Bash-on Regadless

    Jeff Gordon: Goldberg did nice work last year, but the return of Claude Terrell and Andy McCollum from injuries -- and the maturation of Setterstrom and Incognito -- moved him to the edge.
    Jeff: Hey Gordo,

    Big fan of your columns. My questions is:
    Has there been any talk within the Rams about signing Daunte Culpepper? Nobody is really mentioning the Rams, and although we have Bulger, if Culpepper gets any playing time with our offense it will help him look that much better to other teams or if the Rams can't land Bulger long term, you have what could be a good replacement. Plus the Linehan connection. Thoughts??

    Jeff Gordon: If the Bulger deal blew up, Culpepper would be a great Plan B. Linehan obviously knows what he can and can't do. But if Bulger signs long-term, Culpepper would need to look for a better shot at starting.
    Rome: do you think Bartell can do good at starting Cb and do you think he can start for the for the rest of the season and do just as good as Tye Hill did?

    Jeff Gordon: He'll make some plays over there and his size is appealing. The team would still like to move Brown into a cover position when his suspension ends and move Bartell back to the nickle. How consistently will Bartell play when matched against No. 1s and No. 2s? I guess we'll find out.
    Tom: Gordo, Do you expect Carriker and Leonard to be signed before Thursday? Thanks.

    Jeff Gordon: Tough call -- they want to be there, but NFL signings have come slowly this summer.
    Kevin: Hi Jeff,
    Do you think with The Rams newly revamped d-line, it will free up the linebackers to hopefully help in stopping the run?...and resulting in Haslett to be more creative?

    Jeff Gordon: Haslett can be more creative once he has the basics convered. IF the Cards can build some leads and IF the "D" can force more third-and-long situations, then Haslett will have more fun.
    Youngblood 85: Jeff, Is there still a shot that we will try and trade for Kris Jenkins from Carolina? What will the NFL do with the Wroten issue that happend last month? I really feel that Jenkins could help a ton with the run D by freeing up the LB's a little to make plays.

    Jeff Gordon: It doesn't seem like Wroten is in any danger of being suspended, but we'll see. The Panthers expect Jenkins to show up at training camp, even though the team didn't redo his deal. If he creates a huge distraction, I suppose the Panthers could elect to move him with a lowered price. For a third-rounder, I suppose the Rams (or a number of teams) would bite.
    Bobby Rodgers: I have felt very uneasy with the Rams defense and the moves/lack of moves made this off season and that was BEFORE Fakhir was suspended. It seems that our top two aquisitions are a rookie DT and a DE that can't stay healthy. I feel like we are one pre season defensive injury away from being really bad on defense.

    Tell me why I should be more optimistic?

    Jeff Gordon: Yes, depth is a concern. A couple of rookies could earn back-up spots on the DL and the secondary isn't so deep with Brown's suspension. The team is really banking on Chris Draft to shore up the linebacker corps. If Little or Tinoisamoa got hurt before some of the young players matured, we could see last year's woes return.
    Dean: Gordo

    Do you think the Rams will get Mark a deal before training camp starts? Wouldn't be nice to start the season without any distractions for a change !!!

    Jeff Gordon: Signing Bulger makes all sorts of sense. I think Marc would handle pending free agency fine, but why let this issue arise at all? Bulger is worth the money. The team just has to figure out the best way to pay it to him.
    Kenny H.: Jeff,
    How confident are the Rams that moving Carriker to NT is going to work? Isn't there a substantial risk that bulking this guy up and moving him is just going to ruin his odds of success by decreasing his explosiveness and making him think about a new position? Also, why take a college playmaker and turn him into a NT? I would have welcomed any QB pressure he might have produced. I'm not saying NT isn't important, but Big Grease sans playmakers sure didn't pay dividends!

    Jeff Gordon: He was never going to be a pass-rushing defensive end. He projected to become a run stopper at DE or DT, so I don't see the risk. This wans't like trying to move a Grant Wistrom-type player inside.
    leo quijano: Jeff,

    Since '99, the Ram's offense has never lacked quality skill position players. The effectiveness has been more predicated on the blocking and not just by the O-line. The losses of Hodgins and Conwell effected the offense nearly as much as the inability to acquire an adequate right tackle. Do the Rams now have all the pieces in place to lead the league in scoring? Will that result in teams abandoning the run to make the defense more effective? This feels like '99 to me. Even the Post-Dispatch didn't believe in that team until the sixth week of the season. Read the first five sunday sports sections that year to see what I mean...Your thoughts?

    leo quijano
    Springfield, MO

    Jeff Gordon: This team is different from this standpoint: Linehan wants to play a power game with his big, still-developing offensive line. The '99 Rams were finesse team, for the most part. This team will be more solid, but less spectacular.
    J.D.: Gordo,
    Two things that I am pondering: First, why is it that when an athlete (Michael Vick) does something wrong all we ever hear about is how it is societies fault not necessarily the player? Second, it makes me sick that every time I read the paper or watch sport center all I hear about is someone else is in trouble. If you or I failed a drug test, dui, etc. we first of all would loose our job and second probably be held liable in court for our actions. Looking for you expert opinion on the subject?

    Jeff Gordon: Athletes are public figures. They have a chance to earn staggering incomes. So it's not unreasonable to hold them to high standards. They make mistakes like we all do, but the stakes are much higher for them. And I don't think they will be getting as many second chances as they used. The NFL may be a trendsetter there.
    Will: Which 2nd year defensive lineman is assumed to make the bigger jump forward this year- Adeyanju or Wroten?

    Jeff Gordon: That's a coin flip. I'd say Wroten as the bigger opportunity, since he is alternating with Glover and Victor shares time withe James Hall -- a guy the Rams expect to be an impact addition. But both young lineman are very important to this season. If they take a step forward, the whole unit could move forward.
    Rob M: Jeff,
    with training camps about to open all eyes turn to the Rams. I think we all know the Offense is going to be very good and has a chance to be special, but what about the Defense? All we need is a capable defense a middle of the pack if you will. If you could talk a little bit about the defense, has it improved enough to be at least the middle of the pack? to give the Rams a chance to return to the playoffs and maybe futher?

    Jeff Gordon: The "D" is the key to reaching my predicted total of 9-7, or doing even better. And the key to the "D" are the young veterans looking to grow into solid NFL pros this season: Bartell, Atogwe, Wroten, Hill and Adeyanju. We know what to expect from the older guys we we must temper our enthusiasm about Carriker, Wade, Jackson et al coming in as rookies. If the young veterans arrive on cue this season, the "D" could become a pleasant surprise.
    Ron Bude: Hype is being made about Jon Alston and his role in the defense this year. Why should we believe it? He hardly played last year and this year we are to believe he will have a substantial role? It sounds like preseason coach's blather to me.

    Jeff Gordon: He is a good athlete and he has had a nice offseason. But, yes, we need to see what he does in the real games. Even though he will play a lot during the preseason, we won't really see how Haslett plans to use him as a pass rusher. He could be an X-factor guy, playing a mutant position, and Haslett will want to keep some of that under wraps.
    Joe B: First timer Gordo and I would like to know who has been your favorite ram to interview since you have been covering the team?

    Jeff Gordon: Kurt Warner, hands down. What a talker. Faulk was brilliant -- but he almost never held court.
    Rick Montano: Do the Rams have any plans on upgrading the defense before the season starts.After they way the defense played last season I was very suprised to see the defense amost ignored this off season...

    Jeff Gordon: The turnover will be significant -- new DE, new DT, possibly a new linebacker (Chris Draft) and turnover at CB as well. Haslett is getting more of his guys in place.
    Fred Wied: Jeff,
    Fans are going nuts because the Rams don't have a vet nose tackle. Isn't this a little overblown. I would think NT is the position you need the least experience. I say the 3 kids should be fine. What do you think? NJRAMFAN

    Jeff Gordon: I tend to agree. Haslett wants strength and work ethic in there. He wants a fighter. There isn't much finesse work on the interior line.
    clyde: Do you think Isacc Bruce will make the Hall of Fame?

    Jeff Gordon: Yes, because he has the Super Bowl Catch on his resume. The career numbers are great, but that championship ring makes the difference.
    Pablo: Gordo,
    Assuming that McMichael and Klop are locks, who do you think will be the third tight end for the Rams? It seems likely that it will either be Byrd or Walker. Do you think that the Rams might carry four tight ends and only one fullback?

    Also, who do you think will be the sixth wide receiver? Thompson? Hagens? Do you think that Stanley will make the roster? Or do you think the Rams will only carry 5 receivers? I assume there will be six since D. Hall will only be returning kicks.


    Jeff Gordon: I would guess six WRs, depending on special teams coverage. And how much can Hall do in the offense? That will tell a lot, because Linehan won't use four WRs much. The TEs depend on special teams, too, because Byrd could be a great teams player if he used his speed there. Walker is the far more reliable TE, obviously.

    All this roster equation stuff will come down to injuries and special teams -- and we won't see real teams play until the end of the preseason.
    Scott from So. Cal: Good am Gordo -

    With Pittsburgh getting Timmons in (#15) ... Will this speed up the process on us and AC (#13) getting things done by Friday, or do you think Carriker and his agent will play hard ball with the Rams because of their desperation mode on the D line ?

    Jeff Gordon: Carriker wants to play, but the Rams never get desperate enough to rush a negotiation. It's not like Adam has to learn rocket science. He lines up, takes on the blocker in front of him. He lines up, takes on the blocker in front of him. Repeat. For him, it's more about getting in the work and learnng some more techniques. I wouldn't panic if doesn't sign within the next day or two.
    John Trowling: Good day Jeff! How optimistic is the coaching staff about Claude Wroten's potential to be more of a contributor this year? What specifically have they noticed that they think will make him more effective this year?

    Thanks in advance!

    Jeff Gordon: Physically, he matured. The off-field stuff is still a concern, of course, but a full offseason helped him become a real NFL lineman. He worked hard.
    Jimmy: With the upcoming RAMS season do you believe that we will have the best offense in the league if everyone stays healthy? Off the top of your head how many points do you see the rams putting up weekly?

    Jeff Gordon: This won't be a Greatest Show on Turf team. They want to eat clock in addition to scoring points. They want to win some 28-13 games, not 42-31 games.
    dlramfan: Jeff,

    When you look at this Ram offense, with special emphasis on recievers, speed seems to be a commodity that is no longer viewed as it was in the Vermeil/Martz era. With the age of our top two coupled with the trades of Curtis/McDonald it seems that our receiving corp is significantly slower. Does this represent a change in philosophy? Have other teams adapted to better handle an offense built on speed?

    Jeff Gordon: This is a power offense, not a speed offense. That extends to the O-Line and the playcalling. Linehan wants execution, not trickery. This is a whole new approach.
    Del: Thanks Jeff,

    IMHO the most overblown stat in the NFL is rushing yards allowed by the D.

    1) Almost every coach will tell you you run to eat clock you throw to score points.

    2) 06 was a perfect example. No 1 run D Vikings. No where near the playoffs. No 32 run D SB winner Colts. More NFL teams in the playoffs in 06 came from the lower half of the stat rush yards allowed.

    Do you agree that this stat needs to be dropped and people need to learn to relax ? I do not want a K Jenkins and hope we do not waste our time and money on such a find.

    Jeff Gordon: Points allowed, time of possession and turnover ratio are bigger stats. But if you can't stop the run, you let the other offense stay on the field and you keep your offense off the field.

    On the other hand, if an offense scores points, the defense doesn't see so many running plays. The other side is playing catch-up.
    paul: Jeff, why wouldnt Jenkins be worth a second round pick? To solidify the middle of the line could mean the difference between a "one and out" playoff game at best vs. a real run at the post season.

    Jeff Gordon: I'm not a big fan of holding onto draft picks when the right player is there to be had. Is Kris the right player? If he stays healthy, that would be a solid trade. If he plays two or three games . . .
    John D.: Is Jon Alston still learning the safety position? The Rams haven't had a physically imposing strong safety since Adam Archuleta's early days as a Ram.

    Jeff Gordon: He could be the blitz guy, ala Archuleta in his prime, in passing situations.
    Damien Domingo: Hey Gordo,

    There was a lot of talk last year before and during the Rams' training camp that they were going to take an aggressive approach both offensively and defensively. This year they make no mention of it. Have they changed their philosophy? I can see the offense being more aggressive with bigger bodies like Bennett and McMichael as well as Dante Hall to fill in for Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald. However, I don't see how the "D" can be more aggressive with so many young players still to prove themselves consistently, let alone losing Fahkir Brown. Do you think Haslett can and will be more aggressive with the personnel he has now?

    Jeff Gordon: If the front four does enough to let the LBS and the safeties play, the defense can be more aggressive. Haslett may have a bit more to work with, thanks to Hall and Draft, plus the aggressive Carriker.

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    Bruce=GOAT's Avatar
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    Re: Gordo Live: 7/23/07

    I liked the part in the LB/Haslett ? where he referred to the Rams as the Cards. Hopefully he meant the baseball Cards not the lowly AZ team.

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