Jeff Gordon Chat

Edited for Rams Content

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WIRAMFAN: Well it's just one pre-season game and the Rams under Linehan are already in mid-season form! No inside defense, no offensive threats, Berlin looks to be the best but he'll probably get let go. Wow does anyone really think this guy can turn this team around? Honestly. Linehan is soooo far out of his league!! And Steven Jackson is just the first Rat to jump from this sinking ship!
Jeff Gordon: IF Berlin plays like that, he'll win the No. 3 job. Linehan is comfortable with him. As for the rest of the performance -- yikes! At least the kicking game was good.


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virginiatom: I know its only one pre-season game, but the Rams first and second team defense against Tennessee looked like the Rams of the last two years of Jim Hasletts reign, missing tackles and unable to stop the run. Its basic defense, yet the Rams just don't seem capable of getting it done. Please tell me it will be better. As a hardcore fan, another year of a twenty-something ranked defense is extremely disappointing.
Jeff Gordon: Numbers don't lie -- the Rams missed tackles all over the field. Sometimes guys got overpowered and sometimes they just missed assignments or lacked discipline. Either way, the result was shocking.

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Rich: Hey Gordo,

After the debacle in Nashville, do you see the Rams scanning the waiver wire for veteran defenders - particularly LBs?

I realize part of the point of pre-season is getting young players reps in game situations and when you line up multiple rookies there are going to be days like last Saturday.

However, aside from Draft the Rams LB corp is devoid of steady veterans with more than 3 years in the league and the Rams secondary isn't much better in that regard.

Thanks for hosting these chats.

Rich
Jeff Gordon: Chamberlain made a couple of plays, but, no, the LBs did not have a great day. I believe waiver help there or at safety are possibilities unless the defense enjoys a dramatic turnaround during the next two weeks.

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virginiatom: When you look at the Rams roster over the past 5 years, it clearly contains good players, but no impact, game changing, pro bowl caliber type players. Even Steven Jackson has really only had one impact year in all his time here, and this year is not starting out well for him. In addition, Jackson loses too many yards down around the goal line to be a true impact running back in the mode that say an Emmitt Smith was. First and goal at the 3, and Emmitt would score, which is not the same for Jackson. Do you see any sure fire pro-bowlers or game changing impact players emerging for the Rams?
Jeff Gordon: A big piece of that red zone issue is the O-line. The Rams want to build a power-blocking front wall, but we didn't see it last year because of injuries. The team needs Barron to be one of those impact guys you want. And Incognito. And Bell, the FA pick-up (hopefully) at the take-off point of his career.

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Hen: Hi Gordo,

Realizing that it was the first preseason game, is there anything that you can take out of this game that was good to build upon?
Looks to me the same offensive (not crisp) and defensive (not stopping the run) "issues" have continued from last year. Do you see that getting fixed?
I keep reading and did last year as well that it wasn't the other team that beat us it was that we weren't in our run fits and gaps. How difficult is that to accomplish? Wow.

Thanks.
Jeff Gordon: Yeah, great point about missed assignments. At some point failure must be attributed to simply not being good enough. At some point, Haslett has to admit his guys got the butts kicked. Saturday night was an example of that. Rams fans should be worried about that, because a lot of that defensive depth is unproven and almost all of it got abused by the Titans.

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davebird32: Gordo is it me are has ever since Bulger got all that money last year before the start of camp he has been scared and playing horrible? It is almost like he has all this money now and is too worried about getting hurt. Thanks!
Jeff Gordon: The money isn't the problem. Repetitive beatings is the problem.


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Jim W.: Say Gordo, with Dick Vermeil visiting the Rams, any chance ownership could just quietly remove Linehan and insert Vermeil in his place? I think the intensity of training camp would ratchet up a notch or two.

Seriously though, what's it going to take for Haslett to change his "defensive strategy" to stop the bleeding with the opposition's running attack? We've been bad at stopping the run in Haslett's entire tenure here. Maybe it won't be fixed until the entire coaching staff is gone.
Jeff Gordon: The Rams can only hope that Dick can fire up the troops this week. They need it. And what happened to the Rams defense defies easy explanation. This will be a big week of practice for Haslett and his players. They looked demoralized in Tennessee.

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Kevin in NJ: Hey Gordo,
2 questions. First, after watching the Defense get totally embarrassed against the run, do you think they made a big mistake by not taking Glen Dorsey?
and do I bother ordering direct TV this year?...lol
Thanks,
Jeff Gordon: The Dorsey/Long comparisons will be fun. Long did little in his pro debut and Dorsey wasted no time suffering a knee injury. As for the Direct TV, there will be lots of entertaining teams to watch. The Rams? We'll see.

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bjsgolf: How can the Rams, with an undersized defense, a gigantic hole at offensive takcle, and no backups at linebacker, spend their last 2 second round draft picks on Brian Leonard and Donnie Avery?
Jeff Gordon: The OT issue is large, since it appears Greco is better at guard and (gulp) Goldberg is the clear No. 3. Yikes! And Avery's injury is a tough blow, since other WRs are doing well in his absence. Stanley has been excelling in his absence. That pick is open to much second-guessing, since he was a bit of a reach in the second round.

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MonkeyLooker: I know it was only a couple of series and also the first pre-season game but Mark Bulger was the same QB we had last year - happy feet in the pocket, panicking & throwing way too early several times instead of moving around & letting the play develop, staring down the 1st option & then looking at the rush instead of checking down to his 2d & 3rd options, and absolutely no touch on short passes. Bulger quit last year in the Pittsburgh game and unfortunately I see no improvement. Is it time to start thinking about drafting a QB for the immediate future? I am worried!
GO RAMS!
Jeff Gordon: Yeah, the Rams should have already drafted their Quarterback of the Future, since it takes time to develop. Bruce Gradkowski is probably not that guy.

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LA-Vegas Rams Fan: Gordo I haven't posted for a while but had to comment, I know it is the first pre season game but I really don't see much change from last year! The defense is too small up front and we are getting blown out on to many plays. Bulger has the deer in the headlights looks still. Looks like another long year.
Jeff Gordon: The kids -- Ryan, Carricker and Long -- will have to pay bigger than that. But I won't write them off after one game.

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Moon Dog: Gordo,

Are the Rams & S. Jackson's agent having any discussions at all about a new contract?

I think he is a good running back with tremendous potential, but I have just not seen the results on the field to show that he is the best back in the NFL, as it appears he wants to be paid the best.

Is there any scenerio that would result in him being traded?

Thank you

Moondog
Jeff Gordon: I don't see him getting traded. As another poster noted, he is one of the team's few true "impact" players. I believe Jackson realizes that the impasse could hurt his career, so I would expect him to make something happen soon.

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Richard: Gordo,

After another dismal preseason performance with all of the same problems we've seen for the last few years, it doesn't seem that there is any progress. With 2, more qualified, cooridinators, how long do you think Linehan has until he gets the ax?
Jeff Gordon: Nobody is getting canned because of a preseason game. But this is obviously the make-or-break year for him as a head coach. To get an extension, Linehan will have to take this team a big step forward. This was NOT an encouraging start to that.

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Ken: The pre-season game no. 1 is just more of the same as 2007. It was mistake to retain Linehan but what does it matter so long as Zygmut and Shaw remain in control.

My question to you: Is there any hope at all? I am dying here and I just see another unbearable year of horrible football.

I hope the RAMS are sold. I will take the unknown rather then stay with present management.
Jeff Gordon: It's early to write off Zygmunt, Shaw and Linehan for good. But this start couldn't have been more discouraging.

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PossumBoy9: Do you think not taking Darren McFadden when the opportunity was there for the Rams a mistake?
Jeff Gordon: No, I think Jackson is a great player. The team just has to resolve this contract matter and move on. Obvious the defense needed help.

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Steve (Roch. NY): Hey Gordo,

Another year under Linehan and nothing's changed. I watched the replay of the game on NFL Network yesterday and while I wasn't expecting much this year to begin with, now I think the Rams will be lucky if they don't start 0-7. Jay Z didn't seem to be too concerned with SJ's holdout - but the Rams might go 2-14 if he's not there. When will his contract get done?
Jeff Gordon: The two sides weren't all that far apart, relatively speaking, when the impasse hit. So I'm surprised it has even lasted this long.

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Chris: Gordo:

As always, thanks for responding to our questions.

I know, I know, it's 'only' a preseason game but in the past few years, regular season performance has somewhat mirrored that of the preseason, and coming off a 3-13 season, I would have thought there would be more of a sense of urgency from both coaches and players. The starters appeared listless and disjointed, and the 2nd/3rd string players, while somewhat more motivatedm did not fare much better (with the possible exception of the kickers and Berlin + Looker, to name a few)

Is there hope that they can work the kinks out over the next 3 games and put something decent together for the season? Or are we looking at a high draft pick and new coaches next year?

Still looking for a glimmer...
Jeff Gordon: The coaches are still looking for a glimmer, too. I would expected a spirited week of practice, starting this afternoon. But there is plenty to be worried about, like the depth at linebacker.

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Chris: Holy cow,
I realize it's preseason but what happened to our run defense? Do you see it getting better? Would you say it's more coach or player issues? Hopefully this knocked off the dust and their head is in the game.
Way to go for Dane, I hope he stays a Ram. Do you see him playing this year given the WR spots for grabs?

Thanks
Jeff Gordon: Looker is making a great case for himself. With Avery off the field, it'll be interesting to see what he and Hall do. Looker is a favorite of Linehan's and he is a pro -- although he won't stick just to be a holder. The punter handles that chore now.

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OCRams Fan: Hey Gordo, thanks for taking my question.
I know the Rams have played only one pre-season game but should we get alarmed at the lack of run stopping on the D again? I really don't want to say "here we go again". I know it's early but we have history to remind us the past few years! Shouls we be alarmed? Thanks
Jeff Gordon: Sure, you should be alarmed. The Rams got tossed like rag dolls.

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sean: i was just wondering why the 1st team was not left in longer. it makes sense to people who dont know anything about football that a team sport may require just a little bit of chemistry. leave the offense in! leave them in a whole game! injuries? bah to injuries, we wont win with out the team playing like a team, if a player goes down, its a sacrifice for the chemistry for an intire season. how can saunders' offense run without timing? it cant. how csan we build timing without live football action? linehan has proven in his preseason stupidity of not playing his players more that you cant. it's frustrating, and i'm angry that fans can see that the 1st team should be left in, but the coach cant. angry.
Jeff Gordon: Good point. Jim Thomas was just making the point up here at Rams camp that the first unit should stay in the next game until it scores a TD -- even if it takes all night. The Rams can't afford to back into this season.

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Petey123: So, this is the new and improved rams Linehan talked about. What are chances Linehan doesn't make it through the season? What are the positives Linehan brings to the Rams?
Jeff Gordon: Linehan is a good football man, but he still must prove he has the leadership ability to command an entire organization. This could be his last chance to prove that.

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RamsrollerNY: Unlike many of the Ram Nation, I am not ready to write off the season from one less than wonderful showing. However, I am wondering if you think training camp has been too easy for the Rams, or is there another reason they seemed so ill prepared to play vs. the Titans?

Also, with the Jackson hold out, do you honestly see a quick end to this or will it haunt us all season. With what happened to Ike, I tend to side with Steven here....the days of loyalty from an organization are long gone I think. But I still think he is our best shot to win....

Thanks for your help, us NY fans miss out...and we are Sick of Favre stories already!!!!!!!!!!
Jeff Gordon: The organization is committed to retaining top players. Linehan has made that a priority and we've seen several guys taken care of. Jackson would join that list if he plays along with Zygmunt here. And, no, camp has not been too easy. That live action against Tennessee should have prepared the team for the game itself.

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Chip: The defensive line does EXACTLY like they did all year last year, it has to be design flaw, how can they give up these HUGE runs again this year already...horrible, I thought Haslett was a good coach but this is his defense and it stinks (no safeties cause we're good to go, no LBers cause we have C. Draft to back them all up and horrible alignment on the line that gets blown up for bigger runs than probably any other team...) The offensive line also got their butt kicked, this looks just like last year...already.
Jeff Gordon: I find it hard to believe that mere alignment issues would result in that sort of thrashing. Surely some of that was the result of guys getting manhandled. And that is what has to be discouraging.

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Crazy_Legs: It appears to me there is too much space between our defensive lineman. The opposing line has plenty of room to seal off two defensive lineman opening up holes my mother could run thru. What do you see as the major issue with our line upfront and how much should the linebackers be held accountable for being unable to stop the run Saturday?
Jeff Gordon: This is one of the questions we'll tackle this week in Rams camp. We've gotten questions about the scheme and the alignments, which obviously didn't work. Assignments were missed, for sure. But we need to find out if this is ability-related as well.

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Vincent: I have a few questions. What happened to the Rams? Is it that the organization drafts the wrong players? Have teams caught up with the high power offense gimic? I just don't understand why the Rams have fallen off.
Jeff Gordon: The offense is no longer high-powered. At the end of the Martz Era, teams had made adjustments, yes. And Mad Mike's willingness to let QBs take hits against the blitz caught up to Warner and Bulger. Right now the Rams just aren't as good -- and, yes, some missed draft picks contribute to that.

I still think Saunders can make something of this offense once Jackson returns.

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Steve: Hey Jeff

When do you think the Rams will stop dealing with Steven Jackson like the US goverment deals with terrorists? They need to get to the table and get things going, I'm sure about 1000 people are saying this, but as we all recall Jackson did not get off to a good start last season, and reps in the preseason would be very beneficial to him, especially with the complicated offense Saunders is bringing in. The Eagles got Brian Westbrook in with a new deal, as did the Packers with Ryan Grant. It's time for the Rams to realize that maybe more than anything else the Rams need a healthy Steven Jackson to have any success this season.
Jeff Gordon: It's not unfair to ask a player under contract to come to camp while the two sides work out a deal. Having said that, the Rams need to get off the blocks on this Jackson thing and make something happen.

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Mike: Although, the focus may be more on the secondary, do you see forsee any interest in Brandon Moore, just released from the Niners? He's two years removed from well over a 100 tackles, 29 years of age, and is versatile to play slb and mlb. Mccargile looked pretty good over the weekend but with Draft ailing and an often injured Pisa, sure would like some more depth there. Early on, the only rook brought in, that seems to have a chance is Chamberlin, and Moore is also an excellent special teams player; the kick off coverage over the weekend looked again to be somewhat suspect.
Jeff Gordon: Talking to folks up here are camp, the Rams HAVE to be considering veteran help at LB. Most of the youngsters competing for back-up spots look vulnerable.

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owen: AFTER WATCHING THE GAME AND READING SOME OF THE POSTS I AM IN AGREEMENT THAT OUR 2ND AND 3RD STRING PLAYERS DID NOT MATCH UP WELL ESPECIALLY ALONG BOTH SIDES OF THE LINES.DO YOU THINK THERE IS ANY WAY THAT WE CAN REALISTICALLY IMPROVE THAT DROP OFF OF TALENT THRU WAIVER WIRE.MORE SO ON DEFENSE THAN OFFENSE.
Jeff Gordon: The Rams might get a veteran or two to shore things up. Some of the kids bidding for sports are really late picks and street free agents. That is a recipe for trouble.

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Jeff Wade: Does Steven Jackson know he has a contract for this season? (I know the line about all the players do it). This is great theatrics by the Rams and Mr. Jackson with ticket sales a little down. He will eventually sign a earth shattering contract, draw lots of media attention and everybody will love him even after he gets out of 2 a day practices in the heat and didn't honor his contract. How sad.
Jeff Gordon: I can certainly see this perspective. I didn't agree with his strategy. The Rams have all the leverage in this matter, including the ongoing fine accumulation. Jackson needs this extension or else he takes all the risk this year. He needed to come to came trusting that a deal could be finalized.

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Kiko: Thanks for answering your questions, as a Life Long Rams fan living in New Mexico, its great to have a place like this to go to for Rams News. Thanks

First off, read the story about yoga, now was it the Titans doing Yoga or the Rams? Do a lot of NFL teams do this and if so is it effective?

Second, what is Jay Zygmunt thinking???? Jackson wants to sign an extension, so give him the money because I know there are plenty of teams out there who will want to give him more! GET IT DONE! How much more time can he miss for it to really affect the first few games???
Jeff Gordon: Interesting, isn't it, how fans are divided on Jackson. As for the yoga, the Rams must try everything to cut down on the injuries they suffered last year. That was ridiculous.


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trey: hey gordo,
i was justwondering if you jay zygmunt will get a deal done with steven jackson soon??? did u see our RB's in the last game vs. tennesee? We couldnt possibly carry them into the regular season bcuz they couldnt even rack p yards on 2nd and 3rd team defense..i just really want the rams and SJ to get something done quick so SJ can learn the offense and be ready for week one vs the eagles
Jeff Gordon: The clock is ticking . . .

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Bryan: I seriously wonder what's going on at the Rams practice. Especially when the defense is practicing. After watching the Rams Titans game i've come to the conclusion that either Haslett's scheme is too complicated leading to mistakes/misunderstandings by the players, or the defensive coaches are not coaching these players correctly. Is Haslett going to finally do something about this because after seeing two years of poor run defense it deosn't seem like they changed up anything in the scheme or practice?
Jeff Gordon: We'll watch practice closely this week, but I can't believe that it's too complicated. Although a lot of guys do miss assignments . . .


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Rambunctious: Hi Jeff:
1)Is Kreider now deemed healthy by the Rams? If so do you see him being the first team blocking back? (I don't mean at the expense of Leonard as they apparently will be expected to fulfill different roles).
2)How serious is Avery's injury, will he be out much longer?
3)The game against the Titans was ugly period! Do you expect more of the same on both sides of the ball against the Chargers? The old saying "you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," comes to mind. I hope Jacob Bell, Chris Long,and Adam Carriker turn out to be more than lipstick .. Thanks in advance !!
Jeff Gordon: Those guys you mentioned are all on the spot. The Rams need to block and tackle! Kreider is being counted on to fix the blocking back situation, which means Leonard becomes a utility back. As for Avery, not sure how much longer on him.

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Mark C: Hey Gordo! OK. I know pre season does not mean all that much, but why is it that the Rams seem to totally suck in these games? I mean hear we go again. First team can't get a score. Bulger's throws are off his back foot just like last year (This is a huge concern) and all he can talk about is golf. I thought he had his confidence back. The defence can't stop anyone and there is always an excuse, like we have a player/players hurt, WELL SO DO OTHER TEAMS! and it does not affect them like it does us. I know SJ is not in the mix, but are our other backs that bad? The Titans backs ran through us and it did not matter who it was. You could probably take the guy selling peanuts out of the stands and let him run through our D

I hoped our D would be much improved against the run I mean on paper we look really good. Why were they so bad? It kinda seems that no matter how good a player is, when they come to the Rams they forget how to play. Is this coaching? Haslet was a great coach, what happend? Where is Al Saunders great offence? And you can't say oh well it's just the first game. I saw a lot of other teams perform great on their first outing.

Please give me some insight on what is wrong. I am a dedicated Rams fan, always have and always will, can't help it, I love this team and do not expect a Super Bowl win, but just want to see them fight to win, they don't even have to win, just see them try and fight for it.

Also SJ is hurting this team. He signed a contract! Steven live up to your contract! You are no Marshal Faulk. He has all year to get an extention. I am a former U S Olympian and have seen this kind of athlete, they are selfish and not a team player. If this continues, the Rams should cash in on him and get a first round pick for next year, or shop for another one fast. From the way this last game went we will need all the first rounders we can get.
Jeff Gordon: We just talked to Clifton Ryan on KFNS ("The Sports Edge, noon to 2 p.m.) and he attributed the problems to missing players (Witherspoon, Brown, Atogwe and Draft) and some missed assignments. He insisted this scheme can get results and he noted that it did get results until the injuries deplted the group last year. But this will be a big week of work.

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rich: Jeff; Any word on Carp felt this morning after waking up? soreness, swelling etc?
I know this may be a redundant question, if so just ignore it.

Thanks
Rich
Jeff Gordon: I'm at Rams camp, but I'm sure STLToday.com will have any updates on Carpenter as they become available.

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zenonator: No, NO, NO, Not another lackluster start. What is wrong with this group of underachievers anyways? I swear its enough to quit on this Team and I've been a fan for over 33 years and find that a repulsive alternative. Bulger seems like driftwood after a new contract, Haslett must just be Pathetic. Linehan moves the team into a better atmoshere for training and they repay him by playing soft and cuddly.Please tell me what is going on with these Clowns ? Lets deal with this EARLY this time. Is it really time to clear the house yet !!
Jeff Gordon: It seems like the Tennessee trip was anything but cuddly, but it still didn't pay off. Weird. Bulger isn't complacent because of money, but he is still recovering from the beating he took last year.


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Joe: Jeff,

I realize that last Saturday's game was just a preseason game but the Rams play still had to be very disturbing and discouraging to the Rams coaches. Seems like this game showed a lot of weaknesses the Rams need to work on but the run defense is probably their biggest concern right now. Do you know if the Rams are looking to add or trade for any DT's and/or LB's in the near future to help them stop (or at least slow down) the run? Is it correct that the Rams 1st String Defense did a pretty good job last Saturday night while out there and it is mainly the reserves that the Rams and their fans need to be concerned with? Thanks!
Jeff Gordon: The Rams are OK at DT with that they have, because Adeyanju can move inside. With Draft and Witherspoon out, their lack of veteran depth at linebacker got exposed.

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JP: Where in the world is the PASSION on this football team????
Maybe it's just me but I saw more excitement & passion from the other teams
around the league.

Hopefully Dick Vermeil's has one helluva speech left in him for the
troops because they sorely need it! From your "inside knowledge" would it be fair to say that while Linehan may be a nice man he doesn't have the respect or confidence of the players under him......
Jeff Gordon: I wouldn't say that, but Scott does have to ramp up the leadership. All eyes are on him as the team comes off a 3-13 fiasco.

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trey: do u think the rams have a shot at the NFC west?
i really think that they are the best team in the nfc west and dont think the hawks are better..truthfully who would u pick to win the NFC west?
Jeff Gordon: I like Arizona this year. And Seattle always beats the Rams . . . so I'm not optimistic.

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pj: is STL really disliked by the rest of the country or do we just get overlooked all the time. we seem to have a lot of calls go against us ( at least the cards and the blues i dont follow the rams... go chiefs!! ) pitches seem to be called differently. penalties seem to go against us, there are a lot of 'missed calls' on penalties against us.
Jeff Gordon: Cue the conspiracy music! I think the Rams aren't beloved by the NFL, but that is just my paranoia.

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trey: well gordo u know what?
i dont like you.
and i think u need a new job.
this is a different year and when we get SJ we gonna win the NFC west by a long shot believe it or not.marc bulger is gna go back to 2006 form.SJ is gonna have a monster year..torry holt will have a good year.and our defense will be good with witherspoon oj atogwe and LL...so think whatever u want gordo but its a whole new year.
Jeff Gordon: Sorry, but I'll stick around a little while. The Rams will be better, for sure, but it's hard to predict greatness for them in the NFC West. Holmgren has owned Linehan and Kurt Warner will keep the Gridbirds from collapsing if Leinart can't get it done.

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Petey123: Linehan has another year on his contract after this year right?
Jeff Gordon: Yes, but I don't believe the team would bring him back as a lame duck. Either he gets extended or he departs. In fairness to Scott, he needs an extension if he is going to coach here next season.

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tc: Hi Jeff,

I know it's just pre-season, but I've NEVER been as depressed after an opening pre-season game, there was nothing to be happy about.

Prediction time: SJ signs......
Jeff Gordon: I keep saying he has to sign soon, since this holdout is senseless and both sides need it to end. But nobody listens to me!

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Patrick: Considering our schedule (Rams fan) and the current state of the organization is it likely the Rams will make an in season head coaching move if things aren't moving toward .500 or will they wait until the end of the year?
Jeff Gordon: It would take a bloody player revolt to cause a midseason change. I don't see that happening. And it is too early to talk coaching changes.

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That appears to be the last question, so we'll catch you next time!