Monday, August 25, 2008
Ken: What are the Cap ramifications if Drew Bennett is released? Does he have any value in a trade?
He should have catched the first ball for a TD or at least 1st and goal. It wasn't an easy catch but it was not a hard ball to catch. The second ball he just either stopped running or is just too slow for the game. If he is hurt, at least sit him down and let the kids play with Holt and McMichaels. Dane Looker is a definite keeper. Dante Hall is growing tiresome with his little naggging injuries. Another mistake in trading for him, but at least I would give him the rest of the season to prove me wrong. But Drew is just awful and it is time to move on.
Any chance Drew is done with the RAMS?
Jeff Gordon: There would be a cap hit, yes. But my guess is he'll get one more year while Avery and Burton get established. No coach likes to admit he made a horrible mistake.
I'd cut Bennett, turn the page and play the kids. This is Year Two for Drew and he has done nothing to this point to justify playing time.
TEASTERN: Mr. Gordon, Derek Stanley has not been playing much in the preseason, is this a bad sign? Thanks for taking my question.
Jeff Gordon: Some folks wondered if the Rams were keeping a lid on the kid so they could sneak him back onto the practice squad.
But with Hall, Bennett and Caldwell all getting banged up, perhaps that could change. Stanley had a very strong offseason and his willingness to fill in at cornerback in practice spoke well to his future. The more a kid can do, the more likely he is to stick some day.
Jerome: Do you think that Burton could take Bennet #2 spot sooner rather than later with his performance. Holt Burton and Avery R-Mac and Jackson sounds good to me
Jeff Gordon: I agree. Burton goes and gets the ball. Had he been healthy in college last year, he would have been drafted ahead of Avery. He has that kind of talent.
Deron Strickland: After watching donnie avery and keenan burton against the ravens, do you think that avery could be the 2nd coming of isaac bruce, as ive heard some make the comparison. Did he look as fast as 4.20 speed in the game?
Jeff Gordon: Donnie has a burst, something we haven't seen from a young guy here since Curtis arrived. But Ike was one of the best route-runners in the history of the NFL. His ability to accelerate while cutting is so rare. And he had the hands and toughness to capitalize. If Donnie can become as good as Curtis, that would be a solid goal for him.
Burton, with his hands, will also generate some generous comparisons in the weeks ahead.
Rick: How early/late into the season does Linehan realize that Bennett is not an NFL #2 wideout ? Even if he is reluctant to slide Avery or Burton into that spot, what about sure handed Looker ? Bennett has been a huge disappointment, and even more so knowing they let Bruce walk. Is he having trouble picking up Saunders offense ? It appears to be a lack of talent.
Jeff Gordon: Bennett has talent. He has put up numbers. But can he stay healthy? Can he find the motivation to regain his old form? Those are legit questions. I haven't seen him a thing that would merit a starting role here. The Rams need to ignore his contract and play the best receivers.
Organic Meatbag: Jeff,
I know the Rams tied up a lot of money in Drew Bennett and they would hate to admit that he was a failed experiment, but what are the chances that Avery or Burton could have a legitimate chance of starting across from Torry? Seems to me that he is becoming a real liability with all of these dropped passes, pre-season or not.
Jeff Gordon: You are right. And if he develops a nagging hip/groin injury, that will only make it worse. I would play the heck out of the rookie receivers during the final preseason game and then ride them in the real games, too. As Linehan said, the sky's the limit with them.
MarV from CALI: Gordo,
hey as always thanks for all the information that you usually provide. It's excellent for me and people like me who check out this site daily to stay on the up and up. I just wanted to know how Chris Long's progress is going. I know you can't judge any rookie for a long long time but there hasn't been much about him to read so i was wondering if you could give any inside info. Much appreciated. And does anyone know the origin of his 'war paint' on gamedays?
Jeff Gordon: The coaches express confidence in his development, but he hasn't done much to stand out at this point. His most notable defensive plays have been made with second or third effort. But he is fitting in and the Rams defense has been most encouraging, overall, during the last two preseason games.
Arturo: Hi Jeff,
Sorry, but I was just cut-off, my question is how impressive were the two wr rookies and how long will it take to get these two in the starting line-up since Hall and Bennett haven't done anything to impress yet.
Jeff Gordon: Don't know if either rookie will start soon, but both should play a lot. They really changed the game when they came in. Also look for Dane Looker to play more this year, given his strong preseason.
First off a huge thank you to yourself and Mr Thomas for doing these chats to keep us fans up on the latest Ram news.
My question is the WR position for the 53 man roster. Who are they gonna be? Mine are as follows with comments:
1) Holt - no brainer no comment needed.
2) Hall - if healthy still a great return man.
3) Avery - great speed takes Hall's place in the near future as returner & WR. Near future may be now if Hall is not healthy.
4) Burton - together with Avery the Rams WR starters in the near future.
5) Looker - great preseason he replaces Bennett as possession threat.
6) Stanley - with what he showed the end of 07 on returns, his playmaking getting cudos after every practice at camp and now a fill in emergency DB to add to his verstility.
7) Depending on injuries it may come down to 6 WR's with 1 utility man like NE had with Brown. For me this gets filled by Hagans / Stanley.
I've given up on Bennett. It's time to swallow hard and move on.
Jeff Gordon: Hall is iffy. If that ankle problems lingers (a massive issue last year), the Rams will have to make a decision. He can't help this team much at WR, but he is clearly the best return guy. Can the Rams afford to keep a pure return guy at the expense of Stanley or Hagans?
I agree on Bennett . . . but it's hard to own up to such a large mistake.
Jerome Cox: Why isn't QB Green playing in the preseason?
Is Bennent good enought to make this team? The perseasion games I'v seen Looker and others are much better than he is. It seems to me being able to catch the ball is better than the potential to catch the ball.
Jeff Gordon: Green knows the offense inside/out. And the Rams want to keep him healthy. The longer he goes without getting smashed in the head (ala Carson Palmer!) the better. I'd throw him a little work at KC, but otherwise I'd like Berlin and Gradkowski continue their battle for No. 3.
Tackleberry: To your knowledge does Bulger do any outside work in the off-season to address his terrible foot speed/agility? He probably has the least amount of scrambling ability of any starting QB in the NFL, and while the o-line issues of the past couple years have played a major role in him taking a lot of hits, he also has contributed to the issue as well.
Jeff Gordon: Well, he wasn't on "Dancing with the Stars" if that's what you mean. There is not a heck of a lot Marc can do about his ability. And if he tries to beef up to better withstand hits, that will only get worse.
Crazy_Legs: Gordo, do you think that either Avery or Burton will pass Hall on the depth chart? Will Hall's ankle injury have anything to do with it or would it be solely based off of performance this pre-season (albeit just one game for Avery)? And if so what player do you see as having the best chance of replacing Hall in the 3rd slot?
It appears to me that Burton is more athletic than Hall and Avery has a better burst of speed. Nothing against Hall but I think we will be more successful with one of those players on the field than Hall. What's your take?
Jeff Gordon: Even when healthy, Hall is very limited as a receiver. Saunders has some plays for him, as he did in KC, but he is strictly a spot player at WR. The two kids are potential starters.
biggame1190: Hey Gordo
I have 2 questions for you if you please
1. Will Dante Hall be ready to go by week one at Philly or is his ankle injury more Serious than I thought?
2.Will Steven Jackson be playing in Against the Chiefs and if so how many touches will Steven be gettin
Jeff Gordon: Linehan's line on Hall was this: High ankle sprain, not as bad as last year. But that makes him iffy for the opener. Stay tuned.
I'd expect Jackson to take a few handoffs at KC just to get a feel for it. Exposing him to lots of heavy contact after limited practice time wouldn't be a good idea. He'll have more prep time after the Chiefs game to get ready for Philly.
Ken, South Lake Tahoe, CA: Hey Gordo, thanks for the chat. How long before for the talented rookie wide receivers (Avery, Burton) climb up the depth chart ahead of the exhausting Drew Bennett? I'm sick and tired of Drew Bennett. He has poor hands and he CAN'T stay healthy. I realize the new kids have a lot to learn before unseating a veteran WR, but isn't it nice to see some fresh bodies on the field? I can't belive we passed on potential WR2 free agents like Bernard Berrian in the offseason... Thoughts?
Jeff Gordon: Spending big dough on Berrian didn't make sense, since the Rams got what they needed in the draft. Thank goodness the Rams took both these kids, because both will play a lot.
bfulton: A lot of positive talk this offseason about Dane Looker and Derek Stanley but not so much for Drew Bennett. Any chance that the latter gets cut for the former?
In that same vein, will Chris Long lose snaps to Hall or Adenyaju come the regular season or will he learn on the job?
Jeff Gordon: Adeyanju has really taken a step this summer. He will get the playing time Wroten got once upon a time. He can play outside and inside. He is more of a pure run stuffer than Wroten, but he has improved his pass skills. Hall is looking like the guy the Rams got a year ago, before the ankle injury. Haslett wants to rotate all his D-linemen to keep them fresh, but it will be interesting to see how man snaps Long plays as the season progresses.
Mike Van: Hey Gordo, this is Mike from Portland, Oregon. My dad, brother, and I are lifelong Rams fans and we'll be in town for the Giants game on the 14th. Still wondering what our best move for tickets is. Is it possible to show up at the EJD on gameday and still get good seats? Thanks
Jeff Gordon: Check the brokers. The prices won't be too bad. If they are, then you can absolutely count on seeing a LOT of seats up for sale on the streets. A LOT of tickets. The Rams will have to win quite a few games to wash that 3-13 from the minds of ticket holders.
AlexJackson: Hi Jeff, thanks for taking the time answering fan questions. I actually have 2.
1. Drew Bennett has had the drops and though he hasn't rolled his eyes yet, Bulger is clearly displeased with him. #10 is clearly losing whatever confidence he had in him. Does Bennett hold onto the #2 WR spot?
2. The last two games the defense has played a couple of offenses that were either good but not playing the 1's or playing the 1's but not a good offense. Despite that they've done what they're supposed to do, shut them down. Do you think this will continue into the regular season and if so, what has been the biggest change from last year?
3. Sneaking a third one in here, is the team gaining confidence in their head coach?
Jeff Gordon: We've covered Bennett. It IS tough to get excited about the "D" just yet, given the beating that occurred in Tennessee and the lack of competition Saturday. But with a healthy Little and a healthy Witherspoon, the front seven looks pretty good. Wade has come a long way at CB.
Linehan is more animated on the sidelines. He is coaching like a guy in the make-or-break season as a head coach. He knows what is at stake and it shows. Is the team buying it? Let;s see if they can string together some victories to regain some confidence.
This is a serious question. Could the Rams cut Drew Bennett, or is the cap hit too much too stomach. Based on Saturdays game, I would hate to see him take any playing time from Avery, Burton or Looker. At least those guys try hard.
Jeff Gordon: Sure, the Rams could cut him. That would be a jarring move, an admission that his signing was a terrible idea. his contract could save him, but it won't guarantee him playing time if the kids keep coming.
Francisco Prado: Gordo, thank you for taking my question/comment. How you've been? No matter what happens this year at OT with Pace and Barron the Rams should draft an offensive tackle in the first round. I liked the way the two rookie receivers looked on saturday.
Jeff Gordon: Agreed! Adam Goldberg is doing a fine job this year, but the team needs to select a cornerstone tackle. Greco, it turns out, is much better inside.
Brian: How obvious is it that Marc Bulger is not happy with Drew Bennett's effort to catch some of the balls headed his way....Bennett can take a hike after what we saw from the young recievers on Saturday evening. Do you think that Saunders is going to stick with Bennett and Hall as 2 and 3 or will they get these young kids in the lineup early and often?
Jeff Gordon: Bring on the kids!
Jon, Rams fan in Kentucky: Thanks for taking our questions Jeff. Although it was only one game, a nervous and mediocre one at that, Burton and Avery certainly showed promise both in speed, hand, continuity and a spark of life. Now my question is this, Should we reserve one of our 6 reciever positions for Drew Bennett, i mean in all seriousness it is my opinion our top six are Holt, Avery, Burton, Hall, Looker, Stanley, not necessarily in that order. Bennett seems slow, unsure of himself and the plays and really he seems useless to a WINNING team. Your thoughts on the six who should make the cut or if we will budge to 7, and if we should cut bennett or continue "project please workout we spent too much on you to fail." Thanks again Gordo!
Jeff Gordon: It's easier to keep six receivers with Saunders using three and four at a time, but it's tough to get to seven -- unless the team really believes Stanley can fill in at CB. That would be wild.
ncdc: Hi Jeff,
Some post-game observations:
1. The two rookie WR's are definately the future of the Rams.
2. FB Russ Weil had a very, very good game- looks like a keeper.
3. Brock Berlin is one of the big surprises of the pre-season.
4. The defense looks, dare I say it, REALLY GOOD.
5. The O-line is much improved, making Bulger much improved.
If the third pre-season game is supposed to be the indicator for the team for the regular season, do we have reason to be very optimistic? And, can the Rams just take the hit and trade Drew Bennett?
Jeff Gordon: Trade Bennett? Where? Based on what? The guy looks done. It would be nice if he snapped out of this funk, but I'm not optimistic.
Tackleberry: Remember when we used our 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft on Brian Leonard? Why did we do that again? Did we have a need for a player that isn't a tailback but isn't a fullback and really fills no true need on our team?
Also, when do we cut our losses with Bennett?
Jeff Gordon: Two games back, he looked pretty good until the shoulder got banged up. He could be a nice role player this year. But a second-rounder? Yeah, that looks more like a reach all the time.
Your article today seemed really down on Drew Bennett, and it's hard to disagree with what he's shown in 23 games as a Ram. How do you explain his decline from a 60+ catch no.1 to what he shows today? Does he seem to understand his precarious situation?
Jeff Gordon: He got some nice dough to sign, so his situation isn't all that precarious. At his age, he should have plenty of football left. But does he?
dcrams20: Gordo, what's your take on the Defense? I think our line will come around, the LB's will be ok if we avoid injuries, but the Secondary scares me. I'm usually optimistic, but given our first half schedule and some of the QB's we'll face, will the 'D' be able to 'bend but not break'?
Dan in Dodge City
Jeff Gordon: The front four looks good. Culberson may, in fact, be the answer in Chillar's spot. But like you, I'm not sold on the secondary. And if one of the LBs gets hurt, there could be big trouble.
chaos3430: So far WR Drew Bennett has looked terrible. He is slow, does not get good seperation, repeatedly drops passes, and runs wrong routes. When he left the game Saturday and the younger, faster, rookies came in, our offense went from ineffective to effective as fast as Avery runs. Do you see Linehan still starting him over the rookies, just because he is making more money than the rookies? To me you don't have a guy start because he is making starter money. We need the best players on the field, regardless of how much they make.
Jeff Gordon: Agreed.
Sharon: I can't believe the attendance at the Rams games. We are from Oaha and have not missed a game for nine years. If you are a real fan you stick with them no matter what. It looks like there are a lot of fair weather fans . GO RAMS! Thank you Jeff
Jeff Gordon: A 3-13 season, full price for fake games . . . I can't blame fans for skipping it.
Mickey M.: Hey Gordo, always a pleasure chatting with you. my question is simple, Why did we pick up Bennett in free agency ? Wasn't he suppose to solve our problems in the Red Zone by adding a height advantage ? IMO he looks lethargic and confused; he has by far the worst 'Hands" ever seen by a WR for quite sometime.
Can we get rid of this guy or demote him to say maybe a 5th Receiver?
It seems to me he was slotted in the# 2 WR position by his salary level and not by merit or skill.
( not sure the 1st one got through so here it is again, sorry !
Jeff Gordon: He was supposed to be a big target, a key red zone guy. It made sense at the time . . .
ctramsfan: How are the ticket sales going right now? I hope the Dome can be a tough place to play once again this year. A tough, rowdy home crowd can only help this team and make it harder for their opponent.
Thanks for your time
Jeff Gordon: Yeah, but fans are still understandably skeptical.
Ron: With the play in the first 3 preseason games is Drew Bennett's play hurting him? Could be one of the cuts when it comes time for the cuts for one of the rookies Burton or Avery? It just looks like that Bennett and Marc Bulger are not in sync.
Jeff Gordon: Bennett has had a season-plus to get on the same page as Marc. It's on him.
Kiko: Thanks for answering our questions, I did not get a chance to watch the game but am happy about all that I've read about it. I wanted to know if Avery returned and punts/kicks that game and If so how did it go?
Jeff Gordon: Saw a little of Avery returning . . . and he didn't impress. But it's early.
Gabriel 2 Snow: Hi Gordo, two subjects,
1. I keep seeing different reports about the length of Jacksons contract. Assuming the voidable years do indeed void, exactly what year would be his last as a Ram without a new deal?
2. How old is Brock Berlin, and did ANYONE anticipate him being the #3?
Jeff Gordon: Berlin has kicking around for four years now, so he falls into the young journeyman candidate. Don't know if he is the QB of the future, but he helped his bid for No. 3.
As for Jackson, I believe 2011 could be the real last year of the contract.
What's your assessment of the Linehan/Holt relationship? Do you see them talking regularly? Is there still a "chill" in their demeanor toward each other?
Jeff Gordon: Torry has no beef. You saw Bulger feed him early and often in the Saunders offense. That cures all. That and winning.
Brian J: Given the fact that Marc Bulger seems to get injured often and Trent Green's injury history, should we be concerned that the Rams haven't addressed the QB situation for the future, plus besides Holt - who will they throw passes to this year on a consistant basis? Don't say D.Bennett because that's not the answer.
Jeff Gordon: The Berlin-Gradkowski battle has been encouraging. You feel better about this year anyway.
Jon: Hi, I'm curious as to why Trent Green has not played more this pre-season. I would think he needs playing time to develop a feel for the receivers as far as game timing. Are the Rams that worried about him getting another concussion? Thanks, Jon
Jeff Gordon: He threw it around pretty good in his impromptu appearance when Bulger got hurt. I'd like to seem him get a quarter just to be sure, but he has this offense down pat.
Tiger J.: What's up J-Gord, been awhile since I have asked not to be included on the See earlier post. But if Bentley is healthy why hasn't someone picked him up. I would absolutely love to have a player of his previous status on the squad. Heard anything about his health. Thanks and stay up.
Jeff Gordon: With Setterstrom done, Bentley could theoretically have more value. Right now, the Rams feel good about O-line as is. But if one more interior linemen get hurt, that could change.
jguev003: What are the chances of Tanard Davis #33 making the team? I read he had a sack and almost an INT against Baltimore.
Jeff Gordon: Howard Balzer's opinion (he's with me on the air at 590 the Fan) . . . he could be in the fight for the last secondary spot, especially with a few of the contestants injured. Bassey is likely to make the group, then it comes down to nine or 10 DBs and whether your guy is in that mix.
John: What's the status of our corners. Is Bartell still the nickel?
Jeff Gordon: If everybody is healthy, yes, he is the nickel.
biggame1190: hey gordo
How are OJ Atogwe and Fakhir Brown doing are they close to being back or what. OJ is a big Key to this Defence and we need him from the start and Fakhir is a starter we cant aford to lose for too long either. Are they anywhere close to being back on the Field and will they be ready to play week 1 at Philly
Jeff Gordon: Philly is a ways off, but the fact these guys have missed so much time is a concern. How many times do we hear that a guy is possible . . . and he misses game after game after game.
The Eagles are banged up at WR position with Kevin Curtis out for the Rams vs Eagles game. What do you see the Rams doing well to win this game?
Jeff Gordon: Reggie Brown could miss, too, with a balky hamstring. That would make life much better for Jim Haslett's guys.
Robert Mitchell: Hey Gordo,
Drew Bennet is turning out to be one of the biggest free agent busts in NFL history. I remember watching the Cardinals fiasco and laughing with my eight year old son as he let a perfect touchdown pass go right through his hands. My eight year old would definitely have caught that pass and many others that stone hands has dropped. he just doesnt' have the tools to succeed as a top flight NFL receiver. What are the chances the Rams release him and fast track avery and burton? Dane Looker could just as easily fill Bennet's role while the young guys catch up..
Jeff Gordon: So far, it's hard to argue with that assessment . . .
ncdc: Another one Jeff,
Many, many people on the forums bring up valid point here: Are the Rams going to keep and play Drew Bennett because he's owed so much money? Is that any way to run a professional football team?
Thanks for doing this chat.
Jeff Gordon: The team takes a big cap hit next year by whacking him now. That could buy him more time. But shouldn't the best players play?
biggame1190: What are the Chances of the Rams signing Bentley and if soo do you think they would just give him the starting Center spot because even tho we need a extra O-Lineman it seems the Rams are trying to overtake Romberg at Center
Jeff Gordon: The guy hasn't played football in a couple of years. Unless the Rams get pounded by more injuries, I don't see where that makes sense. Right now they have ample depth with the two rookies backing up inside.
Columbia_Ram: I am sure you will get this question most frequently. What are the pros and cons of letting Bennett go? How would it affect the cap? If we do, who do you see making the roster as the other wide out?
Jeff Gordon: I'd like to see Stanley make the roster, one way or another. But bumping Bennett, as much as fans want it, would be hard to do, for a lot of reasons.
Adam (Apstl187): Hey Jeff,
Long time reader here originally from Ballwin and live in Peoria now where Rams fans are few and far between. Anyways now that we got to see our Rookie recievers and they performed well is Dante Hall pretty much out as the number 3 reciever? Ide hope so. How about Drew (I cant catch a ball because I dont want to get hit)
Bennett. I hope he wasnt suppose to help us get over Ike, This guy is a joke. Is there any trade scenario Rams can seek for this Bum. Looker has Impressed.
Man would I like to see
Holt Bruce Avery Burton and Looker as our reciever, what was this front office thinking?
Jeff Gordon: Again, why would anybody trade for this guy.
Jeff Wade: Went to the Rams game Saturday night as I am no longer able to give my preseason tickets away. I liked a lot of what I saw. What is the deal with the concessions? You come to expect high prices, slow service but everything you get for the last few years is cold or stale(pretzels, hot dogs etc.) I can remember the first year the dome opened the Post-Dispatch ran a big story on the state of the art food service the dome would supply.
Jeff Gordon: That's an issue outside the control of the Rams, but it is an issue. Compare the dome to the new Busch.
That appears to be all for this week. Thanks!