Monday, August 18, 2008

marvin slay: Van Brocklin-to-Fears:

What keeps Linehan as coach next year?
a. 5-11
b. 6-10
c. 7-9
d. 8-8
e none of the above
Thanks Mr. Gordon

Jeff Gordon: If the Rams finish 8-8 with this schedule, Scott would have a chance -- IF there were many signs of progress on both sides of the ball. I believe 9-7 would earn him a contract extension. But if the Rams finish 7-9 or worse, there will be a LOT of empty seats at The Ed and high motivation for Rams management to make a change.
The Bandit: Jeff,
I think it's pretty obvious this team has a huge quarterback problem(present and future).

Jeff Gordon: We'll see. Bulger made some good throws Saturday night, but the missed connections were ugly. Green looks capable of moving the team, so fans will call for him if Marc starts a real game like he started the preseason game with San Diego. The Berlin/Gradkowski battle is encouraging, since either would be a fine No. 3. But neither is a Quarterback of the Future.
Rich: Hey Gordo,

When do the Rams expect F. Brown and OJ to get back in the line-up? Even though they are the Rams two best DBs, in my mind they still need to get some playing time in the pre-season.

Thanks again for hosting these chats


Jeff Gordon: I would expect Atogwe to get some reps, since he has been able to get back on the practice field. The Rams need Brown for the real games. As long as Brown is physically fit, I don't see the need to get him too much preseason action. Given the loss of King, this team must be very careful with him.
HEG: if I was the Rams front office & Jackson did not sign this week I would let him sit out this year; most players when they sign about time the season starts are inaffective for the year especially at skills positions;they need to take Ralph Kiner approach- Rams finished 3-13 with Jackson & could finish 3-13 w/o him; I will reiterate what I stated last week in that the Rams would be as good or better with Green at Q.B. Agree or disagree?

Jeff Gordon: The calls for Trent Green have begun! I am a big Green fan and I think he could fill in nicely, but I'm certainly not ready to write off Bulger.

I would give Jackson a deadline this week. Resolve the contract, get back to work or else:

No contract extension this season.

No contract extension next season, either, since he is eligible for the franchise tag.

Either he gets his $17 million to $20 million signing bonus to bank this week or he gets no such bonus for at least two years.

That hard line could force the Rams to deal this guy in a year, but so be it. Either Jackson wants to play here or he doesn't.
kerry lewis: Ever since that afteful day when Warner was benched following the season opening loss to the NYG even when he said he was good to go, I've been screaming from Hawaii that Bulger sucks. Bottom line. He may put up some stats but when the "bulge" hits the fan, he'll toss the big pick, take the big sack, an d do so inexplicably as he did at the end of that season vs carolina in the playoff at home, just a few yards out of fg range in ot when Martz (the real culprit here) asked those around him, "How can you do that?" Hey, give it up already, clean the house! Were the Rams not posturing for Henne in rd 2? omg, clean the house out and bring in Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow. No?

Jeff Gordon: Urban Meyer? Yikes. He makes Mike Martz appear humble by comparison. Tebow is a fine collegiate player, but can he really play in the NFL?

Bulger has been a Pro Bowl-caliber QB in this league. He isn't likely to match Warner as a MVP, but he is still a pretty good player. He needs to get in sync, for sure, so it'll be interesting to see how much progress he makes before the opener. I would play him in the final two preseason games until he produces a couple of TDs.
LongIslandRam: Jeff,

Do you think the Rams should be trying to be active on waiver pickups even if it means they get a few players who know nothing about the Rams systems?

Jeff Gordon: Sure, they have to shop. Having lost a veteran guard and a veteran tackle, they will keep an eye on offensive linemen who pop free. The same could be said at safety and cornerback.
Sean: I know that Bulger has spent extra time going over film and study with the offense, but has anyone seen him spending extra time throwing to the receivers to get his timing down, because to me it looks like that is a major problem for him this preseason.

Jeff Gordon: He has thrown a zillion passes in the preseason and he will throw a ton more. Admittedly, that hasn't translated into results during preseason games yet.
ed: Why do the rams continue to play the free agency game so poorly. They needed big names on offensive line and linebaker in years past and fell to the back because of their passive approach. In my opinion, the 2 most needed and important positions in the NFL are offensive line-to establish the run and protect the quarterback and linebacker- the most important ingredient in a good(see New England)defense.

Anybody can run the ball, or even throw the ball, when a good/great offensive line. Why do you think 6th round draft choices look so good(see Tom Brady-who didn't look so good in the Superbowl when getting pressured)?

Jeff Gordon: The linebacker choices this year weren't all that compelling for a 3-13 team looking to rebuild. And the o-line has been fine during the preseason with Incognito and Pace back from the injured list. Bell was a solid free agent pick-up, especially now that Setterstrom is hurt again. The Rams found two solid guards in the draft and Brett Romberg will be fine at center.
ramslife: Hey hows it going Jeff? I would like to ask you a couple questions if that is alright with you.

1. When do you see this Stevn Jackson holdout end? And why are the Rams FO not trying hard enough to pay him what he wants and get him in camp? I know he might be asking to much money/is breaking the bank but they know and the fans know the Rams don't have a shot at the playoffs or even a descent record without Steven Jackson in the Backfield.

2. With Setterstrom done for the year I can see Schuening replace him. But who will be the backup RT behind Barron? Mark Levior?

Thanks Jeff

Jeff Gordon: Right now, Goldberg is the next tackle in on either side. After that, the team might be better moving Bell outside and plugging Greco or Schuening into the guard slot.

LeVoir has had his moments in the preseason, but tackle depth is still a big concern.

I would expect Romberg to start at center and Incognito to play guard, where he can use his aggression. Leckey has played well enough this summer to earn the back-up center spot.
GoneGator: Hey Gordo, how short do you think Scotty's leash is this year, if any? It seems the Rams are doing nothing new, nor positive, this preseason - again. With Saunders as a capable HC, do you think the "uppers" will pull the trigger if the "same 'ol" style of play shows up the first 4 or 5 weeks this season?

Also, do you think we may see Green as the starter on week 1 if Bulger continues his "ways"?

Thanks for your time!

Jeff Gordon: Bulger will have a pretty long leash. He is the No. 1 quarterback and done enough in training camp to reaffirm that. Green is an appealing option because of his comfort in the Saunders offense, but it's been a while since he was a Pro Bowl-caliber QB in this league.

Linehan will have the full year, unless a dramatic player revolt or total team collapse occurs. John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt are not knee-jerk managers.
Tackleberry: If the Rams season mirrors their preseason, how devastating will the end result be to this franchise? Forward thinkers believed that Linehan should have been gone after last year. He is obviously part of the problem, not the solution. He does not seem to command a lot of respect from the players or the other coaches (Haslett). This would be a painful "lost" year if we just go through the motions again with Linehan at the helm and end up a sub .500 team.

Jeff Gordon: Linehan is trying to assert himself as a leader. And his team's effort was solid enough in Game 2 of the preseason. But how will this bunch hold up against a vicious schedule? This is huge test for a young head coach.

This is a fascinating time for the franchise, given the age/injury history of Bulger, Little and Pace and the Jackson contract dispute. If this team goes south, then, yes, the football operation will go into total makeover.
jlaue: gordo, this is more of a commment. i saw my third game at the dome sat. what a lifeless atmosphere. from the team to the crowd to the dome setting itself. the music sounded like it came from a tape recorder. if this team falters at all early in the season, i can't see more than 25,000 people seeing these games in person. the good news was i was able to take my 3 year old son and get even closer to the field. one question; does bruce g. actually give us a better chance to be competitive because of his scrambling ability?

Jeff Gordon: Gradkowski helped himself in the San Diego game. A third quarterback who can scramble has an advantage, since the No. 3 usually plays under emergency fire drill conditions. But Berlin moves around OK, too.
jd: Are there any good free agents left out there that may be on the Rams' radar? Particularly veteran help at linebacker and corner?

Jeff Gordon: Not really. Devaney keeps an eye on both positions for obvious reasons. Perhaps there are depth guys out there . . . and perhaps there is nothing much at all.
Marc Furtado: Now that Mark Setterstrom is out for the season, what I would like to know is how are Roy Schuening and John Greco doing? What do the coaches think about them? I see many of teh O-Linemen drafted this year playing lots of first quarter minutes...are John and Roy of that caliber? Both were seen by many as having that kind of potential prior to the draft.....

Jeff Gordon: Greco's inability to play tackle well was disappointing, but both kids look capable of playing well inside. If push comes to shove, the Rams could move Bell to tackle and plug one of these guys into LG.

Scott from So. Cal: Good am Gordo -

I'm having Dickerson, Bettis deja vu here ...
... any updates on this holdout with Jackson
coming to end this week ?

Jeff Gordon: If it gets past this week, then it becomes a HUGE issue for the team -- and a huge issue for Jackson, since the Rams have all the leverage here. Again, I would give him a deadline and threaten him with the '09 franchise tag. He is under contract. If he actually misses time this season because he wants a new deal -- thus hurting the team - then I see no reason to offer him a massive signing bonus and the lifetime security that comes with it. He can try to get that from the next team.
mike: Do you think that Marc Bulger's days as #1 are numbered?

The guy looks like a million bucks during practice, but has happy feet during the game. The comments about him sound awefully familiar to the comments from mike martz on kurt warner and how well he was making passes during practice, etc and we all know what happened there. I like bulger, i think he has a lot of stuff that other guys dont, but he really looks terrible out there.

Jeff Gordon: The pressure is on! The call for Trent Green gets louder! Obviously the next preseason game is mammoth for this guy.
davebird32: Hey Gordo,

Do you think Bruce Gradkowski has any chance of taking some snaps in the regular season? I think he would be a good change of pace guy. Not to mention it was nice to see a effective mobil QB in the Rams huddle.

Jeff Gordon: Bruce really helped his case Saturday. But Berlin is playing well, too, so the battle will rage on until the end. Both could play a lot in the final preseason game as the coaches protect Bulger and Green.
Kiko: First off The Rams and Jackson have to work this out, PLEASE!!! I have been on Jacksons side but now he just looks like its all about him and he is lazy, get to camp!

Secondly when Linehan says Jackson is working out, do you know what he is doing, what kinda of training?

Jeff Gordon: Jackson is staying in shape, but it's not football shape. If he tries to play real games without taking bumps in practice or preseason games, he is more likely to get hurt.
Ram_Malavasi: Gordo:

2 items:

First off, in warming up for the Rams' regular season, I'm concerned about the level of intensity coming from the team - particularly the head coach. Do you see any hope that the Rams will improve enough to compete for a playoff spot this season?

Second, the Rams seem to be passing on a number of veteran free-agents (LB Brandon Moore the most recent example) that can help out on defence (not to mention targeting a veteran running back in case SJ doesn't show). Do you see/hear anything to indicate they are looking to grab some FA help - MLB, SS/CB, OL depth, etc... (I fear if they wait until the season starts, there won't be much quality left)

Jeff Gordon: The intensity was better in Week 2 of the preseason, but they will have to play like maniacs to get to the high side of .500 this season. Can they do that with Linehan? Haven't seen it yet.

As for veteran help, Devaney is a good personnel guy. He watches the market daily. But he hasn't seen much that he likes more than what he has. This team could use a veteran CB, S, LB or OT.
Rambunctious: Hi Jeff,
Is there a point where S. Jackson must come in or he'll forfeit most or all of this year's salary? Do you recall any NFL players holding out for an entire season?

Is LaCharles Bentley still unsigned? If so, given the injuries sustained by the O-line, do you think the Rams may be interested, or is Bentley's knee shot? Thanks in advance.

Jeff Gordon: Bentley wanted to go somewhere to start. Now he could start here --sorry Brett Romberg -- so it would worth looking at now. The loss of Setterstrom hurts.

Jackson could miss eight games, play eight games, forfeit half his salary and become a free agent (or franchised). If he sits out all year, he forfeits all the money for this year and plays next year under his '08 contract.

The Rams have all the leverage.
Dennis: Hey jeff,

Love your columns,just two quick questions.

1) Do you think Bulger will be able to bounce back this year?
2) What kind of impact do you see Chris Long making this year?

Thanks from CT,

Jeff Gordon: I haven't written off Bulger . . . yet. Bernie is right -- he needs to bounce back with a nice showing in Week 3.

Long will help this year, but he has a ways to go. He is learning how to play out in space, having played a 3-4 in college. He'll make effort tackles, but he hasn't shown much pass rush yet.

Jeff Gordon: Green's presence give Linehan a great Plan B, but Bulger will get a long leash. And, yes, the Rams always watch the wire.

Jeff Gordon: HE BETTER!
D-Mac: Hey Gordo, thanks for the session.

Do you think the Rams will settle the Jackson issue like they did with Jerome Bettis, shipping him out. Or will they roll aka Jerry Jones did with Emmitt Smith and sign him up to get him in the game?

Jeff Gordon: That could happen, as a last resort. But Shaw learned from that, I hope. This team needs to extend Jackson and get him going. The alternative is not pretty.

Jeff Gordon: The Rams could still land a veteran fill-in tackle, if the right one shakes loose. That is still a concern, even through Goldberg has had a nice camp.
kdunlap: I am a big believer that attitude, aggressivness and personality go along way on the football field. From what I see of Bulger he has neither. He looks like the dog that gets beat by his owner each day so he automatically cowers when he sees him.

I think the rest of the team and especially the offense feeds off this lack of attitude, aggressivness the lacks.

Is he different behind the scenes with teammates?

Jeff Gordon: He is trying to become more assertive, now that Bruce and Faulk are long gone. But his NOT a gung-ho, outgoing guy by nature.
steve665: Jeff-If I had a contract to do a job,and I refused to do the job,I would be taken to court to be sued for breach of contract.Why can't the Rams do that to Steve Jackson? He signed a contract to play for the Rams for a set amount of time for a set salary.What gaves?Also if I was a Rams fan,and I had to paid full price to see that mess at the Dome last Saturday I would consider starting a class action lawsuit against the Rams and the NFL.-PS-Gave the Rams some green spray paint so they could spiffy up that "turf?" at the Tomb of Gloom.

Jeff Gordon: The Rams can't sue the guy, obviously, but they can fine him. And the franchise can't threaten him with the franchise tag and take away its offered long-term extension. The team has leverage.
TUG MAGRAW: Hello Jeff,

It seems to me that the Rams will have a similiar season to last year. They don't seem to be very tough (physical) and I don't think Coach Linehan is a fiery kind of coach to get the players fired up. I hear the practices aren't very hard and I think the Rams will just be another opponent for other teams to pad their record and Scott won't last the season as head coach. What do you think?

Jeff Gordon: The Rams are trying to be more physical. If there lines stay reasonably healthy, you'll see that this year. That part of their game was much better Saturday night. But, no, Scott isn't a fiery motivator. That will have to come from veteran players and other coaches.
jwbrown518:Gordo, the Rams look, sound and feel horrible again this year. Is the major problem an ownership crisis, in that the new owners don't much care about football and don't care whether the team remains in St. Louis?

Jeff Gordon: Give Chip time. He cares. And if he can't afford to keep the team - which could be the case -- I would expect him to find a good owner to buy in. Don't blame Chip for the 3-13.
Oldgeek: Jeff,
Do you think Bulger's funk the first two games is a result of the beating he too last year? How long do you think the Rams will give him to snap out of it?

Jeff Gordon: You would hope there is no residual impact from that, because then it would be time to consider Green.
Kenny H.: Hey Gordo,
Isn't it clear that the Rams will get SJ signed if he will just report? He seems like such a headcase to me. Maybe the Rams should just bench him for the first several games while he gets into shape. What? Without him are they going to lose 14 or 15 games instead of 13? I realize the guy is a stud, but it's stupid that he won't show up and get things moving.

The Rams should just trade him for some players/picks. Teams clearly don't need a RB of his caliber to win it all, nor do they need a personality like his bringing people down. Besides, only fools overpay for running backs in this new era of football. One teams cast off is another team's Ryan Grant/Earnest Graham/Mike Bell/Chester Taylor/etc.

Jeff Gordon: Jackson IS a rare talent. If the team can resolve this matter this week, we'll see that during this season. Trading him won't get a good enough return.
JP: 1) Does Steven Jackson want to be a Ram or not?
2) Has Marc Bulger "lost it" ot just not in sync your opinion?
3) It's high time to cut our losses on Klopenstein, it's a cut throat
business, either your getting it done or your not. He's not! He can't catch,
he's a below average blocker (Minor TD included) and he's SOFT!
4) Any possible scenario you can envision us beating Philly in week 1.


Jeff Gordon: Too soon to wrote off Jackson's loyalty or Bulger's ability. Let's see how the next two weeks play out.

Klopfenstein got high marks from Linehan Saturday, so he'll be around for a while.

As for the Philly game, they will be big underdogs. A lot of experts like them to win 11 or 12 this year.
owen: should the rams look at making a trade for a qb that could possibly play this year.bulger reminds me of jim everett.once a qb is scare of the pass rush it is hard for them to get would probadly help if steven jackson was back,that way defenses would concentrate on him.dante culpepper is still not signed.also there is beck who could be available in miami.trent green i believe has the courage to stand in there but physically will not hold up.

Jeff Gordon: Courage is is not the issue. If he was afraid, he would have quit many cracked ribs ago. But if he is physically battered, he isn't going to be the same guy. It happened to Warner too. And it's happened to Green.
stlfan4189: Do you believe Tye Hill, OJ Atogwe, Carracker and Adeyanju can improve enough to make a difference to help the rams become respectable. It is pretty evident early on the offense be just flat anemic. I pointed out those players and you could even add in clifton ryan and Johnathon Wade because these were the young players recently drafted who were supposed to help revitalize the defense.

I am putting all hope any successful rams season in the defense, which may not be good with the Titans game. I know they looked better with San Diego but with LT its hardly something to base yourself off of. What are your thoughts about those players and what sort of record do you see us having?

Jeff Gordon: Carriker has nice upside, as does Victor. Those four are critical to the team this year. So is Culberson, Bartell, Long . . . really, they are all critical. This team has to make a stand and it has to start on defense. This is still the NFL.
Jonathan: Hi JP,
Long Time Rams fan,
Do you believe JH's Defense will look more like this week's D or
was it just an illusion due to the Chargers playing hardly any starters.
Our O line looked great in running the ball and even though Bulger got manhandled, they looked better in pass blocking. I liked what I saw out of Lecky, do you think he could beat out Romnberg?
Thanks JP

Jeff Gordon: If Romberg's hand heals, I'd expect him to start. Leckey has been a pleasant surprise, though. The Rams D will be better this year, but don't judge it by what happened with the Chargers scrubs.
Jonathan: Linehan's not really considering Berlin over Gradkowski is he? Saw Berlin in College and he looked horrible then. The Cincy game with Berlin was painful to watch.
Thanks JP

Jeff Gordon: That's why Bruce is here. And Bruce keeps playing like he did in Week 2, he will have a good shot at the job. The competition is pretty hot right now.
Mark C: Hey Gordo!
I have to say I have a real concern about Bulger. He is not the same; you can see it in his face. He already looks defeated and Im going to make a comment that nobody has yet. Bulger is the only QB in the NFL that looks like he has never lifted any weights. He has the thinnest legs, arms and resembles the marathon runners at Beijing. So how can he take even the lightest hit? When Trent came in even for just a few plays, the offense came to life. In the second half our other QBs at least looked like they were fighting to win. At what point does the coach recognize a player that has lost his stuff and is afraid to step up and lead this team? I believe that if Trent had started, we would have scored.

I was impressed with our defense; for the most part they looked very good. I wonder why the Rams seem to have so many injury pronged players. I know other teams have injuries as well, but not the same players year after year. We seem to have a lot of guys that have potential, work hard during the off season, come into camp, the hype is great and then they go down with a season ending injury at the start or early part of the season year after year.

Jeff Gordon: Setterstrom is certainly injury prone and we've probably seen the last of him. Otherwise, it's just part of playing football. Every team has issues.

Marc always looks kind of hangdog, so he gets a tough rap from the fans. The body language is misleading. I believe he is more into it than he seems.
Jonathan: James Hall has outplayed Long in two pre-seasons games. Any chance he is the opening day DE with Glover, Carriker and Little? I hope I'm wrong, but Long looks alot like Trevor Johnson with great hustle and no impact.
Thanks JP

Jeff Gordon: Hall is a nice player when healthy. The guy you saw Saturday is the guy the Rams signed. Long will still play the Lion's share, but Hall could move around and play a lot of pass rushing situations.
bassrecord: Gordo. Since camp started to date what is the most significant positive and most significant Ram negative you've seen?

Thanks John

Jeff Gordon: Positive: The O-line, with the rookies and Leckey coming along on the inside.
Negative: Injuries (Setterstrom, King), Bulger's slow start, Long's slow start.
Brian: Jeff,

I have never been big on Mark Bulger, but his mind is clearly somewhere else. At the very least I wish he would show emotion. This team needs a lot of help due to its inability and coaching or lack there of, but for your quarterback not to be a leader, they are destined for continued failure.



Jeff Gordon: Now would be a good time for him to channel his inner Favre, if he has one.
Mark C: Hey Gordo!
I have to say I have a real concern about Bulger. He is not the same; you can see it in his face. He already looks defeated and Im going to make a comment that nobody has yet. Bulger is the only QB in the NFL that looks like he has never lifted any weights. He has the thinnest legs, arms and resembles the marathon runners at Beijing. So how can he take even the lightest hit? When Trent came in even for just a few plays, the offense came to life. In the second half our other QBs at least looked like they were fighting to win. At what point does the coach recognize a player that has lost his stuff and is afraid to step up and lead this team? I believe that if Trent had started, we would have scored.

I was impressed with our defense; for the most part they looked very good. I wonder why the Rams seem to have so many injury pronged players. I know other teams have injuries as well, but not the same players year after year. We seem to have a lot of guys that have potential, work hard during the off season, come into camp, the hype is great and then they go down with a season ending injury at the start or early part of the season year after year.

Jeff Gordon: Compare Marc's body to Gradkowski -- now there is a load! He looks like an mixed martial artist.
Kiko: I understand we need to keep our starters healthy, but I think we have to leave them in these pre-season games until they score a TD (I don't care if they play all 8 qtrs we have left) once they score they can can take a seat.

Waiting until the season starts to get the starters to play for a TD is too late in my opinion, what do you think?

Jeff Gordon: Agreed!
Petey123: Jeff, your prediction on the rams staying in St. Louis long term? How do you see it working out?

Jeff Gordon: Pull for Rush Limbaugh to buy the team. He'd keep it here long term. Ownership is the key -- even more so than the stadium.

That looks like it for now! See you next week!