Monday, May 12, 2008 01:00 PM CDT
Edited for Ram-only content
virginiatom: Why did the Rams not make a more concerted effort to upgrade their line backing corps? Dan Connor was there and the Rams could have traded for another 3rd round pick to get him. There is no doubt Witherspoon is a stud, but Pino is injury prone and Draft is unproven. If healthy, can this trio stop the run and cover the short passing game? They didn't impress last year in ether of these areas and there is no one behind them to step in if needed. Why was this area given so little attention?
Jeff Gordon: The Rams believe Culberson, a strong finisher last season, is ready to compete with Draft for a starting role.
virginiatom: Gordo, any idea what the Rams future at quarterback is? I thought they would have grabbed a developmental project this draft. DO you see them making that a priority next year? Given Bulgers and Greens injury history I think this should be a priority.
Jeff Gordon: Yes, it should be a priority. There are better No. 3s than Berlin floating around right now, but none of those guys have "future quarterback" written all over them.
Little Ed: Greetings!
Adam Archeuleta is back on the market we can use a good safety for a cheap price, and he is familiar with Saunder system, and in final he could help the new guys along. Maybe second time a charm, we are giving it to Trent.
Jeff Gordon: Trouble is, Archuleta cannot cover and he cannot tackle. That was the case here during his final season. That was the case in Washington and that was the case in Chicago. Apparently the Redskin and Bear personnel departments don't look at game videos or scouting reports before adding veteran players.
Archuleta hasn't been a useful NFL safety for years.
Remind me again what Torry Holt's beef with the team is?
Holt has been a class act since his rookie season in St. Louis. But I must say that Jim Thomas' article on Sunday is a bit concerning. While Holt has never been an "over-the-middle" receiver he has shown shades of Roger Dorn a la 'Major League' in recent seasons, meaning his body preservation has been the paramount concern and the extra yards/effort fell by the wayside. So, if you take that, and then add in a decreasing desire to be in St. Louis you get a player who is semi-committed. That attitude is the last thing this team needs now. This team has a 2-3 year challenge ahead of it and those who aren't committed to the "grind" probably should find another team.
Jeff Gordon: Holt's beef is three-fold:
The Rams were 3-13 last season, making everybody wonder if this regime is overmatched.
The Rams essentially shoved Isaac Bruce out the door.
Scott Linehan's conservative offense featured a horizontal passing scheme, taking this team light years from the "Greatest Show on Turf."
Maybe Al Saunders can win Holt back over time. But Torry's skepticism is understandable.
wotownramsfan: jeff, what this talk about holt leaving in 2 years? also, how was the minicamp over the weekend? how would you say the rookies looked?
Jeff Gordon: Could Holt leave in two years? Sure. More critical, though, is his frame of mind for this season. Saunders has to win him back. Right now Torry is skeptical of the whole program.
Long looked great this weekend. Burton and Avery obviously have great speed. But as Holt, let's see what they do in training camp when the speed picks up and the hitting starts.
What have you heard about Donnie Avery's performance at the minicamp? By the way, Pro Football Weekly had him rated as the 12th best wide receiver in the draft...oh man.
Jeff Gordon: Avery can run, that's for sure. Can he learn the offense? Apparently he has great retention and a good mind for the game. Can he become a great route runner? That will take time, since he is coming from a spread offense.
David: Hey Gordo,
The optimist is excited to see Chris Long blowing by Alex Barron. The realist wonders if this is great news about Chris Long or signs of the typical from Alex Barron. Is your glass looking half full or empty?
Finally, has anyone taken notice that AJ Hawk of the Packers bears a striking resemblance to Cameron Diaz?
Jeff Gordon: I'll pass on the Hawk comment, owing to my allegiance to Diaz. As for Barron/Long, let's not get too excited or too worried. Long is a specimen, more of a playmaker than the pro-Dorsey crowd would admit. As for Barron, he apparently has been working out . . . but he made himself scarce at Rams Park, which concerned the staff. So he'll be interesting to watch in training camp.
Tiger J: J-Gord, what's the status of Chris Long's contract. Saw something about it in the Ram's forum. Also tried to join conversation in the session. Is it by invite or something. Tried logging in. Was not ALLOWED!!!
Jeff Gordon: Long should be signed soon. Since Jake Long agreed to his deal, there is not much to discuss.
Chris: I've heard that Chris Long has done pretty well so far in Rams mini-camp, but do you have any news on any of the other draft picks?
How are Avery, Burton, King, and Greco looking?
I have high hopes for those 4.
Jeff Gordon: Saunders is a big Burton fan, so that is an early indicator. Greco was behind Adam Goldberg for the minicamp, but his work ethic makes him a staff favorite.
Mike Bess: If the Rams start the season with a losing record, how long will the organization stick with Linehan? Will they give him a longer leash with the tougher schedule?
Jeff Gordon: It IS a brutal schedule for a team trying to rebound. I see him getting the year, unless there is a player mutiny. And with Haslett and Saunders supporting Scott, that shouldn't happen.
rams fan: i have a comment about the draft.donnie avery was a good pick.he was rated low no.1 or high no.2 by some draft guru's.the sporting news rated him the 27th best overall prospect.the rams were drafting for character as well as production.the rams picked him over desean jackson because some view him as primarily as a slot receiver.i also liked the john grieco pick.he was rated by many as the top guard in the draft outside of branden albert who will play tackle for k.c.he gives the rams versatality after playing and rated a top ten tacle.
Jeff Gordon: I didn't understand the negativity of some of the fans after the draft. Can they really predict disaster for some of these Rams picks?
Robert Jones: Gordo -
In all the local TV recaps and online stories, I really didn't hear any assessments of our #2 pick, Donnie Avery. With all the disparity in draft rankings on him, I would think his showing at the only mini-camp would be a key topic for reporters. Besides that, Torry Holt's quotes seemed to be "damning him with faint praise." Do you sense that Torry is legitimately unimpressed by Donnie or just channeling his bitterness about Isaac in his replacement's direction? Don't we really need Torry to take this prodigy under his wing, the way Isaac did him back in '99?
Jeff Gordon: Avery has good speed. That jumps out. But he is coming from a spread offense, so he must learn conventional route running almost from scratch. It'll be a process.
Matt Berry: This question is regarding the Rams. With the train wreck of a season that St. Louis ahd last year, how much importance do you think coach Linehan is putting on the first 4-6 games of the season? With a tough schedule this season, you would think that Linehan would want to jump out to a good start early to answer alot of the questions and doubts that players and fans alike share at the moment. Do you think that if the Rams get off to a poor start, that he will be able to bounce back, or will that be the end of his era?
Jeff Gordon: Good point. A poor start would dredge up all of last year's negativity, despite the new players and new coaches. That is why the tough schedule is such a bad break for him. If he can win nine games on that schedule, he deserves an extension.
Cali Rams Fan: What are the chances of the Rams signing "Action" Jackson to an extension before the season ends? With Bruce gone and Holt likely to leave, we need to lock him in to give us an elite back to re-build around. Thanks Gordo, always appreciated!
Jeff Gordon: Folks at Rams Park believe a deal should be struck well before camp, to eliminate a distraction.
Aron: How did Mr. Irrelevant fair? I know its early but who do you see as the final 6 or 7 WR on the roster?
Jeff Gordon: David Vobora has a great chance to stick at LB/special teams. Caldwell had a nice camp at WR, putting him in the hunt with Stanley, Avery and Burton for those four back-up spots. Looker, Hall and Hagans have work to do. Brandon Williams would need an awesome camp now.
Superjim: Hey Gordo,
I know Holt is our best receiver and this won't happen but...I'd trade him. Do I relish the notion of having an unhappy, partially injured player earning millions on my roster? No. What happens if we start badly (with the schedule not beyond the relams of possibility), say 1-5. Will Holt stay quiet until week 16 like last year? or will he mumble after 5 or 6 weeks and create a division in the locker room? This off-season has been about getting high character players into the Franchise and while old Holt fits in with this, does the Torry Holt of the last 3 months? I'd actively shop him, try a trade with Cinci for Houshmandzadeh who's a free agent in 12 months, or if carolina want him then they have some defenders we could sure use...
To summarise, I think we can do without Holt this year given the two receivers we got from the draft and Bennett with Jackson chipping in a-la 2006, and if we got a player like Housh then I see nothing but upside. It'd be a shame for Torry not to retire a Ram but he doesn't want to wear the shirt anymore and if that's the case then, to me, the only option is to show him the door. Your thoughts?
Jeff Gordon: The ideal answer, of course, is for Saunders to revive this offense and help Holt, Bulger and Jackson play up to their Pro Bowl levels. Last year was hard on Torry. But dealing him is not the answer. Getting this team back on a winning track is the answer.
Matt Berry: Jeff,
Do you have confidence that Pace will be able to come back as a pro-bowl caliber player this year, or are his days numbered in your opinion? There is alot of emphasis put on Saunders helping Holt, Bruce and Jackson play at their top levels, but Orlando has been a huge part of the successful seasons St. Louis has had. Is he going to come back and make an impact once again?
Jeff Gordon: I'll give you a qualified "yes" to this question. O.P. worked hard to rehab his latest injury, which was a freakish deal. He was on the field for mini-camps. He'll be fine. But will he last? That is the tough part, but his injuries seem mostly unrelated and odd. Has he become brittle or is he just unlucky?
Matt Berry: Very good point. He seems to be hungry to get out there and compete at a high level again, and he certainly has the skill. I think if he comes out and has a solid year, we will hear alot less about the struggling O-line, and alot more about the limited amount of time Bulger spends on his back. Let's face it; Mark could use a bit of a break on the bang ups. Thanks for the discussion session. great stuff in here!
Jeff Gordon: It was interesting to see Barron working at left tackle at the mini-camp, as the potential heir apparent. He is reaching the make-or-break portion of his career. He could make a LOT of money if he becomes good enough to replace O.P at left tackle in '09 or '10.
SJackson722: am i the only one excited about yvenson bernard?? he was hands down the pac-10 offensive player of the year last year and he finished with more rushing yards than steven jackson during his career at oregon state. he's a horse and we've seen a lot of small running backs do some great things in the NFL. what do the rams running back core look like this year??
Jeff Gordon: He isn't big and he isn't fast, so he faces a tough fight for a roster spot. Right now, Leonard and Pittman back up Jackson. Minor is still on the roster, too. If Bernard can excel as a pass catcher and a special teams guy -- which is iffy, because of his lack of speed -- he could fight his way into the mix.
His instincts and toughness are great, obviously. And Linehan liked his productivity, obviously.