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    Gordo Live Monday July 30th

    Edited for Rams content.

    By Jeff Gordon
    Monday, July 30, 2007 01:00 PM CDT < LIVE >
    Join columnist Jeff Gordon for a live chat from 1-2 p.m. about the Cards, Rams, Blues, Mizzou, SLU or whatever sport or team is on your mind.

    Tom: Hey Jeff,do you believe SJ is the best running back for 07 and do you think he has hall of fame potential

    Jeff Gordon: Jackson could be No. 1 in the NFC, anyway, unless the Rams let Gore run for 300 yards a game. If Jackson stays healthy for 10 years, he could put up Hall of Fame numbers. He can run and he can catch. But that is a long, hard road. There are a lot of great young RBS in the same position. Let's see which ones last.
    Marco: Hey,
    I was just wondering with the retooling of the Defense, do you think this is the year that the rams defense "man up"?, Will the rams pursue Simion Rice? ESPN frequently reports that the Daunte Culpepper will end up with the rams is there any truth to this rumor?

    Jeff Gordon: With Bulger signed for six years, Culpepper would only come here as a last resort. Frerotte is a solid back-up. Rice doesn't appear to be a great fit here.
    Jeremy W: Most people I know are already starting to get into football mode with the down state of the Cards and renewed optimism for the Rams. I think the offense will score more efficiently in the red zone with the addition of Bennett and McMichael. This means the defense will make the difference between making or just missing the playoffs.
    It seems very common, but my question is about stopping the opponents running game. Do you think the additions on defense (Carriker, Draft, and a healthy linebacking corps) are enough to get them to around the middle of the league rankings, or will they have to count on the offense to put quick points on the board forcing the other team to play catch-up and try to attack more through the air?

    Jeff Gordon: It will take a combination of the two -- better play against the run and more leads to work with, forcing opponents into catch-up mode. The Rams had decent run defenses during their heyday because other teams couldn't run much.
    Julius: Hello,
    I've always liked Ron Bartell as a big physical presence at cornerback and believe he'd stay in the starting lineup if given a chance. How is he looking so far in camp?

    Jeff Gordon: His relative size is appealing, since the Rams have some small guys at that position. He will learn a lot this camp starting in Brown's place, but he has a ways to go with his cover skills.
    Rams fan in Colorado: How much longer does Isaac Bruce wear a Rams uniform? He's one of my all-time favorites, I'd hate to see him somewhere else. Is there a chance of that? I think he's a HOFer, do you?

    Jeff Gordon: Yes, I believe he is a Hall of Famer. The Super Bowl catch clinched that. I believe he can excel this season and one more. After that, could he realistically still beat defenses? Let's see how those legs hold up this year . . .
    Klent Starks: What is your take on the Bulger deal? Do you think he got a little too much money? And how much did Carriker sign for? Thanks

    Jeff Gordon: Carriker got $12.8 million for five years, with incentives that could push that deal higher. AS for Bulger, no, he is not overpaid. He is in the top five or six NFL quarterbacks and should be paid accordingly.
    Tom: Hi Jeff: Question is: Andy McCollum is 37 yrs old -- I am really surprised that he didn't get his walking papers along with Timmerman. Andy has had some great years as a Ram, but our O-line looked good last year with the youth infusion in which Romberg played a key role. Do we keep 3 centers? Romberg, McCollum and Fry?

    Jeff Gordon: Because the team has guard capable of playing center, too, it will impact which of the non-starting centers stay. I don't see Romberg making the team as a back-up. McCollum could, because he can play guard. I assume the same is true for Fry.
    john: The Michael Vick saga has all the potential to become one of the worst PR nightmares in NFL history.
    Other than to be a distraction and fodder for useless blabber by the talking sports heads, what do you predict will be Vick's impact on this years Rams?
    By December 2 when Atlanta comes to St. Louis, my guess is the Falcons will have settled into the bottom rung of the NFL. Will the Rams prevail?
    Do you think Vick's and other naer-do-wells off field troubles will help keep wayward Rams in line?
    Thanks John

    Jeff Gordon: Some football players will always get in trouble. As Jerry Glanville would say, they aren't playing tiddlywinks out there. It takes tough men. As for the Falcons, everything has gone wrong for Bobby Petrino so far. He was tailoring an offense for Vick, then lost him. Joey Harrington? Please.
    Guard: Gordo,

    With Rams Camp now underway, what to you, looks like the best off season move made by the team either in the draft or through Free Agency?

    Jeff Gordon: Carriker is a stud and he plays the needed position. McMichael is fun to watch, but he is almost like a bonus for this offense.
    Guard: Gordo,

    I read where Ryan Pickett has failed his fitness physical with the Packers and is out of shape. Maybe the decision to let him walk wasn't a bad one after all? How does a multi-million dollar athlete not come into camp in shape and ready to play?

    Jeff Gordon: Pickett was a nice player for them last year. Big Grease needs to eat more salads, eh? I would expect him to work that out. If not, the Rams could do worse for a depth guy, no?
    Carl: DE James Hall is getting a lot of praise from the coaching staff as well as his fellow players, and he hasn't even played a snap yet this season. For example, Scott Linehan can't stop praising him, and Leonard Little thinks he will get no more double teams. Is it too early to give James Hall such a huge platform? Will the pressure effect his play? Is he realistically that good and could possibly be the biggest steal of the offseason? Or will he disappoint everyone and, before the end of the season, get replaced like Chris Claiborne due to lack of performance?

    Jeff Gordon: If Hall stays healthy, he will make an impact. Durability, not ability, is his issue.
    john: A key Rams concern from now until opening day is injuries. Broken bones seem to be luck of the draw but past Rams seem to suffer lots of groin pulls and re-injuries after surgery operations.
    What is your take on this year's Ram injuries on opening day?
    Are the Rams getting any better at avoiding lots of really serious injuries?
    How do the Rams injuries compare to NFC West and overall NFL injury counts

    Jeff Gordon: Linehan is pretty cautious, resting his veterans and alternative one- and two-pratice days. That is about all he can do. I look at what happened to the Seahawks last year -- and what happened to the Rams in previous years -- and write it off mostly to luck. Dick V. was the last Rams coach to push his team to the physical brink.
    Guard: Any inside camp intrigue at Rams camp? Very few injuries, no camp fights... can camp really be going this smoothly?

    Jeff Gordon: Heading in Day Four, yes. Zygmunt did a good job getting the Bulger and Carriker deals done, eliminating the distraction. The only bummer so far has been Brown's suspension, since it leaves the Rams short at CB for four games.
    Guard: What's your take on Linehan's Camp schedule, alternating two-a-days with one-a-days and a lighter routine for the over 32 gang? Too soft? Smart like a fox?

    Jeff Gordon: I think it's smart. This team has some age at key positions. And it's the quality of the work, not the quantity. Linehan believes his staff is paying better attention to detail in Camp Two.
    Brad: has Drew Bennett and Dominique Byrd looked in camp?

    Jeff Gordon: Bennett looks great. Byrd has much to prove to make the team. He needs to star in special teams drills, for a start.
    Guard: One of the big concerns for the Rams this year is Special Teams. Have you had any chance to view the ST's in practice, and what's the over/under on having to interview a new ST coach in 2009?

    Jeff Gordon: The special teams are tough to gauge now, aside from the kickers. The coverage and return teams basically hold auditions until the team gets into its preseason schedule a bit. Linehan knows his new special teams coach will get extra scrutiny, given his thin background, so I expect him to give the coverage and return teams lots of personal attention.
    Guard: Hi Gordo,

    So who has impressed you the most thus far at Rams Camp? Who's impressed the least? Thanks as always.

    Jeff Gordon: The most: Tye Hill. The least: Too early to say.
    Gus: From where the Rams stand currently, what are the Rams 2008 Draft plans? I know its early, but alot of people are doing mock drafts already.

    Jeff Gordon: You look at the DEs and LBs and you see the need for high picks at those positions. If Bruce slows down at all, they will finally have to take a receiver high,too.
    George "stlramz" Mavris: What's up with Adam Carriker throwing Cogs and McCollum around during his first practice. Is this guy the next coming of Merlin Olson or is something wrong with our O lineman. Given the great DT's we faced last year (Vikings/Lions/Raiders) it seems strange that a rookie would be able to do such a thing.

    George Mavris

    Jeff Gordon: The kid wants to prove something. Of course, training camp is a long, LONG exercise. As I note elsewhere, let's see if he can maintain his size and strength through camp. Let's see how much he has in the tank four weeks from now.
    TD51: now that Bulger has his extension, how much longer is S Jackson under contract and will they look to try to lock him up to an extension? I believe he's going into his 4th season this year.

    Jeff Gordon: He is obviously next on the "to-do" list for Zygmunt. But Jackson has a chance to lift his market value with one more giant season. Another 2,500 yards from scrimmage would establish him as a real superstar.
    Hang Time: Comments from Shaw and Linehan suggest the Rams are satisfied this year to use Shaw's term "be competitive." Do you think the Rams are in their own minds still in a rebuilding mode and are looking to 2008 as the year the Rams have legitimate hopes of being a Championship Contender rather than a mere competitor?
    Rams didn't to go out in free agnecy to address obvious needs on defense. Maybe they're waiting till 2008 to do so? Is the culture at Rams Park still "Business Before Championships"!

    Jeff Gordon: The Rams believe they have a playoff contender this year. The front office spent accordingly. You never look ahead to the next season in the NFL because the salary cap gives you a chance to compete almost every single year.
    bill wagner: I still have serious reservations about the ability of the defense to make big changes. Yes, they do know the
    system better, the big guy from Nebraska sounds impressive,etc. Still, there seemed to be a logical
    plan to rebuild the offense line (which needed to be
    done) Haselett knows exactly what he is doing and I am
    sure all the new faces are exceptional. But, if Carriker goes down and isn't the greatest rockie since the coming
    of our lord, I feel that one more seasoned player upfront would have been wise.
    This e-mail comes from an old Ram fan from LA days of Waterfield,Hirsh,Fears & Van Brocklyn who will always follow those horns.
    Take care from Manzanita,Oregon on the coast where everyday is Saturday waiting for Sunday

    Jeff Gordon: Don't rule out the addition of another lineman. The Rams just added an experienced guard, so they are watching the waiver wire closely.
    Radiohead235: How is coach Haslett going to use Jon Alston this year?

    Jeff Gordon: If he progresses as expected, he could become a passing-down specialist. Look for him to attack the quarterback.
    JC: Some fans watching Rams camp say the offense is just having its way. Does it seem the defense is in for another rough year?

    Jeff Gordon: You've got a LOT of experience on offense and a not a whole lot of exciting defensive depth in camp. So mismatches are not hard to find. The Rams D has a small margin for era, because certain young players (Bartell, Wroten, Carriker, Atogwe, Hill, Wade) have to make big, big strides.
    Dustin Johnson: Thanks Gordo

    From what I understand, we have picked up Milford Brown. I noticed that he has started a number of games with Houston and Arizona, and is still a young player. Any chance he makes a puch for that starting job. He should at least be on that final roster, correct? Also who do you see starting next to Will and Pisa? Will it be Chillar or draft?

    Thanks again

    Jeff Gordon: Brown is at least pushing Terrell for a back-up spot. He has the mean streak the coaches are looking for. Draft's asthma attack prevented him from making an early impression, but, yes, he has a good chance to using those run-support skills as a starter this year. Chillar needs to have a great camp.
    Scott from So. Cal: Good am Gordo :

    In the 1st 3 days of mini camp, what new players have impressed you the most, so far ?

    Jeff Gordon: Tye Hill is holding up much better against Torry Holt than a year ago, which is understandable. Rookie CB Jonathan Wade is also seeing lots of field time as the Rams try to fast-forward his learning process.
    McMichael is a moose, the best pure TE the Rams have had in a long, long time.
    bash-on: How is the chemistry/rivalry between the `O' and the `D'? With two former Nebraska players, (Incognito & Carriker), facing off each day in training camp, it seems that there might be a little bit more than pride at stake in their battles.
    Bash-on Regardless
    Powder River Let 'er Buck'

    Jeff Gordon: Everybody expects them to fight any day now. Why wouldn't they? Both pride themselves playing a relentless style.
    bstam: What steps have been taken to ensure that this defense is finally on the same page as Jim Hasslett?

    Jeff Gordon: Jimmy Kennedy? Gone.
    Jerametrius Butler? Gone.
    Travis Fisher? Gone.
    Dexter Coakley? Gone.
    Joe Harris: Gordo,
    Now that the Rams have signed Bulger for 6 years, do you think he has 6 good years left in him?

    Joe Harris, Chicago

    Jeff Gordon: Six is a lot, of course, but the guaranteed money makes this about a three-year deal in reality. Marc ought to play at a high level for 3-4 more years. To excel longer than that will take some good fortune.
    Rob Blanco: How's the d-line looking this year? Honestly.

    Jeff Gordon: No surprises on the DL so far. The big news was the work Adeyanju and Wroten did during offseason. They should be ready to step up this year. Hall and Little have some miles on him, so the Rams don't need to go overboard with them early. Everybody talks about Carriker, but it will be interesting to see how rookie Keith Jackson is holding up after about a week of this.
    Mike: Was wondering about T. Sandidge and E. Moore. Do you see these two, who have some experience, as potentials to contribute or are they P.Squad likely's or cuts?

    Jeff Gordon: Moore was OK last season, so he had the edge going into the offseason work. Let's see what happens . . .
    Steve Baker: Gordo,

    1.Will we be seeing Jackson and Leonard in the backfeild a lot this season or will the Rams mostly use one back sets with more TE's?

    2.Is anyone pushing Chavous for playing time at SS? Alston?

    3. How is James Hall looking thus far? How about Walls?

    4. Who do you think our 3rd RB will be? Harris, Minor, suprise?

    5. Is Byrd in camp? If yes, Is he in good shape?

    I could go on but I won't. Thanks for all you do for STL sports fans.

    Steve Baker

    Jeff Gordon: I'm guessing will see some two RB formations this year, since Linehan lvoes Leonard's versatility. He can line up at FB and run the ball. He can peel off and catch the ball. He can stay in and pass block while Jackson swings out. At strong safety, Todd Johnson was brought in to do that. Walls is the third CB right now, moving into the mix in nickel packages (with Bartell taking the slot man). At running back, an early head-turner is Rich Alexis. But it's way too early to handicap that -- and other RBs could become available as training camps wind on.
    Matt Tinker: How are the safeties looking so far? Any improvement after a year under Haslett? Does Witherspoon still look sharp in the middle?

    Jeff Gordon: It's early to judge these guys, other than to say a few kids (like back-up MLB Quintin Culberson) made the most of their early reps. During about Week 2, the young kids start to list a bit and the veterans assert themselves.
    Matt Tinker: I've heard a lot about how impressive McMichael and Carriker have been in camp. But I haven't heard much about how Drew Bennett is fitting into our offense. Is he on schedule or is he struggling to grasp the offense?

    Jeff Gordon: He is a perfect fit. There is nothing unusual or tricky about this offense. He and Bulger spent a lot time working together and they really click on the field.
    Steve Bonin: Jeff

    To my inexperienced eye, it seems as though signing free agents is more like recruiting for college than a pure economic process: Players seem to look more closely at factors like winning tradition, the coaching staff, the city, etc than they often look at the dollars.
    With this in mind, is New England going to remain the USC or Ohio State of the NFL by attracting many of the top flight free agents?
    Are the Rams doing the right things to become a favored destination of future top free agents?



    Jeff Gordon: Money still talks. Tradition, coaching, geography and facilities are all factors, but most players are unwilling to take a lot less to play for a perennial winner. New England is very, very smart. The Patriots target the right players. But they also lose their share of good ones, too.
    Steve: Jeff,

    What are the chances that Bennet will play his way into the starting spot.

    Jeff Gordon: If Bruce is healthy, he will be hard to dislodge. But that is a big if -- and Ike's age will dictate a lot more job sharing anyway. Both guys will see a lot of action, even though Linehan hopes not to use a lot of three-WR sets this season. (He wants to run the ball and he doesn't want to play catch-up every week.)
    Fred Wied: Jeff,
    How much do you think special teams will be improved and do you think Derek Stanley has a chance to beat out Dante Hall for kick off and/or punt return duties or if he will even make the team?
    Thanx Jeff

    Jeff Gordon: Unless Hall has lost a step, he will be the return man. The Rams made that commitment by making the trade. They have other candidates, but they have always had lots of candidates. What they have lacked is somebody capable of changing a game from that position.
    At WR, a lot of guys are going for one spot, barring injuries. Stanley has a tough fight ahead.
    Stevo: Hey Jeff, thanks for the forum, its the best.
    Do you know what the Rams salary cap is looking like?

    Jeff Gordon: The Rams are fine. But then again, they aren't looking to make another big addition. Their roster is pretty set. They may a veteran or two along the way, like guard Milford Brown, but the basically the '07 Rams are in place. And Zygmunt has structured the contracts such that the nucleus can stay in place.
    Yarko: Hi Jeff,

    Quick question. Do you think the rams should go after Simeon Rice and would he be a good fit on the Rams?

    Jeff Gordon: Rice would want to be The Man, despite his lost production. So if Strahan wants to play the holdout game, Rice could help the Giants. The Rams made a tidy investment in Hall. With Rice, there are concerns about his lingering shoulder injury and his ability to stop the run.
    Can he still play?
    Dean: Does Carriker really look as good as everybody was reporting this weekend? It seemed everybody was darn near giddy about him. Also, do you think that even if he is as good as first impressions indicate, can one lineman really make that much of a difference and bump this defense up enough for the team to make the playoffs?
    Thanks a bunch for your time and insights.

    Jeff Gordon: He's been fine so far, because he has lots of energy and is a big, strong kid. Except for McCollum, he doesn't have to match up against much experience in practice.

    Can he maintain his size and strength through the grind of camp and into the season? If he can, then he can learn this job.
    Mark "Eldrick" Ferry: I am concerned about Alex Barron. It's obvious he has great potential and has played well at times. My question is: do you expect a breakout year from him- he's in his 3rd season so he should be getting comfortable at right tackcle? Also has anyone been working with him to eliminate all the false start penalties?

    Jeff Gordon: What will help him take the Next Step is Linehan's offense. Look for lots of downhill blocking. Barron will also get more help from the tight end, now that the team has both McMichael and Klopfenstein. More two-TE formations will take some load off.
    Barron has dominating physical ability. He will develop faster in this power scheme than he would have in the old Air Martz offense. He won't be on the island nearly as much.
    1380: Gordo,
    Over the past ten years the Rams have had multiple players who have been banned from the league for a season or completely.Leonard Little ,Daryl Henley,and Lawrence Phillips all committed crimes against society. Only one of them seems to be a productive citizen that being Little, but he is a recidivist(2nd DWI). My question is how can the NFL act as the end all be all in judging the cases of current players like Vick and Jones? Look at Ray Lewis and Jamaal Lewis they have been positive role models since their brush with the law.Don't you think the NFL is out of their league when they start to prosecute a man morally and financially before our Constitution has? Ram1380

    Jeff Gordon: Great point. Roger Goodell's clean-up is a PR move, primarily. The players association has been surprisingly supportive of this "zero-tolerance" approach to players adding fresh crimes to checkered pasts. But when a player is suspended before he even gets to trial, that does cross a line. In Pacman's case, there were things beside the pending "rain" incident in Vegas to nail him on. In Vick's case, I suppose the publicity surrounding the indictment creates enough of a circus to merit a suspension. But, yes, prosecuting players before they get their day in court is somewhat un-American.
    David May: I'm concerned that coaches aren't giving enough credit to Romberg. Is the fact that the rams won all there games when Romberg was center, coincidental? I don't think so. Just how good is Mccullom at Center. I hate to mess with success. the center does more than just block. He calls the Line play too. what do you think.

    Jeff Gordon: Andy has had tremendous success here at center, so he will have an edge if the staff believes he is healthy enough to play the long haul. If Brett outplays Andy, then McCollum could stick as the back-up center/guard. But if Romberg gets edged out, I doubt he lasts as a back-up -- because the Rams will lean toward two-position guys for their extra spots.

    This staff does like size on the OL, even at center.
    owen: how has wroten,hall looked in practice against the 1st team offensive line

    Jeff Gordon: Pace isn't taking his full rotation at left tackle, as he works back from his surgery, so Hall will catch a break. And Wroten is fine playing against players with similar experience.

  2. #2
    PHAT-MONEY Guest

    Re: Gordo Live Monday July 30th

    great stuff.

  3. #3
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    Re: Gordo Live Monday July 30th

    Delighted to hear that Tye Hill is impressing so far in camp, with Brown likely still gone for four games a lot hangs on Hill a little earlier than we would all hope. IMO he will be a stud and I expect a good 2nd year after a strong rookie campaign..

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