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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Gordon: Another Rams roster gap exposed

    By Jeff Gordon

    The Rams entered this season with holes all over their roster.

    They lacked proven offensive playmakers after losing Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson to free agency. They began play without NFL-tested safeties, leaving the defense vulnerable on the ground and through the air.

    They sprung a leak at outside linebacker when Jo-Lonn Dunbar departed after a four-game NFL suspension. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan’s stunning decline and/or leg injury created another huge void.

    And then there was the back-up quarterback scenario. Developmental quarterback Austin Davis struggled through the preseason, inspiring coach Jeff Fisher to keep Kellen Clemens as Sam Bradford’s back-up.

    Ideally this rebuilding team would have located a young QB to develop behind Bradford. Or, if Fisher was more focused on contending right now, the Rams would have added a more accomplished veteran to back up their $50 million man.

    Clemens had already served his purpose. He knew the Brian Schottenheimer offense. He served as a useful mentor for Bradford, helping implement the new system.

    He did a very nice job in that role.

    But you don’t need to be Bernie Kosar to see that Clemens was ill-equipped to guide this team in case of a prolonged emergency – especially in an offense where all the skill position roles are filled by young players in training.

    Sunday’s 30-15 loss underscored the No Proven Playmaker problem. Right off the bat Brian Quick dropped a simple pitch-and-catch play that would have resulted in an early first down.

    Tavon Austin fumbled away the football with the Rams moving into scoring range. Quick broke free in the left corner of the end zone and dropped a would-be TD pass.

    Out at Rams Park, this sort of bumbling is known as “Sunday.” Next week, it will be known as “Monday Night Football” with the ferocious Seattle Seahawks defense coming to town.

    Wish Clemens luck with all that. He has a career 62.2 passer rating with a 51.8 percent completion rate, seven TD passes and 13 interceptions.

    The Rams were 3-4 with Bradford playing fairly well. Before suffering his season-ending injury, Bradford completed 14 TD passes against just four interceptions, earning a 90.9 passer rating.

    Given the incompetence around him – like the 20 dropped passes, third-most in the NFL according to Fox – that was solid production. Bradford lost two more TD passes Sunday on Quick’s drop and the Jake Long penalty that erased his long scoring strike to Austin.

    Imagine what a lesser quarterback will do with these guys. This grim scenario raises several points:

    The Rams came into the season with little hope of contending for postseason play in the tough NFC West. Now “little hope” has been replaced by “no hope.”

    Since the Rams have no hope of contending, GM Les Snead should focus on younger quarterbacks as he shops for his new No. 2. Maybe, just maybe, the franchise could find somebody with some long-range potential.

    The whole Tim Tebow thing isn’t ridiculous. The Rams will need to play great defense and run, run and run some more to stay viable for the rest of this season. Tebow can’t make most throws NFL quarterbacks must make, but he could run a ground game and make the occasional big play by extending plays with his feet.

    Ideally the Rams will use their remaining games to turn all those unproven receivers, tight ends and running backs into more proven commodities. Doing so with mediocre quarterback play will be difficult.

    Bradford will lose valuable time working with all these players. This lost time will slow the team’s offensive development and cost them next season, too – since Bradford’s rehab will extend into the next calendar year.

    This injury guarantees the Rams much better draft position, but that is no guarantee. The Rams roster is littered with questionable picks. Quick would have been a nice mid- to late-round pick, a worthy project for the long haul. In Year 2 he is still learning to play football at this level, as you saw Sunday.

    Running back Isaiah Pead has proven useless to his point of his career. Receiver Stedman Bailey can’t get on the field. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins isn’t making plays. We could go on and on, but you watch the games. You know the story.

    At least the Cardinals, Blues and Mizzou Tigers will provide some cover in the days ahead as the Rams football staff sorts through this mess.

  2. #2
    bruce4life's Avatar
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    Re: Gordon: Another Rams roster gap exposed

    Way to go Gordon. Just 3 months ago this guy was praising Fisher n Co.

    St.Louis Reports= Useless Reporting= ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ = ***** ***** *****

  3. #3
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    Re: Gordon: Another Rams roster gap exposed

    Thanks Gordon, I feel much better now. You're from St. Louis, right? I seem to recall you felt pretty good about our last 2 drafts. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    Go Rams!

  4. #4
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    Re: Gordon: Another Rams roster gap exposed

    I may not be the biggest fans of our draft selections, but I'm not going to sit here and say they're garbage. JJ, IMO, is goingt be be a great corner once he has time to develop. He's only a second year player...does he need to play better...yes, but not a bad pick. I don't even know who this Pead person is you speak of. I heard something about a running back drafted in the second round but sure haven't seen a second round pick type play on the field.

    As for drops...I'll cut em a little slack. Even TO and Randy Moss have dropped passes, it happens. Doesn't mean the guys a scrub, just means he needs to focus.

    I can tell you this though, if Clemens starts, you might see the first ever Monday Night Football game blackout. If Tebow starts, you might actually see what a sold out stadium looks like for a change.

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