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Thread: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

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    Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    Gordon: Fans can quit fretting about Rams' draft

    5 hours ago • BY JEFF GORDON

    Just a week ago, some fans were ready to write off half the 2012 Rams draft class as a bust.

    Top pick Michael Brockers had yet to play in a real game at defensive tackle due to a high ankle sprain suffered during the preseason. Guard Rokevious Watkins suffered a high ankle sprain that landed him on injured reserve and ended his season.

    Receiver Brian Quick was targeted a few times in the first two games, then relegated to the inactive list for Game 3. Many fans wrote him off a terrible mistake at that point.

    Givens played the first three games but wasn’t much of a factor either. Running back Isaiah Pead returned kickoffs for three weeks and caught a pass, but then sat out the fourth game as the No. 4 running back. Fellow draft pick Daryl Richardson stayed ahead of him on the depth chart, filling the No. 2 slot behind Steven Jackson.

    Cornerback Trumaine Johnson had a quiet start to his NFL career with fellow rookie Janoris Jenkins standing out along with veterans Bradley Fletcher and Cortland Finnegan. Linebacker Aaron Brown didn't make the team.

    This collective inactivity — combined with an unfortunate team performance in Chicago — triggered much howling in the chat rooms and on sports talk radio.

    Then the Rams beat the Seahawks on Sunday, and folks gained a sense that maybe, just maybe, coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead know what they are doing. The rookies played a big role in that victory.

    “We brought them in here to help us win,” Fisher said Sunday, “and that’s what they’re doing.”

    Kicker Greg Zuerlein is getting most of the attention due to his uncanny accuracy (12 for 12 this season) and unprecedented distance (58- and 60-yard field goals Sunday).

    SI.com’s Peter King gave him this shoutout in his Monday Morning Quarterback column:

    In camp, he started kicking 58-yarders halfway up the net behind the goalpost. And he never stopped. On Sunday, he became the first kicker in the NFL's 93 seasons to make two kicks of at least 58 yards in a game (60 and 58), and he's perfect on his first 12 kicks -- seven of them from 46 yards and out. I asked him when the last time was that he was nervous before a kick. ‘Nervous, I don't know,’ he said. ‘I was pretty excited before my first [preseason] game, in Indianapolis. But I wouldn't say nervous. I don't really get nervous. There's no reason to get worked up about kicking a football.’ Out of the mouths of rookies . . .

    Of course, Legatron was not alone, as ESPN.com’s Mike Sando noted:

    Second-round choice Janoris Jenkins pressured Seattle's Russell Wilson into an interception. Another second-rounder, Brian Quick, put the Rams in position for a go-ahead touchdown with a 19-yard reception on third-and-10. Third-rounder Trumaine Johnson set up that scoring drive by intercepting Wilson on third-and-8. Fourth-rounder Chris Givens had a 52-yard reception . . . Another rookie, undrafted punter Johnny Hekker, threw a touchdown pass on a fake field goal.

    These were the sorts of contributions St. Louis needed to see from its young players. Getting them in the course of a victory over a division rival had to make Sunday a special one for the Rams' new leadership.

    Rams fans have seen a lot of draft picks fail to meet expectations, so they spend a lot of time discussing the selection process and where previous regimes went wrong.

    So where did this regime go right? The success to this point has more to it than just identifying talent by scouting games, looking at game tape and studying scouting combine workouts.

    Teams must select players that fit the scheme the coaches are installing and the team personality they hope to instill. Then the staff needs to coach up those players and put them into positions to succeed.

    The process takes time. Some kids make an impact sooner than others for a host of reasons, but they all have lots of growing to do.

    These guys were very honest going in. They reminded us, again and again, that filling every need in one draft was impossible. The roster renovation was gong to take a couple of years and they would never stop looking to upgrade the group.

    At the moment it seems obvious that Jenkins, Zuerlein and Hekker were team-changing additions. They are each outperforming the veterans they replaced.

    The speedy Richardson is moving into that category as well. He will make some big plays this season.

    Givens flashed his deep potential by catching one long ball and nearly reaching another. Like Richardson, he's the sort of big play threat this team lacked in recent years.

    Johnson made a huge play at cornerback, going for an open field tackle and coming away with the football. Understandably, a lot of fans want Fisher to move him to safety and upgrade the coverage skills at that position.

    Quick flashed his potential with his one downfield catch. Brockers was tough to assess coming off his ankle injury because Seattle handled the entire Rams front seven with its run game, but Michael showed plenty in the preseason.

    Watkins looks capable of becoming a forceful run blocker, but conditioning issues slowed his development and then the ankle injury ended his season. Once he heals, he’ll get back into the weight room and start preparing for the ’13 job competition.

    Tracking the progress of all this kids will be fascinating. With the sturdy framework Fisher is establishing, they will all have an opportunity to become building blocks.

    And if all goes according to plan, fans can start anticipating upcoming games rather than looking forward to the next draft.


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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    IMO, this has been the best draft class overall we have had in a long time. And if people are patient and wait a year or two, they might see some of the selections who are not as active currently pan out as well.


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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    It's mind boggling how drafting other positions besides 7 tight ends improves a team.
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    Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    Joe klopenstein was an awesome TE though Laram!!!

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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    I liken this situation to a girl who has cheated on you. If you choose to take her back, it will be awhile before she completely wins your trust again- and even then, on some small level you will always have reservations about her ability to be faithful.

    With the current Rams draft picks, it is going to take the better part of a season for these guys to convince me they are part of the solution. Likewise for the new coach and front office. Too many scars from past failures don't just disappear from memory, and as much as I love Fisher, I don't have blind faith in anyone.

    The early returns on Zeurlein, Richardson and Jenkins look good. With others, the picture isn't quite as clear. As these guys (hopefully) improve and start to play a bigger role, so will my faith in them increase. Trust, like respect, is earned.

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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I liken this situation to a girl who has cheated on you. If you choose to take her back, it will be awhile before she completely wins your trust again- and even then, on some small level you will always have reservations about her ability to be faithful.
    The problem with your metaphor is that ITS NOT THE SAME GIRL.

    Using your own formula, it would be like having one girl cheat on you, and then distrusting the next girl you date.

    Kind of unfair to the new girl, isn't it?
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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    The problem with your metaphor is that ITS NOT THE SAME GIRL.

    Using your own formula, it would be like having one girl cheat on you, and then distrusting the next girl you date.

    Kind of unfair to the new girl, isn't it?
    I see your point, but sometimes its difficult to forget the past. We all know in bad relationships there are lingering scars. And sometimes those scars are brought into your next relationship. There is an adjustment period in which you must heal. And if you've been hurt, you're guarded.

    I feel the same way about the Rams. There have been too many past disappointments, too many dashed hopes and too many ruined Sundays- thus the skepticism with Pead, Quick, etc. Though I'm ecstatic we're 2-2, these guys must improve, take on a bigger role and earn my faith.

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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    The problem with your metaphor is that ITS NOT THE SAME GIRL.

    Using your own formula, it would be like having one girl cheat on you, and then distrusting the next girl you date.

    Kind of unfair to the new girl, isn't it?

    It is unfair, but it's also pretty clear around the boards that some posters still harbor those feelings.

    Anyway, uh...football, tough, cheerleaders, wings, beer!

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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    To each, their own.

    I believe in the clean slate, and I'm going to be patient with the new regime and the players it selects.

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    Re: Gordon: Fans Can Quit Fretting About Rams' Draft

    I think Gordo is being just as cynically provocative as Miklasz was.Why does it always have to be so extreme; either "the new regime sux cuz the rookies aren't lighting up the stat sheet" or "OMG, every other coach/personnel guru has been an idiot & Fisher/Snead are geniuses & any criticism or concern expressed about their personnel choices must be disparaged".

    This draft class deserves the three year waiting period just like any other but there's nothing wrong with keeping an eye on them & acknowledging that the sooner they start producing consistently, the better off The Rams will be. The one thing that seems quite clear is that the coaching IS, despite some significant injuries, helping to create a stable platform on which the growth of these players will be much more easily visible than in the past.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -10-03-2012 at 03:10 PM.

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