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  1. #1
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    In hindsight, the top and bottom 5 moves of last offseason.

    Now that we have the ability to look back and evaluate, here are my top and bottom 5 offseason moves of 2004.

    Top 5 Moves

    1. Drafting Steven Jackson: While he has been underused and hindered by a minor knee injury, he has demonstrated the promise of being an extremely effective every down back. With Faulk on the decline, this was a big move for the long term.

    2. Matching Jeremetrius Butler's Offer Sheet: JB may not be a first-tier shutdown corner, but he is a solid starter who has played well this year, leading the team in interceptions. By matching the Redskins offer sheet, the Rams have secured his services for a very reasonable price, and don't have to break in a new starting CB as a primary aspect of their defensive rebuilding project.

    3. Drafting Anthony Hargrove: On draft day, his selection drew many cries of "what?" and "who?" but Hargrove has demonstrated some real potential as a DE, and plays with a fire that the Rams' D sorely needs. He may never be a superstar, but he should be an important contributer and potential starter for the next several years.

    4. "Handling" Orlando Pace: There is a bit of speculation on my part here, but I believe that the Rams, in not giving in to the Postons' absurd contract demands and, ultimately, driving a wedge between Pace and the Postons, could produce long term dividends if Pace is signed to a long-term, cap friendly contract this offseason. Here's hoping.

    5. Letting Grant Wistrom Go: I like Grant Wistrom. He was a very good player, and an even better influence, during his tenure with the Rams. He has done similar things when he's been able to play this year for the Seahawks. But he simply is not worth the money that it would have taken to keep him. If the Rams had broken the bank for him, it would have been salary cap suicide. And with the productivity of Bryce Fisher and Anthony Hargrove, the loss of Wistrom could hardly be considered the primary reason for the Rams' defensive troubles.

    Bottom 5 Moves

    1. Resigning Manumaleuna/Cleeland: This is a simple equation. The Rams have had trouble in the Red Zone in the past two years. The TE position is essential to Red Zone success, both from a blocking and receiving standpoint. Manumaleuna and Cleeland have been uneffective in these regards since they joined the Rams. And yet, the Rams matched on Manumaleuna (giving up a comp pick) and resigned Cleeland. Let's hope the Rams find an upgrade at TE this offseason. With the success of Antonio Gates, maybe they should start interviewing college power forwards?

    2. Selecting Larry Marmie as DC: Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that I know enough about the ins and outs of NFL teams to be able to say that Marmie is definitely to blame for the Rams defensive woes. However, I do see an inherent problem with Martz hiring such a close friend to be DC. In a sense, it makes him untouchable - which translates to a lack of accountability. That's a bad formula, in my opinion.

    3. Signing Chris Chandler as Backup: Perhaps there were not a ton of options here, but in hindsight, relying on Chris Chandler to backup Marc Bulger has proved to be disasterous. While I don't usually like to play the "what if" game, I can't help but think that the Rams could have pulled out at least one of the two games against Carolina and Arizona (thereby putting them in the playoffs) if they had at least a competent QB behind Bulger. Chandler's play was downright embarrassing.

    4. Failing to Address Special Teams: I think we can all agree at this point that Bobby April was an undeserving scapegoat for the Rams' special teams problems. This year has been no better. While players like Trev Faulk, Aveion Cason and Kevin Stempke have shown some promise of solidifying this unit, they didn't come along until the season had already started (late season for Cason and Stempke). The Rams need to find a way to get their special teams in order by next year's opening day, rather than tinkering with it throughout the year.

    5. Offensive Line Patchwork: This would probably be at the top of the list but for the fact that the main problems - the loss of Wohlabaugh and Turley - didn't arise until late in the offseason. That said, the Rams really lacked sufficient depth on the O line to deal with these injuries, as has been seen on the field. The Rams need to adjust their "don't draft O linemen in early rounds" policy, and stop relying on retreads and fringe players.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: In hindsight, the top and bottom 5 moves of last offseason.

    1. Drafting Steven Jackson
    I lay awake at night trying to figure out how he slipped to #24 (ok, not really, I actually sleep pretty good, but I'm still amazed he went 24th).
    2. Matching Jeremetrius Butler's Offer Sheet
    I made a mistake on this one. I hated that we matched the offer, but now I'm glad. Butler has shown he can be effective as a #2 CB, which these days is the most underrated position on the field.
    3. Drafting Anthony Hargrove
    Amazing upside. This kid is going to be a crusher in the very, very near future.
    2. Selecting Larry Marmie as DC
    If we had a poll on effective DCs named Larry, our Marmie would fall behind both Larry of the 3 Stooges & Larry the upstairs neighbor in 3's Company. Marmie is a trainwreck and has to go as soon as the season ends.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
    leafnose is offline Registered User
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    Super post:

    Great notion for a solid thread.

    I agree on every point except the tight end.

    Cleeland has suprised me as being able to stay healthy and he is a decent in line blocker. They never run him on crosses, or rarely on drag plays. In Oakland that's exactly what they ran him on....a play that always goes to the WRs....and what does he do? He crushes the defensive back (injured reserve for the year) and tromps off just short of a touchdown.

    Brandon may not be great stuff, but they so rarely send the ball to him that he is under-utilized. I have wonder why they haven't run him on those more elaborate plays in the 2nd level of the secondary.....but the fact is that the Coach is guilty of not going to his tight ends more often.

    Coach doesn't particularly allow any wiggle room, so when the tight ends drop a ball, one can just about assure themselves that the Coach isn't going to call their number again in that game.

    Just witness the part where Coach knew Marshall had the NFL longest catching streak going....and when Marshall dropped that pass...well....Martz never did call his number again.....

    Add in Bulger. Bulger tends to look for his deepest guy first.....sometimes to his own shortcoming.....since the tight ends don't get those routes we never see what these guys can do....and there have been times that Marshall has suffered for Marc's myopic deep ball zones tosses.

    And it is tough as sin to use a first day pick on a tight end in this system, and that's really part of the problem. Quality tight ends are statistically always taken on the first day in the draft. Conwell wasn't even an early pick......you have to go all the way back to Troy Drayton to get a first day Tight end selection.

    In all my years, as a Ram fan the tight end has been an after thought. Conwell remains the best of the ones I can recall.....even with his long absence in injury

    The Rams couldn't afford to take another long spell to try and develop another draft pick, so they picked up Brandon's contract. We'll have to see what transpires next. Cleeland said he'll retire rather than take another one year contract, and Jensen did nothing for me.

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