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Thread: Inside Slant

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    Inside Slant

    Inside Slant

    For three seasons, linebacker Brandon Chillar was just another guy in the team's defense. But things changed in 2007.

    In his second season with Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator, Chillar was credited with 85 tackles, had 2.5 sacks and also forced three fumbles. He was hoping to return to the Rams after becoming an unrestricted free agent, but the team never really competed to retain his services.

    That led to Chillar signing a two-year, $5.4 million contract with the Green Bay Packers this week.

    "I really enjoyed playing in that scheme, and thought that we were going places with that scheme, too, because I was starting to get used in different ways," Chillar told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think the defensive coaches liked me and wanted me back. Ultimately, the front office is the one that makes the (offer). And they didn't really contact me or anything. So I don't think they were very interested."

    With Chillar having visited Green Bay and Arizona, he finally received an offer from the Rams about a week ago. For one season.

    "One year, $1 million," Chillar said of the offer. "It just wasn't cutting it. That made me think that they had very little interest."

    Said coach Scott Linehan, "We wish him well. He played very well for us. Unfortunately, we can't keep everybody. We've had to let other players go. ... We've had to kind of figure out what can stay and what can't."

    Chillar's agent, Jim Ivler, hinted that the Cardinals' offer was somewhat higher than the Packers.

    Said Ivler, "I think ultimately at the end of the day he could have had the ability to get more money elsewhere. But he was comfortable with what Green Bay had to say and he realizes it's a winning program and a great organization and he wants a chance at the Super Bowl.

    "I think that of all the teams that were talking to him when we got down to the nitty gritty, the Packers have the best shot at that. He wants to be on a competitive, winning team. That was absolutely a big thing."

    NOTES, QUOTES

    WR Reche Caldwell signed with the Rams for one-year at $645,000, according to ESPN.com. St. Louis is in need of depth at the position after releasing Isaac Bruce this offseason. There is very little experience behind starters Torry Holt and Drew Bennett, so Caldwell could be in line for significant playing time.

    The Rams were reportedly mildly interested in cornerback Fernando Bryant, who was recently released by the Lions. However, Bryant signed a one-year deal with the Patriots.

    There was also some interest in center Justin Hartwig, who was let go by the Carolina Panthers. Hartwig signed a two-year contract with Pittsburgh.

    The Rams' projected starting center is currently a mystery. Brett Romberg was an unrestricted free agent, who re-signed for one year this week. Coach Scott Linehan has said Andy McCollum could return later in the off-season if there is a need.

    It's also a distinct possibility that either Mark Setterstrom or Richie Incognito could wind up at center. Setterstrom started at center in college and was the Rams' starting left guard last season until injuring his knee in Week 3 against Tampa Bay.

    Incognito also was a center in college, and was the team's starting right guard last season, but missed 12 games because of ankle and knee injuries.

    Recently signed Jacob Bell is slated to play left guard, so provided Setterstrom and Incognito are healthy, one could end up at center and the other at right guard with the roster as it is presently constituted, with Romberg also in the mix.

    Billy Devaney, the team's new executive vice president of player personnel, has emphasized the importance of character in evaluating players.

    "We firmly believe that (character) is critical for long-term success," Devaney said. "The more good people we can bring in the building, guys that care about the team, guys that care about winning, that are serious about their profession, those are the kind of guys you win championships with.

    "We spend as much time evaluating and discussing the character part (as on-field production). "The on-field stuff is almost easy. It's there in black and white, you look at the tape. But there's more than that. It's been proven. There have been teams that spend a lot of money in free agency signing players over the past few years, but not the right type of player. Maybe talented players, but not the right fit. We're more interested in bringing in talented players that are the right fit, that care about the Rams and winning championships."

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I couldn't stress enough that the quality of kids that we're getting coming through, that we saw at the combine. Somebody in their upbringing is doing a great job. Whether it be (because of) family, teachers, coaches, the quality of the kids this year is tremendous." - Rams executive vice president of player personnel Billy Devaney.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    To replace assistant strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll, who left for a job with the Raiders, the Rams hired Chuck Faucette, who has been with Southern Methodist and Texas.

    TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY

    With the second pick in the draft, the Rams have to figure out how to get value from a player that will command a large amount of guaranteed money. With much debate revolving around players like DE Chris Long and OT Jake Long, the Rams wonder if they are true difference-makers worthy of being selected that high.

    They have spent a lot of time recently looking at Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston, and are intrigued by his off-the-chart athletic ability.

    The Rams also have several offensive linemen returning from injuries, so it complicates the decisions to be made in the coming weeks. They added free agent OG Jacob Bell, and would consider playing Jake Long at guard to start out if he was selected second overall.

    1. Defensive end: The Rams are looking closely at Gholston because they got only 5.5 sacks from their defensive ends, although James Hall was recently re-signed. Leonard Little is returning from toe surgery and will be 34 in October. Even with Little healthy, the need for another end is strong.

    2. Wide receiver: Drew Bennett disappointed as the No. 3 receiver last year, and for now, he is a starter after the departure of Isaac Bruce. The Rams hope Bennett's struggles last season were more due to injuries than declining skills. Still, there is a need for youth at the position, especially considering Torry Holt will be 32 in June and has continuing knee issues.

    3. Tackle: Left tackle Orlando Pace has played in just 11 games the last two seasons, and is coming back from a torn labrum in his shoulder. Right tackle Alex Barron, who played mostly on the left side last year after Pace's injury, is solid, but gets too many penalties and there are questions whether the team will commit to him after his current contract expires. This is a draft deep in tackles, so one could be added after the first round.

    MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

    FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

    TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

    G Milford Brown started at three different positions during the 2007 season, and was at left guard for most of the second half of the season. He was in Arizona when new line coach Steve Loney was there.

    C/G Andy McCollum started at left guard and center during the '07 season, but hasn't made a decision whether he wants to play another season.

    S Hanik Milligan played mostly on special teams when he was on the field.

    LB Raonall Smith is a solid special teams player and backup linebacker, but ended the '07 season on injured reserve with a knee injury.

    T/G Todd Steussie wants to return for another season, but it's unknown where he fits on the line. Suffered a broken foot at the end of the preseason and came back for the final six games of the season.

    TE Aaron Walker is a decent blocker who saw his season end because of a shoulder injury. Likely not back after addition of Anthony Becht.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

    RB Rich Alexis (not tendered as ERFA) was signed late in the season after being cut in training camp.

    DE Trevor Johnson (not tendered as RFA) was a situational player that is expendable.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

    S Oshiomogho Atogwe (tendered at $2.017M with 1st-round pick as compensation) tied for the NFC lead with eight interceptions.

    PLAYERS ACQUIRED

    G Jacob Bell: UFA Titans; $36M/6 yrs, $7M SB/$6M base salaries guaranteed 08-09; 2008 cap: $3.167M.

    TE Anthony Becht: UFA Buccaneers; $2M/2 yrs, $270,000 SB; 2008 cap: $865,000.

    K Josh Brown: UFA Seahawks; $14.2M/5 yrs, $4M SB; 2008 cap: $1.8M.

    WR Reche Caldwell: UFA Rams; $645,000/1 yr.

    QB Trent Green: FA Dolphins; $8.9M/3 yrs, $2.1 SB/$900,000 reporting bonus; 2008 cap: $2.6M.

    CB David Macklin: UFA Redskins; $770,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

    PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

    S Jerome Carter: Not tendered as RFA; $520,000/1 yr, no SB; 2008 cap: $445,000.

    T/G Adam Goldberg: UFA; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

    OT Brandon Gorin: UFA; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

    RB Travis Minor: Potential UFA; terms unknown.

    C Brett Romberg: UFA; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

    PLAYERS LOST

    WR Isaac Bruce (released).

    LB Brandon Chillar: UFA Packers; $5.2M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

    QB Gus Frerotte (released).

    PK Jeff Wilkins (retired).


  2. #2
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    Re: Inside Slant

    So Chillar went to the Packers because they're a winning organization and have a good shot at the Superbowl? Did he say that before or after Brett Favre made his retirement announcement?


    SHOW ME THE MONEY......

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Rogers was pretty good against the second best team in the NFC last year(Giants being first). While I wouldn't say that they'll get to the super bowl, I think they'll at least make the playoffs. The defense is veteran and set, and the offense is young and just needs to adjust to Rogers as opposed to Favre. The rest of the north sucks, so as long as they can slow down AP, they should do just fine.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    If anything they need to reconstruct Bennetts contract.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    That list of players signed is actually looking pretty well.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    So Chillar went to the Packers because they're a winning organization and have a good shot at the Superbowl? Did he say that before or after Brett Favre made his retirement announcement?


    SHOW ME THE MONEY......

    with or without brett i personally feel they have a shot at the superbowl,not a team filled with big names but thats sometimes a good thing...theres plenty of talent still left in title town!

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    That list of players signed is actually looking pretty well.

    you better put some ice in that bourbon!

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    So Chillar went to the Packers because they're a winning organization and have a good shot at the Superbowl? Did he say that before or after Brett Favre made his retirement announcement?
    I was thinking the same thing. Without Favre, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack have a huge void to fill and will go through some major growing pains. A "good shot" at the Super Bowl may be a bit of a stretch.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    So Chillar went to the Packers because they're a winning organization and have a good shot at the Superbowl? Did he say that before or after Brett Favre made his retirement announcement?


    SHOW ME THE MONEY......
    Well, it would have been much worse if he made that comment and went to the Cardinals!!!


    Anyway, I'm still quite amazed at the Rams lack of interest in him and their cooler-than-luke-warm offer they made- especially considering all the holes in our defense already. Unless they have inside knowledge of a linebacker somewhere that they really want who will be a casualty in the second round of cuts.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Or Moloch, they feel that former starting LB Draft is sufficient to play for a year or two before giving way to Culberson. Or Culberson starts immediately. I think this is what the coaching staff and front office believe, or else I'd have to imagine we'd have offered more then $1M/1yr to him, or we'd have seen interest in one of the many LB's out there.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    Or Moloch, they feel that former starting LB Draft is sufficient to play for a year or two before giving way to Culberson. Or Culberson starts immediately. I think this is what the coaching staff and front office believe, or else I'd have to imagine we'd have offered more then $1M/1yr to him, or we'd have seen interest in one of the many LB's out there.

    Do you really think they've seen enough of Culberson to take a chance like that? I mean he played well- but he only started one game. At least with Chillar, you know what you're getting- Culberson is mainly an unknown and I think Draft is much more vauable as a back up to all three positions. I was all against giving Chillar megabucks to stay, but really, he wanted to stay and the Pack gave him much, much less than I thought some team might offer. Maybe he's got some personal issues that we're not aware of. It just seems kind of strange considering this teams many holes.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Quote Originally Posted by moloch41 View Post
    1Do you really think they've seen enough of Culberson to take a chance like that? I mean he played well- but he only started one game. At least with Chillar, you know what you're getting- 2Culberson is mainly an unknown and I think Draft is much more vauable as a back up to all three positions. I was all against giving Chillar megabucks to stay, but really, he wanted to stay and the Pack gave him much, much less than I thought some team might offer. Maybe he's got some personal issues that we're not aware of. It just seems kind of strange considering this teams many holes.
    Let me address these questions. 1. How many tackles did Culberson rack up in that start? 11+? I dont remember the exact number it was just really nice. You can also tell by practice if the player has the drive and the ability. He obviously does because of what he's been through so far. 2. Draft had a great season in Carolina as a starter before coming here. Draft can still play and would solidify this linebacking corpse. Hes a valuable backup, but he can still play.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Quote Originally Posted by chipperjones View Post
    Let me address these questions. 1. How many tackles did Culberson rack up in that start? 11+? I dont remember the exact number it was just really nice. You can also tell by practice if the player has the drive and the ability. He obviously does because of what he's been through so far. 2. Draft had a great season in Carolina as a starter before coming here. Draft can still play and would solidify this linebacking corpse. Hes a valuable backup, but he can still play.

    1.) I think it was 14 actually, but it's still only one game against a team that wasn't going to the playoffs. And there are players who are great in practice, but that doesn't necessarily translate to games. All I'm saying is that you know for sure what you're getting with Chillar and it wasn't much to sign him. If he had been asking for 4 or 5 mil a year, I would have said good riddance. They didn't even attempt to make a serious offer.

    2.) I'm not diminishing Draft's role with the team, but it's very rare that you can get a guy who can play all three spots well, so if you stick him in the starting lineup, you automatically lose a viable back up to all three positions.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    Let's see....Green Bay on game day: -34*; Phoenix in the new dome: 70*?

    P.S. I say the Cards have the better record in '08/.
    The break, don't bend offense.

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    Re: Inside Slant

    It might have been all about the money for Chillar in this case, but at least this once it's perfectly understandable. Most teams will give backups more than a 1-year, $1 million contract. Chris Draft is making more than that. An offer like that says either "we're not that interested" or "we'll give you another year to convince us to give you a real offer". The Pack's deal wasn't exactly eye-popping, but it was 80% more than we were willing to offer per year.

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