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    Jim Thomas Chat --March 25

    Jim Thomas Live
    By Jim Thomas
    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 01:00 PM CDT < LIVE >
    The Rams beat writer goes one-on-one with readers on Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in a live chat.

    David: Jim, What do you think of moving Adam Carriker to the LDE spot, promoting Clifton Ryan to NT and drafting either Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis to man the DT spot? Adam is bigger and stronger than Chris Long, just about as fast and was at least as productive in college. Then maybe draft more of a rush end in the second round, like Lawrence Jackson?

    Jim Thomas: With Little back, I think you've got to keep him at left DE. I think Carriker could play at lot of RDE, which he did over the second half of the season.


    Damon: Hey Jim! I am glad to hear that we got James Hall back for a cheaper contract. This move really enables the Rams to take the player they feel is the BPA at pick two. I believe this really opens to door for them to select Dorsey with the second pick if he proves to be healthy. We could move Carriker to DE on running downs and then bring in Hall as a pass rusher. Obviously Gholston and the Longs are still in the mix at two also, but this gives us the opportunity to take the guy highest on the board and avoid reaching. Who do you think is second on the list for them behind Chris Long?

    Jim Thomas: I don't think re-singing Hall takes them out of the running for Chris Long or Gholston. With Hall, who's pretty good against the run, maybe the Rams would feel better about taking Gholston at No. 2 (since pass rushing, and not run defense is his strength), if Chris Long goes to Miami.
    I don't know for sure that Chris Long is No. 1 on their list, although I do think the Rams _ at this point _ like him better than Gholston. So I'm not sure who's No. 2. But to me, it seems clear we're talking about a top four of (the two Longs, Dorsey and Gholston) at this point, with Sedrick Ellis and McFadden not far off the pace.


    bash-on: Just curious if you have an inkling of an idea who the other players are that the Rams will be bringing in prior to the draft? Specifically, are they brinbging in Jarrod Mayo, the linebacker out of Tennesee?

    Bash-On Regardless

    Jim Thomas: I'll try to find out before the visits.


    eric jensen: hi jim,
    so say the rams get a Long with their first pick...where do they go with their high 2nd rounder?

    Jim Thomas: If it's Chris Long at No. 2, then it's got to be either WR, CB, or OT at No. 2.
    If it's Jake Long at No. 2, then it's got to be either WR, DE, or CB.


    OG LA Rams Fan: First of all I would like to say thank you for having these discussions. My question is more of a comment. I really am not happy with the offseason moves thus far. At least on the player side of things, I believe the front office moves were all very strong. But what is going on with getting quality players? I am not a doom and gloom type, I think that the team will actually compete next year baring another injury plagued season. But I really believe we need to make a few more moves this offseason. Lets look at the rams history of drafting D lineman. We have tried for years and none have panned out. But it looks like we will try again this year with the 2nd pick overall. And please explain to me why we let go of Bruce and kept Bennett??? But the thing that really bothers me is why didn't we go after Deangelo Hall?? Why do we continue to waste our free agency going after washed up players or mediocre players? Example Coakley, Glover, James Hall, Bennett, Claiborne want more?? And why do rams players get better when they leave the rams? Pickett, Bly, This list is to long but it goes way back Bettis. There were many quality wide recievers that hit the free agent market and we might go after reche caldwell?? And I can't say its been a horrible offseason we got a kicker that we all know can kick clutch kicks, and I have always been a Trent Green fan. But when you are 3-13 a backup QB and a kicker aren't your biggest needs. So with all this being said I wonder what kind of quality we could get for the 2nd overall pick, lets hope we trade for a proven player. Lets not waste it on a jimmy kennedy, or a damiene lewis, or ryan picket, or whatever this years name may be.

    Jim Thomas: See my earlier post. I think it was my first post of the day. I too, would've liked to have seen at least one more big or bigger move in free agency. Maybe the Rams still have a big trade left in them. We'll see.


    Thomas Turniawan: Hey Jim;
    So I was watching Total Access tonight, and once again they brought up the idea of teams trading up in the draft, specifically Dallas. According to the ever-so-scientific trade chart, the Cowboys offering us their two number 1's as well as number 2 would still not get them enough 'points' to merit us trading the number 2 overall. However, if the Cowboys did present an offer such as this, would the Rams take it? It sure does seem there are a lot of receivers and a couple of tackles in the 20's area of the 1st round that we could use. And then that would still leave us with 2 second rounders to fill the void at DE and CB.... well any combination of the 4 positions just mentioned would work. I would appreciate you insight!

    Jim Thomas: I don't think the Rams would trade that far down in the round.


    pdub: In your opinion, what's the likelihood that the Rams can or will trade down (no lower than #6) to add another top draft pick and/or established player?

    Jim Thomas: I can't put a percentage on its likelihood or probability, but I think the Rams would at least like to have that option. So far, I sense that there have been few nibbles. But those kinds of trades _ to the top of the draft _ normally don't materialize until shortly before the draft.


    John: Jim,
    I have been a devoted Rams fan since 1973. Even though I do not live close to St. Louis, I had the opportunity to see the Rams live at Edward Jones Dome last season. Although the Rams lost the game to the Panthers, I am impressed with the fan base. My questions: First, I am okay with Chris Long, Gholston, or Dorsey (if he is healthy) in the first round. I would rather the Rams not have Jake Long as our first pick, because we need to address the D-line needs first (my opinion). But, in the second round, if Curtis Lofton from Oklahoma is still available, wouldn't the Rams be sage to take him, as he has so much talent? What are your thoughts on Lofton? And, second, it is fun to speculate on the first round draft pick, but many important picks can be in the later ones, because the Rams need to ensure the future and the team's many weaknesses. Think Brady and Colston. Who do you think are potential undervalued talented players that the Rams may be able to take in those later rounds. Your answer is much appreciated.
    John, San Antonio, TX

    Jim Thomas: I appreciate these questions on the later round of the draft. And you are right about their importance in the overall building of the team. And as March goes into April, I'll be better able to answer them. But I'm just not at this point. Offseason coverage is a wide canvas, and there's a lot of ground to cover. Just in the past few days, for example, I've written stories on a possible change in training camp site, the start of the offseason conditioning program, pre-draft visits to Rams Park by top prospects, and some free agency moves. For Wednesday's paper, colleague Bill Coats and I will have a couple of stories on the first day of the offseason conditioning program at Rams Park. I will spend most of next week at the NFL owners meetings in Florida. It is only after that that I will be able to hunker down and really concentrate most of my time on the draft.


    George Rath: From your NFL business knowledge, what is a good strongside linebacker worth? At say $2.7 mil per year for 2 years, is Chillar being overpaid by the Pack or should the Rams have anted up the money especially since they're not very deep at that position? Also, I saw Devin Thomas of Michigan State light up Penn State last year and be the game difference maker. At 6-2, 215, and a 4.4, what are your thoughts on him in the 2nd or 3rd round for the Rams?

    Jim Thomas: Don't know enough about Thomas, but from your numbers he has the size and speed that Linehan likes.
    I sense Chillar was hoping for more given the state of the market. But it's still a pretty good pay day. By our count at Rams Park, the Rams currently have only five LBs under contract (Pisa, Witherspoon, Draft, Culberson, McGarigle). You usually take seven LBs into the regular season. (Six at minimum.)


    Jarrod: Hey Jim!
    I love the addition of Al Saunders as OC. For the 1st time in a while it looks like the Rams are in transition on offense. They had trouble scoring last year. The O-Line is shaky. We need receivers. Possibly an FB. Do you think Al Saunders will be able to turn the offense around and have them scoring more with what we have?

    Jim Thomas: Good health will help, and so will a No. 3 (or No. 2) receiver that can stretch defenses. But I think Saunders track record speaks for itself. I'm not saying this will suddenly turn into the Greatest Show on Turf II _ you still need the players _ but Saunders knows his stuff.


    Ryan: Jim,
    If Scott Linehan is out after this year do you think Al Saunders has a shot at being the next HC?

    Jim Thomas: Yes.


    Ruben: Jim,
    Thanks for taking my question. Can the Ram's take anyone other than a DL with their 1st pick if they pick 2nd? FA signings and majority of cap this off season has gone toward offense. They have to begin to focus on this historically poor defense at some point, don't they? I have to believe that unless some current defenders raise their level of play significantly this year, the first 2 of 3 picks have to be defensive contributors. What do you think?

    Jim Thomas: If it were me making the pick, I would go DL, particularly DE.


    fahkir brown: I'm facing a year correct? and the chances aren't very good of my appeals?

    If brown is out, does CB become a no. 2 priority behind DE? plus, do u really think that a penalty such as this one should apply, considering Pacman doesn't face much more of a suspension

    Finally, if brown does lose a year, or any player, they are unpaid i believe, but is there terms in his contract that will allow us to cut him/future players?

    Jim Thomas: Sounds like you're pretty tuned in Fakhir. By the way, how come we didn't see you at Rams Park Tuesday for the first day of the offseason conditioning program?


    james: when you say that dorsey could jump to the top of the rams board are you implying by that that

    a) carriker is unlikely to recover in time to play DT

    b) the rams are serious about drafting BPA


    c) the rams are going nuts

    as i see it, the least need right now, on a bad team, is a DT....the rams just seem to need a pass rush and ill be disappointed if we dont have a DE, WR, CB and OT when round 4 finished

    Jim Thomas: I'm saying that Dorsey is that good.


    Steven Cooper: hey jim,

    my question is about al saunders. Can you tell me if we will be expecting more passing or running. Plus, will we have any more trick plays under his watch (since we have 2 college QB's)

    Jim Thomas: Saunders' track record has been to have more of a balance between the run and the past. So I would say more running. Don't know about the trick plays.


    David: Jim, How do you think that Saunders will use Brian Leonard in his offense? I think he has talent and would hate to see another high draft pick go to waste. You said that the light may have come on for Wroten, have you seen D. Byrd around also? When does the RAMS off-season program begin? Thanks alot for your time.

    Jim Thomas: I think the early plan is to use Leonard like he was used last year. Part fullback, part third-down back, occasional RB. Talked to Leonard today, he's doing fine after injuries to both shoulders and is getting close to 100 percent. He said he plans on gaining only about 5 pounds _ to about 232. He wants to gain some weight and strength to do better at fullback, but doesn't want to gain so much weight that he loses his speed at LB. Leonard's blocking was really affected by the shoulder problems over the second half of the season, so I think the potential is there for him to be much-improved next season. We'll see.
    Saw Byrd Tuesday at Rams Park, so he was present for the first day of the conditioning program. (Remember, he has a court date scheduled for early May _ bar fight _ so he's still not out of the woods legally.)
    Talked to Wroten, he's been in St. Louis almost all of the offseason working out. He seems to realize this is basically a make-or-break year for him. We'll see what happens.


    Gabriel: What is the latest O.J and Steven long term deals and latest on lito.Plus I heard the rams are interested in Oakland's F.Washington do think that will happen and do you think he good enough player to trade for. Thanks J.T

    Jim Thomas: Talked to Atogwe today in the hallways at Rams Park (the offseason program started today). He said nothing has happened contract-wise since with the Rams since he was tendered at the first-round level as a restricted free agent. He said he's not even going to worry about his contract status for a while. Have heard nothing new on Jackson, Sheppard. And have heard nothing on F. Washington.


    Dominic: Hi Jim!
    If the Dolphins take Jake Long,which I think they will,does your gut tell you they jump on Chris Long or they trade down for more picks?
    My thought is this,there really isnt a dominant player,but several good players,so why not trade our high number 1 or 2 for more picks to get three good players over 1 player.....your thoughts?After all,we need players and Chris Long is no Lawrence Taylor.
    Again,thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

    Jim Thomas: Under that scenario, I think they take Chris Long. There may not be a truly dominant player in this year's draft, but I think it's widely believed that there's a dropoff after the top six or seven players (the Longs, Dorsey, McFadden, Gholston, Ryan, and perhaps Sedrick Ellis). So if the Rams trade down, I don't think they want to go past the No. 6 or No. 7 overall pick.


    Picklefork: Jim, how much does the contract and the position of the player weigh in on the #2 overall pick? I know its been reported(if true)in the past that Zygmunt guided the Rams away from Troy Polamalu to Jimmy Kennedy in the draft based on the money and singing bonus being better used on a DT then a S.

    So how much does that factor when you consider that if the Rams take Jake Long...he will get 28 to 30M in gurantees and nearly 60M in total contract to basically play Guard why everyone is healthy.

    This is a player who hasnt played guard and your going to make him the Highest Paid Guard in the league before he even steps on the field.

    Now you have used 3 1st round picks on Tackles as well.

    Zygmunt still has the final say...I dont see him using that much cap space on a Guard.

    Jim Thomas: Haven't heard that one before on Zygmunt and Polamalu and Kennedy. In general, I don't think it factors in very much. At offensive tackles, for example, their overall contracts seem to be just as lucrative as any other position outside of QB.


    Andy from Saint Louis: Hi Jeff,

    Would you think this could happen? The Rams sign Takeo Spikes to beef up the linebacker core. Then trade our third or fourth round pick to the eagles for sheppard. Then trade down with Oakland for Micheal Huff and their first round pick and draft Goulston. It would be HUGE for the Rams defense if they did this.

    Jim Thomas: Actually, this is Jim, not Jeff. I think a third_ or fourth-rounder for Sheppard would be a good move. I don't see the Rams as being in the market for a safety.


    Brian: I've been to several Rams home games over the past several years and was wondering if the Rams organization have talked about replacing their current dome home with a much needed and appreciated outdoor stadium. If so let me be the first to petition for no PSLs please.

    Jim Thomas: The dome stadium cost $300 million to build. I don't think it will be abandoned after 13 years of use.


    Taylor (AB, Canada): I see a lot of people asking for a LB in the second round. Although Groves or Connor would be a nice asset to our defense, their need is not ahead of WR or CB. A guy that I would like at the LB is Cliff Avril. He is big, 6'3" 253lbs, and can play DE and OLB. He could give us size and speed at the OLB postion, believe he ran a 4.51, while giving a breather to the DE's in a 4-3 set. Could he make it to the 3rd round and would the Rams consider him, taking into account they already pressumably selected a DE and a WR or CB, leaving one of those two for another round.

    Jim Thomas: I agree with you on CB or WR being a greater need in the second or third rounds than LB. I don't know much about Avril.


    Chris: What chance is there that the Rams pick up Takeo Spikes to supplement the LB corps? If not, do they address this in the draft, and if so, what are the chances that the rookie will start and contribute in 2008? Who do you like in the draft for LB (assuming the Rams target the 3rd round or later)?

    Jim Thomas: I think there are concerns about mounting age and recent injury problems with Spikes. If the Rams take a player like this _ as I mentioned in an earlier post on Wilson and Arrington _ the price would have to be right. I think Culberson will get an excellent chance to earn a starting job as things now stand. As for mid-round LB draft prospects, I really haven't gotten there yet in my pre-draft work.


    Barry Gaston: Jim,

    With all the talk about drafting an OT at #2, does that mean that Alex Baron is being thrown under the bus? Seem to me he did an adequate job at LT after Orlando went down last year.


    Jim Thomas: Barron did do an adequate job at LT. Barron is athletic, he plays hurt. And has a prototypical OT build. The problem is, he could be much more than "adequate." The problem with Barron is that it's not clear how much he wants it. In other words, how much passion does he have to be one of the best in the game. If the Rams take Jake Long. . .I'm not sure there's much of a trade market for Barron _ I could be wrong. And the Rams certainly aren't going to cut him.


    Clyde: Hello Jim and thanks for answering ?'s on the Rams. I am an Idaho Rams fan and don't have much interest in the Blues and Cards. I noticed in Gordo's chat today not near as many ?'s about Fakir Brown and a possible suspension. I hope it was all just rumors not just for the football implications but for him personnaly. Can you tell us anything on that situation? No draft questions today. That horse has been whipped to death.

    Jim Thomas: Trust me on this one, the Brown speculation is more than just rumors. That's all I can say at this point.


    jon d: jim, thanks for taking our questions. i was curios if there was any buzz about a trade for chad johnson. what we have to give for him...possible scenarios. Also could we trade both pittman and leonard for a late first or early second round pick. if so i think we should and take kevin smith in the third. he would make a great bakup to jackson, and we could use the other pick to get either our DE or OL plus we need a wr like limas or others
    what do you think

    Jim Thomas: I'm sure the Rams will discuss (or have discussed) the possibility of trading for Chad Johnson (although I have no first-hand knowledge of this taking place.) The issue with Chad, obviously, is that he is such a head-case player. How much would he really bring to the table? How much would he cost in a trade? What has he won, after all, as a Bengal? In short, is he more trouble than he's worth?
    I don't think anyone would give you a late first or early second for Pittman and Leonard based on what they did last year in the NFL as rookies.
    WR Limas Sweed is a second-round possibility for the Rams and other teams, but there are genuine concerns about his wrist injury.


    Curt, CA: Hey Jimmy!

    Now that Chip is running the team, does that mean the Rams will no longer have to keep the "Hollywood connection" with Denzel's son JD on the practice team, taking up valuable space that someone who actually has a chance to make it in the NFL can fill?

    Jim Thomas: I don't know. Since Chip is a Hollywood producer, maybe that means JD Washington is more likely to be on the practice squad one more time. But at the moment, Washington is not under contract to the Rams.


    Don: Jim,
    With the Rams aquiring depth at WR and likley adding one via the draft, how does that impact the status of Hall, Looker, Hagans & Stanley? I know that Looker might have stayed on the roster due to his being Wilkins favorite holder, but now Wilkins is gone. Is he the guy most on the bubble?

    Jim Thomas: Right now, I'd say Hall is safe. Probably as the No. 4 WR and top return man. I think Looker stays _ Linehan loves the guy. I think Reche Caldwell (who agreed to terms Tuesday morning), Hagans and Stanley are all on the bubble. Right now, I sense Stanley is ahead of Hagans.
    So assuming the Rams keep six WRs on the final roster, I'd say Holt, Bennett, Hall, Looker and a draft pick get five of the spots. Leaving everyone else competing for the No. 6 spot.


    mike: I am not sold on culberson--with pisa always getting hurt an middle linebacker out there available--

    what about al wilson? we could move will witherspoon to outside

    lavar arrington still rehabing broken leg?

    Jim Thomas: Your concerns on Culberson and Pisa are valid and understandable. At the very list, the Rams need to add depth at LB. but at this stage of their careers, I'm not sure how much Wilson (turns 31 in June with neck problems) and Arrington (turns 30 in June with the injury problems you mentioned)could bring to the table. If they pass their physicals, if you sign a player like that, I think it would have to be at a bargain rate.


    Dejan Prole: Hi Jim, I am writing to you from Serbia and I am a HUGE fan of Rams! Do you have any new information on Rams interest in Vernon Gholston? I believe that Rams have bigger need in DE than OL so how far behind is Gholston of Chris Long?

    I just hope that Vernon is our pick at No.2!

    Jim Thomas: As you may have read, we've reported that Gholston is coming in for a pre-draft visit to Rams Park along with Jake Long, Chris Long, and Glenn Dorsey. I think there can be a danger of reading too much into these draft visits, but obviously the Rams have huge interest in Gholston. My sense is that the Rams still like Chris Long over Gholston, and I'm not sure that they would take Gholston at No. 2 overall should the Dolphins take Chris Long with the No. 1 overall pick.


    Gabriel to Snow: It seems like the team & coaching staff have enough to do without the hassle of of moving training camp. Linehan needs the vets in his corner, but this seems like a potential irritant for veterens right out of the gate. Your take?

    Jim Thomas: I'm sure the vast majority of veterans would prefer to train in St. Louis. And it's a bigger hassle than it used to be just because of the tremendous amount of video equipment that needs to be moved for taping practice and processing that tape.
    But I believe Linehan feels he needs a tougher camp this summer; and he also thinks it will break up the drudgery of either training or practicing nine months out of the year at Rams Park.


    S. Monkey: Hi JT,

    Thanks again for the chat. While I'm typically pessimistic about the Rams, does it seem odd that we have so many holes in our starting lineup at this point in time. I realize the 1st, 2nd, 3rd waves of free agency are over, and the draft can obviously fill a roster, but can we honestly be looking to the draft for a WR3, SAM, DE, offensive line (pick a spot) and that's all? I'm not sure we're really doing much to be better than 6-10 next season, regardless of Chris Long or Gholston being drafted and becoming an instant All-Pro. Is the true problem really that there's just not many options at this point?

    Jim Thomas: Well, a part of me agrees with you. I thought the Rams would be a little more active in free agency. As I've mentioned a couple times earlier on this forum and on the radio with Bernie and Randy, I was hoping for one more big splash. And this is said realizing 1.) The Rams didn't have an exhorbitant amount of cap room; 2.) Lots of other teams did; and 3.) This was one of the skimpiest free agent classes in years.
    So plenty of questions about the roster, many of which won't be answered until we get to the season. As things stand now:
    1.) Will some combination of Setterstrom or Romberg get the job done at center?
    2.) Can Culberson or Draft get it done at strongside LB?
    3.) Who's the No. 3 WR?
    4.) Will the Rams need another corner if something happens to Fakhir Brown?
    5.) What about DE and the pass rush? Even with James Hall re-signing, I would think the Rams want to upgrade that position.
    6.) Offensive tackle. Even if Pace and Barron are back and stay healthy, the Rams need depth there (a No. 3 OT), preferably someone who can be groomed for a future job.

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    Re: Jim Thomas Chat --March 25

    Jim Thomas: Trust me on this one, the Brown speculation is more than just rumors. That's all I can say at this point.

    dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun

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    keith m. klink Guest

    Re: Jim Thomas Chat --March 25

    that has nothing to do with what we are doing here , go sell your pony at the next town pal .

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    Re: Jim Thomas Chat --March 25

    ****quoting a banned user****

    the Ram nation dont do handbags...try the folks in `cisco!
    Last edited by RamWraith; -03-25-2008 at 07:22 PM.

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