Jim Thomas Chat Q&A Summary
Here are some highlights of the latest Jim Thomas chat with Rams fans.
-On first ? criticism of Bradford: "Jaguars or not. Three TD passes, zero interceptions, a 105.3 passer rating, and he had about four or five passes dropped. You're hard to satisfy."
-On why Pead is in the doghouse: "Do not know. Likely a missed meeting or missed curfew. You only get so many chances in the NFL even if you're a second-round draft pick."
-On Fisher's attitude ie. special teams: "I don't think it's a cavalier attitude. He was obviously trying to lift Austin's spirits by presenting him with a game ball. That's the way Fisher coaches, more through positive reinforcement rather than grinding on players."
-Will cutting people fix special teams penalties? "Don't know about cutting people. Benching someone for a game might get their attention, however."
-On Jags and 0-16: "I think with better quarterbacking, the Jaguars might be able to pull one out against someone now that Blackmon is back. Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, and Ace Sanders have potential as a receiving trio. You've got Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield and Marcedes Lewis at TE (he was hurt vs. Rams and did not play.)"
-On still seeing pick plays and push offs: "No doubt. It's all about the offense in today's NFL."
-On ST aggressiveness: "That's how he wants them to play. But you're not going to win a lot of games when you're giving up an average of 61 yards a game in lost return yardage and lost penalty yardage on special teams."
-On Austin @ KR: "I wouldn't mind seeing him on kickoff returns, not that many kickoffs are being returned these days. So many toucbacks. But I wouldn't call his play limited at wide receiver. He has been targeted an average of eight times a game in the passing game. And he'd have some pretty good numbers as a punt returner were it not for penalties. I'd like to see him used a little more in the backfield as well."
-Likelihood of win vs Houston: "I'll say 30 percent."
-On Rams' success running the ball vs. Jags: "Don't know if they changed their blocking schemes and haven't had a chance to look at coaches' film yet. The Rams did, however, use a lot more TEs. They were in two_ and even three-tight end sets a lot. So they had extra tight ends in for blocking. The three top TEs, Kendricks, Cook, and Harkey, were in for a combined 143 plays. The top four WRs, Givens, Austin, Pettis, and Quick, were in for a combined 147 plays. As for Houston, they'll obviously give a much better read on if the running game has really improved."
-On injuries & Dunbar: "Stacy didn't finish the game because of a rib injury; Cook had some ice taped to his shoulder after the game. Neither appeared serious. But there is alwasy a surprise or two come Wednesday on the injury front. Dunbar was fine. He didn't play all that much _ 19 plays or 32% of the total defensive plays _ because the Jaguars were in three WR sets a lot."
-On Rams losing to less-than-great teams: "Agreed. And they caught San Fran (3-2) at a good time, with four of their top 12 defensive players out and Kaepernick struggling entering the game. I think we'd all feel a lot better had they been able to win one of those three games."
-On Richardson's short yardage carries: "We wondered that ourselves in the press box. It's like they gave Stacy the ball for a series and he stayed in no matter what, and then Richardson came in and did the same thing."
-On another Schaub pick-six: "The odds of five in a row. I'd say minimal. 2% Especially since the Rams don't seem to jump many routes _ that's hard to do when you're playing so much "off" coverage at cornerback."
-On trading a 2nd rounder for Browns WR Gordon: "If it were me, I would at lest think about it. But I think the Rams want to continue developing the receivers they have. Plus you have to wonder why thhe Browns would want to trade someone with Gordon's potential. Off-field concerns?"
-On short passes: "Oh, the Rams send receivers deep. But they don't seen to get open all that often. As to that deep miss to Givens, Givens could've come back for the ball. There's no crime in that."
-If Rams are viewed as easy win by Texans: "I don't know if Houston is taking anyone lightly based on what's been happening to them lately."
-Smith or Williams @ LG? "Interesting. I think Smith is stouter at the point of attack; Williams plays a little high. But Williams, in theory, is a little better handling stunts and loops than Smith. Fisher just could rotate them once again."
-On Bradford stepping up: "He's trying to. Did you see my notebook lede on Monday about him giving the team the pregame pep talk at the end of warmup?"
-On TE Cook: "He certainly has fizzled out to a degree after that eye-opening opening game. He has dropped some passes and hasn't done much blocking wise (although we knew coming in he wasn't much of a blocker)."
-On WR Quick: "Actually, Quick is playing a fair amount this seson. Much more he did in the first five games of 2012. He was actually in on offense more often Sunday than Tavon Austin _ 24 snaps to 23. He has been on the field for 116 plays in five games, or about 35 percent of the time. Last year through five games, he was only the field for 32 plays. So the Rams are working him in more, and I think will continue to do so. I think Bradford's getting more confidence throwing to him."
-On Rams needing true #1 WR to maximize Austin: "Yeah, I happened to be in the car today and heard Tyoka say that. The Rams, I think were hoping that perhaps Givens or even Cook at tight end would step in and take the role. Obviously that hasn't happened at this time.But I don't think when you trade up to the No. 8 overall pick that you;re going for quantity."
-On Fisher & ST penalties: "I don't think he's downplaying the special teams flags."
-Any trades before deadline? "We've got three weeks to find out. I'm sure they'll listen or explore any possibility. But if they've shown one thing so far, it's that they like to keep those draft picks."
-Package Pead & future picks for Gordon? "Even putting aside Pead, do you really tink Gordon is worth a3rd and potential 2nd round pick. The Rams got Marshall Faulk for a second and a fifth."
-On Bradford locking onto short routes: "I sure didn't see wide receivers running free down field the entire game."
-Sign a power RB? "Don't think so. If they wanted to do that, they would've kept Jackson. They think they have a mini-power back in Stacy."
-How bad are Jags? "They're pretty bad, no doubt. I agree with you in the sense, that the Rams still have a ton of things to work on. I don't think anyone at Rams Park thinks they made a big breakthough against Jax."
-On Saffold: "Still a week or two away."
-Do Rams win if Henne starts? "I still think the Rams win."
-If draft were today, who would Rams take if they had 1st pick? "Interesting question. Right now, I think the Rams have big needs at safety and corner, and perhaps linebacker on defense. On offense, it's got to be offensive line, particularly tackle."
-Most important improvements Rams can make? "I mentioned several of them in an article in Sunday's paper, in advance of the Jacksonville game. Among them were minimizing special teams penalties, cutting down dramatically on dropped passes, not giving up the easy or "freebie" TDs, doing a better job blocking against loops and stunts on the offensive line, pass protection in the backfield. And then there are the obvious: run offense, run defense, third-down efficiency. The pass pro was better with Stacy in the backfield. We'll see if that lasts. The running game was better with Stacy in the backfield. We'll see if that lasts. So was the the third-down efficiency on both sides of the ball. The run defense, I thought, was just so-so against Jacksonville. Arian Foster and Houston will pose a much bigger threat for the run defense. Obviously, there was no improvement on special teams penalties or giving up the easy TD (Blackmon score) against Jax."
-Should Rams focus on drafting linemen rather than signing FA? "Interesting point. Dating back to the Spags and Lineham regimes, the Rams have gotten very little success out of drafting and developing o-linemen. It would be nice to see that change, no doubt."
-More on TE Cook: "See earlier answer. And something I didn't mention earlier, it doesn't seem like he has been able to adjust to the extra attention he got following the season opener."
-On prediction Quick will pan out but Pead busts: "As we sit here today, I can't say that I disagree with either of your points."
-On future @ OT: "I don't think there's any way Saffold comes back. As for Jake Long, he's played three good games, one so-so game, and one bad game. So I'm not getting the "washed up" thing."
-Is Pead's spot in jeopardy? "Well, the arrow certainly doesn't look like it's pointing upward at this point."
-Will Rams come in overconfident? "Trust me, they're not overconfident. And certainly winning in Houston _ even with the current state of the Texans _ certinaly would be a statement win."
-On possibly drafting a DL: "I don't know, Jeff Fisher does like his d-linemen. I could see maybe a d-tackle. But keep in mind, the Rams have their top seven d-linemen under contract through 2014."
-Josh Hull return? "No, I think that ship has sailed."
-Will Bradford ever take next step? "Good question. Don't know. He may just be a decent to above-average QB."
-Is ST problems bad coaching? "I don't think you can make that determination in five games."
-RB and WR with the 1st two picks in the 2014 draft? "We're still drafting WRs high in the draft, eh? As for the OC, let's see what the next 11 games bring."
-On drafting two DBs: "You can never have enough good DBs."
If Bradford is only above average, do Rams consider a QB? "IF that's the case, maybe the Rams do consider a QB at some point high in the draft."
-On QB in Rd2 or 3 to develop? "At this point, I'd say certainly a possibility."
-Fair catching all punts to reduce injury risk: "I know where you're coming from, but obviously the Rams aren't just going to take Tavon Austin out of the punt return equation."
-Thoughts on secondary: "No doubt. Finnegan is struggling. Jenkins and Johnson have been OK. McGee isn't quite ready to play. And at safety, so far I think Mikell and Dahl gave the Rams better safety play last season."
-On offseason expectations: "I think most people expected the offense to have ups and downs because of all the young skill position players. But I don't think anyone expected the defense to be struggling the way it has so far. To me, that's the most disappointing think about the team so far this season."
-On Finnegan's injury: "Actually, it's a hamstring injury. Finnegan. I'm not aware that it has bothered him prior to the San Francisco game. He's always on the practice field."
-On bringing Mikell back: "They talked like they wanted him back for much of the offseason, but that talk ended after drafting T.J. McDonald."
-On Dahl & Wells: "Wells has had one bad game, so I don't think that constitutes poor play for the year. Dahl has had a couple of bad games, and yes, that surprises me."
-On Walton & Rams D: "Actually, it looks a lot like last year to me, just not nearly as effective."
-Are Rams on the right track? "You know, even with the Jacksonville win, I just thought the Rams would be further ahead than they are at this point. And I'm not necessarily talking about the won-loss record. Just the quality of the play. Even with all the youth and knowing we're only one-third of the way through the season, I just expected more at this point."
-Who has final say in draft? "Technically, it's Les Snead as far as the draft is concered. But I don't think he's going to draft somebody they head coach doesn't want. I don't think the Edward Jones Dome has anything to do with whether players pan out or don't pan out. It worked just fine for the Rams from 1999-2004."
-On coverage changes & more press: "Sharp eye. That certainly was the case against Jacksonville."
-On Stacy: "I don't think any luck was involved, but those yards did come against the NFL's worst run defense. He'll be going from the worst to one of the league's best this week in Houston, so we'll get a much better idea."
-On if Givens could have made better play on Sam's underthrown ball: "Yes, Every throw is not going to be right on target. Bradford did some scrambling around on that play which meant that Givens had even more time to run down field and in effect outran Bradford's arm strength (which is good, not great).. I would've liked to have seen Givens come back for the ball."
-On OL Jones: "Barrett Jones has been inactive all five games. Remember he's coming off foot surgery following Alabama's national championship game. I believe the Rams think he has starting ability, but want him to get stronger and polish up his technique."
Re: Jim Thomas Chat Q&A Summary
Thanks Nick, however I usually find JT talks about a whole lot but actually tells us nothing...
Re: Jim Thomas Chat Q&A Summary
I completely agree. I figured our record would be right where it is. I just thought we'd be significantly more competitive in the losses. That's the most disappointing thing to me right now.
Originally Posted by Nick