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Thread: Jim Thomas Live
Jim Thomas Live
By Jim Thomas
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 01:00 PM CDT [ LIVE ]
The Rams beat writer goes one-on-one with readers from 1-2 p.m. Tuesday in a live chat.
bill: Was I. Bruce treated fare considering M. Faulk was allowed to stay on the team and get paid when he could not even play?
Jim Thomas: No, I don't think Bruce was treated fairly in comparison to Faulk. Faulk had 3 TREMENDOUS years, but didn't have a 1,000 yard season after '01. No disrespect to Faulk, but last time I checked, Bruce caught the game-winning TD in Super Bowl XXXIV; Faulk had 17 yards rushing in that game. And you're right. Faulk was basically on scholarship for a couple of years.
Thanks for all the questions. We'll see you next Tuesday.
Chris Hoheb: Jim You seem to know everything...any thoughs on what I should make for dinner?
Jim Thomas: Lasagna, caesar salad, garlic bread.
Could the Rams front office have forseen Isacc Bruce probably not coming back for 2008 and then doing something in preparation for that by keeping Kevin Curtis last year?
Jim Thomas: No doubt. They thought the answer to that was Drew Bennett.
S. Monkey: JT,
Thanks again for the chat. Now that there is the calm before the storm until draft day and likely no moves on the horizon, the draft appears for us to be down to four players, the Longs, Gholston, Dorsey. Can you explain to me why DT is something we'd consider?
Jim Thomas: 1.) Because Dorsey is that good.
2.) Because this probably will be Glover's last season.
3.) Because Wroten has shown nothing.
4.) Because Dorsey and Carriker could be quite the DT combo in the base defense.
5.) Because the Rams finished 20th in the league in run defense last season.
Jersey Ram Fan: Hey Jim,
Did anyone ever tell you, that from your stock photo, that you look like Robert Blake when he was younger. I swear you do. See for yourself.
It's one of him flipping the bird, but it was the only closeup I could find.
Jim Thomas: Well, I know I have a face for radio. I've heard the Robert Blake thing before. My hair is considerable grayer now than it was when that photo was taken.
arnezzi: What has held Jerome Carter back from breaking out at safety, his grasp of the intricacies of the defense? I assume he is stronger, faster, a harder hitter and a better tackler than Chavous.
Jim Thomas: So far Carter has proven himself to be only a fringe player. Right now, he's the No. 4 safety on the roster. He's probably faster than Chavous, perhaps stronger. But he never has been the hard hitter as was advertised coming out of college, and Chavous had been a very solid tackler until last season. But Carter's development wasn't helped by his foot injury, which cost him most of the season.
Robert: All the speculation I see about Lito Shepard does not reference the Rams. Is that still a possibility?
Jim Thomas: I believe so.
el hombre de hombre: C'mon, Jimbo, 'fess up. Isn't the NFL draft the most overblown build-up in sports? Sure, it will help a handful of teams reverse course, but for most it merely perpetuates an organization's direction. It's become a cottage industry for some guys whose opinions are forgotten the day after the fact. I love your prep for the big day, but let's be real. This stuff is less meaningful than the typical Grapefruit League exhibition, no? (P.S.: Draft Jake Long)
Jim Thomas: St. Louis may be a baseball town, but it's a football nation. The NFL (No. 1) and college football (No. 2) almost always rank 1-2 in terms of popularity in surveys and polling. So the draft is the one time of the year when both sports collide or combine _ thus the huge interest. Sure it's overblown. I can remember covering the Combine in '91, and '92 when there were about 20 reporters plenty. It has grown to nearly more than 250 credentialed reporters the past couple of years. It's one of the ultimate "fantasy league" exercises, and we all know how big fantasy leagues are these days. But I think the draft is becoming more important with each passing year as teams seem to be doing a better job of keeping their core players away from free agency. And if you hit on a Peyton Manning it CAN turn a franchise around. And if you think Manning was a no-brainer, well the big discussion that year was Manning vs. Leaf for No. 1. And we all know how that turned out.
Warren: Hey Jim,
Do the Rams have any interest in the two Missouri Tigers entering the draft, Martin Rucker and Will Franklin? It seems Will Franklin is the speedster wide receiver that the Rams need and can probably get him in the 4th round. And we could use a Tight end that can get open and has good hands since Byrd might be gone and has been ineffective. Thanks for taking my question.
Jim Thomas: Franklin is on the guest list for a pre-draft visit next week, so the Rams do have interest in him. I'm not sure about Rucker, but I'll check into it.
Robert: I see a lot of concern in these posts that we cannot fill all our needs in one draft. I think people forget that there will be many good players released before the season begins. Is it reasonable to assume that we can help ourselves then?
Jim Thomas: Yes, there will be players released between now and September. But the June cap cuts aren't what they used to be, and there may be fewer of them than usual since most teams are in good to great cap shape. So maybe the Rams can find a player or two that way, but you've got to feel like they will be mostly depth guys. But don't discount trades either. The Rams picked up Dante Hall last year in a trade just a few days before the draft.
Kevin C.: Jim -
I understand nothing is set in stone and the draft isn't here yet, but even if we draft Jake Long, I still see the need to get Setterstrom in the lineup. When I look at people's opinions of the Rams potential lineup (with or without J. Long) Setterstrom is always seen as a backup. He did a great job run blocking when he was in there.
Jim Thomas: Setterstrom could end up at center. And Incognito has hardly been an iron man because of his injuries.
jimmy: Hi Jim couple questions
1. Do you think it is overkill to get Jake Long and trade Barron for Birk.
2. If we draft Jake Long would it be better to get Hardy or DeSean Jackson over a DE and wait to get better value in the third like Chris Ellis, Darrell Robertson, Jason Jones, and possibly Calais Campbell
thanks for answering
Jim Thomas: 1.) Ask Marc Bulger (and his ribs and head).
2.) I'd still say the Rams have to go WR in the 2nd. (Or CB)
Remember, Little is back in the mix, and because of all the injuries the Rams also discovered that Will Witherspoon (7 sacks last year) is an edge rusher. But I think the Rams would have to find some kind of DE (developmental or otherwise) at some point in the draft.
buckwht: I think the rams have to take dorsey with the second pick and move carricker back to end. I think that would give us a very productive dline. Your thoughts?
Jim Thomas: Some of you seem to be missing this: If the Rams drafted Dorsey, Dorsey and Carriker would be the starting DTs in the base defense. (Although Carriker would still play some end.) But Little and James Hall would be the starting DEs. Ryan and Glover would rotate in off the bench at DT. (And Wroten, if he makes the club under this scenario.)
jpruett: Jim; don't you think that QB ryan Fitzpatrick, and WR Kevin curtis would have helped the team tremendously last year, and this year. Considering that bennet was released form the titans for being unstable and curtis was picked up by the eagles because he was a #1 or # 2 wr not like bennet #3-5 why didn't linehan give fitzpatrick a chance, he would have been able to take a hit much better than ferotte who should be coaching at this stage of his career, and Bruce should never have been let go he is still a #2 wr, #3 wr worst case and well worth the money. Linehan needs to quit taking other peoples problems and stick with what worked when the rams played better (passing not running).
Jim Thomas: I think the Rams probably beat Cincy in December if Fitzpatrick had been around to start instead of Berlin.
Curtis' speed undoubtedly would've helped the Rams' passing game. But I personally wasn't opposed to signing Bennett. He was very productive in Tennessee, and came to the Rams with better career numbers than Curtis.
Tom: Jim, how is your son doing at WP.
Jim Thomas: Cadet 3rd Class Timothy J. Thomas doing well, thank you. Hard to believe he's almost done with his sophomore year. Plans to major in Middle Eastern studies and currently taking Arabic. He will be a squad leader this summer during Cadet training at Camp Buckner (adjacent to the West Point campus).
Justin Trout: Hey Jim,
I know that we have been bombing you with these questions about the Rams 1st round pick and there are numerous possibilities for it, but I wanted to know if "signability" would be a factor in the choice. To clarify, the ease of getting this player under contract and into all the camps. Have you heard if that is going to sway any decisions as to who the Rams select?
Thanks again for all the info!
Jim Thomas: Sign-ability won't be a factor. I don't know who Chris Long's agent is, but Jake Long, Vernon Gholston, and Glenn Dorsey all have agents who are NOT known for holdouts.
Kevin C.: Jim -
What is the status of Aeneas Williams? Did he ever turn in retirement papers to the nfl? What is he doing now? Is he a lock for the Hall of Fame? And when would he be eligible? Thanks!
Jim Thomas: I don't know if Aeneas ever turned in retirement papers. But since he hasn't played since 2004, I think it's safe to assume he is retired. That would make him eligible in two more years. I wouldn't say Aeneas is a lock. But based on his longevity; his high number of Pro Bowls and career INTs; plus the way he played in the '01 playoffs, I say he gets in at some point.
James in San Jose: Jim,
Besides F. Brown and A. Barron, were there any other players notable for their unexcused absence at OTAs?
Jim Thomas: Actually, Barron missed only the first week of OTAs. I think most everybody that wasn't there in Week 1, returned for Week 2.
I keep seeing blurbs about Fahkir Brown's status on the team. Being here in Jersey I'm not privy to all the scoop out there. What the heck is going on with him? Why is his status questionable?
Jim Thomas: Stay tuned.
James in San Jose: Jim,
Is there any concern at Rams Park about Adam Carriker's rehabilitation? Will he be able to keep his weight and strength up to be able to play inside effectively?
Jim Thomas: Doesn't seem to be, although he won't be full-go until training camp at the earliest.
Chris Hoheb: Jim:
I really enjoy these fireside chats. Do you beleive that Klopfenstein will ever develop into a top flight tight end? If the answer is in the negative, and in light of Byrd's abject failure, who do you consider ultimately responsible for these squandered draft selections?
Spanning the globe, who do you consider the three worst and best draft picks in Ram history (post Merlin Olson)? And finally, in five hundred (500) words or less, please discuss the best value draft picks in this time period?
Jim Thomas: I think Klop can get better. I don't know about being a top-flight TE. As for Byrd, I've been told it was Linehan's pick.
As for the best and the worst Rams picks, I'll stick with the "St. Louis" Rams period. But I'll give you two categories: 1.) First-round picks and 2.) Non-first round picks
Top 3 (First round)
1.) Torry Holt
2.) Orlando Pace
3.) Steven Jackson
Honorable mention: Kevin Carter
Worst 3 (First round)
1.) Lawrence Phillips
2.) Jimmy Kennedy
3.) Trung Canidate
Honorable mention: (Tie) Damione Lewis, Robert Thomas
Top 3 (Non-first round)
1.) Leonard Little (3rd round)
2.) Dre' Bly (2nd round)
3.) Az-Zahir Hakim (4th round)
Honorable mention: Kevin Curtis (3rd round)
Worst 3 (Non-first round)
1.) Jacoby Shepherd (2nd round)
2.) Jesse James (2nd round)
3.) Travis Scott (4th round)
Honorable mention: (tie) Dominique Byrd (3rd round); Eric Crouch (3rd round).
Top 3 Value picks
1.) Fred Miller (5th round)
2.) Ryan Tucker (4th round)
3.) Brian Young (5th round)
Honorable mention: (tie) Scott Shanle (7th round); and Jerametrius Butler (5th round).
George Roy: Any Rams players you see as possible trade bait on draft day? Should Joe Klopfenstein, Brian Leonard, Dante Hall, and/or Alex Barron be watching the draft with their bags packed?
Even though Jeff Wilkins has retired, does Dane Looker have a job as long as Linehan is head coach or would a younger playmaker actually stand a chance to supplant him?
Jim Thomas: As for trades, you never know for sure. But I think Barron should get nervous if the Rams take Jake Long.
Dane Looker has one year left on his contract. I believe he's safe for '08.
Jeff: Hi Jim:
Thanks for the forum.
Have you been able to get a read on how Torry Holt is approaching the changes with the Rams? He has been quiet and I find that unusual. I'm wondering if he might be a little disturbed with the release of Isaac Bruce or his relationship with Linehan.
Jim Thomas: I have not gotten a read on Holt. However, he usually is quiet this time of year. Anyway, he can't be happy about Bruce's departure. But I'm sure he's happy about the hiring of Saunders, which might help his relationship with Linehan.
Damon: If we take Jake Long we better be prepared to score every time we have the ball. Our defense will be horrible. First of all our two best D-lineman , Carriker and Little, are coming off of injury. Our secondary will also be burned constantly because we will have to blitz to create pressure. Also, Brown probably will be suspended. Chris and Dorsey are both rated higher than Jake by just about every scout in the world and we are going to pass on one of them?!
Jim Thomas: Is this Jim Haslett posting in disguise. Your points are well taken. Taking one of your points even a step further, three of the four starting d-linemen will be coming off injuries (if you include DE James Hall and his ankle).
And to throw a little more fuel on your fire, I know of one long-time NFL personnel executive who thinks Dorsey is the best d-line prospect to come out of the draft in nearly 30 years. (But again, there are the health concerns.)
Tiger J: Jim, Good Morning. Jim baring any trades. Your most, most gut feeling. The first 3 picks of our draft. Please agree with me(not Jake Long). Also know you get tired of repeat questions. I understand if you skip me. Don't hit me with the "see earlier post"
Jim Thomas: See. . . .earlier. . . .
I have no idea what the Dolphins will do.
But I don't think Dorsey or even Chris Long fit the 3-4 scheme. It's a stretch to see if Long can play the 3-4 in the NFL, and Dorsey is too small to play DT in the 3-4. So that leaves the Dolphins taking either Jake Long or Vernon Gholston (strictly as an edge-rushing OLB).
Under either of those scenarios (Dolphins taking J. Long or Gholston), that would leave the Rams deciding on Dorsey or Chris Long.
I know there are way more important issues but PLEASE let
Mr.Rosenblom know the 1999(late 70's) Rams uniforms MUST return for good.
Jim Thomas: We've got to get some kind of on-line poll going.
FYI, I've forwarded several e-mails on the issue to Chip. He replied to me today via e-mail, saying he has enjoyed getting all the feedback and would like to see more.
Dejan Prole: Hi Jim,
Last time you asked me if I have a problem with Linehan's wife being a Croat?Answer:NO, as long as she or any other Croat doesn't supports ustashi regime!
Jim is draft picture now more clearer for the Rams, and how will drafting Dorsey affect Rams shuffling on DE and OLB position, any news on Rams trading down and aquiring more picks?
Thanks Jim and ciao from Serbia!
Jim Thomas: Oops! You're way over my head now. That's what I get for talking politics.
But I do have to ask, isn't "ciao" an Italian word?
Anyway, I think the picture will start to crystallize from here on in. It looks like J. Long, C. Long, and Dorsey are the top three Rams options in Round 1.
Keep in mind, James Hall is back, so the Rams could very well have the same two starting DEs in '08 as last season (J. Hall and Little). Carriker and Dorsey would be the starting DEs in the base defense, but Carriker would play some end as well.
Too early for much action on trade down.
Mike: Hey Jim, Do you think our top need in the second round is a reciever, and if so who will be there at that spot. Also is Randy Mcmichael going to get any more looks in an Al Saunders system. Thanks
Mike in Orlando
Jim Thomas: I do think WR is the top need in Round 2. I've mentioned some possibilities earlier. I do think McMichael will get more looks under Saunders.
Homer: When do you think the RAMS will address their need at linebacker in the draft? If a guy like Dan Connor is available in the 2nd round would they use the 33rd pick on him or do you think that would use that pick on another need area?
Jim Thomas: My guess would be middle rounds. Maybe fourth. I could be wrong, but I just don't think the Rams see LB as that much of a need position (except for depth), and that there are greater needs elsewhere.
bfulton: I prefer Vernon Ghoulston but I understand the Rams only take him if they can trade down to no lower than 6th or 7th. Unfortunately for me, I can't see why the Jets or Patriots trade up. Maybe, however, they'll trade with someone lower who would then want to trade up again to the Rams #2 spot. Again, unfortunately for me, I can't see who that is. Have you heard of any team--Jets and Patriots, included--that feels that aggressive this year?
Jim Thomas: Haven't. But it's still early for those kind of moves. With rare exception such moves usually don't take place until a day or two before the draft, if not on draft day itself.
so is it true that we could trade barron if we draft jake long, how much would we be asking in return if so. i am not to supportive of drafting jake long as id prefer chris long, vernon gholston or even glenn dorsey if healthy, however if we could get something reasonable for barron i wouldnt mind this scenario. and why all of the sudden do the rams seem so keen to get rid of barron as i believed they were really high on him despite the amount of penalties hes given away
Jim Thomas: I don't think anyone is seeing the Rams are "keen" on getting rid of Barron. I just mentioned in print and on the radio that it could be a possiblity if the Rams draft Jake Long.
Ron W: Hi Jim,
When conversations come up about teams trading up in the draft it's usually about Darren McFadden. However, the Baltimore Ravens appear to be a team having a big need at QB and it seems likely they would be very interested in Matt Ryan. Given the Rams need for a 'volume' of players, i.e. OT, DE, WR, CB, etc., what are the chances the Rams trade down with the Ravens to the 8th spot and as additional compensation receive the Ravens 2nd round pick (7th selection), and let's say a 3rd or 4th round pick next year? Does it make sense for the Rams to do so?
Jim Thomas: Under that scenario, the Rams' options would seem to be DT Sedrick Ellis or even DE Derrick Harvey, who seems to be rising fast. Under that scenario, they could fill two of their three remaining needs in Round 2.
But do the Ravens need to trade all the way up to 2 for Matt Ryan?
Thanks again for this forum and my questions pertain to Fakhir Brown and how the Rams will address the CB position. Do you think they will trade for a CB or utilize the draft? Is Jonathan Wade ready? Do you know of any CB the Rams might be interested in acquiring?
Jim Thomas: I think the Rams will consider both possibilities (trade and draft). Wade isn't ready. Lito Sheppard and Fabian Washington could be trade possibilities.
John Collins: With all the attention focused on the Rams' first round pick, I have seen little written anywhere about our other eight picks.
Is the team going to fill needs at certain positions, or is it going with best player available at the time?
For example, if they draft d-line with the first pick, is drafting an OT with the second pick a given? Or are they looking at WR (Manningham)in round two, even though we need depth at tackle?
I know you have been busy covering the owners meeting, but have you done any research concerning players available in the later rounds who could fill team needs? As many have already written, every pick in this draft is important to the Rams.
Jim Thomas: You make a good point. It takes more than one pick to have a good draft. But with a pick so high, No. 2 overall, I think it's understandable that that selection would get a lot of attention. Obviously, it's much more difficult to ferret out the later picks because there are so many variables. But stay tuned. I'm sure more info will be forthcoming the closer we get to the draft.
Jeff: Hi Jim,
How much faith do you have in the people making the decisions on Draft Day and do you know who will have the final say.
I surely don't want Zygmunt making any type of decision on draft day. Found out in another Rams Chatroom that they said it was written that Barron doesn't like to lift weights. I couldn't believe it when I read that. Talking about Zygmunt and his incompetent research. Even Zygmunt admitted he is not a football guy(Like Ron Wolf).
If he's knows that why is he making football decisions?
Jim Thomas: I'm as curious as the next person to see how the draft _ and the draft process _ unfolds later this month. I think Devaney will have a lot of input, as will Linehan. But it will be a consensus process. I've never thought Zygmunt had too much say in the draft. I don't think that's the case. I think he has more say on free agency, because he _ in essence _ controls the checkbook.
William G: Jim -
How does Coach Loney's blocking philosophy differ from Boudreau's? I thought Boudreau got a raw deal. He was able to finally able to do what previous Rams OL staffs have been unable to do and that is, evaluate and develop young OLmen. Boudreau was not unemployed long so I think that speaks volumes about his ability, in contrast to Loney who was unemployed last season and previously coached a very pitiful Cardinal offensive line. Previous Rams OL staffs seemed to only be able to handle veteran players, maybe because of the complexity of their blocking schemes? Seems that is what I hear is the concern with Romberg at center, that ability to grasp all of Saunders protections. Larry Marmie was Martz's undoing on defense will Loney stymie our OL development? Sauanders is a huge improvement over his predecessor but I have my doubts about Loney's abilities. Your thoughts?
Jim Thomas: Not really sure. I know Loney is known as an excellent communicator and a good technician. But saying that, I have all the respect in the world for Boudreau. I think he did a very good job developing younger players in '06, and was dealt a very bad hand in '07 because of all the injuries. But I've heard enough good things about Loney to think he will be a valuable FOSL (Friend of Scott Linehan), and not just a "patronage" hire.
John Collins: Much has been written about the Rams' need for an 'impact' player. If Chris Long is available at No. 2, his selection seems to be a given. If the Dolphins select him first, then the question becomes: How much of an immediate impact does Jake Long make?
It would be almost impossible for the team to suffer the same number of o line injuries this year as last year. In that case, Pace and Barron would be good as starters for another year. Does the team draft J. Long with the idea that he starts at guard (odd for the second pick in the draft) or that he is waiting on the sidelines in case Pace gets hurt again? Not much impact there.
With the obvious lack of sack production from the DE position, the need for improvement there is glaring. Is Vernon Gholston considered a stretch at the 2 spot, or has his stock risen enough considering his huge workouts at the Combine and on his Pro Day?
Thanks for your time.
Jim Thomas: If Long starts, he can have a lot of impact. A better offensive line, means a better and healthier Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson. A better and healthier Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson, means a better offense. A better offense puts a lot less strain on the defense. (Remember last year, how the defense was consistently put in bad spots _ field position, etc. _ time after time?) So Jake Long could help the defense!!!!
But I agree. You can't draft Jake Long at No. 2 overall _ on a 3-13 _ and have him sitting on the bench.
Tim: I feel that the rams should sign Olivia ORT from Sd chargers and move Barron to OLT and trade Pace to kC for the 5th pick and then trade that pick to dal for the two 1rd and a 2rd and M.Barbara rb? What do you think?
Jim Thomas: Don't think Marion Barber's going anywhere.
I am a fan of Chris Long for our second pick to bring a high motor guy in that can put pressure on the QB. I must admit I have a concern about keeping Witherspoon free to roam the middle-being an undersized middle linebacker makes it important to keep those big opposing O-lineman from locking him up. Do the Rams feel that Clifton Ryan, Claude Wroten or Carriker can do the job stuffing the middle? Both Ryan and Carriker had good seasons for rookies-let's hope Wroten steps it up!
Jim Thomas: I think the Rams like what Ryan and Carriker can do vs. the run. Wroten, however, still has a lot to prove. They'd like Glover to have less snaps; thinking he can be more effective that way at this stage of his career.
scott: A few questions for ya Mr. Thomas...
1. I have become a big fan of Josh Johnson the small school quarterback out of San Diego. If he's on the board in the 4th round could you see the Rams taking him or do you think that's to high to be drafting a QB?
2. Do you think Scott Linehan's love for Jake Long could be a smokescreen to get Kansas City to move up? Kansas City could take Jake at #2 and Rams could get Gholston at #5 and an extra 2nd rounder probably.
Jim Thomas: 1.) Don't know if the Rams like Johnson, but I think the Rams will consider a QB from 4th round down.
2.) Don't think it's a smokescreen. There's no guarantee Gholston will be there at No. 5.
Russ in Phoenix: Thanks for taking my question.
Now that we have Compensatory pick who are the RAMS taking there?!!? Oh the drama! I need another Red Bull....
Sorry, I had to spoof some of my fellow draftniks...
Jim Thomas: Believe it or not, here have been at least a couple of Mr. Irrelevants who have started in the league (FB Mike Finn, NY Giants; S Mike Green, S, Chicago Bears). And at least one who played in the Super Bowl (Marty Moore of New England vs. Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXI.
Is there an update on getting Lito Sheppard anytime soon? If something happens to Fakhir Brown, cornerback is going to be a serious concern for the team.
In reguards to the draft, Has Glen Dorsey risen to the top of the heap?
If Miami passes on it's pick, is it plausible that the Rams will do the same as there is no clear cut #1 out there worth all the guaranteed money?
I am happy with most of what the team has done this offseason, however Scott Linehan is still a liability. He simply cannot coach. Now if we could just get rid of Mr. Shaw (I know it won't happen), and Mr Zygmunt, then I think Mr Devany could lead us back to the playoffs.
Anymore on this secret trade you have mentioned in previous discussions?
Thanks for the time.
Jim Thomas: The Rams are a bit wary of Sheppard. Why would the Eagles suddenly want to dump him? Is there more there than meets the eye?
I believe Dorsey is in the Rams' top 3, again, assuming the Rams have no serious health concerns.
Miami will not pass on its pick.
It appears the "secret" trade has died on the vine.
Dave: Hi Jim - any updates on Orlando Pace's progress? Will he be ready to go by training camp?
Jim Thomas: Pace is expected to be ready for camp, but not before camp. His rehab seems to be on schedule.
Josh of Sydney: Hi Jim, do you think that the expected availability of players for the rams second round choice will influence their first round. For example, it's been said that the draft has depth in offensive tackles, so would the rams decide to fill the defensive line with their first pick (and pass on Jake Long), expecting to pick an offensive tackle with the second? Or does this type of reasoning have no relevance to which way the rams decide to go?
Jim Thomas: When you're picking that high in the first round, I don't think you worry about what may or may not be available later.
Polder Bear: Hey Jim,
Thanks again for taking the time to answer questions from the panting masses getting ready for the draft.
I noticed over on Rams talk a new mock draft that has the Rams picking the Texas WR Sweed with their second pick. What I thought was interesting was that right before that, they had Miami picking the highly regarded Delaware QB Flacco.
I was just wondering if, let's say the first round scenario plays out as it does on this mock draft but Miami were to take Sweed, leaving Flacco sitting there for us, would we take him?
Even though we have other more pressing needs, it's pretty much a given that Linehan wants a good quarterback to develop... but does that assume we're talking "the best second-day QB available", or would Flacco be too good to pass up?
Jim Thomas: I believe Flacco is on the list for pre-draft visits at Rams Park, so it looks like the team likes him. But given all the needs, it would be startling to see the Rams take a player at No. 33 overall who wouldn't play for 2 or 3 years at the minimum.
I think the Rams might be hoping he somehow slips to the fourth round, which obviously doesn't look like it's going to happen.
Ken L.: Jim, you're the best. I presume you're around Coach Linehan quite a bit; how do you perceive his demeanor at this point? Coach Linehan did have to swallow his pride and admit he needed a little help after last season, but with all these great hires (Saunders, Shea, Devaney) do you get the sense that he's "in charge" and full of confidence like a head coach should be? Or is he maybe a bit intimidated with all the new talent surrounding him at Rams Park?
Jim Thomas: Although I don't pretend to know Linehan as well as I knew Mike Martz, to me, Linehan seemed really down early in the offseason. He did not anticipate, nor did he like, making so many staff changes (particularly on the offensive side of the ball). But I think he realizes it's make-or-break for him in 2008. He's made a lot of changes with that in mind, while also realizes the old ways weren't exactly working.
I think we'll find out more about any "intimidation" once we get into the regular season. There's really not a lot of pressure on Linehan right now.
Chris Hoheb: Jim
Do you really answer all of these questions or are you assisted by a T-27 space modulator?
Jim Thomas: I prefer the T-28 space modulator. It's a little quicker.
Mark: Hey Jim
Please tell me there is no way Isaac Bruce will enter the hall of fame wearing a 49er jersey.
Jim Thomas: Such matters are usually up to the player. I would think Bruce would have to go with the Rams. How could he pick a place where he might play only a couple of years, over somewhere where he played 14?
Danny: Hey Jim,
First time poster here but huge fan of your chats and of the Rams. Ive been thinking of ways to get ghoulston and not pay him number 2 money and that obviously trading down. and i know its way to early for trades but I havent seen anyone post about trading with the Cheifs,(i saw in a sports illustrated article that the Rams may be "key" to Cheifs draft.. cause they want long so bad. We could trade down and let them take Jake long, if hes there and then ATL will take matt ryan and oakland will either take Dorsey or McFadden. That leavies us at 5 with Vernon right there... What do you think of that possibility and what are your feelings on The Uniform issue and the disrespect to Georgia, I know theres a precedent but cmon there could be leeway in the respect of The Queen
Jim Thomas: I don't know if Gholston gets past the Raiders, who lost to DEs in the offseason.
Ernie Owens: My suggestion is trade Alex Barron for Matt Birk and Draft Jake Long(the second coming of Orlando Pace)with the Rams #2 draft pick. Drating Dorsey will not have the immediate impact the Rams are in so desperate need.
Jim Thomas: Hmmm. I wonder if the Vikings need help at OT?
Larry F.: Jim, a rare non draft question....training camp,what is the leading spot to go to, and where does Macomb stack up in the selection...what is your preference?
Jim Thomas: I think Linehan wants to go to Wisconsin on the premise that it's closer to other teams for scrimmaging and joint practices. I see Macomb as a fall-back for the Rams if they're unable to train in Wisconsin.
As for my preference, I'm really not familiar with the Wisconsin sites. In terms of facilities, logistics, and a friendly local populace willing to help the Rams in whatever way possible, there was a lot to like about Macomb.
JC: Hi Jim,
Have you heard if Mizzou SS Pig Brown is a consideration for the Rams? Or is his injury too serious?
Jim Thomas: Have not heard. I'll try to find out.
I miss Eric Dickerson and Jim Everett: Okay I have written before and again this is more of a comment than a question. In hopes that Shaw, or Devaney will read. I am watching the NFL network and they are saying something about the rams being interested in Mcfadden, which I am not totally opposed to. And I know how the rams like to hide their plans which is a great tactic. But we have a proven running back. If we can get great value for jackson, trade him. But we have issues. What positions are we solid at? I don't see any. I don't think we shouldn't go O line to early in the draft even though I think Barron is a slacker and pace is getting up there. But we need help with the d line, o line, reciever, corner, safety, another linebacker, and maybe a back up running back and a qb to groom. Thats alot for one draft. Right now we are fairly solid at QB, kicker, tight end and punter oh and returns if dante is healthy at thats probably it. I have been a big fan for a long time and this is the first season in a while that I am not predicting a superbowl run. Obviously I have been wrong in my predictions more than I have been right and hopefully this will be another example of that but in reverse this year. Please reassure me the rams are moving in the right direction. If this is all a plan the get Linehan out cause he had another losing season and we can regroup in 09 with saunders as our head coach I could probably live with that. But if thats the case lets be smart about it and trade all our valuable older players who only have a few years left like holt and pace and little and get some youth in there.
Jim Thomas: Although entertaining at times, and at times informative, I would hardly consider the NFL Network the end-all, be-all on such matters. I don't think the Rams are seriously considering McFadden.
Gabriel: J.T what is the problem with people trashing V.Go this guy has the potential out of this world and I surely wouldn't mind taking him with the #2 pick if C.Long isn't there what is your take on this?P.S if Desean Jackson some how slip into the 2nd round what do you think will happen to Mr.X-Factor D.Hall but them 2 together will be a crazy combo.
Jim Thomas: I think there's no doubt he's a better pass rusher than Chris Long. But there are questions about Gholston's run defense and the consistency of his play from down to down, and week to week.
If DeSean Jackson slips out of Round 1, it might be because of his size (or lack thereof). In that sense, he doesn't fit the Linehan mold. But Linehan likes his speed. Dante Hall is in the final year of his contract, so I'm sure they'd find a way to get both players on the field, while grooming DeSean Jax as the heir apparent. You can't have enough playmakers.
George Roy: Seems pretty obvious to me that the #1 pick will be either Jake Long or Chris Long, but my question is regarding the 2nd round. Will the Rams stick to needs or will they go best player available, even if that player in a running back?
Jim Thomas: I'm fairly certain the Rams will have enough high grades on remaining WRs, CBs, or OTs, that need will meet value in Round 2.
smitty from wyoming: It is disappointing to see the No Fun League deny the Rams to wear throwbacks especially concerning when Georgia passed away, she didn't pass away "ONE YEAR AGO", for their time table. Does the NFL have a beef against the Rams, your thoughts Jim. By the way my vote since my son's name is Roman, it would have to be the Blue and White uniforms.
Jim Thomas: Smitty, I think any hostility from the move and the lawsuit have long ago subsided. We're more than a decade removed from all that. Tagliabue no longer is the commisisoner. But I do have to wonder _ as one of the posters pointed out earlier _ would the league have bent the rules if one of the Maras, Rooneys, McCaskeys, etc., passed away?
COGzilla: I wont bore you with the whole draft scenario thing, because i'm sure when you get to my question you will already have been asked about jake v. cris a hundred times!
My question is simple, but important. Is Ron Bartell ready to step up and be a starting corner opposite Hill? Time to quit the coddling, time to step up, young man.
Jim Thomas: In my mind, Bartell has made significant improvement over the past two seasons. Whether he's good enough to be a starting corner in the league remains to be seen. He has good size, good speed, and is a bright player. I'd like to see him be a more physical player (he flashed this characteristic at times). He played much of last season with a painful hand and thumb injury (which required offseason surgery), otherwise he would have probably had a more INTs. Bartell is entering his contract year _ he's scheduled for unrestricted free agency after this year _ so I'm sure that will be an extra motivation as well.
pdub: Jim -
In light of the poor track record of the Rams Special Teams in recent years, do you see them drafting players that can excel in those areas? Do you have any knowledge on how the Rams approach strengthening their Special Teams personnel?
Jim Thomas: The thought at Rams Park is that the kickoff coverage unit will improve noticeably with the signing of K Josh Brown. I do know the Rams like DeSean Jackson _ WHO I THINK I MISTAKENLY REFERENCED AS BEING FROM USC in an earlier post _ and he certainly has return ability. Other than that, they need to add depth at LB because they have only 5 LBs under contract right now, and backup LBs are usually core players on special teams.
BOB DILETTO: JIM
WHAT DO YOU THINK WELL DO WITH OUR 2ND AND 3RD PICKS
Jim Thomas: Well Bob, a lot depends on what the Rams do with their first pick. If they go OT, then the Rams better look for DL, WR, CB in the second and third rounds, and then add an LB or two along the way.
If the Rams go DL in the first round, then they better look for OT, WR, CB in the second and third rounds, etc.
Obviously, one of those top four needs (DL, OT, WR, CB) isn't going to be addressed in three rounds.
Damon: Please tell me we aren't going to draft Jake Long and trade Alex Barron! Then we will need yet another OT in a year or so when Pace retires and we will not have a good back up for Pace this year. That sounds like a bad plan to me. Our Defensive line should be addressed with the second pick. Dorsey or Chris. We can get a developmental tackle in the second or third.
Jim Thomas: I agree with your first premise. If you knew for certain on draft day that Pace was OK, then you could trade Barron. But we don't know how Pace will hold up, do we?
Mike: From recent reports Linehan likes OT Long better than DE Long. OT Long would provide insurance on the OL for next year but if healthy OT Long won't necessairly be an upgrade for what is already there. It seems to me that OT would better protect Linehan in the last year of his contract while DE would be better for the long term health of the team.
Jim Thomas: I guess reading between the lines you could say it seems like Linehan likes OT Long better than DE Long. I think either players would be a move to address the long-term as well as the short term.
At OT, Barron has only two years left on his contract, and Pace is facing advancing age and has had injury problems the past two seasons.
At DE, both Leonard Little and James Hall are in their 30s, and Little is coming off toe surgery.
Kiefer: Hey Jim!
So I was reading about how we got turned down by the league for not requesting the throwback uniforms early enough. I have never heard about that rule. Can you give me a little insight?
I also read today that Loney does not like A. Barron already? Barron seems to be ok in my books, and it didnt seem like he committed THAT many penalties last year. If we do take J. Long, what do you think we could get for Barron?
What are the chances that a team like Kansas City or New York could trade up with us and then we take V. Gholston?
Jim Thomas: Please check my earlier posts for info on the throwbacks rule.
Barron is OK, maybe even a little better than OK. But he could be so much more, and that's what frustrates coaches. Barron's penalties were done some last year, but he's still the NFL's most penalized player over the past three seasons 2005-07.
Gabriel to Snow: Don't get me wrong, I am starting to think Linehan may have as much as a 50/50 chance of keeping his job based on a significant improvement in 08. But many of us die hards attempt to peer far into the future & imagine myriad scenarios. Should there be a coaching overhaul, I assume Saunders & Haslett would be considered if their respective departments perform well. Failing that, most fans would desire a proven coach. Assuming Cowher is beyond reach in our market, Schottenheimer & Billick are left. Personally, I think Billick makes sense. I know this isn't even an issue yet, but it's the offseason, & at least I'm not adding to the dearth of redundant draft questions. So, if you are kind enough to play along, it's the 2009 offseason, Rams are searching for a coach, how would YOU like to see the process unfold? Thanks Jim
Jim Thomas: It's April 8!!!! I'm not even going to go there.
Dominic: Hi Jim:
On this chat and listening to you on the radio,you have serious doubts on whether D.Byrd will be here during training camp.Do you feel like the Rams are trying to trade him during draft weekend like they did Brandon Manu?
After listening to Howard Balzer on sunday,I get the feeling he likes Vernon Golston over Glen Dorsey because of medical concerns,who do you prefer?
Thanx again and see you next week!
Jim Thomas: On Byrd, don't be surprised if that's the case.
I think Dorsey's a better prospect, providing there's no serious health concerns. And on that subject (Dorsey's leg injury), opinions are all over the map.
Chip: Since rookie wide recievers almost never develop in their first year, is our strong emphasis on the position in the draft mean we are rebuilding or revamping? I mean, say we coulda had a NFL ready WR DJ Hackett from the Hawks no less) for dirt cheap, if the man stays healthy (we took a chance on wobbly Drew Bennett) we'd have our #2 aleardy and wouldn't 'need' to draft one. I mean, we only have so many picks and it seems like we need one of just about everything? I mean was there just zero WR's the Rams were interested in during FA? We have like 5 or 6 must have positions filled and 7 picks...yikes...
Jim Thomas: The Rams need a No. 3 WR as much as anything. Plus, who knows how long Holt has left with his knee issues and advancing age? Yes, there's a learning curve for WRs. But don't you think there's a learning curve for just about any position not taken in the first round? (Particularly that high in the first round.)
Hackett played in six games last season. His injuries are what caused the team to shy away, not his talent. I would've liked to have seen the Rams make a run at Bernard Berrian, as costly as it would've been. There were some off-field concerns about Stallworth.
Linehan would like at least a speed threat at WR that opposing defenses had to respect. Otherwise, you run the risk of teams just loading the box to stuff Steven Jackson and the run.
Eric Dickerson: If the Rams trade Barron what do you think they could get for him in return? 3rd or 4th round pick?
Jim Thomas: I think that's the ballpark we're talking about.
Eric Dickerson: Is it true that you think the Rams final draft decision is down to the two Longs? I think it is a huge mistake to pass on Dorsey.
Jim Thomas: Dorsey is still very much in the picture. It's my sense that most of the scouts think he's the best player in the draft (if healthy).
D King: This is part two of our chat last week when I had suggested the Rams draft the Clemson D end in the second round along with Dorsey in the first. Your question to me was what about the other needs of the team what do they do? My reply is simple this is not a team that is one or two players away from a division title or playoff berth they are a team that needs to get younger better faster and more depth they have over the years wasted draft picks on reaches that have now come back to bite them in the butt. This year if it was my choice I would fix the defense starting with the line and the D backfield get some depth at linebacker. That is why I am in favor with the trade with Dallas for Carpenter and the 2 first rounders for our first. Is one person who can fix this team, no this is a building process and I suggest they take the proper steps to right the ship. And more draft picks is the right step for me. Three of the top 35 is a good start that is a D tackle a D end and also a D back or safety< and that gives them depth and also younger players who in a year or two are ready to start plus and probably the most important it gives you salary cap help with cheaper talent. Well thats all thats just how I feel we have to realize we are rebuilding not reloading Thank You Jim.
Jim Thomas: I agree with you that the Rams are more than just a player or two away. But when you're drafting No. 2 overall, you have a rare chance to get a difference-maker. Depending on who you talk to, there are six, seven, eight such players in the draft. Why would you trade down lower than that spot? And do you think Carpenter brings that much to the table? I'm looking at Dallas' stats from last season. He played in all 16 games during the regular season and had 2 tackles.
Don: Jim--this may be more of a rant than a question--why don't the Rams just go back to their royal blue and gold uniforms full-time!? The current uniforms are horrble! Looks like a USFL team! The 90's era uniforms were classic and looked great. The current drab dark blue and gold that doesn't look gold does not say Rams!
Jim Thomas: Yeah, but I don't think the shade of blue on the helmet matched the shade of blue on the jersey of the '90s era unis. So I don't see any full-time change in the making. As for the throwbacks, Chip Rosenbloom is on record as saying he wants feedback from the St. Louis fans. We're going to try to get an on-line poll going on that topic in the near future.
Gabriel to Snow: Jim, just a note to say I loved the response to the guy who asked you if you thought it really was Fakir Brown posting questions to you awhile back. "What do you think" was perfect. Got a good yuk out of that. By the way, do think I am me?
Jim Thomas: The Rams are hoping to have clarification on Brown's status before the draft. But there are no guarantees.
I do believe you are you.
Mike - Colorado Springs: Who are the WR possibilities for the Rams in round 2? I know there are concerns about Sweed's wrist and he doesn't have elite speed but he would seem to be the best value if he's available. Have the Rams invited him for a visit or had their doctors check him out? Unless one of the top two slips out of the first round, I don't see corner worthy of a pick this high. There should be a worthy OT available. Which one is the greater need, WR or OT, assuming a DL is picked in round 1?
Jim Thomas: I just checked on Sweed's status for the Rams Park visit next week, and was told by his agent he wasn't on the list. I know Indiana's James Hardy is, although I know there are some at Rams Park concerned about some off-field issues with Hardy. I know Linehan really likes USC's DeSean Jackson, and Jackson is on the visit list. But it's debatable whether Jackson will still be around at No. 33. I think he's projected as a middle to late first rounder.
Assuming DL is picked in Round 1, I would say WR ranks as a higher need in Round 2 over OT.
Gabriel to Snow: hello Jim, Chip hasn't exactly taken the bull by the horns, but I doubt that would have been helpful to the team or appreciated by the staff. He seems to have a clear sense of the long tradition of Rams football. Not surprising since he has been around the team for nearly 30 years. He also clearly wants a well operated & efficient front office leading to winning football. I get the impression that he is very knowledgeable about the game but is loath to blow his own horn or appear to "steal thunder" from the front office people & coaching staff. It is plain he wants to win, & I dare say that just may be the prioity over balance sheet figures. I have been pleasantly surprised. We all knew next to nothing when he took over. If I weren't a die hard fan, reading every scrap of info several times & then reading between the lines, I'd still know next to nothing. I believe Chip will be an excellant owner, so long as the "good football people" every owner needs are always around to do the heavy lifting. Devaney is a good start & I think many were surprised that Chip didn't let the final act of the Linehan regime just play itself out. He wants it turned around right away, what more could we ask for? I'm happy, how do you feel now that Chip has been in the saddle for awhile?
Jim Thomas: Chip is still getting his feet wet. He has made it clear he will not be a Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder type owner, meddling in everything. He prefers to let his hired people in management, personnel, and coaching do the jobs they were hired to do. He has a very good relationship with Shaw, who has been very helpful showing him the ropes in the NFL.
Also, Chip has made it clear he's going to sit back, observe, listen, and learn, before he starts making decisions.
He's not sure how long he will earn the club, but I think he is sincere in his wishes to see the team return to their successful ways. And he is very much aware of and respectful of the family's long tradition of owning an NFL franchise.
How much say he eventually has in team matters remains to be seen. He's still in the feeling out stage.
Mike - Colorado Springs: What's up with the throwback uniform denial by the NFL? What ridiculous protocols this organiztion has. How much time do they need? What preparations do they need to make? It's clothing. I'm sure the Rams' seamstress can make all the necessary arrangements. All the NFL has to do is ... well, nothing. These guys must really dislike this organization. Do you think they would have denied the respective teams for the passing of Halas, Rooney, or Mara? A******s.
Jim Thomas: As Bernie pointed out on the radio yesterday, it's pretty ridiculous. If it were normal circumstances, fine. The league needs the lead time for marketing, licensing, etc. And they have such a long period for lead time because they don't want teams wearing a throwback uniform on a whim. But these were special circumstances. Georgia was in the hospital battling breat cancer for 5 1/2 months. What was she supposed to do _ die more quickly, so the Rams would be within the guidelines? I would think the league should make an exception in this instance.
I read this weekend that Chris Long has dropped weight to 267 lbs, since it appears many teams are viewing him as a linebacker rather than a DE. Is this how the Rams are viewing him? Obviously he can put weight back on, but does this take him out of the mix if we're looking for a DE? Thanks.
NJ Ram Fan
Jim Thomas: The Rams are viewing him as a DE, in their 4-3. Of course, he occasionally will drop back in zone coverage on zone blitzes. I don't think the weight is a concern for St. Louis. I believe his normaly playing weight is about 275, so he wouldn't have to gain much back.
Brian from Vegas: Jim,
First of all, I wanted to thank you so much for doing these chats. I have been a Rams fan since the late 1960's and these chats are the best information sharing sessions I have ever encountered about the Rams.
My question is do you think the Rams organization understands that fans like me want to root for players that play with heart and pride? It makes me cringe to see some of the current Rams wear the uniform that Jack Youngblood, Merlin Olsen, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Jack Reynolds, etc, etc wore with such pride. Using high picks on malcontents like Byrd, Wroten, Hargrove, Terrell, or on a player with such obvious emotional (steriod?) issues like Incognito is no way to build a foundation for the franchise or to create or keep fan loyalty. Does the front office understand this? Does character play a significant role in who the Rams draft?
Jim Thomas: I'm not sure the front office "understands" this any more than they did, five, 10, 12 years ago. But what they do understand _ crystal clear _ is that under Roger Goodell, players with off-the-field issues will be dealt with clearly and sternly. As a result, the Rams drafted significantly differently last year under Linehan _ no real risks _ than they did the previous year, which was Linehan's first draft. They took no Wrotens or Byrds last year. Most of those guys they take off the board now.
Richard Spittlehouse: Hey Jim,
The more I hear Coach Linehan talk, the more I think we're looking at Jake Long in the Draft. If we do pick him up, I think he will play at RT and not RG. What do you think Alex Barron is worth on Draft day? Or do you think the recent O Line talk is just a smokescreen?
Also, have you heard any rumors with regard to potential LB pickups? We currently have far less on the roster than we normally carry & I can't see us taking two in the draft. What are your thoughts?
Jim Thomas: No, I think the Rams are seriously considering taking Jake Long. Obviously, if the Rams were to trade Barron, they'd have to wait until draft day to make sure Long was available. I'm not sure what Barron gets in a trade. Maybe a third-rounder. Maybe Lito Sheppard. But would it be wise to trade Barron _ especially on draft day _ not knowing if Pace will be healthy or stay healthy?
Have not heard anything about potential LB pickups. There's not much out there in free agency. An aging, injury-plagued Takeo Spikes and Orlando Huff come to mind. The Rams could probably get Huff cheaply. Spike, I'm not so sure.
Aaron: What is the possibility of us signing Henry at least through training camp?
Jim Thomas: Do you mean Chris Henry? If so, you've got to be kidding. Haven't the Rams had enough problems over the years with problem players?
Re: Jim Thomas Live
Tim: I feel that the rams should sign Olivia ORT from Sd chargers and move Barron to OLT and trade Pace to kC for the 5th pick and then trade that pick to dal for the two 1rd and a 2rd and M.Barbara rb? What do you think?
Someone's on drugs....
Alot of Chris Long/Jake Long speculation. I'm praying for Chris Long, but Jake Long and Groves in round two would be great. Things seem to come down to Long and Long.
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