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Thread: Jim Thomas Live
Jim Thomas Live
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 03:00 PM CDT
Ram-Man: Hey Jim,
The Ram's front office has to realize by now, that Jackson holds all the cards. They are only hurting themselves by not getting him signed. Not to mention, they are not being fait to Scott Linehan. Since SJ has ownership by the short hairs, why not just get this deal done. Is it just a matter of pride?
Could you send this message to Shaw and Zygmunt?
I thought true professionals don't let their emotions get in the way of business. I.e.: "It's just business, nothing personal". Seems like a double standard to me. It's not like SJ is not worth the big bucks, since he is the best player on the field. If you want to give the Rams any chance of a decent season, get the deal done, and fast! Please! Do it for Georgia.
Jim Thomas: The larger issue is this: The entire team is watching what happens here. Management cannot have the rest of the team think that holding out is an acceptable way of getting the kind of money you want in a contract. By saying come in and we'll continue to negotiate, they're subtle telling Jackson _ we're willing to pay you more money. It's not as if $50 million over seven years was an insulting offer. Thus the stalemate continues.
Steve B: Hi Jim
If Steven Jackson holds out past this week, do the Rams need to look at bringing in a veteran like Shawn Alexander? Can Jackson get ready for the regular season with such little work in a new offense?
Jim Thomas: No matter how great of shape Jackson is in, there is no way, shape, or form Jackson will be able to have a full workload on opening day even if he came in today. And once this week passes, it will be problematical whether Jackson can even play in the opener. Beyond the physical, there's the mental. I know this is a running back friendly offense, but it's also a voluminous offense. There's a lot of stuff to cover.
Albert Nunes: Jim,
I have heard little on Adam Carriker progress to date. Do you have any feed back on him so far this year ?
Jim Thomas: You know I haven't talked to Adam yet. But plan to in the near future. He has looked good on the practice field, but hasn't done much in games.
How has Dustin Fry looked thus far? What are his chances of making the team after the latest O-line injuries? Thanks.
Jim Thomas: He's still a longshot. Here's why: You've got your five starters. Let's assume for the sake of argument that Romberg is the starting center. But Leckey makes the team. Goldberg makes the team. Greco makes the team. That's 8 o-linemen. The Rams probably keep nine. So then it comes down to Fry vs. Schuening. And Schuening, keep in mind, is a Devaney draft pick.
TUG MAGRAW: Hey Jeff,
What are the chances of Reche Caldwell making the roster for the Rams this year?
Jim Thomas: Right now, I can't see it happening. Holt, Bennett, Hall, Avery, and Burton or sure things. That leaves Caldwell in competition with Looker, Stanley, Hagans, etc. Right now, Hall and Looker have been two of the most productive WRs in camp and the preseason.
Timothy: Hi Jim,
I just was wondering how the linebackers are doing? Didn't like them passing on players such as Dan Connor, J Leman and Erin Henderson when that was one of their weakness.
Jim Thomas: Looks like Culberson will win the strongside job. Seventh-rounder Chris Chamberlain looks like a keeper. (As a backup on the weakside and special teams player.) He has some coverage ability. As for McGarigle and Vobora (who's now hurt), they haven't done much in the preseason. So far, they have five LBs. They need to find at least one more.
Will we see Avery on Saturday? How about Brown and OJ? I think Bulger brings on some of the pressure himself with his lack of a good hard count and terrible play fakes. Look at the most durable QB's (Favre, Brady, and Manning) they all excell at these. Also Andy Strickland has suggested on 1380 that Jackson may be in town this week to get treatment on a lower leg strain. Could this be an out for both sides(Jackson reports but doesn't practice while getting treatment, meanwhile the 2 sides can get back to the table). Did I hear you right on Bernie's show that Around the Horn's is one of the most popular Blogs? If so why do talk show hosts continue to harp on the so called fan apathy?
Jim Thomas: Avery will play Saturday. Brown and OJ won't. Actually, Bulger has a very good hard count. He got San Diego to jump offsides twice. I've been told by reliable sources that Jackson is in fact in town. As for Around the Horn, it had nearly 28,000 more hits than any other blog during the first week of camp. This is a little bit more of a football town than most people think.
Rich: Hey Jim,
Last year I gave Bennett a lot of slack due to the thigh injury he suffered early on and never really got over.
However, I am reasonably certain the Rams didn't throw all that money in his direction to drop two passes in one half of action. Not to mention, the first thing I thought of when Bulger threw that second pick the other night was "did Bennett run the wrong route".
Do the Rams have a "plan B" for the number 2 WR position?
Jim Thomas: Bennett did not run the wrong route. Bulger telegraphed the pass and the DB just happened to be in a coverage technique that put him in position to make the INT. What Bennett should have done once he saw the DB moving in from of him is to adjust his route _ cutting in front of the DB _ to make the interception.
michael gordon: Hey Jim,
Wondering what the depth chart would look like if we headed into the season today at WR? Does Looker get a spot ahead of stanley, do both make it? Will hall man the slot or will bennett come inside and avery or burton play outside?
Jim Thomas: Hall is in the slot, and at the moment, I see Looker making the squad ahead of Stanley.
rambo1010: With Gorin out, who will be the 4th tackle and does Greco simply take the 3rd G spot? Schuning behind him?
Is Becht in danger of being cut?
Jim Thomas: Greco is the fourth tackle, while also working at guard. Becht will not be cut.
Ian Roberts: Jim, I read a report that said Wade was in line to be the teams nickle back this season. This would mean that he is ahead of bartell, or that brown is going to miss the season opener. Firstly, is there any truth to it, and secondly, how do you see his progress so far?
Also, on the secondary, do you see King's injury as maybe a blessing after all, since he was raw and will now have more of a chance to develop before he fights for a nickle or starting position next season?
Jim Thomas: Wade is the nickel only if Brown continues to be sidelined. King was ahead of Wade before his injury. Wade has looked inconsistent to me.
Matt: I read in Bill Coats' column this morning that O.J. Atogwe sat out of practice yesterday with a hamstring again. I thought he was practicing again last week and would try and start this week against Baltimore. Did he reinjure it? Do you think he'll be staring against the Eagles in week 1?
Jim Thomas: With one exception, Atogwe has been out since the start of camp. He tested it one day in practice in Mequon and found that it wasn't ready to go. That's the only time he's been on the practice field since the original injury. Atogwe is targeting Philly, but right now, there's no guarantee.
Matt: I haven't heard much about Brett Romberg’s broken hand except for the fact that he's not playing and Nick Leckey is. How long is Brett supposed to be out and do you see him getting his starting job back once he's healthy again (given Nick's strong showing so far)?
Jim Thomas: I'm beginning to think this is a horserace. The most impressive thing about Leckey was how well he played against San Diego. I say that because the Chargers run a 3-4, meaning Leckey had a DT right over him every play (unlike a 4-3). Granted, that man wasn't Jamal Williams or Luis Castillo, but Leckey held out very well. As for Romberg's hand, the problem is that it's his snapping hand. If it was his other hand, he could just pad it up and go. I think, Romberg will try to give it another go next week.
YoMurphy: Hi Jim,
What should we know about Todd Johnson that might ease our mind about depth at Safety? Is Haslett the one who is high on him?
One request: Say it isn't so about Setterstrom!
Has anyone at Rams park tipped their hand and put some blame on Jackson for the holdout?
Jim Thomas: Yo--Johnson is more strong safety than free. He's a hard hitter, for the most part a sure tackler, but he's not great in coverage. He's more of a box safety.
At this point, no one's blaming Jackson for anything except perhaps poor judgment in holding out.
ken B: I am very excited that the Rams pick up Trent Green. I don't think that the Rams are going to go very far with Marc Bulger as the starting quarter back. Marc Bulger can not motivate the team and is he a team leader. It's time for a change at quarter back. Trent is our "MAN"
Jim Thomas: All this after two preseason games?
lynyrd: Jim, Thanks for this forum, as always it's much appreciated and looked forward to.
My questions pertain to the amount in fines that SJ has accumulated and apparently will continue to accumulate. As of now I believe that amount is approaching $370,000. My first question is how long will he continue to accrue these fines if the holdout continues, right up until the Week 1 game where he then starts forfieting game checks?
And secondly, is there a wink wink scenario where Jackson agrees to a deal but insists on the Rams "picking up the tab" for his fines? In other words, is it set in stone that SJ's on the hook for the total holdout fine amount or is there a way the team can negotiate that also? Thanks Jim and keep up the great work!
Jim Thomas: Yeah, the fines continue. He's at $393,016 as of today. But I don't know what happens once we get to the regular season.
My sense is that the fine is not negotiable. Not after 26 days.
Curt: Hey Jim,
What do you think it will be: 7 D-Linemen or 8? and who's #8? Thanks.
Jim Thomas: Haslett generally likes to keep eight. I believe Eric Moore would be No. 8.
Gabriel 2 Snow: Hi Jim, I have 2 questions. First, I was always high on Burton, providing he stays healthy. I felt he might push Avery, & I had a concern that if he outplayed him, the staff would not put the first WR taken in the draft below him. Now, Avery is hurt, I hear great things about Burton, but it's Dante getting the nod. I didn't see that coming. Has Hall been that good in camp? Will we see more of Burton?
Second, the 3rd team QB battle looks too close to call. I doubt many thought Berlin was even in the race, but he appears to be a better prospect than we thought. How do you see it at this point?
One comment, I loved it when the Rams suddenly got REAL fans by moving to StLouis. To me, a real fan can gripe all week, but is LOUD & PROUD on gameday. It's sad & depressing to see the ED so gloomy. I wish the fans would realize they could be part of the solution, instead, they are part of the problem.
P.S.-How is your son doing? All my best to him. Too bad about Caleb, raw deal.
Jim Thomas: As I mentioned in an earlier post, Avery will play Sunday. Simply stated, Avery and Burton aren't ready at the moment. Besides the usual rookie acclimation process, this is a very involved offense for wide receivers. But Saunders and the coaching staff are not down on the rookies by any way shape or form. Hall has been very good in camp.
--I still give Berlin a slight edge over Gradkowski at this point. He's been more accurate.
--As for the Dome, winning cures all.
As for Cadet Sgt. Thomas, he's doing fine. He completed Air Assault School at Ft. Drum earlier this month, came home for eight days _ attended Saturday's Chargers game wearing, as always, his Isaac Bruce jersey _ and returned to West Point Sunday for his junior year. Class starts tomorrow, I believe.
rkryan: Open letter to SJ:
Yo, Vegas dude-
You've rolled the dice on this one and came up short. No Rams fan in St. Louis wants to hear your side of the story anymore. Frankly, some of us are wondering if you've completely lost your mind. Report to the team and get to work before you get booed off the field the next time you play here.
As a side note, here's a little advice for your sister:
Yo, Rhonda babe-
You're not SJ's agent. Mind your own business and let your brother mind his before you become the next Yoko Ono of the Rams (a.k.a. Brenda Warner).
P.S. SJ, you're on the money about the music at the Dome...at least you got that right. Text me and I'll give you some suggestions to take to the FO.
Jim Thomas: Do you think Steven is reading this forum?
ctramsfan: Do you think the Rams have the potential and the players to become a top ten offense again or is the talent just not there? I'm 16years old and a huge Rams fan from Connecticut and when the Rams were scoring points consistently it was the most enjoyable thing I could ask for on Sunday afternoons. I just hope Al Saunders can get this offense along with Marc Bulger, in motion again and get them back into the NFL's elite. Do you think this is possible?
Thanks for your time Jim
Jim Thomas: Can it be a productive offense yes? Will it be the second coming of the Greatest Show? Don't hold your breath. They will have to rely more on the running game this year. And Bulger has to get settled down.
George M.: Hi, Jim -
A lot has been written about the Rams tough schedule, but the other NFC West teams share most of that schedule. Of the 10 games each team has outside the division, every West team plays 8 common opponents (Buffalo, Miami, Dallas, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia, and Washington. For the other two games, the Rams get Atlanta and Chicago, Seattle gets the Bays, Tampa and Green, Arizona gets Minnesota and Carolina, and San Francisco gets Detroit and New Orleans.
It looks pretty tough to expect a Wild Card out of the NFC West, so my question is, how many victorys do you think it will take to win the West?
Jim Thomas: Good point on the scheduling George. When you include the division games, there are 14 common opponents. I think nine wins _ no more than 10 _ will get it done in the West.
Rambunctious: Hi Jim,
Are there still talks going on privately with Parker and Jackson, or is everthing quiet with nothing going on at all. What is your guess as to when Jackson will come in?
Has Leckey played well enough that he is in contention for the starting job, or is Romberg going to be our starting center?
Jim Thomas: There has been some additional discussion.
As I mentioned earlier, Leckey is making a run at the job.
Florissant Rams Fan: Hi Jim,
I hate to ask this but, do you think something will get done with #39 by this weekend? Do you think this will linger into the regular season?
Jim Thomas: All I can say is, this is a critical week.
Do you think this team suffers from lack of confidence? Who are the leaders on the field for this team?
Jim Thomas: Yes, it lacks confidence. It's hard to develop swagger when you're 3-13.
Leaders Glover, Tinoisamoa, Chavous, Green, Holt, Bulger (trying to be).
David: How do you rate the O-line's performance so far in training camp and pre-season?
Has Pace lost a step?
Jim Thomas: Started slowly in camp on the practice field, then has showed gradual improvement. Did very well against Tennessee on the practice field, but just so-so in the preseason game. Played well against San Diego.
As for Pace--he hasn't played in 11 months. And he's only played seven regular season games in two-plus seasons. He's rusty. I thought his footwork improved against San Diego, that one bad play notwithstanding.
Matt G: Is it really a possibility that Steven Jackson misses any regular season games?
Jim Thomas: As we sit here right now, I'd say yes.
Jonathan: What about a power running game? If the starting line stays healthy along with Becht and McMichael at TE and Krieder at FB with the Battering Ram back at TB, why not become a running team first, throw second? It would kill more of the clock, keep us in more games where a turn over wins or looses the game and keep Bulger in the lineup and our D off the field more.
I'm sure Saunders knows what he's doing. They looked like they could run well this weekend.
Jim Thomas: Well, I think you're on to something if only in the sense that the Rams need to try to become more of a running team this season.
cardsnumber7: Hi Jim,
Will Drew Bennett ever catch a ball? Bulger threw a perfect pass Saturday against the Chargers that went right thru his hands? Even the announcers were on him.
Is Bulger even confident with throwing the ball to him?
Jim Thomas: Interesting question. I don't know what Bulger's level of confidence is in Bennett. He had two or three catchable balls go through his hands Sunday. For the kind of money he's making, that can't happen.
Tony: Hi Jim,
If you had to isolate the two biggest red flags for the upcoming season, based on the offseason and what you have seen in camp thus far, what would they be? I personally feel like it's (a) the possibility that Jackson's holdout, even if it ends, results in his having a mediocre to poor season, which the Rams just can't afford, and (b) some serious lack of depth at linebacker ... feels like we are an injury away from real trouble there.
Jim Thomas: My two red flags:
1.) Jackson's holdout
2.) Bulger's play at QB in the preseason.
youngbuck02: Hey Mr. Thomas, it's Jake Frahm..anyway I'm curious on your take about the progress of Pace, he seemed to be much sharper versus the Chargers than he did during the first preseason game against Tennessee, where he struggled versus Vandenbosch. Do you think he will be reliable as a LT during the regular season, and as he improves, do you think it will help Bulger's play as he feels more secure that he won't get hit from the backside? Thanks and I hope that our offense improves or it seems we're in for another long season.
Jim Thomas: Jake--How's that curveball?
Pace remains a work in progress. I too thought he looked much sharper against San Diego. With the obvious exception of that scary sack. On the very play before that, he stoned the defender in front of him. But since playing those 39 snaps against the Chargers, Pace has sat out the first two days of practices this week with what Linehan calls general body soreness. We'll see what happens. But at this point, I don't know what to say about Pace's ability to play a full four quarters week in and week out in September.
I'm not going to claim that St. Louis has the nation's best bad-team football fans, but did anyone else notice that the NY Jets stadium was more than half empty for Favre's debut last weekend? What are the Jets fan's excuses?
I think STL gets a bad rap sometimes. This year, we have a bad product with a bad head coach in a bad stadium. No wonder the Rams can't sell tickets.
Your toughts on this town's fans?
Jim Thomas: I think St. Louis is an underrated football town. As I look around the league at some of these preseason games, I see a lot of empty seats.
Winning cures all.
Justin from Virginia: Jim, any truth that Haslett was bashing Linehan and the Rams front office on a recent radio show?
Jim Thomas: This stuff is pure gossip, nothing more. I don't comment on gossip.
IdahoRam: Jim: Thanks for taking the emails! Here is my question: Is there any growing sense on the part of management that S.J. isn't worth this headache? While I know he's a good player, but as a lifelong Rams fan, I don't view him as a leader (ala Holt, Pace, Bulger, etc.) and am getting to the point that I don't care if he leaves at all. I'd like to hear that management is holding strong and isn't going to reward S.J. for his selfish stance (and I say "selfish" because I believe he could have gotten great money if he had just shown up to camp like a true leader would have).
Jim Thomas: One reason why Zygmunt and Linehan haven't been bashing him publicly is because they do think he's worth the trouble. They want him in camp and they want to sign him to a new contract.
Cierra: Hi Jim,
I have heard reports that Miami might be willing to release or trade Ronnie Brown. Obviously SJ is a hold out, and the Rams depth is questionable at best. Would he be an option as a fill in starter and later as quality depth guy? Also Joe Horn did get his release from Atlanta, is there any chance he is still a better option than what the Rams have at the back end of their receiving core?
Jim Thomas: How much do you really think Joe Horn has left at age 36? And even if you thought he did, that's the kind of pickup that a 13-3 club makes seeking to add that one piece to get them to a Super Bowl. Not a 3-13 outfit.
feet: Do you really think this team respects Linehan?
Do you expect a change during the season if things go bad and who would take over (Haslet, Saunders, etc…)
Jim Thomas: Linehan still has something to prove _ to himself, to the players, to ownership.
I've said this before, I'll say it again. It would be TOTALLY out of character for management to make an in-season coaching change.
How is Ron Bartel looking? In your opinion is he best suited at CB or safety. Thanks.
Jim Thomas: Bartell is up to 215 pounds. He played well against the Chargers. At this point, I see him more as a corner, but he's been getting plenty of work at safety because of the injury situation there.
If we want to pick up a FA or two, won't that be after the first cuts? When are they "cut days"?
Even if Berlin has a slight edge against Gradkowski, wouldn't it be wiser to just put Berlin on the Practice Squad? He's eligible while Gradkowski is not....
Jim Thomas: Cut down days are Aug. 26 (but only to 75), and then Aug. 30.
If you keep 3 QBs on the active roster, I don't think you can afford to keep a fourth on the practice squad.
That's it for today. See you next week.
Re: Jim Thomas LiveJim Thomas: Bennett did not run the wrong route. Bulger telegraphed the pass and the DB just happened to be in a coverage technique that put him in position to make the INT."Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
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