Tuesday, March 17, 2009 01:00 PM CDT


lawdog: Now that we appear to have addressed the FB and SS holes in the lineup, and have let one of the best OLTs in the history of the game go due to diminishing skills and to free additional cap space, do you see us making serious attempts to sign another FA? Are there any quality OTs or LBs still available in the FA market that might realistically sign with a SOSAR squad like ours?

It would appear to me that our first three picks of the draft will be OT, LB and WR--probably in that order. Any ideas as to who may be available at those spots that we might actually draft?

Man 1999 seems like 1000 years ago... Thanks for giving us these glimpses from the inside!

Jim Thomas: Even with the release of Pace and Holt, the Rams aren't really swimming in cap space. Unless someone becomes available that the Rams just have to have, I don't see them making another big move via trade or free agency. The Rams barely had enough to squeeze in Butler under the cap before cutting Pace, Holt, and Becht. Then you sign Karney, Setterstrom, Eric Moore. The Rams want to re-sign Goldberg and Craft. Next up in terms of outside free agents probably are QB Gus Frerotte, and quite possibly blocking TE Billy Bajema. Each one of those players takes away another $300K, $500K, $1 million, $1.5 million from the cap, etc. Plus, the team's rookie salary cap will be about $6 million for the draft. But again, if the right guy is available, I think they'll find a way to create cap space.

As for free agency, there's not a whole lot left. Some names at LB--Angelo Crowell (injury issue), Morlon Greenwood, Cato June, Napoleon Harris; at WR, a lot of oldies--Amani Toomers, Ike Hilliard, Bobby Engram, D.J. Hackett; at OT, Harvey Dahl, Jon Runyan, Mark Tauscher. . .John St. Clair.

As for the draft, I'm really not ready to project into the second and third rounds right now. At this point, the first-round possibilities are pretty obvious.

dominic: Jim....welcome back!
We as fans need to remember this fact...the Rams were 5-27 with Torry Holt and Orlando Pace.And Bill Parcells always said it is better to release players one year sooner than one year later when they dont have anything left.With that being said,good move to our new front office.
1)Try and trade down for more choices.If not,take a playmaker instead of a tackle.Curry?Raji? We can get a tackle in the later rounds.....your thoughts?
2)Any names you hearing that the Rams are interested in signing?
3)Since my dream cut has been made,(Bennett),what are you hearing about Pisa? We all know he is so overrated.....agree?
Glad to have you back!!!!

Jim Thomas: 1.) Remember, it takes two to trade down. Somebody's is going to have to want a player pretty badly to trade up into a $50 million plus spot (No. 2 overall).
2.) Frerotte and Bajema are the only ones I know on the radar right now.
3.) Haven't heard anything about Pisa at this time.


nyramsfan: Jim,

I am ok with what the Rams have done but we need to make the releases of Holt and Pace make sense.They need to go with my plan and tell me what you think and if these guys are indedd on the Rams radar?

1) Please sign an solid OT like Scaffer from Clevland) or i do believe Womack from Seattle is available also (what do you think of the rececently realesed Kwame Harris of Oakland)
2) Draft Crabtree and move down some spots to gain some extra picks to add depth on the O line or D line
3) Pick up a linebacker like Crowell (who could be had relatively chep right now)
4) Sign Bajema the tightend from the 9ers
5) Draft Britton or Laurnitis(I know I butchered his name but the the spelling of his name evades me right now) in the second round if one is still avail and hopefully we can pick up an extra pick or 2 if we find a dance partner to move out of the number 2 spot but of course still grtting Crabtree
6) Sign a Dt like William Joseph or in a perfect world Tank Johnson but i know he does not meet the 4 Pillars but with that being said I maybe going out on a limb here but do not be so fast to drop Woten as he meets a need and though he does not meetthe 4 pillars he is a current Ram and not brought in via FA and I believe he should be give one final chance and a clean slate.

I think with the money we have saved from Holt and Pace and if you do go through with all these moves I mentioned you do have enough money to sign these players and the draft class of 09 and then maybe one or 2 other cuts for flexability.

Thanks,
Anthony

Jim Thomas: 1.) Womack recently signed with somebody. Don't know about Harris or Shaffer.
2.) Let's see how Crabtree's foot is in about a month.
3.) Another veteran LB would be great _ if you're not drafting Curry or a second-round LB.
4.) They do need a run-stuffing DT.
5.) I would be stunned if Wroten is around once his suspension ends.

NJ#1RAMFAN: Good Agternoon JT
1. Do you think we will ever get anything out of Tye Hill.
2. Is there any hope at all for Claude Wroten, or just write him off.
3. And my biggest concern, are you guys over rating Butler. People around here (New Jersey), are laughing saying that Butler stinks and we can have him. I tell them I think Spags knows what he is doing. Your take on Butler?

Jim Thomas: 1.) We're about to find out.
2.) See earlier answer.
3.) Butler's an upgrade over Chavous, but I don't think anyone around here regards him as the next Ronnie Lott.

Bopat: Hello Jim,
Any chance of trading Bulger to Denver for Jay Cutler?

Jim Thomas: What in the world is so great about Cutler? He has a 17-20 record as a starter. He throws a lot of interceptions _ 37 in 37 games. He's never been in a playoff game. His best passer rating is 88.5.

John in socal: Jim, Been a Ram fan for over 50yrs and would like to commend you and your paper for the coverage you give the team and the people who write in on this forum for their passion. My thoughts on the draft are with no proven tackles other than Barron, and he on the final year of his contract, we're almost forced to go Offensive tackle with the 2nd pick. Your thoughts?

Jim Thomas: To me, logic says tackle as well. The only thing that might change that is if the Rams are able to sign someone in what remains of free agency _ and from my earlier post you see there's not much left at tackle. Under that scenario, you could possible take an LB or WR at No. 2 overall, and then take a tackle in the second round.

Chen: Who do you see as the starting CB next to Bartell? Any news on Hill and/or King? How's their offseason progress and do you see King starting over Hill? Thanks!

Chen

Jim Thomas: I don't know for sure, but I think the Rams would like it to be Hill. King is coming along fine at last check, although I haven't checked on him lately. It would be a stretch right now to think that King could beat out Hill, even in Hill's current state. Remember, any optimism on King is based on just two weeks of training camp last season.

ljramsfan: Jim,

I have heard that the Billy D does not want Bulger to compete with anyone and that is why they have signed a backup QB. Is this true? They must have a lot of confidence in Berlin in case Bulger goes down.

Second question. Do you think they will put a Brett Favre trade for like one of the Qbs from another team like GB's Brohm or Beck from Miami, or heck, Ratliff from the NYJ

Jim Thomas: Well, I think that's the only conclusion you can draw if the Rams do indeed sign Frerotte as the No. 2. And if they sign Frerotte, I think that eliminates any trade possibilities. I myself will be very interested to see if the Rams draft a QB.

boiseramfan: I really don't know why but I would like to see Claude at least get a chance to come in and compete for a roster spot and see how he handles himself with this staff. One mistake and he is out but at least give him a shot. What do you think

Jim Thomas: No way. That draft pick has gone up in smoke long ago.

RAMbunctious: Hi Jim, thanks once again for the chat. Thanks also for letting us know that it appears the Rams will hold training camp in the St. Louis area for the upcoming season. I'm just curious to know if you can tell us approximately when the team announces the dates for the camp each year. A few of us up here in NY are planning on coming into town for camp and want to get our trip all lined up as soon as possible. Take care and thanks!

Jim Thomas: I think we're a ways away from having the camp dates. All I can say is stay tuned.

peteb443: Before last season the Rams requested that the league allow them to wear the throw back uniforms in honor of Georgia's passing. The league declined their request. Are the Rams going to be able to wear them this year???

Jim Thomas: Yes, I wrote about this a while back. They have permission to wear the '99 Super Bowl champion throwbacks for three home games in 2009.

Marshall Faulk: Since the new Rams front office waited so long to trade or release holt, we missed out on some great free agent Wide Receivers. Will we get some veteran help or are we going to stay with young Avery/Burton?

Jim Thomas: I have a hard time thinking that they wouldn't try to bring in some kind of veteran before all is said and done.

marctheram: Thanks Jim, Any insight on who the Rams wish to plug in as a backup to Steven Jackson?

Jim Thomas: I really don't at this point.

Ryan Miller: I am from the central california area, and I was wondering what you thought of Bear Pascoe(the tight end from Fresno State)? Do you have any idea of what round he is expected to be drafted? And do you think the Rams would have any interest in him? Thanks for your time.

Jim Thomas: I don't think tight end is very high on the Rams radar right
now, particularly if Bajema signs.

Butcher: Isn't it high time the Rams start getting away from the concrete shoe, pocket passer type, especially since our O line stinks, and go young and mobile at #2 QB? The Rams would add a new attack element with a big armed scrambler like a Steve Young/Steve McNair type who keeps defenses honest and on their heels! From Gabriel to Haden to Ferragamo to Chris Miller to Banks to Warner to Bulger, Ram blockers have labored for decades. Why can't they break out of it?

Jim Thomas: Well, they're kind of tied to Bulger for next year at least because of his contract.

soly: Aloha from Hawaii, Jim. Hey, I really don't get the whole QB situation. Why not bring in a guy to push Bulger? Don't get me wrong, I think that he is more than good enough, accurate, etc. I just think that competion for all spots is what keeps guys performing up to their potential. It can't be all about money. I'm sure we could affort a Garcia, Leftwich, etc. who wants to start, and would at least provide some extra drive for Marc to be on his game. I'm not at all advocating getting rid of Bulger, I just wanna see more spark out of the position. It used to seem like he was playing to prove he belonged (after Warner). He got his big contract, then tanked (along with the whole team). Another good QB that wants to start would seem to be the right move for Marc, and the team. Thoughts and insights appreciated.
-Sol

Jim Thomas: I agree. I would have liked to have seen Garcia. But that's not going to happen unless the Rams do a 180 on their thinking there. Again, let's see if the Rams draft a QB.

John(Ozy rams fan): Good day from down under Jim,

This seems like a good time to ask about free agency. Has there ever been talk about some kinda discount on the salary cap for long time players. For example giving teams a discount could help keep team favorites, say for a 5 year player, a 5% discount agianst the cap.

Something needs to be done, fans deserve the right to have there favorite player retained. A discount would mean players still get the money and fans get to enjoy there favorites in team colors. Holt, bruce and Pace all are good examples.

Ozy Rams fan

Jim Thomas: When you're talking about $10 million and $9 million cap counts for players, I don't think a 5% discount would make much of a difference. But I do agree that it's a shame that players such as Holt, Bruce and Pace can't at least finish out their contracts with a team.

moos44: What are the chances of the Rams re-signing Pace or Holt? Wouldn't they have to wait until July for it to even be possible?

Jim Thomas: Won't happen.

vanvaley1: The secondary looks solid and stronger with some upside potential. Ya know we're going to draft at least one LB and probably two. What for? If you're not gonna make the middle of the defensive line a threat to an opposing QB why beef up the rest? Is there a strong possibility we'll draft Raji as a first round draft pick? van

Jim Thomas: Interesting question. And I think you're right not to sleep on Raji as a first-round possibility. The Rams need a big run stuffer.

Steve B.: Jim: Do you think the moves of Barron to LT and Bell to RT are serious, or just a smokescreen until they use that first pick on either Monroe or Smith? Any word on whether they might at least re-sign Goldberg? He played pretty well last year at various positions.

Jim Thomas: Rams are trying to re-sign Goldberg.
As for Barron and Bell, I've got to think that it's at least part smokescreen.

ballhawk32: Jim:
Given all the free agent acquisitions, player releases, etc. thus far, its pretty much a lock that our first pick is either an OT, WR, or LB. We know who the main players are at each.

So, if you are running the Rams, which way do you lean?
A. Rams draft Curry at #2, then an OT in Round 2.
B. Rams draft Smith or Monroe at #2, then a WR in Round 2.
C. Rams draft Crabtree at #2, than a OT in Round 2.

Personally, I'd like to see Option A because I think a quality OT should be available in Round 2 given the depth at that position in this draft. I dont think the same can be said about WR and LB.

Jim Thomas: I'd still say, B. But we'll what happens.

Joey: Hey Mr. Thomas.

Thanks for all your effort. The Rams, by my count have fifty some players in camp. Last year at this time they had seb=venty or so. Are they making an effort not to just have camp bodies or is this an economic thing? Also, rumors are floating around the Rams have re-signed Withrow, Eric Moore and Setterstrom and cut Matt Caddell. Any truth to that?

All the best and thanks again.

Jim Thomas: As you probably saw from yesterday, the Rams re-signed Moore and Setterstrom, plus four street free agents.

kentucky rams fan: Any list on Rams visits yet?

Jim Thomas: If you mean draft visits to Rams Park that doesn't come until early April.

lujack: Hi Jim, Thanks for the feed back.
I live in Louisiana about 60 miles from New Orleans, Been A Rams fan my whole life.(50)yrs.
I was wondering if the Rams are going to contact Shaffer OT that was
justed releasted by the Browns and do the Rams have any interest in Lucas.
I don't get much info. on the Rams down here just last week I pulled St.Louis Sports and that's how I found this. Is great to read the responds of other Ram fans. I like most Rams fan would like to see Curry dratfed with there 1st pick and come back with WR or OT.


Thanks, Lujack

Jim Thomas: Now that you've found us, please keep reading. Don't know about any interest in Shaffer or Lucas.

Gabriel 2 Snow: Hello jim, it's been awhile since you've heard from me & I hope all is well with you & yours, especially cadet Thomas, any updates on him?
I am, for the most part, thrilled with the new Ram regime.
It would be nice if more info. was available from team sources, but I understand that the free flow of information may not be conducive to competitive success in free agency & the draft.
So, my first question is:
How do you feel they are doing as far as media/fan relations? Have they gone a bit overboard with the secrecy, or are they just playing it smart?
Secondly, on an A through F scale, how do you rate the new braintrusts performance early on? I say B+.
Thanks Jim.

Jim Thomas: The early line is that access it going to be more limited, be it access to coaches or access to players. That's unfortunate. But we've had a very good run in terms of access in St. Louis, going all the back to Rich Brooks.

Gary Nguyen: Jim,

Which direction do you think the Rams are drafting? Best Available Player or based on position of need?

I think Aaron Curry is the BPA route. However, there so many holes on the Offense and Defensive Lines, the Rams need to hit on all of their draft picks

Jim Thomas: Too early to tell. But in general, Devaney says he likes to go for best available unless the grades are pretty close on two players, then he goes with need.

Tim: Hi Jim,

With Holt and Pace now released, do you see them picking up another free agent like Kevin Shaffer or Khalif Barnes for the O-line? And do you feel comfortable with the Rams secondary the way it is now? And how much does it help the Rams with the cap relief of 14 million.

Thank You

Jim Thomas: I believe Barnes, finally, has signed with Oakland.

David Ellicks: Suggest the Rams trade for Jay Cutler, from Denver. He should have been the Rams pick 11 of the draft.

Dave

Jim Thomas: I would've taken Broderick Bunkley, the DT from Florida State, who has developed into a very good NFL player in Philadelphia.

Team First!!!: Thanks once again for taking the time to answer our questions.

Do you know if the Rams will scrimmage with the Titans again this year? I thought that they said it was a 2 year deal. Just don't know what Spags plans on doing. Have you heard any thing or can your find out? Thanks

Jim Thomas: Haven't heard, but will try to find out.

mike barttelbort: ok I'd like to see us try and work a deal with guard Jahri Evans of the Saints 25 year old 6-4 318--any up and comer

as far as tackle

I like Terrance Metcalf and Don Penn

Jim Thomas: Keep in mind, Penn is an RFA, and I hear he's not a boy scout.

warner13: Jim, thanks for the chat.

Any truth that Fred Robbins from the NYG may be traded due to the Giants D-line signings? I imagine Spags would love to have him. To me, he's an excellent lineman and fits the Rams need on the rotation.

Martin

Jim Thomas: Some of us here in the Rams Park media room thought some kind of Holt for Robbins trade would be nice. That obviously didn't happen, at least not with Holt.

LonghornRam: Jim, thanks for the time.I must say I'm impressed by the front office and the personnel moves that they've made in the last 2 weeks.One question:What's the latest on OJ long term contract talks?I'm pretty sure we could get a cap relief by signing him long term than having him on the franchise tag.

Jim Thomas: It's kind of back burner at the moment, but I think the Rams still want to get it done at some point. A longer-term deal should indeed provide some cap relief, but maybe not as much as I originally though. The early read on these Kevin Demoff contracts is that they're not back-loaded so much, meaning the first year cap hit is larger than usual. And they're shorter term. (Four years instead of six or seven.)

GreatestShowOnTurf99: Hey Jim! Thanks as always-

Do you see the Rams have any sort of chance with getting Isaac Bruce back from the *****? Or do you think the FO has no interest?

Jim Thomas: I would say slim and none. The new front office seems intent on signing younger players and ridding the roster of the last vestiges of the Greatest Show.

T. Sexton: Any news on the Gus Frerrotte signing?

Jim Thomas: Devaney told me Monday that he planned on calling Frerotte and getting him in here for a visit.

vanvaley1: Was Wroten at the coach's first team meeting? Just curious. van

Jim Thomas: He's still under suspension, so he's not allowed in the building.

Mark in NY: 1) How are you , Jim and where have you been? 2) What are the chances of the Rams re-signing Orlando Pace? 3) How come Terrell Ownes (at 35) gets a huge contract while Torry Holt (at 32) is still unsigned? Thanks, and welcome back!

Jim Thomas: 1.) I was on a company-mandated one-week furlough.
2.) None.
3.) The only thing I can think of is that TO has scored a lot more TDs lately than Torry.


kickin it: In recent years,it seems, the Rams offense hasn't had a "field general". I believe Bulger is a good QB but I don't think he has that "take charge" kind of attitude that you need in a QB. With that being said, would the Rams be interested in trading Mark for Jay Cutler? Cutler seems to be that "Field General" type of guy from what i've seen and heard from friends that live in Denver.

Jim Thomas: I guess he's a Field General if your definition of Field General includes whining like a baby when you catch wind of a possible trade for a player that happens to play your position. Memo to Jay Cutler: You're in the big leagues now, kiddo. Competition is what it's all about in the NFL, and you're always subject to being replaced, there's always someone waiting to take your job. Besides, what exactly has Cutler accomplished that he has earned the right to be so upset about a trade that didn't happen?

OT RamFan: Since the Rams are in need of so much talent, why can't they keep a player like Holt, give him his 1.3 mil, then trade him for an extra number 2 or 3. Wouldn't they pay that price to get an extra pick? I know it may have required reworking the 8 mil due this year, but Holt's going to have to do that anyway. Seems like that Street named Loyalty is one-way.

Jim Thomas: Because a trade for a second_ or third-round draft pick just wasn't in the works, and the Rams ultimately will need the cap space.

Mike: Jim,

Is Jeff Otis related to Jim Otis?

Thanks

Jim Thomas: It's his son.

Marty: Thank you Jim for these chats.

Words can't express how happy I am that the Rams are leaning to having training camp in STL this year. Does Spags have the choice to allow the public to view camp or does team management have the say-so? My point of view is that the team needs to rekindle their relationship with the fans in light of three disasterous years, but that's just me. Hopefully they'll have a better marketing campaign than the "Bring It" debacle last year.

Jim Thomas: No matter where they train, I'm pretty sure training camp practices will be open to the public. Even when held at Rams Park, only the night practices (in the past) were closed to fans.

Tackleberry: JT,

I know you'll immediately reference the "Four Pillars" that Spagnuolo plans to rebuild this organization with, but is there any chance he'd look at Matt Jones on a short-term/incentive-laden deal?

Jim Thomas: Pillar, pillar, pillar, pillar.

Tiger J: What's up Jim, two questions for ya! Is Jason Brown's contract situation fixed? Also if the Rams do go(hope not) with an OT when do you think we will address mlb, since WR seems to be our second round choice?

Jim Thomas: Brown's was fixed more than a week ago, before it even officially appeared on the "disallowed" list on the official NFL transactions. Contrary to some reports, it was only a minor technicality dealing with how a clause in the contract was interpreted.
As for your second question, let's see if anything happens between now and the draft at OT, WR, or MLB either through free agency or trade. That will affect the pecking order of who gets picked where.

ramsfan: Do you think the rams could pick up Andre Smith in the later rounds or as a free agent??? He used to be sure fire pick at No 2. Or is that not part of Steve Spagnuolo's team, faith, and character?

Jim Thomas: From what I've been told, the Rams were never that high on Andre Smith. What happened at the Combine only reinforced that opinion.

Joe: Jim,

While it's true that players play the game, I think that leadership from the Head Coaching position is probably the most vital element in the parity-era NFL. I think that's why you see these HCs making the coin that they do. While Linehan was not ready for prime-time (and may never be), I believe that Spagnuolo is. Though he has only just now addressed the team for the first time, his leadership skills are already evident - from Bartell to Butler he's getting guys to commit to his approach.

You're a lot closer to the situation than any of us, so do you see the signs that he has the leadership ability, charisma, and credentials to earn the respect and gain the commitment of the modern NFL player?

Jim Thomas: Well, the early signs are that the players are connecting with Spagnuolo. He seems to have a sincerity about him, tons of energy, and very good commmunications skills. And he's got credibility by virtue of that Super Bowl championship ring. But he's yet to cut a player, bench a player, make a questionable decision in a game. Not to be a contrarian, but players were saying a lot of good things publicly about Linehan three years ago.

MHandshear: - JT,

Thanks for your continued outstanding coverage of the team this off-season. Your chats and blog have been spot-on and timely. Please keep up the great work! On to a draft question:

Have you heard any rumblings on Oregon CB Jarius Byrd? He is a local product, and I have long heard of his talents from my father (whom just happens to be an alum of Byrd's Clayton High School.) I've seen him viewed as a second round prospect and wondered if the Rams had shown any initial interest in the former Greyhound?

"You've gotta love Jim Thomas."

- Issac Bruce

Jim Thomas: I talked to Byrd briefly at the Combine. I don't know if the Rams are interested.

Sam from Dallas: Hooray! Welcome back!
I guess I missed the 'Hate on Alex Barron' train. Have you gotten any info from Rams Park about the OT situation? If Spags/Shurmur are happy w/ Barron at LT, then couldn't they go after a RT in the second round, leaving them free to take Curry in the 1st? What letter grade would you give Barron's performance overall? During his limited time at LT? Thanks for your time!

Jim Thomas: I certainly think that's a possibility (the Curry at No. 2 overall, and then an OT in the second. To my recollection Barron gave up quite a few sacks at LT in '07. So I'd say a C+, or about like he's played at RT.

gnykin2: Do you think we could get Cutler for Marc Bulger, Anthony Reyes (I know he's gone but we will get him back) and Chris Duncan...

just kidding.

Jim Thomas: Only if you through in Brian Barton.

ramfandan: Happy St. Patrick's Day, Jim !

Many draft lists have Baylor OT Jason Smith as maybe 1A and OT Eugene Monroe a 1B in the OT category. Do you think the fact that Monroe played at Virginia and has teammate connections with Chris Long will be any added factor in Rams selecting him over Jason Smith should they decide to go OT with their selection ? (One might surmise that Devaney may have 'picked the brain' of Chris Long regarding Monroe's character, effort, teammate relationships, leadership etc.)

Jim Thomas: Well, I'm sure Devaney will indeed talk to Long about Monroe (if he hasn't already.) Devaney, by the way, will attend Monroe's Pro Day on Thursday at Virginia.

Brian: I have read that Andre Smith's draft stock has fallen considerably, maybe out of the first round. What are your thoughts on this, and my prediction is this guy will be the biggest bust? Horrible attitude, bad decisions. He has got it all.

Jim Thomas: He has made some bad decisions. I don't know if he's a guy you can count on, particularly with the kind of money he might get in the top five. But he is one heck of a run blocker.

Zuke: Jim,
1) Do Rams see Leonard as a viable #2 RB, or will they look to free agency/draft this year?

2) Any hints yet on how Spags will use Carriker this year (DE vs. DT)?

3) Do you think the Rams will take a RT in the draft, and plug him in to start, w/ Barron at LT?

Jim Thomas: 1.) Not sure, but the veteran minicamp Arpil 2-3-4 will provide some hints.
2.) Same as above.
3.) You know, even if they draft Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe (or say, somebody in the second round at OT), they could start him at RT as a rookie (to get his feet wet in the NFL; this has been done before), and then move him to LT in 2010 to replace Barron. (Hypothetically here, since Barron will be a free agent after the '09 season.)

bfulton: Spagnuolo has had two months to look over the roster, now. Are there any players/positions that he thinks will outperform their performance from when they played for Linehan? In other words, does he think anybody on the roster is a hidden gem?

Jim Thomas: Spagnuolo is the first to admit that he needs to see many of these players on the practice field to help form such opinions. And he'll do just that in 2 1/2 weeks at the first minicamp.

Dave B: Jim, Any talk about Tatum Bell? Good size and yd's per carry.

Jim Thomas: I agree, and he's only 27. But he has had some fumbling problems. And keep an eye on your luggage around him.

Mike: Hey Jim you're doing a great job keeping us updated on everything.

Im seeing alot of fans mad about Jackson missing the 1st meeting. Im just wondering what your take is on it?

And one more for you. It seems that the pickup of Mike Karney is a great move. I just wanna know why the Saints dropped him and how you could do it on the day before his wedding?

Thanks alot Jim!

Jim Thomas: Jackson is a lightning rod. Anything he does out of the ordinary is subject to criticism. That's just the way it is with him, partly because of his outspokeness (not to mention the holdout). If you read the Spags quotes on the no-show (i didn't include them in the Around the Horn blogs, but they were in the full story) it all sounds legit.
Karney was a Pro Bowler in 2006. He's a classic banger-type fullback. The Saints have evovled into a spread offense, almost a run-and-shoot under Sean Payton. The Saints wanted a more multi-dimensional fullback who could catch it and run it a little, so they opted for Heath Evans. As for the timing of Karney's release, maybe they needed to do it at that time to create cap space. And maybe, as soon as they signed Evans, they figured it was the right thing to do for Karney _ to get him out on the market as soon as possible, so he could get another job.

Dave C: Jim , now that we have released Orlando & Torry, what effect will the first mini-camp have on our draft priorities?What I mean by that is..does Spags have a good idea of what he has by watching the film of these guys or is he one to want to see someone in person to draw his conclusions?

Jim Thomas: I alluded to this somewhat in an earlier post, but I do think the minicamp will have some impact. Regardless of what you see on film, you don't really know a player until you see them on the practice field. Their attitude, work ethic, body language _ as well as skills. And it looks like Spags is a big believer in the intangibles.
That's all for today. It was good to be back on the chats. Rams Nation never ceases to amaze me. The interest is incredible. There were 300 to 400 questions posed today. I try to get to as many as I can. Please don't take in personally if I don't get to your question. And if I don't know or am not sure about an answer _ I'm not going to fake it. I'll just tell you I don't know or I'm not sure. I'll be at the NFL owners meetings next week, so I may have to put off the chat until later in the week next week. On-line editor Mike Smith will let you know for sure early next week. Regards. . . .