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    Jim Thomas Live - Aug 9

    Jim Thomas Live

    Rams writer Jim Thomas goes one-on-one with readers at 1 p.m. Tuesday in a live chat.
    Tuesday, August 9, 2011


    leonard van valey: Like the experience being brought in...but... so much of it? In a couple of years won't this team be long in the tooth? What's the average age of the team now compared with other teams in the league? Still...it looks like they are serious about having a winning season with the acquisition of these experienced players of proven ability.

    Jim Thomas: Remember, 8 of the 11 free agents signed so far are one-year deals. So there's no guarantee how many of them will be back in 2012. Of the 11 outside veteran free agents, Diles is 26, Sims-Walker is 26, Ojinnakao is 27, Norwood just turned 28, Muir is 28, Williams is 29, Dahl just turned 30, Mikell is 30, Poppinga is 31, Bannan is 32, and Harris is 36. So they're spread out kind of all over the spectrum. But I think your overall point is valid. But the sheer number of free agents signed the Rams are trying to get over the hump in terms of at least making the playoffs.

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    dominic zappia: Hey Jim:
    1)With the 3 big payouts this year for Bradford,Smith and Long,does this mean the Rams will have more money next year under the cap?
    2)With Murphys injury,who are we looking at for a replacement from free agency or within? Sorry,King doesnt impress me.
    3)Who has impressed you so far at camp?
    Thank you...

    Jim Thomas: 1.) Not really. Because of escalators and incentives, Bradford, Smith and Long will have high cap counts for basically the rest of their contracts.
    2.) The Rams are looking, but there's not a ton out there now.
    3.) Give me another week. I missed 3 1/2 days of practice/scrimmage while I was in Canton.

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    Kyle Cooksey: Curious how you think Joe West (18) is looking in the fight for a spot as a WR. I noticed he's on the 2nd offense and gets a good amount of routes and is fairly consistent. Also noticed he is on all the special-teams, maybe because of his speed?

    Jim Thomas: I think he's running with the seconds mainly because of injuries (Avery, Alexander, Salas). But he could be a practice squad guy.

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    Greg: Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the chat.

    Has Quinn lived up to the expectations so far in camp/scrimmage?

    I saw him beat Saffold nicely in a drill this last friday, and from what I heard he was all over the backfield in the scrimmage at lindenwood.

    Does he bring instant pass rush to the Rams front four even though he's still unpolished? Will the coaching staff just put him out on the field and tell him to go get the quarterback?

    Jim Thomas: Too early to tell. We'll see how he does in the preseason. I wasn't at the scrimmage, but I was told he wasn't overwhelming.

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    Encino: What's your best guess as to how Quinn will be used once the official games begin.

    Jim Thomas: It's pretty obvious. Pass-rushing specialist on obvious passing downs, with James Hall moving inside to DT.

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    seanholland85: Jim always like the chats. I have to admit I'm a big Brandon Gibson fan. Going into camp everyone had him out the door. Now I'm hearing he is looking good in practice. So I have two questions. 1. Is he really having a good camp? 2. Are his chances of making the team better than at the start of camp? Thanks

    Jim Thomas: 1.) From what I have see, yes, he's having a good camp.
    2.) I wrote about this last March after interviewing Spags at the owners meetings. Gibson was kind of in Spags' doghouse a little bit last season, remember, he didn't even dress the first two games. But Gibson kind of won Spags over late in the 2010 season with his work ethic, attitude, and fewer drops. He's definitely in a good spot right now, although I wouldn't quite say he's a lock.

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    Greg: Hi Jim,

    IF healthy, Does Avery have a solid shot at making the team just because he's one of the few WR that brings elite top end speed to the picture? Aside from Alexander all the others seem to be slower possession guys or slot receivers.

    Jim Thomas: Sure, but we're less than 2 weeks into camp, and Avery's not healthy.

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    Playmaker: Is the preseason game this Saturday going to be blacked out locally in the st.Louis market?

    Jim Thomas: I think you can bank on that, although they usually have tape delays (late that night, and the next day as well) in the preseason.

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    Greg: Hi Jim,

    Just for fun, if you had to put a number on it...

    1. Quinn's regular season sack total
    2. Over/Under--Mike Sims Walker 800 yds receiving.
    3. Over/Under--Bradford throws 10 interceptions.
    4. Over/Under--Rams offense averages 24.0 ppg

    Jim Thomas: 1. 4 1/2
    2. Under
    3. Over
    4. Under

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    Aaron: How would you assess the backup QB situation. Do you think the Rams will still require a veteran presence, even though Feeley is very limited. Does Thaddeus Lewis have a shot?

    Jim Thomas: I don't think we have to overreact about Feeley's showing at Lindenwood. Let's see what the preseason brings.

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    kelby: hey mr thomas still havent heard from u but that ok i was wanting 2 know u think will b cut of wrs 4 my 2 cents i hope its not dx i think he is going 2 b great and hes not get paid that much? do u think we will use more no huddle w j mc i think sam looked great in it last year the o really got moving in no huddle

    Jim Thomas: Too early to tell on WRs. It will take the whole preseason to play out.

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    Christopher: Hey jim:

    Just wanted to say that i am a rams fan from all the way down here in boca raton, fl...loyalty over location!!
    Anyways i just wanted to know how DX is doing? how is his knee? i know alot of rams fans are pulling for this kid but it seems that he cant stay away from the injury bug. what do you think his chances are of making the team?

    Jim Thomas: Like Avery, he's got to get back on the field.

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    Ramsmark: How do you think we match up within our own division, Jim?

    I like our edge in QB and on defense. I feel that this year we may start the beginnings of some separation between ourselves and USC North and Stanford Lite, not to mention the Cards.

    Your thoughts? I do think the parade number is a solid "8" too.

    Thanks for your time!

    Jim Thomas: I like what the Rams did in free agency. I had them second in the division after the draft (but during the lockout). I think they might be the favorite now, in part because SF still has Alex Smith at QB. And 8-8 may be good enough to win the division.

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    Jon: Hi Jim,

    I wanted to know if you were the Rams GM, would the free agent signings be any different?

    I had hoped they would've gone after Cofield harder and even Mebane. Though I know you would've to pay them a litter more.

    And what's with all these signings of players who had past knee injuries. I know they work out the players but I hope it doesn't come back to haunt them.

    Thank You Jim for answering my questions.

    Jim Thomas: I don't know that there was an inordinate number of knee surgeries. But if you're referring to Williams and Norwood, that's probably one reason why they got them for modest contracts. And there aren't too many RBs that go through an NFL career without too many knee injuries.
    As for the DTs, as Devaney explained, the Rams needed quantity more than a "marquee" name or two for big bucks. They were able to get Bannan and Muir for about 2/3rds the price of Cofield.

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    Sacramento Ram: Hi Jim, please give the percentage probability for the following:

    - Cadillac/Norwood combine for 1,000 yards
    - Bradford passes for 4,000 yards
    - Rams have a defensive Pro Bowler in 2011

    cheers

    Jim Thomas: _ 10 percent
    _ 40 percent
    _ 55 percent

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    Dan Lum: 1) How's the OL gelling at this very early stage, and what's the depth looking per position?

    2) Has Greg Salas suited up for practices yet?

    Jim Thomas: 1.) Hard to say. Again, I missed 3 1/2 practices while in Canton. Depth-wise, you've got Goldberg and Fraley inside, Foster and Ojinnaka at tackles, along with guys like Drew Miller and Ryan McKee.
    2.) Yeah, he did the first week and looked very good.

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    Andy in Charlotte: Jim;

    Good to have the Q&A sessions back. Quick question(s): How close are the Rams to signing Mark Clayton? Do you feel it's imperative to resign him, now that the Rams seem to have better depth at the position, or are they still set on getting him back on the roster. Thanks...

    Jim Thomas: Good question. Tough read. I think the holdout is clayton's knee (more precisely, his surgically repaired patellar tendon). If healthy, I'm sure they'd be interested.

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    Soly: Hi Jim, thanks for the chat... Do you know the extent of the injury to Greg Salas's knee? Is it serious? I know he missed the scrimmage... do you think that this might affect his chances making the final cut?
    Mahalo

    Jim Thomas: I'll have to double-check on this, but I think it's a hamstring, not a knee. Unless he's sidelined for an extended period of time, Salas should make the final roster.

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    bfulton: It seems the Rams have more TEs in camp than ever before. Are they not happy with the TEs on the roster. Or will some of these guys end up at other positions like WR? Or is it just a good position for camp bodies? BTW, thanks for the increased tweeting.

    Jim Thomas: With the addition of Central Missouri's Demarco Cosby, they have seven TEs in camp. That's really not an inordinate number considering the 90-man roster and the the fact that the Rams might keep four TEs on the final roster.

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    Kevin: With all the receivers currently on the roster, any chance we trade Donnie Avery or any of the others? What do you think we would get in return for an Avery or a Gilyard?

    Jim Thomas: Possible, but I can't see them bringing much return in a trade. Avery obviously more than say Gilyard, maybe a fifth or a sixth, since he at least had two decent seasons before his injury.

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    got2golfjk: Did the Rams feel that Cadillac had more left in the tank than Ricky , or was this an economic issue , or a "character issue"?

    Jim Thomas: Cadillac is 29, Ricky is 34.

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    LuizBR: Hey Jim! Greetings!

    Is Renardo Foster still on training camp?He is a good backup, isn't he?

    If not, besides Goldberg, who more we have at T position?

    Thanks!

    Jim Thomas: Foster is still there. He's in competition for the 3rd tackle spot.
    Goldberg has worked at tackle. There's the new guy, Ojinnako, and Ryan McKee from last year. Behind the starters, that is.

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    kchap: Jim, how many offensive linemen are on the roster and how many spots are open for competition?

    Jim Thomas: There are 14 offensive linemen in camp, the Rams will probably keep about 9 on the 53-man roster. The five starters are set, Goldberg is set as the top reserve, so there's probably 3 backup spots up for grabs.

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    idahofatboy49: Which new players fresh from college have the best chance of staying with the team? Do you see any of the rookie free-agents having an impact?

    Jim Thomas: We'll see what happens in the preseason, but I think Dionte Dawkins, a corner from Fort Valley State, is a guy they like, and although I think he's very much a longshot, Pete Fleps of SMU is a guy the Rams had a draftable grade on.

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    ZachEbers: Hi Jim!
    1) Do you believe that the Rams had the best offseason in the NFC West? If not, then who did?
    2) Do the Rams think Craig Dahl has what it takes to start alongside Mikell?
    3) From what you know or have heard, what do you think about Demarco Crosby?

    Jim Thomas: 1.) Yes
    2.) Yes, he started 13 games last year.
    3.) Very good college stats, good speed for the position, but he is trying to make the leap from Division II.


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    flaram: Jim,
    Simple as this - is Avery EVER going to be the player he thinks he is?

    Jim Thomas: Don't give up on Avery yet, but as the old saying goes...you can't make the club from the tub.

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    Joey Drillings: Happy August Mr. Thomas,
    I know we generally do not hear bad storires until a HC is fired, i.e. Linehan, but Spagnuolo seems to be solid. A front office and player coach, he seems to have everyone happy. Other than his and Devaney's penchant for firing employees, is their a major flaw that will pop out if the Rams don't produce this year?

    Jim Thomas: Well, we still have to see Spags improve on game-day management and big-game coaching. Don't you think the Rams looked almost flat last season in the finale against Seattle? I think most of the players respect him. All head coaches are control freaks, but Spags seems to be pretty far along on that spectrum. And I'm curious to see if he gives McDaniels a lot of freedom on offense.

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    Ramalicious: Hi Jim,

    How many victories do you think it will take this year to win the NFC West?

    Jim Thomas: I think 8-8 does it.

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    Ramalicious: Hi Jim,

    Why are all the national pundits tabbing Arizona as a potential division favorite? Sure they have Kolb, but he's only started 7 games in his career, and they gave up their best cornerback and Adrian Wilson is injured...and aside from their wide receivers they seem to be average or mediocre in every other position? What am I not seeing?

    Jim Thomas: I think it's because of Kolb. But I'm not sure what he is yet as a QB, not much of a sample size. And keep in mind, they lost WR Breaston to Kansas City as well.
    Hey, gotta go, practice starting. Talk to you all next week.


  2. #2
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    Re: Jim Thomas Live - Aug 9

    I respect most of Jim Thomas' realistic, come down to earth attitude, but I don't think that Quinn will only have 4 1/2 sacks. Since he said he wasn't at the scrimmage and didn't watch most of the training camps, I don't think he knows how good Robert Quinn is. Robert Quinn is like a Brian Orakpo clone, similiar in body size but faster.

    I'm willing to bet he will have 8 sacks total this year.

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