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    Jim Thomas Live Chat Transcript - March 24

    Jim Thomas Live
    Rams writer Jim Thomas goes one-on-one with readers at 1 p.m. Thursday in a live chat.
    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    STLSkeptic: Hey Jim,
    I thought one of the main reasons the NFLPA wanted to file the paperwork for the decertification before the end of the CBA was to keep the lawsuit in Judge Doty's courtroom. Now I'm hearing some other judge will be presiding over the case. What happened there?
    Thanks
    Jim Thomas: It was assigned randomly by the U.S. District Court of Minnesota and ended up on Judge Susan Nelson docket. Ooops!

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    David: If the Rams weren't going to pay Atogwe his $8 million bonus anyway, why did they even put it in the contract?
    Jim Thomas: Interesting point. At the time the contract was done last summer, I wrote that it was structurued like a one-year deal because of the $8 million roster bonus. If Atogwe had had a great year, say a Pro Bowl year, I'm sure the Rams would've felt compelled to pay it. Atogwe had a good year, not a great year, and away he goes.

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    STLSkeptic: Jim,
    Do you know if the Rams are considering either of the Ohio State linebackers, Brian Rolle or Ross Homan, in the draft? They are both smaller than the prototype NFL linebacker, but they could be had in later rounds and OSU knows how to coach up linebackers as can be seen with AJ Hawk and Laurinitis as rising stars already in the NFL. Thanks
    Jim Thomas: Not sure. But obviously they like Buckeyes at linebacker: Laurinaitis, Diggs, Grant.

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    ramfanoncapecod: Hi Jeff,This has to be very boring for a Ram beat writer. I am waiting to book my St Louis trip(Once i find out the schedule) What do you think is the best steak house in St Louis?
    Jim Thomas: Actually, other than no free agency, it has been pretty much the same as any offseason. And I've been on the move as much as usual...Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine, Illinois and Missouri pro days, NFL owners meetings. As for best steakhouse, I'd say Citizen Kane's in Kirkwood or Annie Gunn's (sp?) in Chesterfield.

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    ramsfan1974: Hey Jim,

    I am not sure about Avery as a receiver. I like the line-up Amendola,Clayton,(a must sign),Alexander,Gibson and 5th being Julio Jones, John Baldwin, Torrey Smith or a Free Agent. This group seems to work well together as the season went on. Do you believe we should trade Avery? If so what would we get for him. Thanks for the chat. GO RAMS
    Jim Thomas: Rams will not be trading Avery. And from what I'm hearing it's all but a slam-dunk that Clayton will re-sign with the team once the lockout ends.

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    nick49: Hey Jim:
    1)After talking with Stan,do you think that the Demoff,Delaney structure is in jeapordy of being broken up? Or do you feel Stan wants HIS guy over seeing what they do?
    2)Does Steve Slaton of Houston interest you for a backup running back?
    3)Has free agency started yet??? Im bored!
    4)Think we'll get any compensatory pix?
    Thank you.....
    Jim Thomas: 1.) My strong sense is that neither Devaney nor Demoff is in any kind of job jeopardy. If Kroenke brings in HIS guy, I think it will be as someone to oversee the day to day operations. Keep in mind, Demoff essentially has replaced three people (Shaw, Zygmunt and Wallace) so you could make a case that the Rams are a little light on upper management.
    2.) He's still under contract with the Texans, isn't he?
    3.) Perhaps the April 6 hearing will shed some light on the free agency timetable. But as I wrote the other day, it looks like almost a certainty that it won't take place until after the draft.
    4.) The Rams could get a 7th rounder, but they're not expecting one.

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    Big P: Hi Jim
    Whats the status of the 6th round pick Rams traded for Clayton? I read on one page that they don't have to give it up because of the injury and on another that it could be moved up to a 5th because of his production while healty.
    Jim Thomas: To my knowledge it's still the same. The Rams get a 7th from the Ravens, and the Ravens get the Rams sixth. That's what I've been told here at Rams Park as well.

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    brokeu91: Hi Jim, thanks for taking our questions. It was reported yesterday that there is no plan to hire a QB coach, which leaves McDaniels as the offensive coordinator and QB coach. I'm of the opinion that NFL coaches, especially the head coach and coordinators put so many hours into watching game film and preparing, that trying to do another job would just not work out. When you take into account the young age of our team and the on field teaching that will be required in order to install your offense and allow progress of the players, it would seem even more difficult to do. What do you think? Can Josh McDaniels be successful as offensive coordinator and QB coach of such a young team with a 2nd year QB?
    Jim Thomas: Sure he can. He did it before with New England, as I pointed out in the Rams Report blog, it's been done before by the Rams since they moved to St. Louis in 1995 _ four times in fact. I think Spagnuolo's point that he likes the idea of just having one voice in Bradford's ear (McDaniels) for the first year makes a lot of sense.

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    Don Michaud: Three questions:
    1. Do the Rams resign Mark Clayton?
    2. Will Avery and Alexander be completely rehabbed at the start of camp?
    3. If 1&2 are a yes then who do you think the Rams will draft in rounds 1 & 2? Thanks
    Jim Thomas: 1.) I would be very, very surprised if it doesn't happen.
    2.) Yes
    3.) Personally, I still think they should take Julio Jones if he's there. But if he's not, as appears likely, you're talking about a whole range of defensive linemen, or perhaps RB Mark Ingram.

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    SamNJ: Jim,

    Please give us some inside information about the draft or the Rams in
    general that we can't get from another website.

    Thank you.
    Jim Thomas: I'm not telling any secrets at this point.

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    Don Michaud: Where will training camp be held this year? Is it possible that T.J. Oshie could be the back up Steven Jackson this year?

    Thanks!
    Jim Thomas: Looks like Rolla or SIU-Carbondale.

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    rick: If the Rams draft a WR with their 1st round pick, what do you think they have next on their list at picks 2 and 3? Feel free to name drop specific players you may have been hearing about.

    Rick
    Jim Thomas: They could go in a number of directions, depending on who's there. DE, DT, CB, even OLB if the right guy's there.

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    paceram: Jim, Thanks for taking your time to answer all these questions! 1) If both A.J. Green and Julio Jones have already been selected by the time the Rams get to pick at #14 (I am still keeping my fingers crossed that Jones will be available!) do you think they will go DE and if so which one of the DE's (I am assuming that Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers have also already been selected) between Cameron Jordan, JJ Watt, Aldon Smith and Ryan Kerrigan do you think the Rams would prefer? 2) And, if the Rams don't get Green or Jones with their 1st pick do you think they might select one of the available WR's (Baldwin, Smith, Hankerson, etc) with their 2nd pick?
    Jim Thomas: 1.) I do think there's a chance that Quinn could be there. I don't have a good read on Kerrigan. Remember, don't forget to throw Adrian Clayborn in there as well.
    2.) As I mentioned last week on the chat, I don't think the Rams like Hankerson. Not sure why. I think Smith and Baldwin are in play, however.

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    RamFanInPA: Jim,
    1.) I think the Rams need a TE that can be a reliable presence in the middle of the field as a VERY HIGH priority for the offense. I think Oakland TE Zach Miller should be the Rams #1 FA target(if or when) that is possible. He is a very good player who is still young.
    2.) The Rams will most likely not be a able to get either WR (Green or Jones)at #14. I think Cameron Jordan fits the bill for the Rams. I think Spags could really use his versatility all over the D-Line.
    3.) How are coaches selected/volunteer to put players through their on campus workouts? How did Cromwell get the opportunity to work out Maryland's Torrey Smith?
    4.) Percentage chance the entire NFL season is missed this year?

    Your thoughts on each. Thanks for the chats!!!
    Jim Thomas: 1.) Don't think TE is much of a priority, unless Fells signs elsewhere (and the Rams want to re-sign him.)
    3.) Jordan's versatility is a plus, but I think the question on him would be does he give you enough of a pass rush.
    3.) I believe Cromwell working out Smith was at a private workout. (Clubs can arrange private workouts independent of a player's pro day.)
    4.) 2 percent.


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    HomeRunHomer: Jim help me understand this. I keep hearing that teams are cutting salaries or even letting people go due to the lack of revenue created by the lockout. What kind of revenue is generated during the off-season when games are not played? Season ticket holders still received their invoice and are still required to send in their payments. I am sure the sales department is still trying to get sponsors for commercials and that sort of thing. So what kind of revenue are the teams missing out of now?
    Jim Thomas: Good point. The teams aren't really missing anything now, but there is the fear that season-ticket holders will either sit on their renewal notices or not renew period. And I'm sure some potential sponsors might be sitting on the fence right now. But the big financial squeeze won't begen to get felt until preseason games start getting canceled.

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    arnezzi: As far as DBs go,

    1. I thought Bartell played some safety in college and there was some thought when he was drafted that he might move there someday. Did this not work out, or do we need him too much @ CB?

    2. As a fan, I saw Dahl making plays and hitting hard all over the field last year. What did I not notice?

    3. Same comment about Quincy Butler.

    4. Kind words were said about Lewis when he was signed last summer. What happened?

    5. Are draft picks Murphy, Fletcher and King just (still?) not ready

    Thanks
    Jim Thomas: 1.) Early in his Rams career he was tried at safety some, though I think only on the practice field. But he's staying at corner.
    2.) For the most part, I saw what you saw. But Dahl had about 3 games _ Detroit and the second Seattle game come to mind _ where he played poorly, i.e., missed some tackles, took some bad angles to the ball.
    3.) Q. Butler only played about 120 plays from scrimmage last season, which is the equivalent of about 2 games. So not much of a sample size.
    4.) Lewis is scheduled for unrestricted free agency; his contract is up. He busted a couple of coverages in the Rams' OT loss at San Francisco and rarely saw the field (on defense) after that.

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    Bjsgolf: Jim,
    Can you answer 4 questions for me:

    1) The player most likely to surprise the Rams fans with a breakout 2011 season is_____:
    2) The Rams like _____, but I don't think he is going to make the team next year.
    3) I think Steve Jackson will be a great player for ______ more years.
    4) With some good skill positions players, Sam Bradford could be a _____ player.

    My answers: 1) Jerome Murphy as a safety, 2) Laurent Robinson 3) four 4) Hall of Fame
    Jim Thomas: 1.) Bradley Fletcher
    2.) Laurent Robinson
    3.) Three
    4.) Pro Bowl

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    Lou: It seems to be widely assumed in the majority of the mock drafts that the Rams will take WR Julio Jones at #14. If he is not there at #14, which direction would you predict the Rams will go?
    Jim Thomas: D-line or RB Ingram

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    Joshua Jordan: Hey Jim, thanks for all the work that you do for us the reader. My question is this, do you expect the Rams to be active traders during the draft this year?
    Jim Thomas: They haven't been in the past under Devaney, at least not in the early rounds. Then again, they've always at No. 1 or No. 2 overall under Devaney, where it's harder to move down. Devaney has indicated he's open to the possibility of trading down in the first round this year.

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    JesusLovesRams2: Hi Jim,

    I'm still trying to figure out what happened between the Rams and Clifton Ryan, Does the team want to resign him? If not why?

    Sounds like Kroenke's philosophy is to build through the draft, however with so many holes to fill we can't possibly fill them all in this draft. Do you expect the team to do whatever it takes in free agency to win the division in 2011 or are we still a couple drafts away from being legitimate contenders?
    Jim Thomas: The team is not interested in re-signing Ryan. They didn't even tender him as a four-year veteran (a scenario that would be in place only if unrestricted free agency was under 2010 rules _ for players with 6 years experience-plus.) Remember, Gary Gibson had beaten out Ryan entering the season for the starting job. Perhaps the Rams are worried that the migraines might be a problem again. And Spags likes pass rushers on the d-line, even at the tackle position. And Ryan, although solid against the run, was never much of a pass rusher.
    I think your overall point on Kroenke is correct, but he's still willing to do what's necessary in free agency. If Devaney and Spags said, 'Hey, we really need Free Agent X, he can really help us,' Kroenke will say get it done. But he's not simply going to pull a Dan Snyder and throw money at problems on the depth chart.

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    Roadhouse: Hi Jim
    When you had Billy D on here about a month ago, he mentioned theres a DB in the 2nd round, hes drooling over...do you have any clue or some possiblities on who that guy could be?
    Jim Thomas: Yes, but as I mentioned on an earlier post, that's not one of the secrets I'm sharing at this point for reasons I can't get into on this forum.

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    Ram King: Happy Thursday to you Jim,

    If free agency was taking place as usual, do you think the Rams would have picked anyone up at this point in time, and who. Just speculating....
    Jim Thomas: Yes, the Rams always seem to pick up a player or two in the first couple weeks of free agency. As for who, I'd be a liar if I told you I knew who they were targeting.

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    Ram King: Hello Jim,
    Spags talks about Otogwe saying a prayer for the vets after practice. I know Spags is a religious man and I am just curious, does everyone on the team take part in prayers like that or is it voluntary. I know what a sensitive subject it is for some (school prayer type thing) and I know it is a voluntary situation when guys pray after a game, but I also know how important it is in Spags life and am curious how they handle that kind of stuff on the team. Thanks. RamKing
    Jim Thomas: I don't sense there is any pressure on the players to take part in such activities. The Rams have regular Bible studies sessions during the week, as they have dating back to Kurt Warner & Co.

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    Michael Wade: Jim,

    What are you hearing about Fendi Onobun? Is he still on the radar? Is he still carrying the "huge potential" tag?
    Jim Thomas: Yeah, he's still in the mix. But if Fells is re-signed, he'll be in a mix with Hoomanawanui and Bajema as well, and four is a lot of tight ends to keep. So Fendi needs to step up his game, and his understanding of the game, after all those years of basketball.

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    willywawa: Jim thanks so much for the chats.

    I am going to ignore the lockout for the time being and focus on the draft...or at the very least something in my sporting stratosphere that is not a negative ie. Pujols, Wainwright, Greed, 2 faced basketball coaches etc. Anyways, I was wondering your take on the DT from Illinois Corey Liuget. I don't know much about him but was wondering if, in your mind, he is clearly the best option for our system as the 3rd DT off the board? I've heard some other DT's names thrown around but they may be better suited in a 3-4.

    Im under the assumption that we are drafting right on the border of where some of the truly elite players will be gone and we'll simply fill a need (DT). I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing but what's the % that the rams would have at 14 for Prince Amukamara. Julio Jones, or Robert Quinn.

    Finally, I heard you were at Mizzou's Pro day, do you like Aldon Smith to add 15 lbs and play 4-3 D End (if so how interested are the rams?) or is he better suited for 3-4 OLB.

    Thanks again for giving me a weekly chat to distract me from the putrid stench thats been lingering the last 2 months.
    Jim Thomas: 1.) No. 14 overall may be a little high for Liuget, but he's got good quickness for his size, some power, and should be able to push the pocket. He's the best option for this system at No. 14 overall at DT.
    2.) Ah, the always popular percentage game:
    --Prince 10 percent
    --Jones 25 percent
    --Quinn 30 percent
    3.) Smith is up about 10 pounds from his college playing weight, and at 265, that's big enough to play 4-3. Leonard Little did it very well at about that weight for about a decade. The Rams are interested in Smith, no doubt. I think he's better suited for the 4-3.

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    Greg in Raleigh: Jim,

    Do you have any idea how much or little say Spags has in the draft? It seems like he knows the teams flaws more than anyone else, but coaches don't have a great track record in drafting players.

    Thanks for the chat, it is a football free time of year, nice to get a fix.

    Greg
    Jim Thomas: It's pretty clear that Devaney has the final say in the draft, but Devaney operates on the premise that he's trying to get the types of players that Spags likes. They seem to work very well together on these things.

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    DDavid: Hey Jim, without any trading or FA signing, is it ANY chance that another QB besides Newton & Gabbert get selected ahead of the Rams pick helping to push JJones to us? Please give us hope! Also what is it that the Rams do not like about LHankerson who may be around in round 2. Thanks
    Jim Thomas: Don't think so on the third quarterback, but you never know since there are so many QB needy teams at the top of the draft. Particularly if there's no free agency or trading before the draft, as now appears to be almost a certainty, teams might be more panicky about getting a QB and might reach to draft one.
    As for the Hankerson question, as I've mentioned, I'm not sure what the reasons are.

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    BrotherBri: Any chance the Rams trade back a few slots to get the other Pouncey for RG? If so, what kind of additional pick should we expect to receive?
    Jim Thomas: I don't think the Rams want to move that far down in the draft _ which I'm thinking would be 10 or more spots.


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    mfach17: In your point of view how many realistic starters can we expect from this years draft picks? Since we have so many holes, I can see these younger guys starting for the team earlier than expected.
    Jim Thomas: I think if you get two immediate starters out of a draft, you're doing pretty well.

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    Haile Selassie I: JT,,, can you shed any light on the rumor concerning Stan possibly hiring a Football "Czar" (or whatever the Title) to oversee things? You've mentioned it on more than one occasion now. Do you get the feeling that THIS is a Strong Possibility?
    Jim Thomas: For now, I'd just say it's a possibility. Not necessarily a strong possibility. But again, I thought it was interesting that he didn't deny the possibility during my interview with him Monday in New Orleans. I think it's pretty clear that he's at least given it some thought.

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    Steve A: Hi Jim,

    Finally the NFL did something to help the Rams (on accident). Even in their best years the Rams always seem susceptible to big kickoff returns. Now they can just make sure they have a kicker that that can put the ball in the endzone 90% of the time.. problem fixed! Heck I'm wondering if most team just sign a kickoff specialist and spend almost no time or player resources on kick coverage.
    Jim Thomas: I think a lot of people are missing a big point: Namely, that coverage unit personnel (except for the kicker) can't get a running start of more than 5 yards. That means, in theory, that it will take them longer to get up to full speed and they probably won't be as far down the field when the return man catches the ball. So I think you're going to see more returners bringing the ball out 3, 4, 5 yards deep in the end zone. I'm not so sure the return man will be devalued. Or at least as much devalued as some think.

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    sth85: Hey Jim love the chats.

    I'm a big fan of the Rams and also BC. What do you think about the Rams picking up Herzlich for OLB? He really started to round into form at the end of last year. I know there are concerns about his leg and the cancer but I think he would be a nice 3rd or 4th round pick.
    Jim Thomas: You know I wrote about him at the Senior Bowl, but I'm not sure if he's on the Rams' radar.

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    ramdavis11: 1) Whether or not It's a capped or un-capped year is there gonna be a rookie salary cap?
    2) As it looks now what % would you give it being capped/uncapped?
    3) I know things are kind of mum around Rams Park but have you heard any free agents we're interested in(Barry Cofield,Sidney Rice,Quinton Mikell)?

    Thanks Jim
    Jim Thomas: 1.) Only if there's a new CBA.
    2.) As for the overall salary cap, if the district court rules the lockout illegal, and orders the NFL "back to work" I would say the league will try to revert to 2010 rules _ namely, no overall salary cap and free agency after six years (not four).
    3.) Haven't.

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    Tackleberry: Jim,

    A lot of fans seem to interpret Kroenke's remarks regarding free agency as a sign that he won't spend money. I do agree with his philosophy about building through strong drafts. That being said, if Jones & Green are gone by #14, how do you see the 2011 receiving corps shaking out? Adding only a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick to this MASH unit doesn't really deliver the sizzle fans are expecting. The team acknowledged limitations within the offense last year (i.e. no game breaker), so trotting out that same group would be a bit of a slap in the face to fans.
    Jim Thomas: Well, a re-signed Clayton would be added to the mix. I think the Rams feel they'll be better than people think with Clayton, Avery, and Alexander all healthy and available for a full season. But given the injury history of these players, why should we expect that all three will stay healthy? So your point is well taken, particularly for a team that scored only 17 points a game last season. As I've mentioned and written before, the Rams need to find another touchdown a game.

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    Mark Guthrie: Now i'm hearing Julio Jones is ahead of A.J. Green on a lot of teams boards, what does this do to the Rams? Is there a scenario where if Jones does get selected first, the Rams could trade up and get A.J. Green? Or will the Rams stay put and select someone for the defensive front?
    Thanks
    Jim Thomas: If that's the case, I think Green would have to fall to at least the 10th overall range for the Rams to even consider trading up.

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    William: Is there any chance that the rams would look at a guy like Sidney Rice in free agency? I mean I like the possibility of drafting Julio Jones, but I think that Bradford and the team would progress faster with a proven guy like Rice. Do you think that Kroenke would take a chance on a guy like Rice?
    Jim Thomas: Yes, I think there's some interest in Rice, but also some concern about his hip injury. And keep in mind, if we go back to a 6-year free agency for the second year in a row, Rice isn't an option.

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    gjsandifer: Jim, a couple of questions about the rams and the draft. Have the rams expressed an intrest in any of these players, David arkin guard, missouri st. torey smith, wr, vincent brown wr sandiego st, marcell dareus, dt alabama, mark herzlich olb boston college, or korey lindsey cb. thanks for your time.
    Jim Thomas: The only one I know for sure is Torrey Smith.

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    bfulton: Kroenke says he won't hire a president until labor unrest is settled. Does that explain losing Atogwe, too? Letting Atogwe go certainly doesn't fit within his claim to want to build through the draft.
    Jim Thomas: Not exactly sure what your point is, but the simple answer is that the Rams didn't think Atogwe's value as a player matched the value of the contract he got from the Redskins. You can call Kroenke cheap on that one if you want, but I think he trusted the opinion of his front office and football people on that one.

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    s868957: Jim, I have a lockout question for you. With the current labor situation, can a team trade a player that is currently under contract?
    Jim Thomas: No. No transactions are currently allowed. Whether it's signing, releasing, or trading players.

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    Ed Johnson: I had heard two teams were interested in trading up to get the Cowboy's ninth pick, any reason to believe that one of those teams is the Rams?
    Jim Thomas: Don't think so.

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    Steve A: I'm glad you brought up the Mark Ingram possibility. I'd rather the Rams got Julio Jones too, but I just don't think it's happening. How do you think S-Jax would respond to having the young guy around sniping some of his touches?
    Jim Thomas: On some levels, Ingram doesn't seem to make sense. A.) You have Jackson. B.) You have a new offensive coordinator with a passing background in McDaniels. C.) You have greater needs elsewhere. But the Rams like Ingram, and what if he's clearly their highest-rated option left on the board when it's time to pick? You do need somebody as a bona fide No. 2 back behind Jackson. But how would Jackson respond? A couple of years ago, near the end of the season, the less mature Jackson was asked about the possibility of bringing in another back either via the draft or free agency and he responded something like this: They can bring in whoever they want, but I'm going to get all the touches.
    Maybe the more mature Jackson will view the situation differently, but I know he's a very prideful man. Keep in mind, McDaniels' m.o. has always been to use a couple of backs (at least). While there would still be great needs elsehwere, the Rams would have a state-of-the-art backfield in Jackson and Ingram.

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    Ed Johnson: Jim,
    Have the Rams hired a Equipment Manager? Any chance that jerome Murphy will get a shot at safety?
    Jim Thomas: It may change post-lockout, but for now they are going with Todd Hewitt's assistant _ Jimmy Lake _ running the equipment dept. As I mentioned, I think, last week Murphy as safety has not been discussed by the coaching staff.

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    Ray R.: Jim:
    Thanks for these chats.
    I'm assuming if J. Jones is there at 14, we grab him.
    But assuming he is not, I'm then assuming we're going with one of the various defensive lineman depending upon who is available. Do you think the Rams lean more towards the interior tackle position? (Liuget) or the defensive end position (Aldon Smith)?

    Also, any indication who the DB that Devaney liked in the second round is? Could it be Rahim Moore, safety UCLA? And I wonder if Devaney would pass on a WR in the second for this DB if he were available?
    Jim Thomas:
    I don't think the Rams are weighing their choice at No. 14 based on a position _ DE or DT. It's based on the player, and I don't know if they like Smith better than Liuget at this point, or vice versa. The Rams did have their d-line coach (Brendan Daly) at Liuget's workout. He wasn't there for Smith's. But I don't know if you should read anything into that.
    Almost certain it's not Rahim Moore.

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    HomeRunHomer: Of the following WRs do you think; A)They'll still be there at pick 47, B)The Rams are interested in them, C)Can they be a #1 WR?
    1)Torrey Smith, Maryland
    2)Leonard Hankerson, Miami
    3)Randall Cobb, Kentucky
    4)Jon Baldwin, Pitt
    Of this group who do you like the best?
    Jim Thomas: A.) I'd say 2 of the 4 will still be there. But which two, who knows at this point?
    B.) The Rams have interest in Smith, don't have interest in Hankerson, not sure on Baldwin or Cobb.
    C.) I think they all probably have the potential to be a No. 1, but how do you know for sure. Projecting wideouts can be very tricky
    D.) I guess I'd say Smith at this point, but it's still early for me on these guys.

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    Dan: Hey Jim,
    Hope you are doing well.
    Lean times for football fans. I'm in NC and check the Post Dispatch everyday looking for Ram news. Since there is no news, how about contacting some favorite Ram players from the past for interviews? I've been a fan since '72 and would love to read about Isiah Robertson, Jim Bertleson, Rod Perry, Larry Brooks and the like.
    Thanks Jim and take care
    Jim Thomas: With all due respect, I'm not sure our "St. Louis" Rams fans would have much interest in reading about those players.

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    Thomas T: Hi Jim;
    As this seems to be a fairly weak class of Safeties in this year's draft, do you know if there are any potential CB we could be looking at that could convert over to Atogwe's vacated FS position?
    Thanks as always.
    Thomas
    Jim Thomas: Don't think the Rams are looking at any conversion projects. That's always hard to do in the NFL. Unless, of coure, you're talking about LSU's Patrick Peterson.

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    Greg in Raleigh: Jim,

    Is FB a need of any sorts or is it a non issue in McDamiel's pass happy offense?

    Do the Rams have a good blocking TE on the roster? Seems like their O-line will need help on pass protection.

    Thanks

    Greg
    Jim Thomas: I think Brit Miller would be the FB, with some TEs moving back there from time to time. But McDaniels' m.o. in the past has been a lot of one-back sets.
    Bajema is the generally regarded as the best blocking TE on the roster, although I would say he wasn't overwhelming as a blocker last season.

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    Fan In Fort Worth: Hello Jim,

    I know there has been a lot of talk about how to split the 9 mill between players and owners. But from my perspective this just seems to be the owners trying to get their financial houses in order. What I mean is in the case of say Ndomakin (sp) Suh, this guy is making QB money since he was drafted #2 overall, how is this league going to survive if they don't get a rookie entrance pay scale and possibly even pay scales for certain positions. Everybody can't make Payton Manning money. I'm sure everyone who works at the post does not make the same amount of pay. This just seems like common sense to me. So you agree or am I over simplifying this problem?
    Jim Thomas: Although the points you raise are valid about overpaying rookies, any rookie wage scale isn't the overriding issue in this labor dispute. After all, we're really talking about just the top 10 to 15 rookies in any given year. Even the players aren't against some changes in the system if it includes more money going to the veterans. No, I think the overriding issue for the owners is that their profit margins are shrinking, most have lots of stadium debt to pay or finance, and the current deal (or just-expired deal) is tilted too much in favor of the players (in their mind).

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    Dlloyd10: Hey Jim,

    Love the chats. Who do you think the Rams will take if AJ Green and Julio Jones are off the board by the time 14 comes around (assuming they don't trade up)?
    Thanks,
    Dennis
    Jim Thomas: Again, DL (and there are plenty to consider here--Liuget, Clayborn, Smith, Jordan, maybe even Kerrigan, or Quinn certainly if he drops--or RB Ingram, seem to be the best value.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Greg in Raleigh: Jim,

    Any clue how the Rams perceive Wunderlic scores compared to other teams? I heard Green scored a 9.

    Greg
    Jim Thomas: It seems like they value smart players, but I think they would jump at the chance to select Green.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    s868957: Hey Jim. Two questions:

    1) How much "real" work can Bradford and the receivers get working out together on their own? No playbook...No organized activities. How much real work, other than timing and tendencies, can be accomplished?

    2) Outside of scouting for the draft, with the current labor situation, is anything else happening for the staff at Ram's Park?

    Thanks for your time.
    Jim Thomas: 1.) That's a good point. Then again, there are only so many routes you can run, regardless of the system _ posts, slants, dig routes, stick routes, etc.) So any amount of time a young QB has with a young receiver corps can help. And the players may not have a playbook per se. But indications are that they do know the knew terminology, and working with that can't hurt either.
    2.) Now, if they're out at a pro day or a private workout it's different. But if the coaches are at Rams Park, they spend half of their day on football scheme/playbook stuff and half on draft preparation. Looks like that's all for now, we'll talk to you all next week at our regular day and time (Tuesday, 1 p.m.)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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    Re: Jim Thomas Live Chat Transcript - March 24

    Don Michaud: Where will training camp be held this year? Is it possible that T.J. Oshie could be the back up Steven Jackson this year?

    Thanks!
    Jim Thomas: Looks like Rolla or SIU-Carbondale.


    Please come to SIU. I am going to be dreaming of this till they shut me down. To have our Rams only 30 minutes away and be able to goto everyday of training camp would be a dream.

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    Re: Jim Thomas Live Chat Transcript - March 24

    Here are my evaluations:

    > We all know by now that our greatest needs are a go-to WR, Will LB, backup RB, DT, and DE. I didnt mention SS and CB because I feel that we are in good position or serviceable, with the likes of Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher, Craig Dahl, and James Butler. Its great to have playmakers at these positions, particularly SS/FS, but its NOT the end of the world if you dont. But you need playmakers at WR, DT, DE, and OLB.
    > We also know by now that we simply cannot cover all of said needs via the draft, so FA is a must, but with the current state of affairs between the players and owners, and no CBA, the draft is severely, and negatively, affected.
    > We all know that we want and need a Julio Jones or AJ Green. IMHO, if none of them are available at 14, then we go DE, Aldon Smith, or whoever the Rams feel is BPA at DE at the time, because we need all the picks we can get, and trading up to get ONE WR makes no sense when you have to lose a later pick for it. And DT is a good pick, I like it, but we have Fred Robbins for a short while and Gary Gibson is coming around; I say we work around those unless they feel that neither can make Chris Long better and Liuget can, then by all means go for it. But DE, IMHO, is better because you are building bookend pass rushers for years to come because of James Hall situation, although one could also argue that James Hall has a little, albeit 10.5 sack ability, steam left in the tank.
    > Trading down is a viable option, lets us get an extra pick and really fortify this team. However, with the WR situation being so shady, if its not Jones or Green in the mix, do we really like guys like Baldwin or Torrey Smith? The thing is, I have now realized after typing all of this is how much easier said than done this is and how deep the picture really is. This stuff is not easy for FO. Only time will tell the TRUE story...

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