By Jim Thomas
Tuesday, February 5, 2008 01:00 PM CST [ LIVE ]
Brett O'Daniell: Jim,
What is your take on the current Rams ownership situation? Is there a possiblity that St. Louis could loose another NFL team??
Jim Thomas: Chip Rosenbloom is the short-term owner. Whether that "short-term" is 2, 5, or 10 years remains to be seen. That could give Kroenke time to divest himself of majority shares of the Avalanche and Nuggets. I believe he's still interested in being the Rams' majority owner.
As for your second question, I don't think the Rams are going anywhere, although there are some issues with the stadium and the long-term economics of being a small-market team.
Frank Picone: I am 31 years old and a Rams fan from New York also totally disgusted with the Giants winning the SuperBowl. But anyway it is encouraging to hear John Shaw say the Rams are going to spend money and be active in free agency. I was wondering how much cap space they have and who they are targeting?
Jim Thomas: Not sure on the exact amount of cap space at this point, but they are in decent shape. Don't know who they're targeting, although I've heard the names of Trufant, Faneca, and the Indy guards come up, and surely the Rams have to be looking at Berrian.
Darren: Which players do you expect the Rams to lose this offseason due to free agency?
Jim Thomas: Well, there's not much on their list. Chillar and Romberg are the only starters on the list. It doesn't look like Chillar's coming back. I'm not sure on Romberg.
Are the Rams going to extend Steven Jackson contract before the Draft ? If he wants to much money D-MAC should be the pick at #2 in Draft.
Your thought ?
Jim Thomas: I think it makes sense for the Rams to wait until after the draft plays out before they think about extending Jackson. Because. . .you never know.
Todd W.: Hi Jim,
Have you heard anything at Rams Park about any OL, that they would like to target in Free Agency?
Also, how familiar is Bulger with Saunders offense?
Thanks in advance
Jim Thomas: Well, I know the obvious names Faneca and the 2 INDY guards, have come up. Faneca is going to be very expensive at age 35.
Bulger should be very familiar with the Saunders offense. It's a variation of the Martz offense, and the terminology is very similar to the Martz offense.
rayrakers: Jim, most of the early mock drafts I've seen have the Rams, in the first two rounds, picking for the O or D-line. There's no question we need help upfront on both sides of the ball, and I'm guessing you agree with this strategy. However, in light of our great but aging wideouts, shouldn't that be an early focus too? Think we can still get a quality wideout-- or two -- in the later rounds?
Jim Thomas: As I pointed out before, there's no WR in this year's draft even remotely good enough to take No. 2 overall. If the Rams don't sign a WR in free agency, it would make sense to think long and hard about a WR in the second round.
Tacleberry: I realize that there are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to the play of the secondary. I think any Rams fan can attest to the fact that pressuring a QB has not been our strong suit in recent years, and thus our corners and safeties are left more vulnerable. That being said, don't you think it is time we get a difference maker in the secondary? Whether it is a hard-hitting safety or a lockdown corner? Also, please explain to me why Chavous wouldn't be cut this off-season?
Jim Thomas: Hey, it would be great to have a difference maker in the secondary. Maybe _ and I repeat, maybe _ Atogwe is heading that way after an 8 INT season. As for Chavous, I think the coaches respect what he still brings to the table in terms of leadership and toughness.
Drew: Jim -
The next time the Patriots come to Rams statium, we all need to bring "Cheater" signs. This franchise continues to disrespect the game of football and ought to be put on public display.
thx! - Drew
Jim Thomas: Or maybe you can pack some signs and head up to Foxborough next season. The Rams play at New England in '08.
virginiatom: So once again we see that defense wins championships. I don't see the Ram's defense striking fear in anyone this year. They seem ok, but no more than that. I know you say they play hard, but playing hard doesn't mean you play good. Ive never been impressed with Haslet, and why it gets overlooked that his defense only played good (while I agree hard) one half of one of his two seasons here just confirms to me that the Rams are willing to accept mediocrity. Please tell me why I should be hopeful that the Rams will have any kind of potent defense this year?
Jim Thomas: First off, defense doesn't always win championships. Green Bay won with offense in '96; Denver won with Elway and Terrell Davis in '97 and '98; the Rams won with the Greatest Show on Turf in '99. New England's three Super Bowl teams had very good balance between offense and defense, plus a great clutch QB in Tom Brady. Indianapolis, known as the offensive power, beat Chicago, known for its defensive prowess, in Super Bowl XLI.
I don't think anyone is "overlooking" the fact that the defense needs to play better. It's just that the offense was the unit that underachieved in '07, not the defense.
If Little returns to form; the Rams take Dorsey or Long in the first round; and young players continue to improve and stay healthy (Carriker, Ryan, Hill, Atogwe, Bartell) the offense can be decent in '08.
Big Ram Fan: Jim, I know that asking this question without a real GM in place for the Rams is awkward, but what moves could the Rams make in free agency, then follow up with a solid draft, to move this team to a solid 8-8 or better?
Jim Thomas: Well, there's lots of moves you could make. Here's one scenario: Draft DE Chris Long, then go OT in the second round. Sign WR Bernard Berrian and one of the Indy guards in free agency. Right there that makes you a better team, although I'm still not sure what happens at center.
guy: Thanks Jim,
Quality OL free agents would make a huge impact on this team.
There are some interesting unrestricted free agents at guard, including 2 from the colts, but with everyones cap room going up, do you really believe these players will still be available come free agency?
Will Justin Smith be available this year in your opinion?
Jim Thomas: As a rule, the Colts don't over-extend themselves to sign free agents _ their own or others. So I would expect one or both of the Colts guards (Lilja and Scott) to be on the market. Remember, TE Dallas Clark is a free agent as well, and I think he would take priority with the Colts over the offensive line. As for Smith, I get the sense he wants out of Cincy. So the only way the Bengals keep him would be to franchise him again.
Sam Matthews: Jim, with such a terrible showing by the defense last year why have I not heard anything about replacing the defensive coordinator? I know the offense was a mess, but with no O-line what do you expect. What is the excuse for the defense? Sure a few injuries, but the unit is so lame. What must be done?
Jim Thomas: I think the defense played better than its numbers would indicate. For much of the year it was placed in terrible position because of the offensive ineptitude. Take the Green Bay game for example: 41 of 53 Packers plays began in St. Louis territory. It's like putting a man on second base _ to use a baseball analogy _ every time Brett Favre stepped to the plate.
But the run defense did sag late in the season, as did the pass rush. Nonetheless, Haslett isn't going anywhere. The players play hard for him.
Tom: Hi Jim,
Thanks for your time. What do you think of the coaching hires so far? Any word on a DB coach? Will anything come of this spygate against the Rams?
Jim Thomas: I know Loney and Valero are FOSLs (Friends of you know how) but I've heard good things about them from players and coaches. Saunders, I think most of us agree, is a very good higher on a number of levels. Haven't heard anything on the DB coach, but to be honest, I was so tied up with Super Bowl coverage last week, I didn't really make any calls on it.
I don't think the spygate issue as it relates to the Rams is dead yet. Remember, Shaw is supposed to speak with Goodell this week. And Sen. Specter may hold a congressional hearing on the entire spygate issue.
Maddox -Va. Ram Fan: Hello Jim,
Since everyone knows the Rams need help on many areas, O-line, safety & wr,if a superstar comes available like a Chad Johnson, whats your opinion about using our 2nd pick in trading for him early before the draft starts. We could use our 1st pick on "D" like Long from Va.
MADDOX- Va. Rams Fan
Jim Thomas: I think a trade like the one you mention is a possibility. Or how about a second-rounder for Detroit WR Roy Williams?
Graham from England: Jim
Greetings again from the motherland !
Isn't it about time we stopped all this negativity. I live 5000 miles away and have only seen the Rams live once in the dome. It would be great to come over more often and watch a game, win or lose. I support my sports teams whether they are good or bad. THATS WHAT YOU DO. Maybe some of the people that email in to you should come to a soccer game over here and see what true loyalty to your team is. I know we have had problems with hooligans, but that is under control now. The atmosphere is electric ( and we dont need music blaring over the pa system either !!)
So Rams fans, STOP WHINING, get behind your team and start making a noise (or even turning up) at the dome. Maybe the team will respond the way the seahawks do, the steelers fans do etc etc etc, when the fans get "into it".
tThanks for letting my vent my feelings.
Jim Thomas: Graham, I think you've e-mailed me a few times in the past, haven't you. How did you end up being a Rams fan?
Taylor B.: How do you see the top five picks going in the upcomiing draft and who is the best choice for the Rams assuming that they would get who they wnat in the 2 slot. Personally I believe Dorsey should be the pick with Chris Long barely behind.
Jim Thomas: Taylor--I think Dorsey goes No. 1, with both Longs and McFadden obviously in the top 5 as well. The fifth player in the top 5 remains a bit of a mystery to me. Will it be a QB? Sedrick Ellis? Will a pass rusher sneak in?
sean: where was the patriot's confidence? there blah attitude/playing reminded me of thier depressing coach. could belicheck loose his players respect after being such a sore loser coupled with over playing them/ psychologicaly exhausting them with "the patriot way"? the end of a dynasty is near...defense will be their downfall come next year, so says the guru
Jim Thomas: Their defense is aging rapidly. As long as the have Brady, they have a chance to be very good. The worst loss in sports to overcome, I believe, is a loss in the Super Bowl. We'll see how the Patriots and Belichick respond, now that their aura of invincibility is gone.
sean: i still like wroten. do you think the coches will give him a chance, or cut him?
Jim Thomas: I think Wroten's an immature bust. But I think Haslett likes him and thinks he still has value. I'm still waiting to see Wroten make a play. One of his only sacks last year came when the guy who was supposed to be blocking Wroten tripped and fell, leaving a clean path to the QB. I haven't seen Wroten get consistent pressure on the quarterback, and he remains a liability against the run.
sean: linehan mentioned trading for a proven player, or hinted at it shortly after seasons end. is that a sign that coach thinks the team may be a couple of right moves away from being in the playoffs next year? (wounldn't a randy moss type move be nice? no problems selling tickets then)
Jim Thomas: I think Linehan just wants to improve the team anyway he can. As for the Randy Moss type _ I would take the Randy Moss talent, not the Randy Moss personality. By the way, Moss still hasn't won a Super Bowl.
sean: do you know what the mindset is for the front office? are they trying to win next year, or is their focus on rebuilding with younger talent? aka do they care about 2008?
Jim Thomas: Of course they care about '08. There are no 5-year, 3-year, 2-year rebuilding plans in the NFL. It's about trying to win now.
James: Hi Jim,
Do you think the Rams will make a splash in free agency? And if so, who do you think they will go after?
Jim Thomas: I know we all want the answers to these questions on Feb. 5. But they're impossible to answer right now. I could say Marcus Trufant, Bernard Berrian, and Alan Faneca, and by Feb. 29, Trufant and Berrian could be franchised, and Faneca could re-sign with the Steelers. And then what do you have?
I do expect the Rams to make a couple of "big" moves in free agency, but I don't think they'll go nuts.
Tim Powlison: Jim, this isn't a Rams question, but an NFL question. How is it that a coach can be fined 500,000 for cheating and not only still be eligible for "coach of the year" honors, but actually wins the honor in the same year he had to pay this fine. The NFL should have policies that flat take you out of the running for such honors...otherwise what kind of message are we sending to all the young coaches....!!!
Jim Thomas: Great point. I think the league was talking about doing that last year for players when Merriman was supsended four games for steroids. The coach of the year award through, comes from the Associated Press, and it is perhaps that news organization that should revisit its policies.
petey: with saunders in charge, who do u see as the top offensive priorities and what rounds/ what free agents are likely to come in. Can we finally get rid of Gus?
Jim Thomas: There's no doubt the Rams need another receiver in the mix, whether it's by draft or free agency remains to be seen. Unless the Rams trade out of the top 10 in the draft, it doesn't look like it will be a wide receiver in the first round. The Rams need a bona fide third OT, but one who can be groomed as a potential starter. I think they need another starter on the interior, whether it's a center or a guard in free agency.
I think Gus comes back for the final year of his contract.
Michael graham: dont look now, but the rams have made some moves lately that appear to be progress (saunders, ticket prices etc.)....what is their next big mistake though? letting chillar walk? atogwe? not re-signing jackson before this season? cutting bruce? Chillar is the most likely, but who are going to be the cap casulties?
Jim Thomas: I don't know if there necessarily have to be cap casualties. But the Rams could save several million on this year's cap simply by converting Little's $7 million roster bonus to signing bonus.
Steve: The Giants just proved that you can't have too many good defensive linemen. The Rams are guaranteed Dorsey or Long with the second pick in the draft. Who do you think would fit in better with the Rams defense and do you think the Rams will think defense first with this pick?
Jim Thomas: I have a feeling, Dorsey will end up with a higher grade than Long. But I think Long (DE) is the greater need. So if they're both there, do the Rams stick to their value board?
JustMe: Any news on possible player contract extensions? I guess it's early, but I'm shocked that we haven't heard from Steven Jackson's agent yet.
Jim Thomas: Haven't heard anything on contract extensions.
Brian from Vegas: Jim,
Any guess if the Rams will get any compensatory picks and if so, what round? I know the formula for the compensatory picks is as much of a secret as the recipe for Coca-Cola, but I believe the two biggest componets are the "value" of the free agents you signed versus the "value" of the free agents you lost. I have a sick feeling that the Drew Bennett signing will offset the loss of Kevin Curtis, so we may be lucky to even get a 7th round pick.
Jim Thomas: Yeah, but I think production is also part of the formula, and obviously Curtis' production was much better than Bennett's. Also, Shaun McDonald put up some pretty good numbers. So I think the Rams will get a couple of picks, but nothing really high. (I think the highest compensatory pick possible is at the end of the third round.) By the way, these picks aren't announced until late March at the NFL owners meetings.
John: OK, As Gordo pointed out last week Georgia has only been gone for a couple of weeks (some of us wished it had been a couple of decades) and nothing has happened yet. Yeah I know but Saunders hiring is still same ole Shaw same ole stuff.
So Jimbo, when do you think Chipper will make a "Do Something" appearance? Will he show up for free agency signing? Will he show up at the draft? Will he show up at Rams Park prior to camp? Or will he just plod into the Rams box at the Ed and try to take credit for something? When do you think he will ACT like an owner and do something? A lot of "Ye Olde Rams Fans" want to put Georgia behind us and get on with "Doing Something" to improve the future Rams. When do you think it will start?
Jim Thomas: Its starting now. Saunders is on board. Season ticket prices are frozen for 2008. And Chip will be heard from in the near future.
Sam Rescone: Frankly Jim, after watching the SB last night and the pressure NY put on Brady, I'm more convinced than ever the Rams need a pass rushing DE. Brady was definately off his game due to the pressure. So, in my mind the draft focus should be DE. Yes, it would be great to get Dorsey so here's my question: would the Rams be better able to get DE or DT help in free agency? Where will the free agent $ best be spent, and are the Rams planning on spending it all? As for the OL, I understand it was the big problem, but how likely is it that there will again be 3 starters injured for the season? Orlando hasn't played a full season in the past two, it one crazy sense that has to have helped him lengthen his career. I say we get some OL depth and spend/draft heavily on defense, w/ WR in 3rd round. We can't fix it all in one year guys, as fans we'll just have to accept that..
Jim Thomas: I agree that beefing up the d-line, especially the pass rush, should be the No. 1 priority. It's hard to get a bead on free agency just yet. When the franchise tag designations come out later that month, we'll get a true read on who's really on the market.
Can you clarify the rules and conditions under which a coach can red-flag a penalty that was not called? Specifically, why could N.E. request a review for too many men on the field?
Section 111 since day one
Jim Thomas: Mark--Here are the reviewable plays under the current replay system, straight from the 2007 NFL Fact & Record Book:
A.) Sideline, Goal line, end zone, and end line
1.) Scoring plays, including a runner breaking the plane of the goal line.
2.) Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted at the sideline, goal line, end zone, and end line.
3.) Runner-receiver in or out of bounds.
4.) Recovery of loose ball in or out of bounds.
B.) Passing plays
1.) Pass ruled complete/incomplete/intercepted in the field of play.
2.) Touching of a forward pass by an ineligible receiver.
3.) Touching of a forward pass by a defensive player.
4.) Quarterback (passer) foward pass or fumble.
5.) Illegal forward pass beyond line of scrimmage.
6.) Illegal forward pass after change of possession.
7.) Forward or backward pass thrown from behind line of scrimmage.
1.) runner ruled not down by defensive contact.
2.) Runner ruled down by defensive contact and there is a recovery by defense.
3.) Forward progress with respect to first down.
4.) Touching of a kick.
5.) NUMBER OF PLAYERS ON THE FIELD.
6.) Recovery of loose ball in the field of play.
Fearsome Foursome: The lesson that the Rams must learn from the Giants' victory is the importance of a dominating front four on defense. In 07 the Rams had trouble generating pressure without blitzing. The outlook for the 08 Rams remains largely the same. We can't count on LL anymore. That is why we need to draft a defensive lineman with the second pick in the draft. It is simple: Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey. One of them will be left; we should jump on whoever it is.
Jim Thomas: Couldn't agree with you more. If I had to pick out one thing from Super Bowl XLII, it would be the importance of a strong front four, not just in rushing the passer but also in stopping the run.
Frank BB,Ca: Hey Jim, Don't you think that the Patriots should be held accountable, if the did cheat against the Rams ? I feel they should have to give up that years win, If it is proven but it dont seem like the NFL, really wants to prove it to be true. dont you agree?
Jim Thomas: I don't know if you can change the result of Super Bowl XXXVI. But if the Patriots did tape that game, I think Belichick should be suspended for a year, the Patriots should be fined heavily, and the Patriots should forfeit more draft picks. The integrity of the game is in question here, and that's something that the league should treat very seriously.
BoPat: Hello Jim,
I've been a Ram fan since I was 10 years old when my Dad had season tickets at the Coliseum in L.A. The best Super Bowl I ever watched was when our Rams beat the Titans. When the Rams lost to New England two years later in that Super Bowl, I never got over it. Quite frankly, the Rams never got over it either. The second best Super Bowl? It was yesterday's Giant upset win over the Patriots. It was great to see the same thing happen to New England that happened to us.
After all that, my question is do you think yesterday's game the biggest Super Bowl upset ever? My friends and co-workers think the Pats win over the Rams was,before yesterday. You thoughts.
Jim Thomas: I think the Giants over the Pats has to be in the top 3. I would also have the Pats over the Rams, and the Jets over the Colts (in Super Bowl 3) in the discussion. I think you could make a case for any of the three.
Chris: Jim: First off, thanks muchly for answering our posts - it's been great.
Secondly, what do you think the chances are that the Rams can become the surprise team of the 2008 season? What would it take for this to become reality? Also, do we draft C. Long, J. Long, Dorsey, Gholston or other with our first pick? On the Free Agent front, what are the chances of us picking up a Kawika Mitchell or Lance Briggs?
Jim Thomas: A lot would have to happen for the Rams to become the surprise team. They would need to suddenly develop a pass rush, learn how to pass protect, get better at wide receiver, and stay healthy.
Right now, I'm thinking Chris Long or Dorsey with the No. 2 overall pick, but it's still very early in the game. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Even if Chillar goes, I'm not sure if the Rams see the LB position as a top priority, so I don't think Mitchell or Briggs are high on their list at this point.
Do you think the Rams have any interest in Troy Williamson? He has the size and speed combination that we are looking for (6-1, 4.32), and it sounds as if he could be had for a late round draft pick. I realize the issues with his hands, but this was not a problem for him in college and maybe a fresh start, along with an offseason working with Torry and Ike, could turn him around. Also, I think he could be brought in as a 4th reciever without too much of a financial burden allowing us to keep Ike for another season. Thanks.
Jim Thomas: Haven't heard Williamson's name mentioned. But he sure hasn't gotten much done with the Vikings. If the Rams are truly trying to upgrade their WR corps, I would think they would have to do better than that.
Mark in NY: Jim, was that a great Patriots loss or what? I have finally got back that "bounce in my step" that I lost about 7 years ago after a similar super bowl. Bellicheck mauled the Ram receivers and got away with it, and our beloved Rams lost what should have been their second (or third) title. How's it taste Bill?
Finally, do you believe the Patriots taped the Rams walk-thrus, and how much do you think it hurt us. Thanks!
Jim Thomas: From what I've been able to gather, it looks like the Patriots did tape the Rams' walk-throughs. Without knowing exactly what the Rams worked on that day six years ago, it's hard to say how much it may have hurt the Rams. But the Rams did work on their short-yardage, goal-line, and red zone offense that day _ and if you look back at the play by play from that game, the Rams weren't in the red zone very often, but were stuffed on nearly every play down there. Mind you, these were the days when the Rams were at or near the top of the league in red zone offense every year. So read what you want into that.
Chris: Though I have been a long time Ram fan, I guess I'm not an inside football type. I've heard it said many times that the NFL hates the Rams. Why is this and what events lead to this situation?
Jim Thomas: I wouldn't say the league hates the Rams. But the NFL owners never thought much of Georgia Frontiere, and obviously didn't want the team to move from LA to St. Louis. However, John Shaw is still held in high regard as a member of the league's powerful management council.
I live in Boston and just want to tell you how beautiful of an experience it was to see so many Patriot fans unhappy after the Super Bowl, sweet justice my friend.
That being said, I believe we've made three great moves since this time last year: Drafting Carriker, drafting Ryan, and hiring Saunders. To me, the obvious is that we have to have an A+ draft and shore up the OLine in free agency. My biggest concern is: What happens to Leonard Little's situation? It seems like he is on the wrong side of 30 and with his off the field issues combined with a huge cap number, maybe cutting LL is our best option. What's the buzz around Rams park about this and the Ike situation?
Jim Thomas: Why cut Little? Why not just rework his contract to save cap money. If the Giants showed us anything in the Super Bowl, it's that a fierce pass rush can slow even the most potent of offenses, and it can also make a secondary look better.
I sensed the mood change from midseason (it looked like Isaac was out) to the end of the season (it looked the the team wanted him back but in a reduced role). I would think that the addition of Al Saunders as offensive coordinator helps Isaac's cause since Saunders had him as a WRs coach in 1999 and 2000 and knows first-hand what Isaac is like and what he can do.
Dominic: Hi Jim! Thanx again for taking our questions.Isnt karma great?The patriots spied on the rams and beat us 17-14,so they lose after being heavily favored,17-14.......hmmmmm,interesting? Please tell me the Rams are considering cutting Glover,Chavous and reworking Littles contract to net them close to 10 million dollars.And do you think they will be active in free agency?
You are definitely appreciated!!!
Jim Thomas: Actually, the Rams lost Super Bowl XXXVI by a 20-17 score. But the margin of victory/defeat was the same _ three points.
I think Chavous and Glover will be back. I'm sure the Rams want to rework Little's contract.
My current read is that the Rams won't go nuts in free agency, but they'll make a couple of big moves, and some smaller ones _ similar to what they've done in the recent past.
Fan: Is anyone surprised that a coach would request the services of an offensive coordinator with a history of failure, eg. Olson while in Detroit, or players / retreads that were unsuccessful on a losing franchise ie. McMichael & Minor, and giving up a 7th round 3rd string QB,(who is currently a #2, or 1 heartbeat away from being a starter, who had great potential, for a 7th round (?) ?
While most reporters thought he had a great first year coaching in St. Louis, when in fact, this Head Coach was 5 and 8 and beat 3 non-playoff teams to finish the year at 8 and 8.
I'm a fan of Mike Martz and he did hire Larry Maire, (who had great success in Arizona/joke), but Martz went to the super bowl and 2 other births in the playoffs. Yet, when Martz was in town going to the playoffs wasn't considered successful season.
Lesson learned: don't hire friends unless they are the best available at their position. It will cost you your job.
There should be a fear that this player acquistion style will only continue. I liked Madison Hedgecock, Godspell, and Kevin Curtis. Get rid of Byrd, maybe Brown.
Let's hope Saunders / Haslett have more input in the draft.
? Is Greg Williams off the radar? or has he found a job? (I'm sure he could learn something working with Haslett, and vice versa, although egos could get in the way).
What worthy offensive tackles will be available in the 2nd round?
Jim Thomas: As you mentioned, coaches hire friends all the time, or people they have worked with before. It always helps if they're competent.
I'm not sure about the second-round OTs. Give me a couple of weeks on that one.
Mike: Bill Belichick is the most classless person in all professional sports. What a piece of **** this guy is. I would call him the most classless man but the way he ran out on his players before the end of the game gives me doubts as to whether that term applies. He isn't big enough to stay with his guys until the end or give his opponent the props they earned. I know it is unlikely but should the NFL find that some inappropriate behavior by the Patriots occured before Super Bowl XXXVI then Belichick deserves at least a yearlong suspension. I'm sure it won't happen, though, because the league has been kissing Kraft's ass for years.
Jim Thomas: Belichick flaunts league rules whenever he wants, and seemingly gets away with it. Take Tom Brady's ankle injury for example. All week long during Super Bowl week, Brady's ankle is not listed on the injury report. Yet he apparently tells Fox the night before his game that his ankle is bothering him. The Patriots should be fined for lying on the injury report _ plain and simple. The Patriots also repeatedly flout the league's media access rules. And from some of the phone calls I've made, I think the Patriots did tape the Rams' walk-through the day before XXXVI. The key, however, is proof, because the Patriots will deny it and have denied it. I would love to see Belichick, the video guy Walsh, and others called before Sen. Specter to testify on the subject.
Mike: It's unbelievable now to think that the Giants players were in near revolt against their head coach just a couple years ago. Remember the verbal abuse he took from Barber, et al? Well I guess the joke's on Tiki. After all the bs from him about the coach (and Manning too?) being a problem it seems he was the problem. As soon as he retires and Shockey goes on IR, the players come together and achieve the ultimate goal. I'm happy for Coughlin and I hope the Giants organization now appreciates what they have. As we Rams' fans know all too well, a good coach is hard to find.
So it seems a few bad apples can spoil the barrel. Did you see Shockey in the booth with a beer instead of on the sideline supporting his teammates in the biggest game of their careers? I hope the Rams brass was watching and they don't hesitate to rid this team of the poor effort, bad attitude players this offseason. With a the right off-season moves and a fresh attitude this team could get back to respectability next season.
Jim Thomas: Yeah, I did notice Shockey in a suite during the game. Why wasn't he on the field with his teammates? It seems that the Giants have done just fine without Mr. Barber as well. There are a few weeds _ as Dick Vermeil used to call them _ that Linehan can pull from the Rams roster. At the risk of continually picking on Dominique Byrd, he's one example. I don't think there's many players in the locker room who respect him as a player and a professional.
Linehan can also learn from Coughlin's example in how to adjust his coaching style. Coughlin turned down his intensity just a bit, and started listening more to the veteran players with the establishment of a leadership council. It would seem that Linehan needs to turn UP the intensity just a little bit, but also needs to get the veterans back on board.
Have you heard anything about Marshall Faulk entering the Rams FO? I realize he is smart and really knows his football, but I would be a little concerned about his lack of experience personnel-wise. We have certainly seen extreme results when ex athletes have gone from the booth into management. He could be another John Davidson or another Matt Millen. Still, he ought to be an improvement over Shaw and Zygmunt. What do you think of his prospects if given the opportunity? Thanks.
Jim Thomas: The question is, if Faulk enters the front office will it be a ceremonial/pr type post, or a position with some real duties and responsibilities. As if pointed out before, if it's the latter _ say in the personnel department _ Faulk won't suddenly be named GM. Even a guy like Ozzie Newsome, who has gone on to have great success with the Ravens in personnel after a great playing career, spent years paying his dues in the scouting department. Is Faulk willing to put in those kinds of hours. Is he willing to grind the type, go to the college campuses all over the country, and scout players? There's no doubt Faulk is very bright and has a good football mind. But there's more to front office work than just showing up and saying, where's my desk?
Now that the Super Bowl is over, what can we expect on the Rams recovery front in February? Anything good brewing?
Jim Thomas: The offseason really gets going here in a couple of weeks. The Scouting Combine starts two weeks from Wednesday and the free agency period begins on Feb. 29, or just three days after the conclusion of the Combine. Call this the quiet before the storm.
Do you know if Linehan plans on adding a DB coach, or will he promote Ron Milus? The thought of Milus as the main guy concerns me. I did a little research on him. In 05, his Giants finished 26th in the league in pass defense with only two interceptions. This led to his firing by Tom Coughlin. He can't possibly be an upgrade over Willy Robinson, can he? I figured Linehan probably fired Robinson because some of the young CBs failed to progress enough under him. What are your thoughts on Milus as THE DB coach?
Jim Thomas: You can't always judge a position coach based strictly on stats. I think Haslett likes Milus and believes he was ready. Willy Robinson had some gruff ways about him, but I thought he was a pretty good DB coach. Linehan will add a DB coach _ it remains to be seen if the new guy is the No. 1 secondary coach (like Robinson was) or if Milus gets promoted.