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    Jim Thomas Live - March 27

    Jim Thomas Live

    Rams writer Jim Thomas goes one-on-one with readers at 1 p.m. Tuesday in a live chat.
    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 01:00 PM CDT

    comments & answers

    Cromwell21: Morning Mr. Thomas: Now with Steven Smith and Matthew Mulligan in toe are the Rams close to signing a Guard or other OL? They had Rachel, Turner and Richards in on tryouts and you twitted the Rams had various degrees of interest. Are none better than Bryan Mattison (who I believe played under Schottenheimer for the Jets)? Which one are the Rams more interested in?

    Jim Thomas: I really don't know which of the offensive lineman the Rams are more interested in when it comes to Rachal, Turner, and Richards. They're all interior linmemen. Even with Mattison, the Rams need more bodies, not just for the training camp roster, but for the regular season. Not to mention a starting left guard, and perhaps a starting right tackle. Rachal has the most starting experience of the three.

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    corey: Bernie Miklasz in one of his articles he wrote this on sunday about the rams future he believes the rams will stay (Personally, I don't think the Rams will move. I don't think the NFL wants that. I don't think the NFL is keen on the idea of putting a team in Los Angeles. I don't believe Kroenke, down deep, wants to betray his home state of Missouri and become an all-time villain here. But nothing is certain. We've seen this movie twice before, with the St. Louis Cardinals moving to Arizona, and the LA Rams moving to St. Louis.)Do you agree with bernie about the rams staying here?

    Jim Thomas: Well, I think there's validity to your points. But the lease is the lease, and it's potentially a clean break after the 2014 season. St. Louis basically got a mulligan on the "first-tier" requirements at the 10-year marker (following the 2004) season. I don't think they'll get one in 2014. Kroenke wants the CVC to hold up their end of a lease clause they agreed to. Will he insist on the letter of the law? I don't think so. But $124 million (w/Kroenke paying for half of it) isn't going to cut it.

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    Rick R: Hey Jim good talking to you.On the signing of Steve Smith aren't the Rams taking a big chance on him remaining healthy? Seems like what receivers we do have most have issues remaining healthy all year round . Does this worry you too?

    Jim Thomas: Sure it's a concern. Are the Rams going down the Mark Clayton, Laurent Robinson path. (Both were hurt nearly all of their time in St. Louis.) But it's a one-year deal. I'm sure it's for a modest amount. There aren't many alternatives left in terms of free agents. So why not?

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    henry: Hi Jim,

    1) As a area of need and player falling to the Rams, which DT would fit in the Rams system if the choice is between, Jerel Worthy, Brandon Thompson or Alameda Ta'amu?

    2) Do you see OLB Zac Brown of North Caroling dropping to the 2nd Round with the possibility of the Rams drafting him.

    3) If the Rams can't get Blackmon in the 1st Round, do you like Rams getting Sanu in the 2nd Round with their 2nd pick?

    Jim Thomas: 1.) Whichever one of the three can play. And stop the run.
    2.) I think Brown will be available at the top of round 2. I don't know if the Rams like him.
    3.) I don't know if Sanu is worth it that high in the second.

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    Mike Q: Hey Jim!
    Do you know if the Rams have shown any interest in Manny Lawson?
    Think he'd be a good pick up at outside backer...
    Blessings and thanks!

    Jim Thomas: Not to my knowledge, and I've tried to check into. Although he has some 4-3 experience, I think Lawson is a more natural fit in a 3-4.

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    ramfanbak: Jim do you think the rams will stay pat on the #6 pick or trade it? they need to sign up amendola sam can sure use him.

    Jim Thomas: The Rams have said they're open to trading down out of the No. 6 spot if the offer's right. I think that depends in large part on if anyone absolutely positively has to have Ryan Tannehill.
    As for Amendola, remember, he's been tendered (at a second-round level) by the Rams as an unrestricted free agent. If Amendola doesn't sign an offer sheet by April 20, he belongs to the Rams. So we still have a few weeks to wait on that one.

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    fdupcamel: What is the likelihood the Dolphins trade up with the Browns to grab Tannehill at #4? I'm thinking GM Jeff Ireland needs a shocker move like this if he wants to keep the Dolphins community happy. Plus the Dolphins are need a quarterback in the worst way possible and there is no guarantee he will be there when they pick.

    Jim Thomas: Possible. It's hard for me to believe however that Tannehill is the fourth best player in the draft. The shock may be when Tannehill, who's still raw and relatively unproven, has to play.

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    Nymand: Hey Jim

    Given that the Vikings go with Kalil at no. 3, either Blackmon, Richardson or Claiborne is going to fall to no. 6.

    But which player would you take if you could pick between the three?

    I know that Blackmon fill the greatest need at the moment but is he the best pick in the long run?

    Jim Thomas: Unless the Rams were absolutely, positively sure they could get a very good wideout at No. 33 or No. 39 (in the second round) I think you have to take Blackmon if he's there.

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    ramsfaninMD: If the NFL began its investigation at the end of the 09-10, why wouldn't Greg Williams have mentioned that during his interview with Fisher? Or did he?

    Jim Thomas: Fisher claims he was unaware of any Bountygate stuff until after Williams was hired. Plus, I don't think there was much of an "interview." I think it was more along the lines of:

    FISHER: "I want you to come to St. Louis Gregg and run my defense."
    WILLIAMS: "I'm in."

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    Bo G: Good Afternoon; What is the status of Illinois Mike and how does his future look?

    Jim Thomas: He has recently starting running. I don't know if he's on pace to be full-go at training camp. As of now, it looks like he'll be one of the team's three tight ends. We all know he's pretty good when healthy.

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    Greg in Raleigh: Jim,

    What does the signing off Smith mean for the draft. It seems to me they should get 4 starters out of the draft, hopefully a WR,OG,DT, OLB? In your opinion, do they still need 2 starting WR's? If so are Salas and Pettis already considered busts?

    Thanks for your time,

    Greg

    Jim Thomas: Even with the signing of Smith, I wouldn't be surprised if the Rams drafted two wide receivers.I don't think that makes Salas or Pettis busts. But there's no doubt the Rams need more talent overall at wide receiver.

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    h2ojd55: What happens if OT Matt Kalil slides to the Rams at #6? Are the Rams high on Kalil?

    Jim Thomas: Could be wrong, but the sense I get is that they'd rather not take an o-lineman that high in the draft.

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    djjr11854: Jim,
    As always thanks for your time. My question concerns the mood of this team now that there's a new regime in town.
    Do you have a feel from the players (or is it too early) about the hiring of Jeff Fisher? As a fan I think this was a fantastic and long awaited move! Also how is this Williams suspension weighing on the team?
    As a long long time Ram fan, I am finally excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for this team and this coaching staff!!

    Jim Thomas: I haven't had much contact with the players so far this offseason. They don't even begin the offseason conditioning program until Monday, so not many are at Rams Park. But the feeling I get from the players I've been in contact with is that they are genuinely excited about the Fisher hire. I don't have a feel for how or if the Williams decision is weighing on the players.

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    h2ojd55: Will you be putting out a list of players in the draft that the Rams bring in for a visit?

    Jim Thomas: Hopefully, with all the other stuff going on with the team this season, I haven't had much time since the combine (other than the Mizzou and Oklahoma State pro days) to do much draft stuff. Hoping to refocus after I return from these owners meetings.

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    ihtnep: Hi Jim,
    How many Sanchez interceptions before Jets fans demand Tebow?

    Jim Thomas: One.

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    ramsman77: Hello Mr. Thomas, Is Mark Clayton still under contract with the Rams? Do you see the Rams signing a Linebacker in free agency or will they draft one? Thank you.

    Jim Thomas: No, Clayton is an unrestricted free agent. And to my knowledge the Rams have showed no interest in re-signing him.
    It's possible the Rams will sign at least one linebacker in free agency and draft at least one. Unless I'm missing one, I think they have only 3 LBs under contract right now: James Laurinaitis, Josh Hull, and Justin Cole.

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    ramsn20123: Jim, in your opinion is the Rams long-term future safe in St. Louis?

    Jim Thomas: Not until the lease situation is resolved.

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    James W.: Jim: Do the Rams have a dining hall during the season for the players to ensure proper nutrition? Also,when I go back and look at Rams games, the offsides penalties by the O-line hurt the team as much or more than anything else. Why are they jumping offsides?

    Jim Thomas: Yes, but during the regular season, only for breakfast and lunch.For the most part, they're out of Rams Park in time for dinner once the preseason ends.
    As for the offsides penalties, they're extra costly when you have an unproductive offense that lacks big-play capability. 1st-and-15 can be a killer for a struggling offense. As for why they're jumping offside, I don't know. You'd think it was just a matter of focus and concentration.

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    Hayley H: Jim, I was happy with the recent pickups in free agency. But I keep hearing the term, the Rams need playmakers(wide out receivers, and a backup running back). We scored one of the fewest points per game average in the league. I don't really see any of the acquisitions to be the play maker that we need. Now I hear that we may choose Morris Claiborne with our first round pick, which is a good choice but that leaves only the 2nd round on down to find playmakers. Last I checked, you have to score more points than the other team, which has been the Rams problem, the last couple of seasons. Will there be quailty players to put points on the board from that point on in the draft?

    Jim Thomas: Hey, the Rams just signed Steve Smith. What do you want? No, obviously more difference makers are needed, especially at wide receiver.

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    Bluefish: Hey Jim, Here's my big Q: Without taking the upcoming Draft into considertion, Who do you see as the Rams 5 starting OLine ?

    Jim Thomas: As we sit here right now:

    LT _ Rodger Saffold
    LG _ Player to be named later
    C _ Scott Wells
    RG _ Harvey Dahl
    RT _ Jason Smith

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    Dino in Sacramento: Great Job JT on your coverage of the Rams, Question is who do you think are the top 3 LB's in the draft that fit a 4- 3 defense and do the Rams have a shot at any of them?

    Jim Thomas: I'm sure I'm missing somebody, but I'd say Zach Brown, Lavonte David, maybe Sean Spence.

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    Hman: I am upset at the lack of emphasis the rams put on acquiring receivers. I am all about not spending stupid money and overpaying at the position. However at this point I expected we would of signed a couple of second tier receivers who have an upside. Yesterdays singing of smith is intriguing I just hope he can stay healthy. But we still donít have much. Any other names you are hearing? Even though he will be suspended for a few games what about Jerome Simpson? Mark Clayton or did he hang it up? At this point I feel like we are a worse team on paper than we were last year.

    Jim Thomas: I understand the receiver angst. I don't know when there will be a determination on Simpson's legal issues, but I don't think it'll get resolved before the draft.
    Clayton is not under contract, and I think his injury problems have scared off the Rams, and clubs it appears.

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    Hman: What do you see the rams doing at linebacker?

    Jim Thomas: Well, they are still talking to Jo-Lonn Dunbar, the New Orleans free agent who visited last week. You'd have to think they'd do something in the draft.

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    ShakinThingsUp: Hi Jim,

    Does anyone know what Williams needs to do in order to get reinstated by Goodell? I'm a bit concerned by the term "indefinite" when it comes to his suspension since he's the only one that was handed that kind of a sentence. Oftentimes, "indefinite" turns into permanent. If the Rams thought that there was a chance that Williams would be gone for more than a year, would they move to hire a replacement instead of covering for him "in house"? Has the league reassured the Rams in any way that the path for Williams' return isn't difficult?

    Jim Thomas: The best I can tell, he has to cooperate with an further investigation, and as Goodell said Monday the investigation isn't closed. And it sounds like he has to be an advocate for sportsmanship and safety (maybe that will be by speaking to youth, high school, and college teams).
    I'm unaware that the league has given the Rams any assurances of Williams' availability for 2013. As Stan Kroenke told me Monday, he will leave any decision on Williams' future up to Fisher once Williams is reinstated.

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    MA_RAMS_FAN: Thanks for the chats as always. Looking at the top of this draft alot of the :Žxperts" see 6 elite type of players - the 2 qbs, Nlackmon,Claiborne, and Richardson. I tend to believe that Cleveland will draft Blackmon and Tampa takes Claiborne, If Richardson is the one on the board- which seems more likely?

    1.Rams draft Richardson
    2.Rams trade back
    4.Rams draft someone else (and if so, any names?)

    Jim Thomas: I'd say 1.) draft Richardson.

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    TRURAMFAN: JT-

    Give it to me/Rams fan's straight please. Under the assumption that Mr. K wins the bid for the Dodgers, is it a foregone conclusion that the Rams will leave STL?

    Jim Thomas: I don't think it's a foregone conclusion. There are a lot of ways to develop land besides building a fo. football stadium and moving a team there. We'll see. And FYI, when Goodell was talking about what an excellent stadium site the land adjacent to Dodger Stadium would be (Monday), he wasn't referencing that to the Rams (and any possible move). The league has long felt that area would be a good stadium site.
    With that, I've got to go. Back to the owners meetings here in Palm Beach.


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    Re: Jim Thomas Live - March 27

    fdupcamel: What is the likelihood the Dolphins trade up with the Browns to grab Tannehill at #4? I'm thinking GM Jeff Ireland needs a shocker move like this if he wants to keep the Dolphins community happy. Plus the Dolphins are need a quarterback in the worst way possible and there is no guarantee he will be there when they pick.

    Jim Thomas: Possible. It's hard for me to believe however that Tannehill is the fourth best player in the draft. The shock may be when Tannehill, who's still raw and relatively unproven, has to play.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Really?!!! Who cares!

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