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    Jim Thomas Live Tuesday, November 27 (LONG)

    Jim Thomas Live
    By Jim Thomas
    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    Part I

    Joe Stafford: Jim, what is it going to take to get Linehan fired? He couldn't make a half time adjustment to save his life! How come Haslett didn't get a chance during the bye week? At least we could have seen how the whole team responded to him even with all the injurys.

    Jim Thomas: Shaw has been adamant about not changing head coaches in midseason, plain and simple.
    ------------------
    Scott Linehan: should i alter my play calling so it is a little more difficult for the defenses to read since i am an offensive "guru"! Also should i keep my old buddie Gus in a job next year so that he can lose every game he enters...

    In all seriousness, the Rams traded Fitzpatrick for a 7th round pick...and next year we are going to have to use a 5th or better to secure a good backup....yep real logical linehan!

    If the rams dont get a good pass-rushing DE, a linebacker who can stay healthy, an OT, a safety and a quick (no not you drew bennett) in the draft and FA, I WILL SCREAM...can we stop relying on guys who linehan has coached before...how many superbowls have they got to combined!!!!!

    Jim Thomas: Get ready to scream.(Just kidding, I hope.)
    Again, I'm not sure Fitzpatrick was the answer, but it was silly to let him go.
    ---------------------
    Murat from PA: Dear Jim;

    Isn't it fascinating to see the offense flying high and showing us what it is capable of doing, and once we have a lead, Linehan sucking all the energy out of it by calling those over-conservative plays? This is the most frustrating aspect of this season; refusing to win by trying not to lose. When will Linehan learn his lesson? I cannot believe that he was once a highly-regarded offensive coordinator.

    Best,

    Murat

    Jim Thomas: Points well taken.
    ---------------------
    Stuck: Are you kidding me...the Rams lose another game and Stephen Jackson wants to talk about having more lively music in the Dome? He's one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL this year and his focus is on music? Seems the music is good enough for Atogwe because he seems to spend more time dancing on the field than covering anyone.

    Jim Thomas: First off, it's spelled Steven, not Stephen.
    No. 2, Jackson said what he said because he cares about winning and thinks it would help.
    No. 3, Atogwe is tied for third in the NFC and tied for sixth in the NFL in interceptions. So he must be covering somebody.
    ------------------
    Mike: In your estimation, what are the reasons for the Rams' second half ineptitude?

    Jim Thomas: Conservative play-calling on offense. In several games, the team just hasn't responded well when star players have gone down (Pace, Jackson, Bulger). And I guess you'd have to say adjustments by the opposition. Not so much half-time adjustments, because half-times are so short, but in-game adjustments.
    -------------------
    jjg: Again thanks for your time ...... a follow up on my last question...and not to rant too much but the real tragedy here is we could have groomed a QB(toughest position in all of team sports)for the future with all these meaningless(in regards to the post-season)games ahead....Do you think that that last snap put the proverbial nail in coaching (offensive) staffs coffin?

    Jim Thomas: I don't think the last snap was the last straw, but it couldn't have helped.
    -------------------------
    Mike: Will the Rams hire a GM and, if so, who are the likely candidates?

    Jim Thomas: Floyd Reese and Tom Donahoe are two names to watch.
    ---------------------
    Memphis Ram: Any truth to what Glazer reported as to Linehan already being declared safe in 2008?

    Jim Thomas: Shaw has consistently told Bernie and myself that he will wait until the end of the season to decide Linehan's fate.
    -----------------------
    jjg: I hate to say this(again like many others on this site) but the Linehan should have always had a QB(like Fitz)#3 to groom for the future because... what's the point of having Gus(he probably will not be here based on his performance next season)is not the future....how significant a mistake do you think this is factoring in Bulger's durability (ie he starting to take concussions which is a very bad sign)......rookie coach mistake?.....lack of forward thinking.....Martz kept 3 qbs his last season..for good reason ...right now if we had a young qb at least we could give him some valuable game time? Your thoughts on this on this topic especially with our current record and 5 games to go....

    Jim Thomas: Some times coaches outsmart themselves. I'm not saying Fitzpatrick was a future star, but why not keep him for another year? (He was scheduled for restricted free agency after this season, so why not keep him until then at least?)
    More an more coaches are going with just 2 QBs, using that extra spot for a special teams player. But QBs get hurt so often in this league, it seems very shortsighted not to keep a pair of backups.
    -------------------------
    Tony: Jim, as an original Rams season ticket holder I cannot take much more of the Linehan "prevent offense". The offense went into a shell once the Rams built a 16-7 lead in the first quarter, with few play attempts down field save a long sideline pass to Holt that was 5 yards out of bounds and the long pass to Bruce at the end of the fourth quarter that resulted in a pass interference (imagine that). The Rams were 2-8 going into the game, what do they have to lose? Once again the Rams were out-played and out-coached in the second half.

    End of the game failures aside, with some offensive imagination in the 2nd and 3rd quarter, this game should have been put away. Yes, there is fear of turnovers, and a banged up offensive line, but that is the point, Linehan has coached in fear of losing his entire two year tenure in St. Louis. Message to John Shaw, you can't coach in fear, and that is Linehan's style, behold the empty seats, more to come in 2008 if Linehan returns. Cowher or Haslett in 2008!!

    Jim Thomas: You've got to coach to win. You can't coach not to lose.
    -------------------------
    stuart: Yesterday was a $6,000,000 dollar pay day for the RAMS. (Ticket sales, conessions, parking, Not TV money) That was their cash intake for that game. If it was any other business that didn't deliver on the product that you paid for, you would ask for your money back. I understand that it is rediculous to compare this to a retail store or a resturant, but you know who are the real losers in this fiasco of a football team, we are the paying patron. We deserve better than we are getting, and the first change should be made in the head coach. Jim tell me why the head coach shouldn't be replaced. Anything would be better than what we have now. Thanks

    Jim Thomas: Again, I say, let's see how these final five games play out.
    ----------------------
    Choocha: Jim,
    When will this team realize they have a good but fragile quarterback. I know Bulger played every game last season, but even then it was with broken ribs and who knows what other injuries. The Rams desperately need a reliable back up who can play. Gus is just cashing a paycheck at this point in his career. The whole Linehan situation is just an embarassing....

    Jim Thomas: It's becoming increasingly clear that Frerotte is not the answer as a backup. Every year, the majority of teams have to use their backup at one point in the season or another. That's why you need someone who can play.
    ------------------------
    Charlie: Enough is enough but when a player is asking for a certain type of music to be played at a game, perhaps he should be more concerned about playing football. Talk is always cheap, but when we PURCHASE tickets to see PROFESSIONAL's play we expect to see a performance that IS professional.

    The offensive players show no emotion, which I feel stems from the coach and quarterback. Emotions play a lot in a contact sport and that I feel is another part of the Rams problem.

    Jim Thomas: Again, whether you like Steven Jackson or not. Whether you like hi-hop music or not. I think Steven Jackson makes a good point. The game-day atmosphere at the dome is terrible. Sports Illustrated recently rated the Edward Jones Dome 27th in game-day atmosphere in a league survey.

    Also, I think the Rams players show plenty of emotion. Did you see Jackson climbing into the stands after his touchdown against Seattle? Against Dallas, did you see Bulger slam his helmet in disgust on the sidelines after throwing an interception?
    ----------------------
    danny rector: jim is there any fa offensive linemen next season worth going after.

    Jim Thomas: There's a few names out there: OTs Flozell Adams, Jordan Gross, Sean Locklear; OGs Alan Faneca, Ryan Lilja; C Jeff Faine.
    But keep in mind, it's a moving target. Several FAs will be re-signed or franchised prior to the start of free agency. But there will also be some cap casualties added to the market in late February and early March.
    ---------------------
    Fafu: It has seemed that before the Seattle game that the players had not given up on Linehan. Now I read that there is some grumbling in the locker room about his predictability of the sideline routes. Is the team finally starting to turn on him? And if they do, how can he remain the coach? Once you lose your players, is that not the time to move on?

    Thanks, I enjoy your insight.

    -Fafu

    Jim Thomas: There has been low-level grumbling off and on about the offense. I'm getting this only second hand, otherwise I would report it more strongly. And if you ask the players directly, they're not going to criticize the head coach. But as I pointed out earlier in this session, some of these guys are the same players who grumbled about Martz's offense being too complicated. So now it's too simple? Which is it? As frustrating as thing might be, I think it's up to the players to buy into the system. If they have problems with the game plans, they should approach Linehan with suggestions. He seems very approachable.
    One thing I'll say about this team _ they haven't given in yet.
    ---------------------
    Gus: thanks for answering jim.

    Was this past weekends performance the last straw for Linehan as coach of the Rams? Do you think he's fired after the season? When your personally sought out 2nd string QB can't even complete a 6 yard td pass to Ike and fumble a perfect snap from center to lose the game, there has to be some consequences.

    Jim Thomas: I've said this before _ This is a week to week league, and what happens on the past Sunday often has no bearing on this Sunday. Linehan still has five more weeks to make his case. But Seattle definitely was not a good Sunday. And Frerotte's performance obviously reflects poorly on the head coach.
    ------------------------
    Gabriel to Snow: Been a fan since early 60s, seen it all, never quit on my team. When St Louis got the Rams, I was so happy that the team would finally have REAL fans. LA fans were the worst. Like all fans, I *****ed about performance, coaching, etc., but my group never missed a game, & never failed to scream our brains out to encourage the team. I've seen Ram teams that gave up, didn't hustle, didn't care. THOSE teams were hard to cheer for. THIS team has good character, pride in their craft, & they show no signs of disgracing our loyalty by tanking.

    As long as they hustle, I am in their corner. Like many, I'm not happy with many things about our team & coaching staff. Mostly offensive gripes. But wasn't it just a few months ago that we marveled at the offense & maligned the defense? I hope for a better football product, but I also hope for more true fans & POSITIVE fan behavior at the ED. I swear I heard crickets chirping before key plays in the second half Sunday when Buffalo, Denver, Cleveland & many others would have been ROCKING! Seattle has better fans than us only because we allow it. We can't do much for our team, but if you show up, act like you care, wait until the final gun to boo or be silent.

    Maybe the vaunted home field advantage we previously enjoyed disappeared as a result of the fans not creating one. If we don't have a great team, we can still be great fans, & if we are, it makes the *****ing we do much more honorable. Rock the dome St Louis, win lose or draw. Or 0-8 at home will be partly on our head.
    P.S. Jim, what is your take on Chris long being a good fit here?

    Jim Thomas: Well said G to S. Well said.

    There was a lot of energy in the building at the start of the game when the Rams were playing well, and there were some exciting plays. But as the Rams' offense struggled, you could almost see the energy leaving the building. Whether you like Hip hop music or not, this is where Steven Jackson makes a good point. Liven up the place? Show less commercials. Play more music. Have a mascot. A pep band. Shoot T-shirts into the stands. Anything.
    See my post above about Chris Long and the switch to the 3-4. (This all assumes that Haslett is back.)
    ---------------------------
    Mark: Do the Rams practice a credible screen pass that might slow down the bullrush? If they do, is there a reason that they don't use it?

    Jim Thomas: I'd like to see more screens. I'd also like to see more "delay" like patterns where the tight end or back begins the play by blocking and then leaks out into a short pattern. That would slow the rush as well.
    ------------------------
    Vinny: Hi Jim,

    After this last debacle, do you think linehan solidified his fate as the head coach? I understand injuries play a big part but he seems to have a difficult time keeping leads in the second half. Your thoughts..

    Also, if it were the end of the season and the rams were looking for a coach would they look to college?? Pete Carroll perhaps.

    Thanks

    Jim Thomas: No, I don't think Linehan has sealed his fate. I think if he wins a couple more games he will return. But it was a bad loss. Not so much that the Rams lost _ I think a lot of us expected a loss _ but the way they lost.

    Pete Carroll snubbed the Rams in '97. He wanted everything but the keys to the city and permanent possession of the Arch. He is king of Southern Cal football, so it would take a Brinks truck to bring him here. Don't hold your breath on that one.
    ---------------------
    John D: Jake Long, Michigan
    (Jr) Michael Oher, Ole Miss.
    (Jr) Calais Campbell, Miami (Fl);
    (Jr) Vernon Gholston, Ohio State;
    (Jr) Tyson Jackson, LSU;
    (Jr) James Laurinaitis, Ohio State;
    Rey Maualuga, USC;
    (Jr) Brian Cushing, USC;
    what position and player should the rams be looking to draft ? Sorry i'm starting this line of questioning so early but the 2008 draft and free agency is all rams fans seem to have to look forward to.

    Jim Thomas: How about taking Howie Long's kid _ the DE from Virgnia _ re-sign Chillar, sing Arizona ILB Karlos Dansby in free agency, and switch to the 3-4?
    Now you'd still need some o-line help and a speed WR, but that's a start.
    --------------------
    ramknick: Hello Jim! Thanks for your time.
    After Sunday's catastrophic lost I was real mad. But things got worst when I watched how the niners won in overtime.
    It's a shame how we let this big opportunity go away.

    I feel sorry for all the rams nation. Fire Linehan!!! this guy is only an assistant coach. No more!! To be a headcoach in the NFL, first of all you need a lot of character and this guy doesn't know what character means.
    What can I tell you about Frerotte. This guy is nothing more than a mediocre player. I can't understand how this "athletes" are still playing in the NFL (Testaverde). My grandmother (that rests in peace) was more athlete than these idiots.
    Thanks for your time... after all ... I still believe.. Go rams forever!!

    Jim Thomas: Linehan deserves much of the criticism he's getting after a game like Seattle, but he is of very high character. That's one thing you can't question about the guy. And if you spent even a little time with the guy, I'm sure you'd realize this.
    ------------------------
    Will: Jim, why did the Rams start Petitti when Gorin was playing better over the previous few weeks? Plus Petitti does not handle speed/edge rushers like Tapp or Kearney well. He was the weakest link on a weak o-line Sunday. Will Gorin or Steussie get the nod at RT this week? Also, do you see Barron coming back at RT in 2008, or perhaps being traded for a mid-round pick once the Rams can pick a blue-chip tackle in the 1st or 2nd round of the Draft in April?

    Jim Thomas: From what I've observed and seen on tape, neither Gorin or Petitti had vastly outplayed the other. It's almost stating the obvious, but Gorin has shown himself to be better as a pass blocker; and the bigger, bulkier Petitti the better run blocker. So it was puzzling to me to see Petitti start at right tackle against a Seattle team that has one of the best pass rushing teams in the NFL. It just made no sense.
    I would think the Rams return with Pace at LT and Barron at RT. I would think you could get at least a third-rounder if you traded Barron. But given the Rams' recent draft record with third-rounders, do you have much confidence that they'd be able to make something of that pick.
    ------------------------
    Harold: Coming from Steeler and Joe Pa country but being a Rams fan since '69 I am real interested in the Rams getting Cowher as the coach. Is he looking to coach again? If so, what are the odds of the Rams signing him to coach?

    Jim Thomas: From what I hear, Cowher wants to coach again but ideally would like to sit out one more year. I don't think the Rams have much of a chance to sign him. For one, Cowher will probably have his pick of any coaching opening. For another, Cowher will certainly get in excess of $5 million a year.
    -------------------------
    Buzz: Jim,
    Did they check Frerotte for a concussion?
    Eric Bassey has played well on special teams. Does he have any future at CB? How would he rate in development compared to Wade?
    Also, I thought CJ Ah You was a nice pickup for the practice squad. I gather he is a great athlete, but an underachiever. Any chance he could help with the pass rush this year? I'm afraid Haslett's luck will run out if he has to blitz ALL the time. Thanks.

    Jim Thomas: Bassey was elevated to the practice squad in place of Darius Vinnett because the coaches thought Bassey has more potential as a corner. But now, he's probably out for the season with the knee injury. Wade, to me, has been a disappointment on special teams.
    I don't think we'll see Ah You on the "varsity" this season. But you never know if the injuries keep piling up.
    Haslett will have to pull more rabbits out of his hat the rest of this season, because Pisa is probably out for the season with his injury and James Hall is expected to miss at least one game with his high ankle sprain.
    -----------------------
    Louis: I honestly do not know what to do anymore, we should have 4 more victories than we do.
    I watch most other teams protect their quarterback with backups and it works for the most part.
    We need top quality linemen next year....Priority #1!!
    We have bad quality linehan now.
    Do you agree with this?

    Jim Thomas: In my opinion, the Rams need at least 3 offensive linemen. A tackle, and two interior players. I'd say sign one or two in free agency, and draft one or two.
    -------------------------
    Craig Wilson-Matson: The Rams need to have the play action fake and the dump off to the TE McMicheal or Joe Klopenstien as a part of their red zone package , Randy especially could have scored at least 5-7tds by now if they would use him in that area, or on the goal line as receiver or mix up formations with him split him out in the slot ala a Gates or Winslow and let him run in space.

    Why does Linehan put 5 tes on the Roster ,ok 4 now that Walker has IR'd ,and not use their size in the offence more ??? Can you plead this for the fans at once ????!!!! Craig From Pasadena , Ca,

    Jim Thomas: I too am puzzled why McMichael isn't used more in the red zone.
    --------------------------------
    GoneGator: Why is it on defense the coach can lose players, yet get better? While on offense, it used as a weekly excu... uh crutch. The Rams sack leader is gone for the season. Yet, miraculously, the coaches figured out way to still get sacks from other players.

    Jim Thomas: So you noticed, too?
    --------------------------
    Jack Cramond: Hi Jim,

    Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

    I believe Marc Bulger was correct when he said that the rams were a very bad team. Jim Hasletts defense seemed to step things up but the offense floundered. Just when you think you've seen it all, Gus "Frerotte" drops the snap from center on a 4th and goal from the six inch line. If the entire team hadnt quit on Linehan by then, for sure they will quit on Linehan NOW. If its not too much to ask, I would like to get through the remainder of this "season" without a shutout. If the rams score a field goal in each of their remaining games, I'll be happy. All we can do is hope for greener pastures next season. A major shakeup will be required and fan patience will be called upon once again, but perhaps we can begin digging ourselves out of this humiliating hole and reclaim some of the respect we once held.

    PS: I heard that Donovan McNabb was not going to play against the Patriots because of a slight thumb and ankle injury. Considering what Marc Bulger has gone through this year, I can't help but conclude that Donovan McNabb is a coward, and that he exaggerated an injury in order to stay home and watch the game on TV. He did not want to be embarrassed by the patriots. Jay Feeley played very well in a losing effort and should now become the new starting QB for the Eagles.

    Jim Thomas: Say what you want about Bulger, but his toughness goes unquestioned.
    ------------------------
    bash-on: How bad is the play calling when the radio announcers are predicting the play before its run? Even I, a layman but long, long time fan, was able to call run or pass with an 85% efficiency this last game. Incredible. A vanilla offense is one thing but we might as well hand the opposition our playbook! I've liked Scott Linehan and have hoped that he would succeed but this is just a bit ridiculous. Next!

    Bash On Regardless

    Jim Thomas: I'll just say this: It's uncanny to me how often on third and "medium" (3rd & 3, 3rd&4, 3rd&5, the Rams throw those out patterns. If I can see them coming, I'm sure the opposing cornerbacks can to.
    ------------------------
    Damon: Hey Jim, I am now convinced that Linehan should not be our coach next year. I am so tired of watching our offense consist of running up the middle and throwing short hooks and out routes. Maybe I am wrong, but I always thought that when you use playaction you should be looking to throw down the center of the field.. isn't it supposed to open up holes behind the linebackers? Instead, we prefer to throw out patterns that are intercepted. When I watch all of the great offenses they attack the middle of the field. Isn't that what McMichael and Bennett were brought in to do?

    After Jackson broke that 50 yard run we probably could have exploited them with playaction.. but the plays were designed all wrong. Also, we never use motion or shift our players to attempt to get missmatches. I do think that Haslett deserves to stay, but some new leadership is needed for the offense. Any thoughts on who we might hire to get this offense back to its glory days?

    Jim Thomas: Good points. I don't know why the Rams don't throw over the middle very much. There were plenty of opportunities to do so Sunday, even if it meant checking out of a call at the line.
    The Rams do use a fair amount of motion _ although not nearly as much as in the Mad Mike days.

    I don't know who you bring in to run the offense, although a former Rams assistant, Ken Zampese, seems to be doing a good job in Cincy.
    -------------------------
    Chad Fenton: First question do you think Steven Jackson will resign with us? Or do we even want him to resign? And can we please start playing for Darren McFadden?

    Jim Thomas: Jackson isn't a free agent until the end of the 2008 season. I think the Rams should try to re-sign him before we get to the end of '08. That being said, from the little bit I know now about McFadden, how could you pass on him if he's staring at you in the draft? Hey, you need two running backs these days anyway.
    -------------------------
    RESPECT: Hello Jim,

    Sunday was a tough loss, mainly because we beat up on them for 2 straight quarters. Holmgren, unfortunately, did his thing with halftime adjustments and came out with the victory.

    Question:
    1) is it me, or does Stephen Jackson seem to think that he's built like Marshall Faulk instead of like Earl Campbell. i mean, i know you guys like him, but, he lacks acceleration THRU the hole because he HOPS with the handoff like a giant rabbit. he runs toward the sideline (which is unbelievable given his size) and seems afraid to take on tacklers, he constantly looks for cut backs, misses run reads, and is seemingly clueless on blitz pick-ups.

    He's not very nimble (for his size, maybe) to be trying to dance like he's Barry Sanders. Sometimes i would love to just see him get angry and HIT the hole like Pittman did when he was given the ball. doesnt he know that you cant pop the big one every time just by relying on blocking? C'mon, 1,2,3 at a time are better than -1, -2, -3.

    Jim Thomas: I do think Steven Jackson did more tap-dancing than usual in this game. There were a couple of negative yardage plays where if he just cuts it up and hits the hole, he might have gained two, three or four yards.

    But overall, I don't think you can question Jackson's toughness. He is not afraid of contact, and gets a lot of yards after contact.
    Usually, the tap-dancing happens when there isn't much of a hole. But again, I agree with you that this wasn't Jackson's best game.
    -----------------------
    Don: Jim--It has all been said before. As fans, we weep. Do we blame Linehan for terrible play calling 4 yards from the go ahead (and winning) TD? Do we blame Gus for his ball handling skills? Do we blame Linehan for Gus being the number 2 QB? It doesn't matter. The team played their hearts out and looked strong. I am more proud to be a Rams fan in this loss than I was in the win against SF (and I was at Cewndlstick that day!) The team needs a revamp from a football operations perspective. Shaw's comments to Bernie a few weeks ago were encouraging. Anything new on that front? Please keep us posted.

    Jim Thomas: I haven't talked to Shaw since Bernie's conversation with him. But obviously I will between now and the end of the season.
    I think this is a game where Linehan should get a lot of the blame _ for the play-calling, for the decision to start Petitti over Gorin, for the fact that Frerotte was his hand-picked No. 2 QB and has been a disappointment all season, not just this game.
    ----------------------------
    Todd W.: Hi Jim,
    If this isn't posted by the time you get this, Can you give me a %chance of Marc starting Sunday? I know you probably don't know but just a guesstimate in your opinion? I definitely think this game is winnable, you know like the Seattle game was. I'm not sure it's winnable if Gus is in.

    Thanks

    Jim Thomas: Judging from my conversation Monday with Marc, I'd say it's 70-30 that he plays.
    -------------------------
    Dman: Jim,

    Yesterday loss summarizes Linehan lack of head coaching potential. Even with all of the injuries, he has repeatedly loss early leads which is indicative of his lack coaching adjusments. His O plans have lacked innovation and creativity. However, Haslett's D (aside from the Cleveland game) has out performed expectations. In your honest opinion, do you think the executive management would provide Haslett the chance to run the show and if so when would you thinkg the change can occur? If not, do you think Cowher or a big ticket head is being considered as we speak?

    Jim Thomas: I must admit, Haslett and the defense have really come on over the last month or so. They have moved up to 15th in total defense. Haslett has done an admirable job adjusting to the loss of DE Leonard Little.

    I'm beginning to think that if a change is made, Haslett might be the best alternative. 1.) Hiring unproven coordinators is always a crapshoot.
    2.) I don't think someone like Cowher will be coming here and I don't think the Rams want to pay $5Million-plus for a head coach.
    -------------------------
    Charlie Connors: Jim,

    I've been harping on these points for weeks, but here I go again. Top reasons to fire Linehan.
    1. His record is horrible and far worse than Martz's. Martz was out sick much of '05. (Failing grade)
    2. He was brought in to keep offense rolling with Bulger, Jax, Holt. (Failing grade)
    3. His offensive scheme lets his franchise qb take beatings. Even after seeing these teams earlier in the year. (Failing grade)
    4. His offensive players do not believe in his system and do not believe in him. Including the franchise QB. How can situation ever improve when you don't get along with your Qb? (Failing grade)
    5. He chose a more expensive Drew Bennett over Kevin Curtis? Look how Curtis is playing now with some coaching! (Failing grade)
    6. He is 0-5 at home! His 2nd halfs are a joke. Heck, he tried giving last week away to at SF! (Failing grade)

    Jim Thomas: 1.) The Rams were 56-36 under Martz: they are 14-24 since he last coached a game on the sideline (prior to his illness).

    2.) You're exactly right. Linehan was hired because of his offensive resume. He inherited an aging, but still pretty good corps of skill position players.

    3.) For all the talk about how Martz got QBs hammered, things haven't changed under Linehan. The Rams are at close to a record pace for sacks allowed this season.

    4.) Some players have quietly grumbled about the system being too simplistic; but these are basically the same guys who grumbled about the Martz system being too complex. Well, which is it guys?

    5.) Can't quite agree with you on this one. Curtis wanted to go somewhere where he could be a starter. Bennett and Curtis contract are very similar.

    6.) Worse yet, regardless of circumstances, regardless of the injuries, all five home games were very winnable.
    --------------------------
    Rogurs: Hey Jim,
    Last year at home vs. the Seahawks, Rams up 21-7 at half, get throttled in the second half and lose the game. This year almost the exact same story.
    Linehan's playing not to lose instead of playing to win mentality just doesn't work in the NFL. Didn't Linehan learn anything from last years game? Can we officially say the Linehan experiment is over??

    Jim Thomas: John Shaw has made in clear on several occasions now, that he will do nothing before the season ends. There are 16 chapters in this book, and five more still must unfold. But there's no doubt in my mind that Sunday's loss to Seattle was a big step backwards for Linehan. In terms of play-calling, game management, starting Petitti over Gorin, even the fact that his hand-picked No. 2 QB Gus Frerotte played poorly. Linehan is coaching for his job over the final five games. He knows it. His staff knows it. The players know it.
    -------------------------
    George "stlramz" Mavris: Is it true that (1) Marshall Faulk sat in on the initial interview with the Rams Front Office when they interviewed Linehan for the head coaching job? and (2) it it true he objected to the hire?

    Thanks for your efforts Jim.

    Jim Thomas: I don't believe this is the case. But I'll try to check for you sometime in the near future.
    --------------------------
    Billy C: 1 Poor management / we need a real GM from outside the organization .
    2 Pood drafting & FA pickups / key word Quality (unless they look it up they dont know what it is)
    3 Poor coaching / Shellshocked once again / we need a leader like Bill Cower
    4 No emotion on the offence / Kurt Marshall & Lawerence played psyched up football
    5 No sense of urgency / There are nomore tomorrows : the Fans wont be here .
    6 No Team Leader among the players / Wheres the Leadership / wheres the Family / wheres the Direction ??????
    Any of the above will hurt a team / all of them will KILL a team . I love the Rams from the 60s to forever / win or loose I am an Old School Ram who walked the field and cherished it . But we are a shell of our former selves and dead in the water without changes . Management must change and admit thiungs are wrong all the way up and back down the line . Fix it befor all the Little Guys stop comming to the games .

    I still think we should draft Brian Brohm with our #1 and trade Marc / ya we can win games with Marc but Brian will make us consistant winners again . With or without a cap hit from trading Marc it will still take us a few years to be continders again so bite the bullet and dont pass up on Brian .

    Maybe Im nuts but I think Georgia will wake up and do what CR did to fix the team / we will see . Billy C Old School Ram Fan

    Jim Thomas: Hello again everybody, and judging from leadoff man Billy C _ it looks like everyone is in a good mood today. I'll just address BC's last point. The Rams do need to add a quarterback _ but as a No. 2. Regardless of how you feel about Bulger, the Rams simply have too much money invested in him, to jettison him. And there is more hit and miss with QBs taken in the top 10 of the draft than any other position. For every Peyton Manning, there's a Ryan Leaf. Or two. But I would like to see the Rams select a QB in the middle to late rounds, someone they can develop.
    -------------------------
    Gary DeVries: Just wondering who is likely to be signed to fill the void of these injuries and likely IR movements. Pisa, Bassey, Milligan....who are the candidates to move into these spots...will they come from the practise squad or from FA?

    Jim Thomas: There are very few street FAs left at this point in the season, who can walk and chew gum at the same time. Darius Vinnett is on the practice squad, and although small in stature, he made some nice plays on coverage units on the special teams earlier in the year while he was on the active roster. So that could be your corner to replace Bassey.
    Otherwise, there are no easy answers. I think the Rams would scour other team's practice squads for possible replacements.
    -------------------------
    James Griffin: Provided there was a player available on the board and wasn't too big of a reach, what position would you take in the first round next season...basically what is the order of the rams NEEDS!

    finally, what are the chances haslett stays if a new coach comes in. Haslett did coach under cowher (i think?) but if someone new where to come in, would he bring his own D-Coordinator?

    Jim Thomas: Rams needs--this is a moving target--and the list seems to keep getting longer. Here's my ranking _ as of today.
    1.) DE
    2.) OT
    3.) WR
    4.) OG-C
    5.) S
    6.) QB (backup, or QB of future type)
    ---of course, if the Rams truly switch to the 3-4, you'd have to add LB to that list.
    As for Haslett's future, I think it would be up to the head coach.
    ------------------------
    Bill Johnstone: Hey Jim,

    Can you give me an update on the progression of the rookies. It seems Pittman has passed Leonard on the depth chart. i.e we took a fullback in the second round! How bout derek stanley? Jonothan Wade?

    And i know there not a rookies but where are the TE's at, byrd and Klop?

    I dont get to see that many games so any help would be great!

    Jim Thomas: Leonard is being used as a fullback in the base offense and as a third-down back occasionally in the nickel package. I think the coaches feel that Pittman is a more natural halfback than Leonard, but since the New Orleans game, Pittman hasn't shown much. Leonard is a willing blocker but needs to be more consistent, particularly on his blitz pickup.

    Ryan and Carriker, obviously, have been big pluses. They have played better than their stats might indicate. Just ask the linebackers, who have had freer routes to ballcariers because Carriker and Ryan are holding up the point of attack. Wade hasn't shown much on special teams, which is where the coaching staff wanted to see him make his mark as a rookie. At the moment, Stanley seems lost in the shuffle on the practice squad.
    Since Walker's season-ending shoulder injury, Klopfenstein has see a lot more action as the No. 2 TE, and his blocking _ although still far from ideal _ has improved.

    He has had few opportunities as a receiver, and it doesn't seem like the QBs have much confidence in him as a receiver at this time. Byrd seems like a wasted pick; he flashes potential, but is immature and just doesn't seem to put as much into the game as the coaches would like.
    --------------------------
    cecil97531: My question has to do with Ron Bartell. I am of the opinion, and have been for some time, that this kid has the potential to be a playmaker. He is big, strong, fast and a decent tackler. While i like him in the swing role where he can used differently each week i see maybe a hard hitting stong safety in the making. Chavous is a gamer but not a game changer. If Bartell is as a SS that is one less hole to fill. What seems to be the long term plans for Bartell?

    Jim Thomas: In theory, your idea sounds good. At least having Bartell at free safety and maybe sliding Atogwe over to strong. I've long thought that Bartell wasn't physical enough to play safety. But he opened my eyes with his play against Seattle. I think it might have been the best game of his career in terms of playing physically. Now, if he does that on a weekly basis, the coaches will find a way to get him on the field more often.
    -----------------------
    Ray: I live in the Tampa Bay area and for the past 6 years my son and I go to a local sports bar on Sundays to watch the Rams on TV. This past Sunday we were watching the game as the Rams surged ahead 19-7. Two tables away from us were a group of SeaHawk fans. At half time we got to talking with them about the game and the first half results. They told us they were not worried about losing the game because they were playing the "Rams" and the Rams would not be the same team in the second half and they were very confident that the Seahawks would come back and win the game.

    Needless to say that is exactly what happened. They managed to smile and laugh as they left the sports bar and left us with a "see I told you so". It is very discouraging to know that no one fears the Rams anymore. Sorry to vent but I do not want to give up on them but it seems like they have given up on themselves.

    Jim Thomas: I don't think the Rams have given up on themselves. But it's clear that the Seahawks and Holmgren certainly have the Rams' and Linehan's number. Three of the four Rams-Seahawks games since Linehan was hired have come down to the final seconds of play _ and Holmgren has won all three.
    -------------------
    gabriel: a few weeks ago i asked jim and the rest of you who were asking for a new Coach WHO could do a better job with all the injuries well this last lost should have open our eyes to Jim Haslett who has made the Defense better even with out little maybe haslett is the coach we need to relive this team? he has made young players like Bartell,Atogwe even first year Clifton Ryan into very good players what do u think jim should haslett take over this team???

    Jim Thomas: As I mentioned earlier in this session. I'm coming around to Haslett. He has shown a lot in the last month, particularly how he responded to Little's season-ending injury. But let's see what happens over the next 5 games.
    ------------------------
    Brian: Jim,
    Is Adam Carriker a better end than a tackle? With Little and Hall hurt why not let him play there all the time?

    Jim Thomas: Unless you're in a 3-4 front, Carriker doesn't have the pass-rush skills to be a full-time DE. I thought he's played very well over the last month, month and a half, at DT and is getting better all the time there. If the Rams continue to use a lot of 3-man fronts, I think you'll see plenty of Carriker at DE the rest of this season.
    -------------------------
    jeff beta: Please tell me nothing will save the coaching staff's job for next year.....I am from Chicago and have been a Rams fan since 1965; I am horrified at what they have become!

    Jim Thomas: It's not a pretty picture, is it? But I think Shaw would like to bring Linehan back in '08 if at all possible.


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    Re: Jim Thomas LiveTuesday, November 27

    Jim Thomas Live
    By Jim Thomas
    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    MORE


    dave in atlanta: Hey JT,
    So the Rams have a bye week...err they are playing the Falcons...who between injuries and not being very good to start with, are a terrible team.

    Where is the smart money playing on this game? I checked several "informational" sites that list odds and for whatever reason ATL/STL is "off the board" -- thoughts??

    Jim Thomas: I think Las Vegas is waiting to see Bulger's status before setting odds for this game.
    -------------------------
    Mitch from San Diego: Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the forum. I run home on Tuesday nights to read your forum because it is the most informative source for Rams news in the media for folks who follow the Rams in So Cal.

    Much has been made of the bad personel moves made by Linehan. Please permit me to refresh some memories. After seening Drew Bennett run the wrong patterns and drop passes all season, it made me sick to watch Kevin Curtis run wild through the Patriots defense all night last Sunday. Shawn McDonald in Detroit looks pretty darn good, too. Then there is Madison Hedgecock in New York. What has the guy they replaced him with done? Gus "Choke" Fereotte for Ryan Fitzpatrick? Yikes!

    One HUGE blunder I have not read anything about is the dumping of TE Brandon Manmaleuna to the Chargers for a mid round pick. My daughter is a Chargers season ticket holder so I get to watch him up close. Forget his stats, he plays lot. It was noted by a local journalist that he is on the field at least as much as Antonio Gates and is considered a starter. All he does is "stone" pass rushers and pave people in the run game. I have yet to see him drop a pass or get flagged for a dumb penalty. When he is the outlet receiver, he catches the pass then blasts the defender. He gets open downfield alot though they don't throw to him much. The Chargers love his consistency.

    Looking at our FOUR TE's, considering the current roles they are in with Linehan's turtle shell offense, none of them are fit to tie Manunaleuna's shoes as a blocker or outlet reciever. Ask Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson what they would give to have a 300 pound TE that never whiffs blocks.

    Could you please tell me what starter or significant role player we received in return for giving up one of the better blocking TE's in the league??

    Again, thanks so much!

    Mitch in SD

    Jim Thomas: The Rams got DE Victor Adeyanju for that pick. He has been a solid performer, particularly against that run, and is a high-effort player. The Manumaleuna you're seeing in San Diego isn't anything close to the Manumaleuna we saw in St. Louis. Here, he had a questionable work ethic, got little yardage after the catch, made critical mistakes during games, and had little to interest in participating in the off-season conditioning program. I think you can rightly blame Linehan for several personnel blunders, but not this one.
    -------------------------
    Kurt: Steve Jackson gained 90 yards on 23 carries. But you take out the 53 yard touchdown run he had 37 yards on 22 carries, an average of 1.68 yards per carry. Is this really an NFL running back that you can rely on? It is also acknowledged he can't pass block.

    Jim Thomas: Here's the deal _ you can't take the 53-yard TD run away. It counts. Barry Sanders made a career out getting stopped for 1-yard, minus 2 yards, etc., and then popping a long run.
    Jackson's on pace for 900 to 1,000 yards, running behind a tattered line, and missing nearly five full games with injuries. So yes, I think this is a running back you can rely on.
    I will concede that Jackson _ in my opinion _ has regressed a little as a pass blocker this season, but still is better than adequate.
    ------------------------
    Mitch from San Diego: Hi Jim,

    I have an observation and a question for you, if you could please spare the time.

    If you look at all the more consistently successful teams in the NFL right now, all of the upper echelon head coaches and coordinators are from established winning coaching trees. Bill Belichick's lineage is easily traced to Bill Parcells as is Tom Coughlin and John Fox.

    Numerous head coaches and coordinators can be traced to Bill Walsh including Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid and 10-1 Mike McCarthy. OC Jason Garrett of the 10-1 Cowboys can be clearly traced to the Don Coryell-Ernie Zampese-Joe Gibbs tree. The same can be said for Norv Turner, Mike Martz and Cam Cameron who was outstanding as an OC with the Chargers before going to Miami as HC.

    From my research, all I can find as far as a coaching "tree" for Scott Linehan is his decipleship of Dennis Erickson and a small college coach whom I cannot even recall his name right now. Erickson was a monumental NFL flop in his two brief stints with the Seahawks and *****.

    My question is did John Shaw or Jay Zigmunt even consider coaching lineage when hiring Linehan?? I sure did the minute he was mentioned as a candidate. I am just a fan with a computer but I quickly found these facts and these facts raised more questions such as who else has Linehan worked with or for? Nick "see ya" Sabin?? Mike "love boat" Tice?? Yikes!! Am I the only one to notice Linehan's strange NFL fellowships?

    Remember, the fruit does not fall far from the "tree" and the results so far are glaringly obvious.

    Thanks for indulging me.

    Mitch from SD

    Jim Thomas: Interesting observation. And I'm not sure if this was part of Shaw's consideration in hiring a head coach. I'll try to remember to ask him.
    --------------------
    Gus: Jim-

    How is the development of Alex Barron coming? I've noticed he hasn't had many false start penalities of late. Are they working with him more, or is he just better than the rest of the unit by default?

    Jim Thomas: Barron is still one of the more penalized players in the league, but he is improving in that area. He's obviously been the best of the o-linemen in its current constitution, but I think the coaches want more out of him. Better run blocker. Fewer technque breakdowns on pass blocker. The whole gamut. He still has a lot of untapped potential.
    ----------------------
    Ronnie Van Zant: Why doesn't Linehan just stick Gorin in at RT and leave him there? It seems to me that every time he's played he's done a really decent job of pass protecting or is this just my imagination?

    Jim Thomas: It may be your imagination. But I'm imagining the same thing.
    --------------------
    Graham from England: Jim,greetings again from the Motherland.

    Am I being cynical,or does the fact that the defense is playing so much better, and with more creativity have anything to do with the fact that Haslett sees the sharks circling around Linehan and he wants the HC job next year. I base this on the following:

    1) The offense is a mess, which takes the pressure off of his defense to "lose games". Now he can be creative,blitz happy and carefree. The pressure is on the offense.

    2) He probably thinks that after the debacle on Sunday, Linehan must be out at the end of the year, whatever happens. However supportive the front office is of the head coach, they like a lot of people must have felt sick after the game. Those last 4 plays on Sunday have now doomed Linehan.

    Pity Haslett didn't act like this earlier in the season when the pressure was more on his defense. Maybe we could have won a few games?.

    Had we won that game, maybe another 3 wins would have been possible. Now, who knows how many more ways we can find to lose a game.(There is that old British sense of humour again)

    I am a positive guy, jim, but there simply is no excuse for that defeat.

    Jim Thomas: No excuse whatsoever. I don't think Haslett is quite that Machevellian (sp?), but I think he does realize he's coaching for his job as well _ be it as a coordinator or possibly Linehan's successor, or even somewhere else in the league.
    -------------------
    dave in atlanta: JT-

    Is there a less attractive NFL wife than Kurt Warner's woman?

    Jim Thomas: That's it for you today, Dave.
    Regards. . . . .
    And say high to "Dog Boy" for me. Laughing
    -------------------
    joe brannan: Hi Jim, I am a big fan of your work and this forum. I consider myself a reasonable Rams fan. I loved the way they played under Mike Martz, but I realize the flaws involved. When they hired Linehan I was willing to give the guy a shot, believing he could maintain the offense as well as bring stability to the team. In reality, I have never warmed up to him and he has given me no reason to think he can achieve anything with this team. I believe a coach deserves more than two years if he can show continual improvement, but I will be very dissapointed If he returns to coach next year. Am I being unreasonable?

    Jim Thomas: I think you're being very reasonable. Right now, I think Linehan is very much on the bubble.
    -----------------------
    dave in atlanta: JT,

    better back -- SJ or MF in his prime?

    Jim Thomas: MF in his prime. Right now, it's not even close.
    --------------------
    Marvin: JT-

    First of all, condolences to Sean Taylor's family and friends, and his fellow NFL players...As far as the Rams go, shouldn't Steven Jackson be thinking about improving the play on the field rather than the music in the dome? Did someone ask him about that, or did he just offer it up as a suggestion? One way to improve the quality of the dome would be to win some damn home games.

    Jim Thomas: FOR EVERYONE WHO DIDN'T LIKE STEVEN JACKSON'S COMMENTS, ONE QUESTION:
    1.) Do you think the game day atmosphere at the dome, entertainment, commercials, etc., is acceptable?
    --------------------
    Kid K.U.: Hi Jim, This one hurt alot.(heck, I'm still smartin from the Carolina playoff game a few yrs. back). I am a 45 year So. Cal.member of Ram Nation. I cannot believe that even with our 2 not so mobile QB's that we could not have scored at the one yd. line with a fake up the middle with Jackson and Ferrote scooting around either end. It wouldn't work on the last play of course but we had plenty of other chances. I really did see this as a gimme TD. your thoughts? Thanks for your column.

    Jim Thomas: It's not just the Rams' last offensive possession. But how about that first and goal from the 1 in the first half? Had the Rams scored a touchdown there instead of settling for a field goal, they wouldn't have had to go for a TD at the end of the game. They could have kicked a field goal.

    Here's how I saw the game-ending Rams offensive sequence after a quick look at game film Monday:

    * First and goal from the 4: Jackson was open on the swing pass right. If Frerotte gets the ball out quickly, Jackson would have had one man _ a DB _ to beat. Bruce and Holt were open to the left.
    * Second and goal from the 4: The swing pass to Bennett. Not a bad play call really, just a very good play by the DB.
    * Third and goal from the 1: Jackson's run. He didn't get in. But the ball should've been spotted at the half-yard line or closer NOT right on the 1; an unblocked LB came in and made the tackle.
    * Fourth and goal: Unless Jackson cut back quickly inside, he would've had no chance. Two LBs came in untouched on the outside; Brian Leonard whiffed on a safety outside.
    --------------------------
    Rob: With all the problems the Ram's offence is having, all based from the front O-Line, what can we expect in the draft? I know Alex Barron is suppose to replace (eventually) Orland at LT but do you think he will be up to the job? He didn't look too good when Buldger got blind sided in Sun game.

    Jim Thomas: Actually, Barron was blocking exactly who he was supposed to block. Romberg got beat by Lofa Tatupu blitzing up the middle, which is why Steven Jackson moved up to stop Tatupu instead of staying back and picking off Leroy Hill, the guy who cold-cocked Bulger. Again, I think Barron has been OK, but not outstanding at LT.
    ---------------------------
    Jim Davis: I live in the San Francisco area and I have been a RAMS fan all my life.I remember the Roman days, The Fearsome Foursome, Kurt Warner. The RAMS have had their ups and downs in those years, but I was never embarrassed to be a fan until the Linehan era. This guy and Gustavo are the worst I have seen in years. Now even the ***** have a better record. My question is, 1st and goal at the 4 with the season on the line with 1:07 left and 2 timeouts,What coach in their right minds would not pound all 4 downs with Steven Jackson!It's time for a coaching change and Gustavo to retire.

    Jim Thomas: Just one quick thought. As bad as Frerotte has been, has he been worse than Chris Chandler in '04?
    ----------------------------
    Michael: Jim:

    On Saturday night, or any time recently, did you wish you were back covering the University of Missouri like you did in the ol' days?? Seems like it would be a lot more fun than covering the Rams these days, and you were a pretty good college writer, if I remember correctly.

    Jim Thomas: You must be old. It's been a while since I covered Old Mizzou. I watched the game at home with my wife and 11-year old son, had the fireplace going, a little turkey noodle soup for dinner. (My wife's way to get rid of the leftover turkey). It was a great evening. Mizzou was so bad when I covered them (Woody's Wagon and part of the Bob Stull tenure). Even as recently as last year, when a lot of people in town were bashing Pinkel, I thought to myself, if these people only knew how bad Missouri was _ and how bad they were for a long time. And how hard it is to build a foundation of success, especially at a place where the culture of losing and negativity had been so imbedded. So I admired from afar what Pinkel had accomplished, although I never would've imagined that all this would transpire this season.

    When I watch the Tigers play, and I've actually gotten to watch them a few times this season on TV, they remind me of a college version of the Greatest Show on Turf. (Although not as strong as the Rams were with M. Faulk at running back.) The Tigers spread the field, aren't afraid to take chances, attack opposing defenses, and have multiple options _ too many to cover. Just like the Greatest Show. . . .

    It's not as much fun covering a losing team, but that's the NFL for you. Most teams ride a roller-coaster of ups and downs through the years. (New England and Indy are exceptions). But I did get to cover two Super Bowl teams with the Rams _ the '99 team with Warner's emergence and the worst-to-first turnaround _ was a great story to cover. The Greatest Show will go down as one of the greatest offenses ever. I've told Mike Martz on several occasions: "If you never win another game as a head coach, 20 years from now, they'll be making NFL Films of the 'Greatest Show.' "

    We'll see what the future brings here at Rams Park.
    --------------------------
    Charlie Connors: I can't think of one good reason Bulger should play this weekend, can you?

    Jim Thomas: I'm no doctor, but I'm of the opinion that there's no such thing as a "mild concussion." I know Bulger wants to play. I know coaches are coaching for their jobs. I just don't want to see Bulger get shellshocked to the point where he's no longer effective.
    -----------------------
    West Coast Ram: Jim,
    The more I watch Bulger in this offense, the one thing that continues to puzzle me is his lack of flexibility within the game plan. I don't see him changing plays at the line of scrimmage and I don't know if that is not allowed by the coaches or if he is incappable of reading changes to the defensive formations?

    Also,I'm afraid to say that neither Holt nor Bruce can run by defenders any longer, which makes QBing all the more difficult.

    Jim Thomas: I'm not sure how much audible powers Bulger has. That's a good point.
    And yes, the Rams do need to add a speed receiver to the mix.
    ----------------------------
    Ken: Hi Jim,
    Coach Linehan utilized the TE position in Miami and promised the same in StL. Why has he gone against what worked in the past with his "system"?

    Jim Thomas: McMichael is still on track to end up with about 35 to 40 catches, but has been used more as a blocking TE than I thought. It must a response to the line problems. But I'd still like to see him used more in the red zone.
    --------------------------
    Pete Palumbo: Well, I see from your response to G to S, you don't care about results, only performance. The fact that the Rams are in St. Louis doesn't give them the right to abuse our ticket expense or trust (see my earlier comments). As opposed to anything else that's been said, if this were any other sports team in St. Louis, or any other corporation anywhere, this kind of performance wouldn't be accepted. Heads would roll. Come on Jim, stop being a homer and start calling it like it is.

    Jim Thomas: You mean, like the heads that are rolling over at Busch Stadium after last season's performance?
    ---------------------------
    Bernie Z: As a long time seaon ticket holder, here is a thought about the Dome: Cut the incessent commercials in half(double their price) and reduce their volume. The replay screen is 1/4 of the space available with three big billboards to it's left and right. Get rid of those when they redo the screen. Bigger the better on HD, as all men know.

    Retool the music: Good idea by Jackson. Get some Stones, Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray, Albert Collins and maybe some Paul Butterfield. Lose the bubble gum chick music. This is a FOOTBALL team, not ladies volley ball. If Jackson wants some clean, but strong hip hop, then OK. The endless commercials make the RAMS money, but lose the charged up mood and the fans interest. This team's management needs to get the fans worked up, not put them to sleep or annoy them with the endless commeical messages.

    Your thoughts?

    Jim Thomas: I'm not up on all the music _ modern or otherwise _ but there's got to be a way to make the place more lively. The players say the pregame music _ while they're warming up _ even before the fans are allowed in the stadium, basically puts them to sleep. It should be firing them up, don't you think?

    I think this is all Steven Jackson was saying.
    At the Rams-Vikings game last season (in Minneapolis) the Vikings were hopelessly out of contention, not unlike the Rams. The offense was much more inept than even this current Rams edition, yet there was all kinds of stuff that kept the fans interested and entertained. Be it music. Creative use of commercials, etc. A lot of fans want to attend games through thick and thin, even when their team isn't playing well _ because it's THEIR TEAM _ and this is a way, I think to make those down times a little more palatable. A lot of people go to games to have fun _ win or lose _ with tailgating, etc., and this would be a way to make that happen.
    --------------------
    David: Does anybody (except the Rams because they're obligated to, of course) use the name "Russell Training Center" or whatever they came up with rather than Rams Park? Seems like a big deal was made over nothing last year, though I'm sure most of that was from the Rams themselves.

    Jim Thomas: Until my editors tell me otherwise, it's Rams Park in my stories. I know the Russell Training Center idea was just a way to increase income, but that doesn't mean we in the media necessarily have to use the term.
    --------------------
    Allan: Jim,
    How does the league evaluate/rank Marc Bulger at this time? What would he net in a trade? Can Rams get a #1 pick for him ?

    Jim Thomas: Bulger is still highly regarded as a very accurate pocket passer who can pick teams apart if given time. But even if the Rams were interested in trading him _ which they're not _ the cap ramifications would be too severe. So it's not going to happen.
    --------------
    JK: Do you think that special teams has not been a strength in recent years due to the fact that we have not had a solidified defense and thus most guys assigned to special teams realize that they are one bad game/injury away from seeing time and/or starting and so they don't want to risk injury or they don't feel the need to "sell out" to earn a back-up role? Additionally, what kind of special teams play are we getting from our 25 tight ends on the roster?

    Jim Thomas: The funny thing is, I think the Rams have made a concerted effort to bring in some role players who are good special teams players. Todd Johnson, Chris Draft, Travis Minor, and more recently, Eric Bassey, all have been good to very good on coverage units. Yet, the big plays keep happening, and the numbers on coverage units aren't much different than recent years. Special teams is an attitude as much as anything. And there are still some players on special teams who aren't playing with much attitude.

    Walker when he was healthy was OK as a wedge blocker. Klop, Byrd (when active), and Owens all just so-so.
    ----------------------
    marvin slay: Good Afternoon Mr. Thomas

    I can't help but think how this whole team unraveled after Orland Pace got hurt. After all of this I liken his presence on the field as important if not more than Brady of New England or a Brett Farve of Green Bay. His injury started a dominoes effect that we are still reeling from. and yes we have had the injuries but we need him back next year for guidance and leadership to the younger players.

    Marvin Slay
    San Diego

    Jim Thomas: Boy, it sure seems like Pace's injury took a lot of wind out of their sails. You don't appreciate good line play until it's gone.

    That's it for now. Good, lively questions today. On the P-D report card, I'd give the group a B+, which is better than the Rams have been grading out lately. Dave From Atlanta. . .I did answer several of your questions.

    Also, it's very interesting to me that we got "only" 10 pages questions of questions last week after the Rams had won two in a row. This week, after a tough Rams loss, and we're back up to 25 pages. What does that say about this forum?

    One last update: LB Pisa Tinoisamoa has been placed on the injured reserve list, with QB Brock Berlin elevated from the practice squad to the active roster.

    See you next week.

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