Jim Thomasí Rams Chat Highlights
(Compiled by RamBill)
**Is the roster set for summer camp? If you mean training camp, Iíd say about 90 percent set.
**Why arenít rookies signed sooner? I think Jeff Fisher wants to work with the players and let them know whatís expected of them on and off the field, before handing them signing bonus money. As part of that, I think the team prefers to wait until after the NFLís rookie symposium in late June _ a symposium in which handling personal finances is one of the topics of discussion.
**No-huddle good for Sam? I do think a no-huddle with a quick tempo is what Bradford appears to be more comfortable with in the NFL.
**Thoughts on Deacon Jones? For my money, heís the best pass-rusher in NFL history. He coined the term ďsackĒ for dropping a quarterback attempting to pass, and although sacks werenít kept as an official NFL statistic when he played, I remember him saying he had 27 or 28 in one season, which obviously would be an NFL record. His trademark head-slap move was later banned _ to me a telling sign of respect (long before player safety was an issue.) I can only remember talking to him 2 or 3 times as a sportswriter. The first was more than 30 years ago when I was literally a cub reporter for the St. Charles Post (just outside of St. Louis for you out-of-town readers). Jones was making a public appearance at what was best described as a neighborhood bar in St. Charles. (He used to be a pitchman for Miller Lite.). At the end of his mingling with the bar patrons, he gave me plenty of time for an interview outside the bar. He was sassy, glib, and entertaining _ just as I suspected he would be.
**Rams Strongest and Weakest Positions? Iíd say DE is the strongest, with the top four players all back: Long, Quinn, Hayes, and Sims. Iíd say safety is the weakest with lots of question marks and not much depth.
**All offensive linemen are lumped together when it comes to determining the value of the franchise tag. When it comes to Saffold, the issue is that left tackles generally earn more money than right tackles, although if Saffold has a good year and plays all 16 games, he could earn $7 million a year or more on his next contract. As a right tackle.
**Your Take on Quick? I think the heart and the effort is there with Quick. Itís simply a matter of learning the playbook and getting up to speed. This is a player who got a late start in football, had a very basic list of routes in college, played at the small college level (although at a good program _ Appalachian State), and didnít really have an experienced WR coach. I think Quick could be a very good NFL player. It just may not happen in 2013.
**As Iíve said on several occasions, it may be a ďdefining yearĒ for Bradford, but I donít think itís a ďmake or breakĒ year. And because his corps of skill position players are so young, and itís such a revamped group from 2012, it may take a while for it to come together.
**This could be a spread the ball around offense, with Austin, Givens, Cook, Kendricks, Quick _ among others _ all getting the ball. I think Quickís numbers will go up noticeably, although I canít sit here and say it will qualify for ďbreakoutĒ consideration. If Givens makes the jump that a lot of receivers make from Year 1 to Year 2, he could threaten 1,000 yards. And itís really hard to project who the top running back will be at this stage _ and it looks like it will be more of a committee approach there anyway.
**On Lack of Interest in Older Vets: I think the problem usually occurs with aging veterans who are either stars or very good players. The team no longer feels like theyíre worth the $5, $6, $7 million a year. And the veterans donít want to play for the minimum (or close to it.) To help keep some of these veterans in the game, the league implemented a minimum salary benefit program several years back. In terms of cap count, it basically gives teams a discount on one-year deals. This year, for example, the minimum base salary for a player with 10+ years of NFL experience is $940,000, but under the minimum salary benefit program it counts only about $550,000 against the cap.
**I do think Schottenheimer as the creativity and imagination to open up the offense. But weíll find out, wont we? In theory _ and I repeat, in theory _ I donít think heís ever had this kind of overall talent on the receiving end. For most of his time with the Jets, he worked for head coaches that wanted to pound the football.
**Yes, the player programs department still exists. Itís headed up by LaíRoi Glover, the former DT. As for the Peterson run, yeah, if I recall correctly, Quinn certainly didnít give up on the play. But that was a crushing defeat and Quinnís hustle wasnít foremost on their minds, Iím sure.
**Weíll have to see. Kendricks was perhaps the teamís most improved performers in 2012, so Ii would think he still fits in the teamís plans. Iím sure there will be plenty of formations with both Cook and Kendricks on the field, including some with Kendricks lining up in the backfield.
**Why Draft Bailey? Incredibly production, 25 TDs receiving in 2012, ability to got up and get the ball in traffic, make the out-of-frame catches (i.e. tough catches), and he had a very good private workout.
**Quick would have benefited if he had gotten more reps during games. Thereís no substitute for playing time. And Quick simply wasnít given many opportunities to play last season.
**I think the offense will be improved, but the defense should still be the best unit on the team.
**TJ McDonald? I think heís slated for FS this year, but weíll see. I think the positions may be more interchangeable this year for STL.
**Will Ray Ray make the roster? Still a long shot, especially since he didnít play in 2012.
**Bailey better than Austin? Some think he currently has better receiver skills. But I donít think anyone is comparing his explosiveness to Austinís.
**I know a few teams have had minicamps open to the fans, but for the most part theyíre closed. As is the case with OTAs. When such practices are open to the fans, it means theyíre open to NFL scouts, and thatís the last thing teams and coaches want this time of year.
**17 Sacks for Chris Long? I donít know about 17. But Iíd like to see what he could accomplish on a team that plays with the lead with some degree of consistency _ in other words, on a team that forces the opponent into more predictable passing situations.
**Not that Hakim was a slowpoke, but I think Austin is faster. Again, Austin has to show he can to it in the pros.
**Every St. Louis Rams coach, with the possible exception of Dick Vermeil, got upset with me at one time or another over something Iíve written _ Fisher included. So far, Iíd rank Fisher behind Vermeil and Martz in terms of accessibility, but on par with Rich Brooks, Linehan, and Spagnuolo. Obviously, Fisher is a lot more forthcoming than Linehan and Spags. To a large degree, Fisher gets it. He understands the media and tries to be as cooperative as possible.
**Iím still sticking at 9 wins on the Parade Meter, so I guess Iím expecting somewhere between 7 and 9 wins for the Rams.
**Rams still interested in Mikell? Believe so.
**I plan to check on Watkins this week at OTAs. As for Williams, I think heís being paid like a guy who could compete for a starting job.
**Another Super Bowl win if DV had stuck around? Thereís no doubt in my mind. Vermeil and Martz were a great pair.
**Ranking the RBís: Keep in mind, Iím like you _ I havenít seen these guys much in game situations. But right now, Iíd say: 1. Richardson; 2. (Tied) Pead, Stacy, Ganaway.
**Iím very interested to see what Ogletree can do as well. Pisa was fast and productive, but undersized and had trouble holding up over the long haul. Roman Phifer certainly had his moments early in the Stl Rams era. Witherspoon wasnít bad. But for the most part outside linebacker hasnít exactly been a glamor spot for the Rams.
**I think the plan is for Davis to be th No. 2 QB.
Re: Jim Thomasí Rams Chat Highlights
Thomas Twitter message:
A tongue-in-cheek Sam Bradford on new TE Jared Cook: "He's good. I don't know if you guys noticed that. He's good."
Re: Jim Thomasí Rams Chat Highlights
nice, that was a good session with JT this week..4 of those questions were mine..