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Thread: Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Jan 28

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    Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Jan 28

    JT Chat Highlights

    —O-Line in 2014? I can’t really make a guess here other than Jake Long at LT when healthy. Don’t know if Dahl, Wells, C. Williams will be back. Will there be a drafted OT in the mix who could start ahead of Barksdale. And I’ll say this, I came away from the Senior Bowl more convinced that Saffold won’t be back. I don’t want to get into specifics other to say they’re already a couple of teams interested in him (not named the Rams). But there’s more to it than that.

    —Someone close to Bradford indicated that there will be no restructuring at this point _ not with 2 years left on the contract. Unless you couple a restructuring with an extension, there’s really nothing you can do in terms of a strict restructuring over two years that doesn’t involve a pay cut. And I’ll say this once again _ I think W-A-Y to much is being made of Bradford’s cap situation. I know this much: it’s not a concern inside the building at Rams Park.

    —How Do the Rams Compete in the NFC West? It won’t be easy. It’s stating the obvious but the Rams need a good offseason and another good draft. The Rams need to stay healthy, and take care of business at home. They beat Arizona in the opener and should’ve beaten Seattle in the Monday night game. And as Fisher has mentioned, they need to find a way to score more points against the division. Other than the season opener, the Rams didn’t get out of the teens in any of the other five division games.

    —Best Safety Prospects? Well, it’s still a little early, but Jimmie Ward of Northern Illinois and Deone Bucannon of Washington State arguable were the best at the Senior Bowl. And there’s Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.

    —I do think they beat Seattle by 10 points in the Monday night game if Bradford is at quarterback. But I can’t flat out say that they would have won at Seattle, at Arizona, and at San Francisco with Sam in the lineup.

    —I’ve heard no talk of putting Barksdale at guard. So I don’t know. With Jake Long still iffy for the start of the regular season and no clear backup tackle, I think the Rams have to draft one. While Barksdale more than held his own last season, you’re always looking to upgrade your depth chart. And I think a combination of say Jake Long at LT (once he’s ready) and say Taylor Lewan, the rookie from Michigan at right tackle, with Barksdale as the No. 3 tackle would be pretty formidable.

    —Take Clowney? Well, we all know Fisher loves defensive ends. Particularly pass-rushing defensive ends. But they would clearly need to fall in love with Clowney. If they think he really is a special player they should probably take him. Keep in mind, however, the Rams basically have the rights to Quinn for at least two more seasons _ the final year of his contract (2014) plus under the new collective bargaining agreement they have the option to keep his rights for a fifth year for much less than he would make on the open market.

    —Stuck at #2, Who do You Take? Interesting question. Clowney perhaps. Would they go for Watkins that high? I’m not sure how much the Rams like Matthews at this point _ in other words like well enough to take at No. 2.

    —Pead? Well, he earned some respect by playing special teams starting with the Indy game, and playing fairly well on coverage units. (Once you get past that taunting penalty against Indy, that is.) He even started playing a little bit as a third-down back near the end. Part of keeping him might be stubbornness _ an unwillingness to admit it’s a busted pick. Part of it may be that even a second-round pick represents cheap labor, and even if he’s just contributing on special teams it’s not going to break the bank. But I just don’t know if Pead has the discipline and mental toughness to stay out of trouble, show up on time, and do his job.

    —Who Stood Out at the Senior Bowl? I would say a edge-rusher Dee Ford of Auburn, pass-rushing DT Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh, and mammoth DT Ra’shede Hegeman (sp?) of Minnesota stood out the most.

    —I’d say it’s 90-10 that either Finnegan is back with a pay cut, or not back at all.

    —Emphasize the Defense in Free Agency and Draft? I don’t think I’d be shocked, especially considering Fisher’s defensive background. But I think they have enough draft picks _ especially if they pick up an extra pick or two by trading out of the No. 2 spot _ and will have enough cap room to pick up a free-agent or two. If that turns out to be the case, they should be able to address all of their major needs.

    —Which current WR is most vulnerable to being cut/traded? Based on what happened for most of this past season, particularly over the second half of the 2013 season, I’d say Austin Pettis. If for no other reason than because he was the only one of the so-called “big five” that wasn’t brought in by the current regime. But keep in mind, most teams keep six WRs; the Rams kept only five most of the season (or until Tavon Austin was injured).

    —3rd or 4th Round QB’s? Garoppolo, Murray, Boyd could all be in play. As could Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, who declined a Senior Bowl invited.

    —Pick An Injured QB in the Draft? Good question. But most clean ACL’s aren’t as traumatic injuries as they were 15-20 years ago. And if you’re talking about Murray, he says he’s throwing at Georgia’s pro day on April 16. So I think should be fine for training camp, etc.

    —Snead/Fisher Finding UDFA’s– So far, I think they’ve done better than anyone since the late ’90s _ Vermeil, Charley Armey _ when you consider Warner, London Fletcher, even players like Michael Gruttadauria and Billy Jenkins.

    —Super Bowl Pick? Right now, I’m going Denver. In part because Russell Wilson hasn’t been very good lately. He had a dear in headlights look to him for much of the NFC title game. But I reserve the right to change my mind by the end of the week.

    —Sign Chris Johnson? I think Chris Johnson would want a lot of money and a promise that he would get a lot of work in the backfield. Remember, he’s unhappy in Tennessee about not getting the ball enough. I don’t see this one happening, even with Fisher’s relationship with Johnson.

    —Rams Needs? Well in my mind, the Rams need a starting caliber safety, starting caliber cornerback, difference-making wide receiver, starting caliber offensive tackle, starting caliber guard. Maybe you get one (or two) of these in free agency. So there are a lot of permutations in terms of what the first round could look like. But it would be very strange if they didn’t get at least one of these in the first round: OL, DB, WR.

    —The Rams are not _ repeat not _ going to franchise Saffold.

    —Best CB’s in the Draft? At this point, I think we’re talking Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State or Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State.

    —Criticism of Bradford? It comes with being an NFL quarterback. And I’ll repeat this: There may be a lot of discussion OUTSIDE the building about what to do with Bradford. There is zero discussion on that topic to my knowledge INSIDE the building. It’s a non-issue at 1 Rams Way, Earth City, Mo.

    —I wasn’t overly impressed with either Kaepernick and Wilson this season, particularly in the postseason. Example: When Kaepernick had to beat Seattle with his arm rather than his feet in the NFC title game down the stretch: 2 INTs and 1 lost fumble. Put Bradford behind a top 5 defense and I think the Rams might win a couple, three more games.

    —I don’t know about the Rams passing on the top OTs: Matthews, Lewan, and Robinson, but there are some second-tier OTs that are possible, including some I wrote about at the Senior Bowl: Morgan Moses of Virginia, Zack Martin of Notre Dame, Brandon Thomas of Clemson. (Thomas could end up playing guard in the NFL.)

    —The Rams obviously like Barksdale; they liked him enough to keep him as the starting right tackle once Saffold returned. But whether they like him enough to want to sign him long-term? I think that might depend on how he plays this season _ his still under contract. Barrett Jones is a very hard worker, and he can really help his cause with a strong offseason. By that, and it’s been discussed a fair amount, he needs to get bigger and stronger, and work on his technique. There could be starting jobs available at guard and/or center.

    —Not sure if Ray Ray Armstrong is ready for a starting role. If the Rams re-sign Dunbar, they’re not going to extend themselves financially to do so. I think they’ll be looking around.


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    Re: Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Jan 28

    I always see a lot of personal opinion and guesswork in JT's chat responses. I think the real takeaways here are that Saffold is getting attention elsewhere and that Bradford is going nowhere. Other than that a lot of the responses are sort of obvious.
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    Re: Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Jan 28

    I agree Tom, but to me, the information on Saffold isnt all that helpful without any degree of specifics, especially when he says "there is a lot more to it." The fact that other teams are interested in Saffold shouldnt take any great psychic powers, i highly doubt a reporter or astute fan needs to hang at for a week at the senior bowl to figure that out. The real question is what other factors is he talking about, and what about how the Rams view the situation is he prepared to report, which at this time, seems like nothing at all.

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    Re: Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Jan 28

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    I agree Tom, but to me, the information on Saffold isnt all that helpful without any degree of specifics, especially when he says "there is a lot more to it." The fact that other teams are interested in Saffold shouldnt take any great psychic powers, i highly doubt a reporter or astute fan needs to hang at for a week at the senior bowl to figure that out. The real question is what other factors is he talking about, and what about how the Rams view the situation is he prepared to report, which at this time, seems like nothing at all.

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    Oh exactly! My thing on JT is he acts like an insider, but says nothing whatsoever.

    Question: The Rams just fired DC Tim Walton and hired Gregg Williams. Where was JTs mention of any of that in his "insider" knowledge?

    As far as I'm concerned you guys might as well ask me questions and I can respond just as well as Jim Thomas does. And i'm an insurance claims adjuster from the UK, not a football writer.

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    Re: Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Jan 28

    JT isn't an insider and has never claimed to be.
    He's a beat writer for the Rams who interviews insiders when the Rams make them available.

    When he writes: The Rams are not _ repeat not _ going to franchise Saffold = that's news. If he had major news, don't you think he'd write a story declaring it?

    Friend of mine used to write about the Rams and got really terrific access. They are told things and learn things they just can't mention until given the authority to break it to the public.
    Last edited by RebelYell; -01-30-2014 at 04:22 PM.

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    Re: Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Jan 28

    My point is he opens himself up for these chats like he will impart knowledge on the fans that they a) don't know already or b) can't figure out for themselves. He does neither.

    I'll open my tomahawk247 mailbox for any questions and will be happy to answer with the same accuracy as JT

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