Letters to Gordo: Rams fans like what they see in Detroit


BY JEFF GORDON
Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
Friday, Sep. 02 2005

That one-sided preseason victory on “Monday Night Football” certainly cheered
Ram Nation. For the moment, the “Fire Martz” e-mails have slowed to a trickle.
Some people were actually excited about Mad Mike’s team!

Let’s sample public opinion as the big Governor’s Cup game against the Kansas
City Chiefs at the Edward Jones Dome closes out the Rams' preseason schedule:

* * *

“I know it was a preseason game but all Rams fans should be excited about the
offensive possibilities. As advertised, Steven Jackson appears ready to take
his next steps towards stardom. Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt lead a receiving
group that matches up with any team in football. Marc Bulger, what can you
say? As one SportsCenter personality would say ‘he is as cool as the other
side of the pillow’. The offensive line and the defense will be the deciding
factor on how far the Rams can go. If I was a betting man the Vegas line for
the Rams is an eight-win season. Forgetaboutit!”

Ed Wernle, Coconut Creek, FL

GORDO: Kevin Curtis is a huge factor in the passing game, too, as is
change-of-pace back Marshall Faulk. Both tight ends are receiving threats and
Shaun McDonald and Dane Looker are awfully good as supplemental targets. As
long as the offensive line blocks and Martz doesn’t get Bulger killed by
over-using the empty backfield, the Rams should have one of the NFL’s elite
offenses. In the watered down NFC, yes, the Rams should get to the far side of
.500 and then some.

* * *

“I don't feel so bad now that the Colts and Seahawks first-teamers got gashed
for a couple of 90-yarders. Makes the 55-yarders we gave up in San Diego pale
in comparison. Gee, I can breathe a lot easier now. “

Vince Langham, Vancouver, WA

GORDO: Yeah, those things happen when teams mix and match players during
practice games. You can’t get overly concerned about breakdowns during the
preseason. But you do want to see the defensive players bouncing back and
playing with pride – which is what happened at Detroit. We can’t get too
excited about that game, mind you, but we ease off the back of the linebackers,
defensive tackles and safeties.

* * *

“Chris Claiborne is an upgrade over Robert Thomas in the middle. Jimmy Kennedy
could be a force, Damione Lewis had a good camp. Adam Archuleta is healthy.
Let's show a little confidence in our (perennial playoff) team.

“And to all you Martz bashers - wait until he's gone. You'll be steeped in
mediocre Rams teams for a decade and you'll refer to this time as ‘the good ol'
days.’”

J. O'Leary, Los Angeles

GORDO: I dunno if the Rams will fall apart for a whole decade after Martz moves
on, but these were abnormally good times in a league driven by parity. We’ve
had a lot of laughs. And look at it this way: the ’05 Rams may not win it all,
but I can promise they will not be dull. They will put on a spectacle, one way
or another. So many coaches are so bland and predictable. So many teams are
tedious to watch. This team will make some plays and score some points. This
coach will do things that make the talk shows buzz. The media will become
positively moribund when Martz finally leaves.

* * *

“I think Tyoka Jackson has earned a more respectful label than ‘utility
lineman.’ Try ‘team leader’ or ‘clutch lineman.’ This guy pours his heart out
on the field and has well above average talent. Save the disrespectful
shorthand for some rookie.”

Mike Prater, Rosewood Heights

GORDO: Whoa, whoa, whoa – I didn’t heap disrespect on the man with that
“utility” title. Jackson is extremely valuable moving from spot to spot on the
line. He can attack from all angles. I believe he’ll be a huge factor in the
defense. He is a terrific team spokesman as well. But, like Faulk, he be used
as a change-of-pace player like some the younger fellas do the down-to-down
lifting.