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Letters to Gordo: Rams fans in foul mood
BY JEFF GORDON
Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
Wednesday, Jun. 01 2005
As it turns out, not everybody is as optimistic about the Rams as your
cyber-correspondent. Some folks still believe the sky is falling, in fact. Here
is another sampling of opinions from Rams Nation, via electronic mail to the
“Letters to Gordo” desk:
* * *
“I’m still amazed at lines like ‘the Rams will have to continue to have their
explosive offense outscore their opponents,’ alluding to their ‘poor' defense.
Please count up the number of games in which the ‘explosive’ offense scored 17
or less points. SEVENTEEN!! You consider this to be ‘explosive’? And how many
times was the ‘deplorable’ defense able to make the paltry ‘17’ hold up for a
“Rather than casting aspersions at the different units, I subscribe to the
reasoning that we have an offensive coordinator whom the most ardent of Rams
fans can't name. We have a defensive coordinator who has no track record
whatsoever. We have a defensive line coach who has been given not one, not two,
BUT THREE NUMBER ONE DRAFT CHOICES, NONE of whom has produced anywhere near
expectations. We have drafts that defy logic and/or explanation. Our troubles
aren't ON the field, rather they originate OFF the field. When looking for
areas requiring upgrades, start at the TOP, and work downward,
-- Joseph Kurtz
GORDO: Subtract the unfortunate Chris Chandler games and this was a very good
offense. But your points about the coaching staff are well-taken; this is a
make-or-break year for defensive coordinator Larry Marmie and a big year for
the whole Mike Martz regime. Is this still one of the NFL’s elite teams or is
it on the decline?
* * *
“And here are 10 reasons they won't win 8 games: Martz, Martz, Martz, Martz,
Martz, Martz, Martz, Martz, Martz, Martz.”
-- Williams Walker
(Editor's note: The reader is referring to a recent Gordo column in which he
gave 10 reasons the Rams will finish better than the 8-8 record projected by
GORDO: Again, this is a big year for Martz. He’s had a productive run at head
coach, though he drives fans and national media types crazy. Mike Holmgren
wishes he had this sort of success in Seattle, where the players change but the
program never gets much better. Jeff Fisher, Jim Haslett, Herman Edwards -–
there are plenty of very good head coaches who wish they could match Martz’s
* * *
“While I concede that some of your points are valid, but in reference to point
No. 5, ‘The secondary is no longer a primary concern,’ are you serious, or are
you just being overly optimistic, or have you finally gone over the edge and
lost your mind?
Regardless of how many new defensive backs Martz has signed, both old and
young, the Rams' 2005 secondary will bear no resemblance to the old Adam
Archuleta and the departed Aeneas Williams, et al. So good luck with that. In
reference to point No. 6, what makes you think that Anthony Hargrove and/or
Jimmy Kennedy will, in point of fact, ‘break through,’ even with the fortuitous
return of Leonard Little (one event really having little or no bearing on the
other). Again, good luck with that, too. Point No. 9: You really think the
return of Jamie Martin is good news? Yikes. And point No. 10, ‘The Rams' kick
coverage can’t possibly be as bad as last season.’ Oh yeah? Based on what?
“It might be time for you buy that ticket to the Gridbirds Express. I live in
Phoenix, and like most Phoenicians, I have not been a Cardinals' fan. Until
now. I have always been a Kurt Warner fan. My son and I are now Cardinals
season-ticket holders, and look forward to September, when we can go cheer for
Kurt and an exciting young football team. I will acknowledge the fact that
there are still more Cardinals fans in St. Louis than there are in Arizona.
Kurt Warner, with the three receivers he has to throw to, just may change that
this season, but time will tell, and we will see.
What I am more sure about than the Cardinals, is the Rams' fate, as they
continue to downgrade their team and become more and more mediocre, and less
and less recognizable. As for you, being a St. Louis sports columnist, I
suspect that you have little choice but to try to look for an upside to the
Rams. Good luck with that. Go Kurt!”
-- Scott Hansen, Phoenix
GORDO: I’m a big Warner fan and, yes, I do believe he can lead Arizona to the
playoffs. But the Rams HAVE addressed their needs. Chandler cost the Rams two
games last season. Martin is a big upgrade. The Rams may not have a young
Aeneas Williams at safety, but they will definitely be sturdier than a season
ago. When healthy, Travis Fisher and Jerametrius Butler are solid cornerbacks.
The Rams spent last season scrambling to fill secondary holes and that cost
them dearly. This summer they will bring a much better group to camp.
* * *
“I'm curious what the status is of Kyle Turley and the other walking wounded
offensive linemen. Is Kyle Turley coming back with a rehabbed back, or is that
rift between him and coach Martz too wide?”
-- Mike Lambe, Goleta, Calif.
GORDO: That rift is too wide. Turley has been in rehab, too, and he has
regained about half of his lost weight. But the Rams could cut him at any
moment now, for salary cap reasons. Also, Turley DID threaten to kill Martz. So
it was weird to hear him talk up his expectations of playing for the Rams in ’
05. He’ll be moving on.
* * *
“Forgive if I missed it, but I'm still waiting to read a great article on the
real MVP of the 2005 Rams season -- the new field turf. I can only imagine the
psychological lift to someone like Steven Jackson, whom I believe will be much
healthier this year based on this new field. I'm sure all the players feel
this way, but I read some disturbing comments from Jackson last year,
indicating he had become a little afraid of the turf and was getting hurt
because of the turf.
“I love what the Rams have done with free agency and the draft (maybe with the
exception of Richie Incognito -- why do the Rams always seek out a problem
child?), but the field turf -- and the injuries it saves -- will be the real
MVP in 2005.”
-- Ethan Sheple, Chicago
GORDO: We’re big fans of the new surface, which should help the team get more
out of Marshall Faulk and keep Isaac Bruce at the top of his game for another
couple of years. Marc Bulger, Torry Holt, Kevin Curtis -– everybody will love
playing on this stuff.
The new surface is another reason why I expect this team to remain at the top
of the NFC West.
P.S. -– Thanks to all the nice electronic mail from Seahawks fans, who read
some of my earlier Rams columns via links from a fan site. Remember to write
back when you’re sipping your champagne, OK?
Re: Letters to Gordo: Rams fans in foul moodWe have a defensive line coach who has been given not one, not two,
BUT THREE NUMBER ONE DRAFT CHOICES, NONE of whom has produced anywhere near expectations.
1. All 3 have had significant injuries, and played through those injuries when possible, ie. Lewis' foot injury, Kennedy's foot injury, Pickett's ankle injury. They could have missed several games if not an entire season, but all 3 were playing when they very easily could have been home. How is that their fault or Kollar's fault for that matter?
2. I blame Lovie for screwing up all 3 of their playing weights. In 2003, he had all 3 of these guys 20+ pounds lighter than they should have been, and it stuck out most prominently in run defense. We're telling sumo wrestlers to act like ballerinas and it was doomed from the beginning. I'm not a big Marmie fan, but at least he is letting them play at a comfortable weight.
3. Pickett and D-Lew were both drafted too high, IMO. D-Lew could have gone in the late 1st and Pickett in the late 2nd or high 3rd. Those old projections had D-Lew ranked among DTs as anywhere from 3rd to 6th in the draft and Pickett 8th to 11th. We took both of them too high, and I still don't see how that is the fault of the players. And while I may be wrong, I don't know that Kollar has enough input on draft day to give him much responsibility for that either.
4. Kennedy was a gift in 12th spot of the 1st round. The problem being he got some bad advice that screwed up his rookie year, then had to come back from injury last year. But I want all those naysayers out there to hide and watch this season (barring another injury) as Kennedy solidifies our interior D-line.
5. Did it ever strike the DT-bust-monkeys of the world that maybe it is their "expectations" that are out of line, and not the performance. If you must crucify someone, I'll give you D-Lew. He has not played up to what most of the football world thought he would, but even then he's had lingering injuries, and a former DC that tried to make a lightweight as low as 280 pounds. Pickett is playing up to realistic expectations (again, not his fault we reached for him), and Kennedy will play to his level assuming no more health issues.
Re: Letters to Gordo: Rams fans in foul mood
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