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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Linehan 'geeked up' about Day 1, but there's more to be done

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    Saturday, Apr. 26 2008

    Rams coach Scott Linehan may have smiled more Saturday then he did all last
    season, when his injury-riddled team staggered to a 3-13 finish.

    He was beaming after the team selected defensive end Chris Long second overall
    in the NFL Draft.

    “I am a little geeked up right now,” Linehan admitted. “What is going to be
    really fun for me and for you all is to get a chance to meet this individual.”

    Long is a nice prospect and all, but the coach is “geeked up”? Really?

    Really.

    “We are really excited and can’t wait to get started,” Linehan said.

    That’s good because there will be a LOT of work to do. The first day was
    productive, yielding a new starting right defensive end and a speedy third
    receiver -– Donnie Avery of Houston.

    On Day Two of the draft, the Rams hope to find some depth for the offensive
    line. Maybe, just maybe, they could add another speedster, too.

    “Offense, add another one -– I’d vote for that,” Linehan said.

    “We want to get faster on both sides of the ball,” personnel czar Billy Devaney
    said.

    Long was the natural pick for the Rams, since he fills an immediate void. He
    will start at right defensive end, allowing Adam Carriker to stay inside at
    defensive tackle.

    Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey is a terrific talent, “a monster inside” as
    defensive coordinator Jim Haslett put it. “He is a guy that comes around once
    every 10 years,” Haslett added, making it abundantly clear which player he
    wanted in the first round.

    But Long was a solid pick for this team. Haslett praised his versatility. He
    expects to deploy him at left end occasionally, flipping him with Leonard
    Little.

    Haslett believes Long can play outside in a 3-4 scheme. He can also play
    inside, as he did at Virginia. He can play in every game situation.

    “We really like his ability to rush the passer,” Devaney said. “He played a lot
    of inside, almost defensive tackle type, at Virginia and he played really good
    there. I think the way we plan to utilize him out in space more, he’ll be able
    to show just what kind of athlete he is, how good he is coming off the ball and
    what a good pass-rusher that he is.

    “He will be good against the run. We look at him as a three-down player. There
    is no doubt in our mind he is a first-, second- and third-down player and we
    really expect big things of him as a pass rusher.”

    Avery also fills a glaring need. Isaac Bruce left for San Francisco as a free
    agent. Newcomer Drew Bennett was terrible last season, largely due to injuries.

    Torry Holt has chronic knee problems. Dante Hall is just an aging kickoff
    returner, incapable of adding much to an offense. This unit needed new blood.

    The Rams needed to add a receiver capable of stretching defenses and emptying
    the box for Steven Jackson. Avery should be that guy.

    Some experts (and many Rams fans) argue that this team reached to make him the
    first receiver taken in the draft. A few disgruntled fans used bad words “Clyde
    Duncan” to pan this pick.

    But the Rams got something they needed. Once the run on receivers started in
    the second round, he probably would have gone somewhere else.

    It was a weird draft that way; the first round featured a startling run on
    offensive tackles. The Rams could have used another one -- but by the time the
    Rams picked in the second round, all the good ones were gone.

    So taking a receiver made sense. In this case, they got a productive player.

    Houston played a spread offense, so Avery attacked defenses from every angle.
    He caught 210 passes for the Cougars, including 91 for 1,456 yards as a senior.

    “He plays big,” Linehan said, “and he gets behind defenses. You look at the
    tape and he runs by the defenses.”

    While other receivers saw their draft stock plunge for various reasons, Avery
    remained in the Rams’ sights. He was among the prospects the team summoned to
    Rams Park for a pre-draft visit.

    “It’s a perfect fit, it really is, for what we needed,” Linehan said. “You want
    that great character guy you can build your team around, but he has to be able
    to play.”

    Indeed, that should be the motto for the rest of the year. There is still so
    much to do. The Rams need more character guys and more capable guys.

    Their work continues . . .


  2. #2
    Mooselini's Avatar
    Mooselini is offline Registered User
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    Re: Linehan 'geeked up' about Day 1, but there's more to be done

    This just gets better by the minute. Chris Long is our guy, for many years. I can tell he was excited about being picked. He didn't put that smile away when he got selected.

    I cant wait till the preseason, I want to see Chris Long bust some skulls out there in BLUE AND GOLD.

  3. #3
    Ramer's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan 'geeked up' about Day 1, but there's more to be done

    Let's hope this is Linehan's year. He had a really good draft and hopefully eveyone will stay health in 08. Go Rams!
    Last edited by Ramer; -04-27-2008 at 10:42 PM.

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