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    Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Josh Otto, Iowa: What are the odds of Adam Archuleta coming back next year? And also is there any chance that Mike Furrey will be back next year playing FS?

    NW: Some in the organization believe Archuleta would like to return to the team next season, but he has yet to speak publicly on the issue. Archuleta will likely be one of the top defensive players on the market when free agency hits and his contract demands will go a long way in determining whether he returns. Personally, I think he needs to be brought back. He will never be a top coverage safety, but he is still a nice weapon to put in the box and blitz. He has made most of the big plays on this defense last season. The thing is, if you let him go, you have to at least find someone as good if not better to replace him. Considering the problems this team has had finding able bodies in the secondary, it doesn't make much sense to let him leave. Another factor will be the development of rookie Jerome Carter. Carter has potential and the coaching staff seems to like him, but he still has to prove himself. As for Furrey, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be back in the mix next season. He has already improved that position and will only continue to get better as he gains experience in the defensive backfield.


    Steven Moore, Bowling Green, Mo.: I've read reports that Mike Martz might be back this season. Is this true? Also, if he can come back do you think it would be good for the team?

    NW: At this point, there is plenty of gossip and rumors about all of that stuff, but nothing has been made official or confirmed. Mike Martz is still the head coach of the Rams, but last I checked he was still on doctor's orders to sit out this season. Unless he gets medical clearance, he probably won't return this year.


    Jordan Smith, Fort Dodge, Iowa: My question is if the Rams get hot and win every last one of there games (highly doubtful), will they be in the playoffs?

    NW: Jordan, that's exactly what it would take for them to get in. At this point, it looks extremely difficult, but if by some magical finish the Rams can win out, I do think they would get in at 10-6. They have a schedule loaded with other NFC teams vying for spots in the playoffs and wins against those teams would not only boost the Rams record and hurt the opponents' record, but also give St. Louis some important tiebreaker advantages.

    Chris Garcia, Costa Mesa, Calif.: I believe this is only the beginning of the great things we will see from Ryan Fitzpatrick. You have to admire a guy that is so calm in the pocket. It was nice to see, of course he should be the starting next Sunday right?

    NW: I don't see how he can't be the starter against the Redskins. Even if Jamie Martin is cleared to play, Fitzpatrick needs more time to develop and show what he can do. With the offensive line so banged up, Fitzpatrick's ability to run and create plays with his legs makes him even more valuable. That's nothing against Martin, who has done a solid job as a backup, but Fitzpatrick brings some variables to the table that are extremely beneficial to this team right now.

    I also want to address some of the other emails I received this week about Fitzpatrick. Without pulling one individually, I received plenty about Fitzpatrick claiming the job even when Marc Bulger returns. I think that's absured. Bulger's toughness and talent should not be questioned. If, at some point, Fitzpatrick proves to be the better quarterback, then that discussion can happen. As it stands, everyone should be thrilled that the Rams have found a nice young quarterback with the ability to provide a quality backup to Bulger for the forseeable future. Bulger is as tough as they come and has taken some brutal shots and continued to do his best to help the team win. He is an important piece of this team and belongs in the company of some of the top quarterbacks in the league. Fitzpatrick's story is great and I do believe he will be a very good quarterback, but it's only been one game and it was against one of the worst teams in the league. Give the kid time and enjoy him when he gets the chances. Keep in mind, he's only a rookie and there will probably be some growing pains along the way.

    Tony Burdulis, Chesterfield, MO: The purpose of this letter is to ask you what do you think of college coaches being head coaches in the NFL? There is talk that Pete Carroll of USC is being pegged for a head coach in the NFL. Considering the fiasco that Steve Spurrier went through when he went to the Redskins, I personally think that head coaches should start out as assistant coaches so they can learn the system of how the NFL works.

    NW: Great question, Tony. It's hard to get a gauge on how well college coaches will make the transition to the NFL. You mentioned Spurrier, who struggled mightily when he got his chance in the league. Pete Carroll actually coached in the NFL first and didn't get the job done. I think in his case, he will do just fine should he choose to move on. I truly believe there is no definitive answer to this question. Some guys are ready and some aren't. Obviously, a guy that has a gimmicky system probably won't have much success. But the fact is some guys are already running college programs like NFL teams and those guys will likely have success. Would they be better served getting some experience in the NFL first? Probably, but there are probably at least a few college coaches ready for the big time at this point.

    Jim Bombeck, Hermitage, Penn.: I know that the Rams have several issues to work out.....however protecting the QB seems to be one of them. As evidenced by the hits that M. Bulger has taken. I am wondering if we have trouble protecting our QB why we continue to run the long pass routes?

    NW: There's no doubt that this has been a point of contention on this team for some time. The worst part is that injuries have made it difficult for the Rams to get the kind of continuity on the line to protect the quarterback at all times. But, there is definitely some merit to the theory that the long routes and five and seven step drops lead to injuries. The longer the quarterback is in the pocket, the greater the chance that he will be hit. It's as simple as that. No team in the league runs more long routes and five and seven step drops as the Rams. Combine that with injuries and struggles on the offensive line and there you have it. At this point, the long pass routes are simply too much of a staple of what this offense is about. It's difficult to change the whole system in the middle of the season and when you have talented receivers such as Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kevin Curtis, you have to find the best ways to keep them involved. That's just the way the Rams offense is run. You take the good with the bad and hope there's more good. Unfortunately sometimes the bad includes an injury to the quarterback.

    Phil Cannon, Peachtree City, Ga.:I've heard a lot of discussions over the last couple of years about gap responsibilities, learning the new system, etc. I wonder if defensive coordinators have outsmarted themselves. Having played some football myself on the defensive side nothing seems to hurt more than confusion that delays the instinct of talented athletes. Can you comment on this and maybe what has changed from the days of old in defensive coordinator's mind and more recently what is different from Lovie Smith's approach.

    NW: I think you make a good point Phil about the approach to defense. There is a sense around the league that perhaps guys are outsmarting themselves, but you must remember that offensive schemes and formations have become much more complicated than the "old days." In other words, rare is the team playing the old 3 yards and a cloud of dust approach on offense. With that in mind, defensive coordinators have to find a way to become more flexible with what they do defensively. Using Lovie Smith and the Tampa 2 as the example is a perfect way to illustrate this. The Tampa 2 is the defensive package meant to utilize speed and attack while still maintaining zone coverages that deny the big play. Teams that have offensive success against the Tampa 2 run the ball well, are physical and are willing to take the checkdowns and quick hits that will gain 6 or 7 yards in the passing game. That defense still works if the athletes are there. The defense the Bears have in Chicago has plenty of fantastic athletes, but even the Bears don't stick to the Tampa 2 all the time because of the evolution of offenses around the league. The NFL is a chess match with coaches on both sides always trying to see a move or two ahead of the other. The Rams' scheme now still employs Cover 2, in fact the Rams use it a lot. But the philosphy in St. Louis since Lovie's departure is meant to try to be more multiple with packages defensively. That means, the Rams try to open more opportunities to be aggressive blitzing, but also maintaining the element of surprise to drop into exotic zone packages. Because of personnel hits, it has been hard for them to maintain continuity defensively or be as aggressive as they might prefer, but that's the main difference in the way defenses are these days. Just to drop a quick example of how some teams are exploiting defenses, you need to look at the Colts' no huddle attack. Of course it takes a quarterback like Peyton Manning, whom you can fully entrust with the offense, but the no huddle forces the defense to keep essentially the same package on the field at all times. That gives Manning so many options to read the defense and make the proper adjustments. Not everybody can have a Peyton Manning, but those are the types of things that have forced defenses to go away from the old read and react to the chess matches you see today. That was pretty long winded, hope I answered the question.

    Thanks again this week for all of the great emails. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We'll do it again next Tuesday.

    The bold one is mine.

    RamsFan16

  2. #2
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    Re: Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    nice, btw where is this from?

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    Re: Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    RamsFan16

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    Re: Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    Awesome job getting on the site, RF16! Good question, too.

    I also want to address some of the other emails I received this week about Fitzpatrick. Without pulling one individually, I received plenty about Fitzpatrick claiming the job even when Marc Bulger returns. I think that's absured. Bulger's toughness and talent should not be questioned. If, at some point, Fitzpatrick proves to be the better quarterback, then that discussion can happen. As it stands, everyone should be thrilled that the Rams have found a nice young quarterback with the ability to provide a quality backup to Bulger for the forseeable future. Bulger is as tough as they come and has taken some brutal shots and continued to do his best to help the team win. He is an important piece of this team and belongs in the company of some of the top quarterbacks in the league. Fitzpatrick's story is great and I do believe he will be a very good quarterback, but it's only been one game and it was against one of the worst teams in the league. Give the kid time and enjoy him when he gets the chances. Keep in mind, he's only a rookie and there will probably be some growing pains along the way.
    Wagoner is a wise, wise man.
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  5. #5
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    Very nice, RF16. :up:

    I like Wagoner -- honest, down-to-earth informative, non malicious. No arrogance in his Rams-writing as compared to some in the Post Dispatch, et al.

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    Re: Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam
    Very nice, RF16. :up:

    I like Wagoner -- honest, down-to-earth informative, non malicious. No arrogance in his Rams-writing as compared to some in the Post Dispatch, et al.
    I agree he is gonan tell you what he "HEARD" not "THINKS" or "WANTS"
    RamsFan16

  7. #7
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    Re: Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    batrell will be a stud

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    Re: Mailbag.. I GOT A QUESTION ANSWERED WOOHOO!!

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce_wannabe
    batrell will be a stud
    Thats an obvious statement.
    RamsFan16

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