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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    When the Miami Dolphins threw tight end Randy McMichael out in the cold on March 5, he had no idea that they were actually going to throw him out in the cold.

    After spending his first five seasons in sun-soaked Miami where the temperatures barely ever slipbelow 70 degrees, McMichael found himself out of a job when the Dolphins decided he wouldn’t be worth a large roster bonus. It came as a surprise to McMichael, who in his time with Miami was one of the league’s best pass catching tight ends.

    Still, McMichael had a good idea of where he wanted to continue his career. He spent one season in Miami with coach Scott Linehan and liked what he saw. When he arrived in St. Louis, though, McMichael had a rude awakening.

    “It’s so funny, it was 87 when we left and we get here and it’s snowing,” McMichael said. “It’s an adjustment and it’s one of those things with a different climate. I’ve had to adjust to a lot of different things in my life, though, so this is no big deal.”

    One would think that leaving the only NFL team he has ever known would be a difficult adjustment, but McMichael isn’t worried about it coming to St. Louis. On the first day of voluntary workouts earlier this week, McMichael appeared to already fit in the locker room.

    And why wouldn’t he? McMichael was well liked in the Miami locker room and had a penchant for the occasional practical joke.

    “He’s a guy that day in and day out, the attitude and work ethic he brings to the table, he’s a guy that you definitely want,” running back Travis Minor, who played with McMichael in Miami and now in St. Louis, said. “The fans will love him; he’s one of those emotional guys out there. He’s a leader. He’s a natural born leader whether it’s on the field, during practice when nobody is looking, or if it’s during the game. Randy is a fun guy to be around across the board.”

    In addition to bringing some personality and leadership to the locker room, McMichael figures to bring a new dimension to the Rams’ offense. Last offseason, the Rams made a point of revamping the tight end position.

    They traded away incumbent starter Brandon Manumaleuna and used two first-day choices on Joe Klopfenstein and Dominique Byrd. The Rams also added veteran Aaron Walker.

    Even with three new faces at the position, the Rams didn’t necessarily get the production they hoped for. That’s not to say that Klopfenstein or his fellow tight ends were a disappointment, as they tried to learn the nuances of the position.

    By the end of the season, Byrd had become a solid option in the passing game and Linehan was comfortable with the way his young tight ends had progressed. But when McMichael unexpectedly hit the market, Linehan jumped at the chance to add the 6’3, 255 pound target to the offense.

    “I think adding Randy McMichael, arguably one of the better tight ends in the league as a starter, to be able to add him to the mix along with Joe, who is a very good young tight end who we are very happy with, I think you can never have enough quality football players on your team,” Linehan said. “There’s not a player on the team that will be unhappy if we are having success on the field.”

    While McMichael will likely take over the starting role because of his advanced experience and proven ability as a blocker, that doesn’t mean that Klopfenstein and Byrd are going to be idle.

    McMichael is one of the better pass blocking tight ends in the league, an area that both Byrd and Klopfenstein need to continue to improve. McMichael’s presence should take some of that pressure off and help the young duo learn.

    When quarterback Marc Bulger was asked about adding McMichael to the offense, he mentioned liking him as a pass target, but really couldn’t hide his excitement about McMichael’s blocking skills.

    “McMichael has been doing it for a long time,” Bulger said with a wide grin. “We’ll get Joe up to speed. That will be one of our strengths rather than a place where we have problems with depth.”

    The fact that McMichael was available at all came as a surprise to everyone, including him. In his five seasons in Miami, McMichael had 283 catches for 3,096 yards and 18 touchdowns, emerging as one of the team’s most consistent pass catchers.

    In an offseason in which the Dolphins haven’t added much to the passing game and still have questions at quarterback, it seemed the subtraction of McMichael would only make a weakness weaker. Miami owed McMichael a $3 million roster bonus in early March and decided to opt against paying it.

    Suddenly, McMichael was on the free agent market for the first time in his career. Although he understands it, McMichael was taken aback by the move.

    “I’ll be honest with you and say yes,” McMichael said. “It was really a shock to me and my family, but it’s the NFL. You have to always prepare yourself for it. I am not upset about it; I’m having a great time so far. I am just excited for a new start.”

    Even if it means a change in climate.


  2. #2
    maineram's Avatar
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    I'm excited to see him catching passes from Bulger and even more excited to see him protecting Bulger. Maybe Barron won't feel so isolated with a veteran TE helping to block next to him. That alone is worth this signing.

    Barron & McMichael should room together during training camp.

    Maineram -
    and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !

  3. #3
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    Quote Originally Posted by maineram View Post
    I'm excited to see him catching passes from Bulger and even more excited to see him protecting Bulger. Maybe Barron won't feel so isolated with a veteran TE helping to block next to him. That alone is worth this signing.

    Barron & McMichael should room together during training camp.

    Maineram -
    That's not a bad idea. I think this was a very good signing, it's been a long time since we had a reliable TE.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
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  4. #4
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    Throw the Quality Control Coach in there as well.....to teach Barron that 3rd and 2 is better "quality" than 3rd and 7

  5. #5
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Throw the Quality Control Coach in there as well.....to teach Barron that 3rd and 2 is better "quality" than 3rd and 7
    Maybe they should fine him for each false start.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  6. #6
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    Testicle shock collar... Push the button for every penalized yard.

    This space for rent...

  7. #7
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68 View Post
    Maybe they should fine him for each false start.
    He would end up paying to play for us..

  8. #8
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    Quote Originally Posted by thoey View Post
    Testicle shock collar... Push the button for every penalized yard.

    He would be impotent before the first quarter of the first game was over.....

  9. #9
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    McMichael should be a solid addition across the middle along with Bennett. With teams watching Jackson in the flat, do either Holt or Bruce get double teamed?

    I don't know how that would happen, so let's hope the O line plays up to its potential. If so, I would love to be the scorekeeper at the Ed.

  10. #10
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    Re: McMichael Ready for Fresh Start

    I just hope Mcmichael doesn't forget his that his number one job is going to keep Bulger on his feet. Than as far as I care, he can go out and pad his stats up all he wants.

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