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Thread: Monday Evening--Wagoner
Monday, December 5, 2005
- Joe Vitt was nothing short of entertaining in his weekly Monday press conference. Say what you will about the Rams' performance in recent week, but Vitt has been put in an unbelievably tough position. He didn't ask to become the head coach of this team. He has handled it all with dignity and his straight shooting honesty is always welcome. Under the circumstances, he has done a good job with a team of players that he didn't choose, schemes that aren't his and a situation with which he is unfamiliar.
- The decision to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter at least until Marc Bulger can return is a wise one. Fitzpatrick needs as many opportunities as he can get. He has a great chance to prove he belongs as Bulger's backup next season and an even better opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the pro game. He will do fine based on his intelligence and physical tools alone, but without playing he can't learn the nuances of the game. For example, what the Rams call "Check with me's," where the quarterback communicates to the offense at the line of scrimmage on a possible check off to a different route or quick hitter based on something the defense is doing. That's something you can only learn and do correctly by doing it repeatedly. Fitzpatrick will be a better player because of this opportunity.
- Vitt said Monday that the best 11 players on both sides of the ball will play. I would like to see that approach include any and all of the young players and rookies. Let's see what Oshiomogho Atogwe and Jerome Carter can do. Leave Ron Bartell in to see what he has. This is a great chance to develop the young players and see who fits where for the future.
- I failed to mention the performance of punter Bryan Barker after yesterday's game. Barker was excellent with his kicks, with only one relatively poor kick I can think of. He averaged 46.6 yards per kick with a net of 41.9 and dropped three kicks inside the 20. Even on the long kicks, he had good hangtime and was able to angle the ball out of bounds. Certainly a nice day for Barker.
- Chris Claiborne did a nice job filling in for Trev Faulk on Sunday. He made eight tackles and was around the ball quite a bit. After what Vitt calls a "wake up call" by benching Claiborne, he responded well.
- Linebacker Dexter Coakley is out for the season, but hopefully not for a career. I said this last night, but Coakley is one of the true class acts in the game and he should be commended for all he has done on and off the field in his career. Hopefully he will get another shot if he wants one.
- It'd be nice to see Marshall Faulk get some more touches. Obviously, the Rams wanted to work Faulk in with Steven Jackson, but that hasn't come to pass because of the Rams tendency, to, er, pass. But when Faulk does touch the ball, he has been very good. He is averaging 5 yards per carry and 7 yards per catch, but only slightly less than five touches per game. He got just one against Washington.
- Another guy that it'd be nice to see get some more chances is receiver Shaun McDonald. Many people expected him to break out like Kevin Curtis this season. McDonald has been fine, but he hasn't gotten the chance to have the kind of year or make the kind of plays many would expect.
- I'd like to take a moment of appreciation for receiver Torry Holt. I can't understand why I get emails about Holt's "attitude." I don't mean attitude in the sense that it's bad, but some people criticize him because of he smiles a lot. Think about that for a second. Because a guy has a bubbly personality and is generally a happy guy doesn't mean that he doesn't want to win as much or more than the next guy. Torry Holt is nowhere close to being a problem for this team. Would you rather have a guy that questions his teammates and is always demanding more money? Holt plays hard and he plays with a smile. And oh by the way, he went over the 1,000 yard mark again this year and is well on his way to breaking 1,300 again. So, to review, you have a star player that loves the game, works hard, loves life and is unbelievably productive. Sounds like a keeper to me.
Re: Monday Evening--WagonerObviously, the Rams wanted to work Faulk in with Steven Jackson, but that hasn't come to pass because of the Rams tendency, to, er, pass.Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster