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  1. #1
    btimsah Guest

    MY 2009 Season Preview

    New head coach Steve Spagnuolo has his work cut out for him. I think the biggest two area's of concern are the offensive line and defensive backs. At times, late in the season our defensive backs played better and better. O.J. Atogwe has quietly become one of the best safeties in the game. Ron Bartell really seemed to turn the corner as well.

    On the offensive line there's a lot of questions. The great signing was Center Jason Brown, along with Jacob Bell inside should give the Rams two potential pro bowl linemen. It's the remaining positions which are up ih the air. I am not high on Alex Barron. Last year, at times was abused like a suspected terrorist at Gitmo'. Then to hear he's gonna be moved to the left tackle spot kinda scares me. I have a predicion that Alex Barron will be benched by midseason and Jason Smith will be starting at left tackle. Goldberg could be the starter at Right Tackle. It appears that Incognito or Greco will battle it out of the other guard spot. I've seen some depth charts put Jacob Bell at RG, but I thought he was a left guard. I am not high on Incognito. He's a horrible pass blocker, overrated run blocker and massive head case. He's just an idiot.

    On defense; If James Laurinitis can stay healthy I have a feeling he'll be a big time middle linebacker, allowing Witherspoon to move back outside. This defense could make some huge strides with a guy like Laurinitis inside and Witherspoon outside. Our own li'l version of Urlacher and Briggs.

    The cool thing is us Ram fans just largely want a competitive team that plays hard and actually appears to game-plan their opponents. As long as I see that, I'll be happy.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    I agree the O-line has to be a primary focus but I also know that the D-line will be a primary also. Spags is a defensive minded coach. An improvement in the production up front on defense will overflow to the other areas on defense.(LBs & Secondary) We all know that so I think it's safe to say Spags knows that as well. So IMHO the trenches on both sides of the ball are the key groups to start with.


    GO RAMS!!!

  3. #3
    BarronWade's Avatar
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    FOr a season preview you forgot the most important thing about the 2009 season.

    THE RUN GAME!!!!!!!!! WITH ACTION JACKSON.

    The off-season we built around him and no mention of him?

  4. #4
    KoaKoi is offline Registered User
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by BarronWade View Post
    FOr a season preview you forgot the most important thing about the 2009 season.
    THE RUN GAME!!!!!!!!! WITH ACTION JACKSON.
    The off-season we built around him and no mention of him?

    the thread starts and ends with the poster targeting his two areas of concern. obviously, the run game is vitally important, but SJax has proven himself to be a fierce runner, and his ability isn't a concern. what's not proven, is the ability of the line to dominate up front... which is discussed.

  5. #5
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    I agree that the biggest questions from last season were on the O-line but I'm a little more optimistic than the OP about the possible answers we will see this year.

    I think if you want to argue that Cogs sucked last year-and I don't generally disagree- I think you can be a little more optimistic about the poor schmo (Barron) who had to play next to him when said schmo gets a shot at his natural LT spot with potential PBer Bell beside him.

    Until we see how that all pans out, I have no idea how the skill players will fare. I wouldn't be surprised to see MB, SJ, McMichael, and Avery as serious PB candidates or for Disappointment of The Year.

    The DL was the other biggie for me & I'm not nearly as hopeful about the personnel available. Other than Long, I'm not sure who will have a good year even if health permits.By "good" I mean NFL good, not just adequate or Pisa-top-tackler-big-fish-in-little-pond-good. I'm hopeful that Little & Carriker stay healthy AND play well but, based purely on recent performance/durability, there's no reason to believe they will be reliable.

    Other than those three, it seems the best we can hope for is some Spagsian rotational magic of a group of journeymen and greenhorns.Maybe the sum will be greater than the parts but I'd sure love another bona fide speed rusher in case Long or Little goes down.

    I think the DBs will be ok and possibly a strength if the front seven are just healthy & efficient. The Rams pass D was already lower middle of the league last year,believe it or not; ranked 19th or 20th.

    A maintenance of performance by Bartell and OJ along with the addition of Butler and moving Spoon to the outside should be worth a good push up the rankings.

    Laurinaitis will probably be this year's Long; excellent at times but inconsistent and fading in the latter half of the season.

    I totally agree with the OP that it will be great to see a disciplined and strategically coherent Rams team. With some luck on the injury front, it may even translate into some wins.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -06-10-2009 at 01:37 PM.

  6. #6
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    I'm not sure how you're defining "areas of concern." OL and DB certainly are important areas of the team, but I also think they can be two of the Rams' biggest strength areas.

    On the OL, the Rams have added two starters in Brown and Smith, and I think that Incognito and Bell will benefit from their presence. Barron is still a question mark, but he's never been as much of a liability as some think. There is decent depth with Greco, Goldberg, Schuening and Setterstrom. Add to the mix the blocking of Bajema at TE and Karney at FB, and there is a lot of reason to be optimistic about improved run blocking and pass protection.

    At DB, the Rams have three very solid starters in Atogwe, Bartell and Butler. The final spot will be the product of a heated battle between Hill, Wade, King and Fletcher. Again, I think there's a lot to be optimistic about there.

  7. #7
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    My biggest area of concern is keeping Jackson healthy. We are nothing without him. Secondly would be D-line. I think Long will have a very good but not great year and Little and Hall rotating could be efficient. I'm still concerned with our DT's, Carriker needs to rebound this year. Who really knows about the other takle position? It will be a big rotation IMO.

  8. #8
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Barron is still a question mark, but he's never been as much of a liability as some think.
    Perhaps you are right .. If one can put aside his false start penalties, his actual play has been ok for the most part. Hopefully Spags can get Alex's head more into the game along with his body. Jacob Bell is another matter though. He was highly touted coming as a FA, but has gained notoriety more for his weight loss than his play. It would be great if he can justify his acquisition via FA through much improved play this year. Spags and crew must see something in him they like, as he's still practicing with the first team. Having Jason Brown next to him certainly won't hurt his chances .. I think Jacob's acquisition of a personal chef to keep him fattened up is a good idea as well. Possibly 2009 will be the year of "convergence" for our O-line ...

  9. #9
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    This is the way I see it.

    There were two big areas of concern, or should I say, weaknesses last year that were the root of all the Rams problems. Now mind you, they were not the only problems, but the root problems.

    ...and that was the OL & DL.

    This year, they have greatly improved the Oline, without a doubt. The big guy in the center is key. Also, I believe like some others, that Barron is better than some give him credit. His false starts tend to overshadow his performance, which I thought was pretty good whenever he's moved to the left side. Give him another year and all the reps on the left side and he may surprise a lot of us. With the rook on the right side, and a bigger and stronger Bell at LG, we actually have the makings of a good Oline. Really.

    So, the OLine should be vastly improved this year, and with an Oline that can actually block, why shouldn't we expect Jackson to have a good year? AND... the addition of a true, physical blocking FB is another reason to be optimistic about the offense. Oh, and don't forget McMichael. He will play a big role in the offense, as he started to last year before the injury.

    The defensive line could be our single biggest area of concern this year. We needed to get bigger and stronger up front and I still think the Rams are a little on the light side. Carriker and Long will have to step it up big time because I still think the Rams will be soft against the run. I'm also afraid this group won't be able to put enough pressure on the QB without sending in the LB's or safeties on blitzes.

    Our LBs are servicable and should be ok. Same with the backfield. I find it strange that the new coach, know for his defense, has actually strengthened the offense more than he has the defense. IMHO. But give it time. Rome wasnt built in a day, right?

    So, my season preview at this point is optimistic. If this team gets a few breaks and avoids the injury bug, it could be better than most of us believe. I said months ago that a 5 or 6 win season would be probable. But now I'm thinking this team could do better. I think a .500 record is obtainable.

    I'm normally a believer that pre-season games are not important. But I don't feel that way this year. I think this team needs to play well in the preseason to get their confidence level off the floor, and to solidify their belief in the new system and the new coaching staff. I also believe that a good start to the season is very, very important if they expect to shed the loser mentality they developed the last couple of years.

    I'm getting a good feeling about this team, and I think they may surprise a lot of us.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    WhinerFan is offline Registered User
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    Re: MY 2009 Season Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    the addition of a true, physical blocking FB.
    This will be the biggest difference in the running game. The most important thing for an OLine is cohesion, and while I like the individual players the Rams have (aside from Barron; despite what some on here have said, he is not a starter in the NFL, and is barely a back-up), the fact that they have not played together will make this season a little rocky, especially in the beginning. However, a quality blocking fullback is an extremely important, and equally underrated force in the running game.

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