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  1. #1
    general counsel's Avatar
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    My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Here are my four primary observations as they relate to the Rams upcoming season. None of these are especially imaginative, but i thought i would boil it down to a short list.

    1) We MUST have greatly improved and consistent offensive line play. Sam Bradford (or Feeley for that matter) will have no chance of success without far improved pass protection. To me, this is an area of great question since we have two completely unproven guys at the tackle spots, both of whom have potential and neither of whom have done a thing at the nfl level. We of course need quality blocking to enable jackson to be successful as well.

    2) I don't believe that we can win a single game without The Big Boy. There is nothing on our roster that remotely resembles a weapon to replace Jackson should he be hurt. Teams will pull their ears back and attack the passer without the threat of Jackson and i highly doubt we will be able to protect against that kind of assault.

    3) If we don't dramatically improve our pass rush, I don't see how the defense is going to improve in any material way. I am really concerned about this. We lost our best pass rusher in Leonard Little and i see nothing to replace that production. Little was certainly an often injured and declining asset in the last couple of years, but still a guy that could provide a real push. Maybe Chris Long will step up in a huge way. Maybe James Hall will have a great year, but i will believe it when i see it. I am not giving up at all on Chris Long, just question whether he will be a dominant pass rush guy. Our secondary could be better this year, but it's nowhere good enough to make the difference if we can not get consistent pressure on the qb.

    4) We are once again incredibly lacking in any kind of real depth at numerous positions. Injuries are part of the game for every team. If we get unlucky with injuries (ie hurt in key places or more than our fair share in terms of quantity), it's going to be another incredibly long year. I think we have some good young players who may develop, but only time will tell on that front.

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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Here are my four primary observations as they relate to the Rams upcoming season. None of these are especially imaginative, but i thought i would boil it down to a short list.

    1) We MUST have greatly improved and consistent offensive line play. Sam Bradford (or Feeley for that matter) will have no chance of success without far improved pass protection. To me, this is an area of great question since we have two completely unproven guys at the tackle spots, both of whom have potential and neither of whom have done a thing at the nfl level. We of course need quality blocking to enable jackson to be successful as well.

    2) I don't believe that we can win a single game without The Big Boy. There is nothing on our roster that remotely resembles a weapon to replace Jackson should he be hurt. Teams will pull their ears back and attack the passer without the threat of Jackson and i highly doubt we will be able to protect against that kind of assault.

    3) If we don't dramatically improve our pass rush, I don't see how the defense is going to improve in any material way. I am really concerned about this. We lost our best pass rusher in Leonard Little and i see nothing to replace that production. Little was certainly an often injured and declining asset in the last couple of years, but still a guy that could provide a real push. Maybe Chris Long will step up in a huge way. Maybe James Hall will have a great year, but i will believe it when i see it. I am not giving up at all on Chris Long, just question whether he will be a dominant pass rush guy. Our secondary could be better this year, but it's nowhere good enough to make the difference if we can not get consistent pressure on the qb.

    4) We are once again incredibly lacking in any kind of real depth at numerous positions. Injuries are part of the game for every team. If we get unlucky with injuries (ie hurt in key places or more than our fair share in terms of quantity), it's going to be another incredibly long year. I think we have some good young players who may develop, but only time will tell on that front.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    Your "4 observations" pretty much covered all 22 positions.
    Saffold is indeed unproven, but so far appears to be for real, and I disagree that Smith has no experience at the NFL level.

    Defenses will come to fear Bradford more than they ever did Bulger, but I agree we have nothing, (at this point), behind Jackson. Contrary to popular belief, however, Jackson is NOT made of glass.

    The pass rush WILL be better, based simply on the experience gained by the starters, the emergence of Scott, the addition of Robbins, and (with any luck), one of our DE picks hitting. So far, Selvie 's a strong possibility.

    Linebacking is significantly improved, something that is universally agreed on, and secondary play HAS to be better than last year. How can it not?

    As far as point 4, (and Im not attacking you), to me that's kind of a meaningless statement. To whit: With 22 starters, and a 53 man roster (with specialists), teams can basically have one back-up for each position.

    The rams are arguably light at O-Line and Secondary, but every team has to be light SOMEwhere. We are not the Pats, Vikes or Packers. We still don't even know what we have yet, really.

    Patience Grasshopper, it's a slow process.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Truthfully, we have pretty good depth everywhere except the O Line. Our safeties are very versatile, corners are all back from injury. Linebackers were loaded with and the d line also has some guys.

    For our offense we need to take care of the O Line and maybe backup RB although I'm not so concerned about that.

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    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Smith played a few games last year and did nothing to distinguish himself. I am not criticizing him and i have high hopes for him. I am pointing out that he has no experience of any real kind with any kind of positive track record and therefore he is a point of uncertainty until at the minimum, he proves that he can play well without getting hurt.

    I dont think the fact that players have more experience per se means that they improve. Some do and some dont. It is perfectly fair for you to be more optimistic, my point is only that we need an improved pass rush and you seem to say our pass rush will be better simply because our guys have been around longer and i dont buy that. Also, your point does not account for the loss of leonard little. You may be right, we may improve, but that really makes my point. From my perspective, i dont see improved personnel, i only see guys that may or may not develop and the loss of a proven guy.

    As for saffold, i dont see how you can say he looks good so far. He has done absolutely nothing except play a bit in one preseason game. My point is that he is completely unproven, same as i would say for any other rookie. He has to do it on the field in a regular season game for us to be gain real confidence. I share your optimisim, i think very highly of him. Again, my point is the uncertaintly and until we see him do it on the field in a real nfl game, it is indeed uncertain how he will perform.

    I disagree on the bulger statement, but dont want to get into it. If bradford puts up the numbers that bulger did when bulger had quality pass protection and excellent weapons, we will be in great shape. I think incredily highly of bradford, but as for fearing rookie qbs, i dont see that happening much in the nfl and am not sure how often if at all nfl teams fear rookie qb's, not matter what their pedigree. If you look at the rookies that have been successful of late (ie sanchez and flaco), i think you will see that a quality running game is critical to their success. A quality running game comes with quality offensive line play. I didnt put bradford on my list of one of my four key points because i think bradford will do fine if jackson and the line perform and if jackson is hurt and/or the line doesnt perform, i think bradford will do poorly. In any event, as a rookie, he will have his share of ups and downs no matter what happens around him. We could get into a discussion about our receivers as well, but that is another story.

    Maybe the linebackers are a bit better. We will see when the season starts. It looks like an upgrade to me, but only marginal in the sense that i dont think it will have much of an overall impact if we cant get pass rush.

    As for depth, its not the quantity of the backups i am pointing out (because i agree that every team has the same number of players), its the quality. Sure, we arent at the very top depth wise, but we arent in the middle either and that has been true for a long time. We are a very thin team, and therefore, getting relatively lucky on the injury side is more important to us than it is for teams that are deeper. I do agree that point four is true for many teams, but its often the difference between a playoff team and a 7 or 8 win team. For us, its the difference between a chance at a respectable year and gaining momentum and another year in the toilet.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    ..........
    Maybe the linebackers are a bit better. We will see when the season starts. It looks like an upgrade to me, but only marginal in the sense that i dont think it will have much of an overall impact if we cant get pass rush.
    ............
    I 'feel' that the LBer core is improved. Diggs is an upgrade. Lil Animal is developing into the true defensive QB and "will be" better in that role and quicker in his play this season. Grant is getting it now. Vobora and Carpenter are decent depth.

    Yeah, without a decent pass rush, we may not see the impact of this improvement, but it is not strictly dependant on the pass rush. IF the interior DL doesn't play well.......we won't see it. IF the defense is constantly on the field.............we may not see it.

    Right now, the LBers are quiet honestly, the least of my concern.

    I know it's off topic but, those concerns would be in this order for me.

    Pass protection
    Back up RB
    Thin secondary
    WRs getting seperation (this isn't a big concern for me. If given time, I think Mr. Samtastic will be able to get the ball to them)
    Semper Fi!

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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Truthfully, we have pretty good depth everywhere except the O Line. Our safeties are very versatile, corners are all back from injury. Linebackers were loaded with and the d line also has some guys.

    For our offense we need to take care of the O Line and maybe backup RB although I'm not so concerned about that.
    Yikes, really? I'd have to say I disagree. I think if you looked around the rest of the league at what other teams have for depth, and consider where certain Rams back-ups would factor in on those other units, it would become a bit more obvious that the Rams are lacking.
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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    I'm more concerned on the WR issue, we have a arsenal of potential young guys but only Robinson without injury and Avery without butterfingers are proven for the spot so far. Our O-line is a bit on the hot seat but it's barely warm, for now. I'm hoping the game against Cleveland can boost their determination to protect, protect, protect!!!

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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Yeah, like I guess our backups are something we can "build off" or "work with". I mean obviously we don't have tremendous depth and if someone goes down no matter what position we will be lacking skill, but its not extremely bad.

    Also, I hope like you flip that in Cleveland we regain our determination and also we do a better job protecting Sam and co.

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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Your points are well taken GC.

    In all, 2010 is as though we are starting in the NFL as an expansion team. With the usual roster exceptions of course.

    Speaking of thoughts, however, as F.D. Roosevelt said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

    ...No, no, sorry. It was this one that I was thinking of: "The Rams need and, unless I mistake its temper, the Rams organization demands bold, persistent experimentation. ... It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. "

    Let's try w i n n i n g ! ...ARE YOU READY FOR SOME RAMS FOOTBALL?!? I feel we're going to have a better, encouraging season.
    Last edited by RealRam; -08-19-2010 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Content

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    I'd say these four initial observations are on point. The one that scares me the most is the offensive line. Our 70 million dollar investment at the QB position will find himself on injured reserve and our top notch running back will be mauled to death if the offensive line doesn't do their jobs. Quite frankly with the effort the Rams have put into upgrading the O-line the past two years, I'm completely disgusted with their lack of production. There's no excuse. These guys must get it done, or it will be another long year.

    The pass rush must improve. We were a complete non-factor last year. I'm hopeful that Long will improve yet again after a better 2nd season and other guys will step up. I have no real basis for saying so, but I have a hunch that George Selvie might be a player.

    It boggles my mind how the Rams have simply not addressed the back up RB situation to any real level of satisfaction. I understand that they had other needs to address in the draft, and no team is going to put a great back on the market to scoop up, but Ken Darby? Chris Ogbayanna? Oooofah....

    And no clear thinking person would assert the Rams have great depth throughout the roster. Last year this point was driven home with the beatings we sustained no matter who we threw out there.

    As for the wide receiver situation- the least of our worries. No studs, but it is the one area where we DO have some depth. Health is the key. And look for Mardy Gilyard to make some noise this year.

  11. #11
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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    1) Fortunately, significant improvement on the offensive line is a realistic expectation as the young guys come along and the unit starts to gel. That is if our starters can stay more or less healthy through a whole season.

    2) I agree that we've got a problem there. The backup doesn't absolutely have to scare defenses; he just has to be good enough to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, I'm not even sure if we've got that.

    3) The combination of lackluster pass rush and a thin secondary is really disconcerting. Frankly, it would not surprise me if we finished last in the league in both sacks and interceptions. I think the old Grant Wistrom analogy is apt for Chris Long. He could put up a lot of sacks if he were paired with a guy like Little in his prime, but I don't know how many he's going to get a ton if he's considered the only legitimate edge rusher on the team. I like Selvie, too, but if we're pinning our hopes on the idea that a seventh round pick might come to the rescue, we're really in trouble.

    4) It would be easier to name the positions for which we do have satisfactory depth. I'd start with safety. Quarterback is okay. Maybe wide receiver if you accept that the depth is just because there's not a ton of separation between our starters and backups. Our #3 and #4 guys are probably in line with 3's and 4's around the league. Similarly, we may not know for sure who our starter is at tight end, but our backups probably won't be much worse than on most teams.

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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Yeah, like I guess our backups are something we can "build off" or "work with". I mean obviously we don't have tremendous depth and if someone goes down no matter what position we will be lacking skill, but its not extremely bad.
    In some areas, I really think it is - RB, TE, OT, DE, MLB (depending on if Vobora slides over).
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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    In some areas, I really think it is - RB, TE, OT, DE, MLB (depending on if Vobora slides over).
    OT, TE and MLB agreed. I gotta disagree, (or at least throw this out), on RB and DE. We have Adeyanju, Selvie, Ah You and (Sims?) behind our starters. We do not have PROVEN competent depth at RB, but no one knows what Toston's gonna be, and the verdict's certainly not in on Obie yet. And I really don't know where this general feeling of unease comes from regarding Jackson's health anyway. He's been pretty durable.

    This thread seems to be really stating the obvious. Guys - we are AT BEST, a 4-6 win team. Of course we have glaring weaknesses, so let's focus on where we are this year compared to last.

    It'll be better - it really will. It doesn't happen in one year, as much as we'd like it to. (Crap - now i'm stating the obvious)
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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post
    OT, TE and MLB agreed. I gotta disagree, (or at least throw this out), on RB and DE. We have Adeyanju, Selvie, Ah You and (Sims?) behind our starters. We do not have PROVEN competent depth at RB, but no one knows what Toston's gonna be, and the verdict's certainly not in on Obie yet. And I really don't know where this general feeling of unease comes from regarding Jackson's health anyway. He's been pretty durable.
    I have a hard time believing any of the names you mentioned at back-up DE or RB makes the 53-man roster of a good football team. The Rams have marginal players or mid to late round rookies behind their starters at DE. That's not good. At running back, the most experienced back-up they have appears to be Kenneth Darby with 61 career rushes. I'd be shocked if any of these 'backs scare anyone, and I'm fairly confident that next offseason, we'll still be asking about our situation at back-up RB. I could probably count on one hand the number of teams around the league with a worse depth issue at RB than the Rams have right now (Cleveland? Maybe Green Bay? Who else?).
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    Re: My top 4 thoughts for the upcoming season

    "I have a hard time believing any of the names you mentioned at back-up DE or RB makes the 53-man roster of a good football team."


    You said it all in your opening sentence. I agree with every thing you've said, but again, why are you saying it. We are a bad team, period.

    I want to say "Thank You Captain Obvious", but I don't want to appear to be dissin' you (or GC), as you both are knowledgeable posters.

    Again, (for the hundredth time), we are ONE YEAR IN, and comments on the management should reflect this. No one's saying you need to agree with everything they're doing, but in all fairness, they should be given a chance to let their plan develop a bit.

    My whole reason for posting is that we now have a direction, and reason to hope, which has not been the case for almost ten years. And I will continue to challenge, and disagree with, those who see no reason for hope, or whose only "points" are endless repetition of what should be obvious to anyone who follows the NFL, let alone a "fan" of the Rams. And, just for the hell of it, make a suggestion of what we should (could) have done to eliminate the deficiency.

    Enjoy the ride. Look forward to the season. Watch players develop. Scream and yell. Or better yet, why don't you spend an entire post listing all the reasons you are looking forward to the season.

    And if you can't think of any...I guess I don't know what to say to that.
    Last edited by VegasRam; -08-19-2010 at 04:47 PM.
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