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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Nick Wagoner Rams Mailbag Highlights ĖJuly 23

    Wagoner Rams Mailbag Highlights

    **Hull Makes Team for Sure? I donít know that you could say any backups are a sure thing but youíd have to think Hullís experience and his special teams acumen would have him in a good spot to return. Witherspoon has played MLB in the past here but that was a different scheme and heís better served on the outside at this stage in his career. Armstrong looked like a good athlete in the spring, letís see how he does in pads before putting any odds on his chances to land a roster spot.

    **Barrett Jones should be ready to go in the next week or two. Kendricks may be around the same though we havenít had a chance to get anything definitive on that yet. Both should be fine by the time the regular season rolls around and Iíd think they could appear in some of the preseason as well.

    **Ogletree? I expect him to start from day one. He will certainly add a strong play making element, particularly in coverage. The test for him will be taking on blockers and getting off blocks to make tackles at the point of attack. Best I can tell, heíll be just fine in terms of learning the defense and being ready to go.

    **Itís way too early to make a solid projection for the safety spots but if I had to make a guess, Iíd probably go with McDonald/Stewart, assuming Stewart is healthy. If not, donít sleep on Rodney McLeod. 3. I donít know if Ganaway has been written off. I just think heís an unknown commodity at this point. Really, nobody in St. Louis has seen him run in a game. But that position will have a lot of competition so heíll likely get his chance to impress and earn a spot.

    **Well, the word is that Zac Stacy is a very good pass protector, possibly even the best of the bunch. Iíd like to actually see him do it at this level before bestowing that upon him though. Pead and Richardson have both said they made that a priority in the offseason and Ganaway has as well. I completely agree that the player who proves capable of handling things like blitz pickup will likely be getting the snaps at the most important times. Letís keep an eye on it throughout camp, for sure.

    **I donít believe the Rams will be actively signing potential free agents before the season like they did last year with Long and Laurinaitis. Thatís subject to change, of course.

    **Cook is a dynamic pass catcher and stood out as such in the spring. I expect with a more open passing attack and a better QB in Bradford, people will get to see Cook at his pass catching best as a Ram. As for Kendricks, heís a very good blocker and he showed improvement as a pass catcher last year. That tandem is going to be interesting to watch as the year goes on.

    **Starter at LG? Iíd have to answer with Smith. I think Smith will be in the mix to potentially win that LG job with Chris Williams also in the mix. I also wonít count out Barrett Jones but itís hard to factor him in until he can get back on the field.

    **Conrath looked bigger in the spring. Weíll see him in pads soon enough. Daniels is close. He told me in the spring that heíd hoped to be ready to go on day one of camp. It doesnít look like thatíll happen but he should be ready to roll soon enough.

    **Iíd probably put something like this: Richardson Ė Speed; explosive, game breaking speed and an underrated ability to run between the tackles. Pead Ė Quick, shifty, elusive. Not the full on breakaway threat that Richardson is but he can go the distance as well. Ganaway Ė Big, powerful type who will pound away between the tackles. Stacy Ė Also more of a power runner but he probably comes in somewhere in between what Pead and Ganaway are. Heís maybe the most complete but letís see him with pads first.

    **Quick? All of the top five wideouts took turns with the first team offense in the spring and all will get opportunities in camp. Now is when the depth chart starts forming. There was really no such thing in the spring. As for Quickís potential, heís absolutely coachable, any indication you get anywhere else is simply false. Heís a good kid, a hard worker and he wants to be good. He just needs some time to develop. Having a year in the league and the system will help. He just needs to focus on using his frame and concentrating a bit more on the ball when it goes up. But the tools are there and the effort is also.

    **I think Givens is the safest bet amongst the receivers to nail down a starting spot. And I do believe he has the potneital to be the most productive WR of the group. Letís see him develop his intermediate route running and if he does, he could really take off. Pettis figures to be a jack of all trades once again.

    **OTAs provides a great chance to focus on the skill guys because there are no pads but when the pads come on, the big guys up front are fun to watch. Iím really interested to see Brockers and how heís coming along this year. Jake Long on the other side. Of course Iíll watch everything but the one on one pass rush drills during camp have always been a personal favorite.

    **Depth on the O-line? I think itís as deep a group as theyíve had in a while but there are some unknowns there. Barksdale played pretty well filling in last year and should be better with a year under his belt. Guys like Watkins, Smith, Jones, even Nsekhe should be improved as well.

    **Fear of Losing Jackson? Itís mostly a fear of the unknown. On one hand, I understand being a little antsy about it because Jackson has been so rock solid for so long. On the other hand, you have to replace production, not a person. Letís face it, even with Jackson, the Rams running game was 23rd in the league last year. If the line is healthy and the offense is running like they want it to, the running game could be more productive in terms of yards this year.

    **Biggest Pranksters on the Team? Finnegan, Long and Laurinaitis are up there. But Iíd probably put the crown on the head of William Hayes. Heís a funny, funny guy and he loves the mischief. I would suggest that itíd be foolish for any rookie to get involved in the prank wars in the first season because the repercussions could be pretty rough.

    **Ranking Speed at WR? Iím not so sure Iíd put Austin ahead of Givens in terms of pure speed (despite what the official 40 times say). After those two, itíd probably be Quick, Bailey, Pettis or something to that effect.

    **If you asked who is the pound for pound best athlete, I might have to go with Quinn. Heís got an outstanding position coach who should be able to maximize his potential.

    **Iíve written this before but Iíll repeat myself: losing Jackson and Amendola isnít great but you have to look at the production thatís being replaced, not just the names. Let me put it like this: Do you think the Rams can have a receiver who can catch post 666 yards and three touchdowns? If so, they can replace Amendola. Do you think they can have an RB (or even two) who can rush for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns? If so, they can replace Jackson. Again, nothing against Amendola and Jackson but those numbers arenít unattainable by any means.

    **The expectation is that heíll be an every down safety. He did struggle with coverage at times at USC and again at the Senior Bowl but thereís a belief that a lot of that was scheme related. Letís see how he adapts to this system.


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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Nick Wagoner Rams Mailbag Highlights ĖJuly 23

    Good info, the kind that encourages optimism. Or should I say, confirms optimism!

    Really rooting for our rookies, more than last year. Somehow this group, connected with the rest of the 2013 players seems to be more ready, more promising IMHO.

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Nick Wagoner Rams Mailbag Highlights ĖJuly 23

    Good insight from Wagoner. Some things that stood out...

    **Ogletree? I expect him to start from day one. He will certainly add a strong play making element, particularly in coverage. The test for him will be taking on blockers and getting off blocks to make tackles at the point of attack. Best I can tell, heíll be just fine in terms of learning the defense and being ready to go.
    Getting through the trash and disengaging from blocks is one issue with Ogletree. The other that I want to see improvement on from college to pro is reaction time. Too often when I watched him play, it seemed like he was a step late or taking too long to read what was going on before making a move. I want to see that ability to read and react sped up.


    **Itís way too early to make a solid projection for the safety spots but if I had to make a guess, Iíd probably go with McDonald/Stewart, assuming Stewart is healthy. If not, donít sleep on Rodney McLeod. 3. I donít know if Ganaway has been written off. I just think heís an unknown commodity at this point. Really, nobody in St. Louis has seen him run in a game. But that position will have a lot of competition so heíll likely get his chance to impress and earn a spot.
    I don't want to read too much into McLeod listed as the starter in the training camp depth chart, but we know that one issue with Stewart last year was that injuries put him behind the eight ball and he couldn't catch up. Let's hope that doesn't happen again this year; if it does, I don't doubt that Fisher and company would go with a guy like McLeod if he looks the best in camp in Stewart's absence.


    **Starter at LG? Iíd have to answer with Smith. I think Smith will be in the mix to potentially win that LG job with Chris Williams also in the mix. I also wonít count out Barrett Jones but itís hard to factor him in until he can get back on the field.
    I remember during the offseason, when the Rams' need at left guard was brought up, a number of people would downplay it because of Rok Watkins' presence on this roster. But the further we get into the summer and fall, the more it sounds like fan-favorite Watkins is being viewed as little more than a depth player for now, like many of us suspected.


    **The expectation is that heíll be an every down safety. He did struggle with coverage at times at USC and again at the Senior Bowl but thereís a belief that a lot of that was scheme related. Letís see how he adapts to this system.
    Scheme related in two different settings? Well, let's hope that's the case.

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    Re: Nick Wagoner Rams Mailbag Highlights ĖJuly 23

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    Wagoner Rams Mailbag Highlights

    **I’ve written this before but I’ll repeat myself: losing Jackson and Amendola isn’t great but you have to look at the production that’s being replaced, not just the names. Let me put it like this: Do you think the Rams can have a receiver who can catch post 666 yards and three touchdowns? If so, they can replace Amendola. Do you think they can have an RB (or even two) who can rush for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns? If so, they can replace Jackson. Again, nothing against Amendola and Jackson but those numbers aren’t unattainable by any means.
    I hate the fact that we lost Jackson and Amendola. Sure the numbers can be replaced and putting in that perspective makes the loss of these 2 guys a bit more acceptable.

    However, who's going to replace the names? Meaning the team leadership by Jackson and not to mention the effort and overall physical ability to be a top tier RB in the NFL? Amendola also brought that 150% effort, attitude and style of play that had to be infectious. That will be hard to replace and who will step up?

    With Jackson gone this is Sam Bradford's team now. This is when he needs to step up and become the face of the franchise.

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    Re: Nick Wagoner Rams Mailbag Highlights ĖJuly 23

    Quick? All of the top five wideouts took turns with the first team offense in the spring and all will get opportunities in camp.
    When OTA's ended it was Pettis working with the starers. Quick was already dropped down to the 4th spot. That kind of seemed strange, last week Kevin Demoff said this.

    Kevin D: Brian Quick has had a very strong offseason and we're excited about his progress. I know a lot was made that he was supposedly the "4th receiver" but I don't know how that story got legs and took on a life of its own. One of the most exciting things during OTA's and the offseason was to watch the offense open up and use all of the weapons, and Brian really presents some matchup problems outside with his height and speed. The goal this year is for Sam to be able to throw to the "open" player, and I expect that we will get meaningful contributions from all 5 WR's, the 2 TE's and the running backs. I think you could see this offense resemble an offense like the Saints where you have 4 or 5 players catch 40-50 balls but nobody who catches 70 or 80. I'm not saying that we are the Saints offense, we need to improve to become that, but more that style where anybody can be a threat on any play. I think that is where we are evolving, letting the down, distance, scheme and coverage dictate who becomes the targeted player.

    There is nothing that should hold Brian back from reaching his potential. He's a hard worker, he's diligent about getting better and he's determined to be a featured member of our offense. What has been great to see this offseason is the receivers all pushing one another to get better, they see the talent and they all want to become more involved. It will be fascinating to see how it develops over the next few months, and I can only envision what we can be in the next few years.
    The Rams did put out a projected starters flyer for camp visitors, maybe that was what gave it legs. It won't be long before we get reports on who is working with the ones in camp. I still think day one in camp Quick is with the ones, can he keep it? Not sure. If he can't I think it's Bailey not Pettis that takes it from him. I just don't think Pettis is explosive enough to play on the outside. I think it's Quick's job to lose and from what KD said the FO wants him to take it.

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