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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Nick's Mailbag: July 30

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Nickís Mailbag: July 30, 2008

    (Any opinions are those of Senior Writer Nick Wagoner; they do not necessarily represent those of the Rams).

    MEQUON, Wis. Ė

    Welcome back to my weekly mailbag. Starting today, I will answer your questions every week, Wednesday during the preseason and shifting to Tuesdays during the regular season. Be sure to send your questions in and Iíll do my best to respond.

    Michael Affrunti

    With all these rookie wideouts, Bruce gone, Bennett not being what we hoped he would, and the addition of Becht, will Bulger be looking for Tight Ends first with safe check downs and out routes, or do you think one of these rooks will be our Marques Colston?

    NW: Michael, I donít know that tight ends are so much of a checkdown option in Al Saundersí offense. From what I can gather, they are a prominent component of the offense. Randy McMichael has probably been Marc Bulgerís second favorite target after Torry Holt and figures to be a major part of the offense. As for the rookies, Keenan Burton needs to stay healthy. If he does, I expect some good things from both he and Donnie Avery. I donít know that either can produce like Colston but I wouldnít be stunned if one or both makes a significant contribution in 2008.

    Tom Pattison

    Nick,

    What is Derek Stanley's status entering training camp. After having a strong end of the 07 season returning kickoffs, do you think he'll be able to fend off the challenge of a couple first-year players and be on the regular season roster at the end of training camp?

    NW: Stanley is once again fighting for a roster spot. But, as I have written seemingly every day in my Notes, Stanley continues to stand out. The guy makes a play or two every practice that makes you wonder how he did it. Itís going to be tough to keep him off the roster but itís also going to be tough for him to make it. This is how I look at it right now: You have five guys almost certain to be on the roster in Holt, Bennett, Avery, Burton and Dante Hall. That leaves you with one spot left to fight for amongst Dane Looker, Stanley and perhaps Reche Caldwell and Marques Hagans. Stanley must prove himself as a receiver to make it because he and Hall are somewhat repetitive in terms of skill set. Itís definitely a battle weíll be monitoring here.

    Derek Atkinson

    Nick,

    I had a question about off-season conditioning. Size is always a big deal in the trenches in the NFL. How are Orlando Pace and Adam Carriker looking considering they probably couldnít do much weight lifting in the off-season with their respective shoulder injuries? Iím particularly concerned about Carriker since he was supposed to be keep his weight up with his move to DT.

    Also, Nick, how is your conditioning? I trust you are getting your words per minute speed back to regular season form. Us Ram fans are really depending on your coverage of camp since itís so far away.

    NW: Derek, as always good to hear from you and hope all is well in the Dirty South. Hope youíll be able to make it to the Georgia Dome in December. To answer your question about Pace and Carriker, itís hard to get a good read on how well they are coming along in their weight training but they both certainly pass the eyeball test. Pace looks to be in excellent shape, as lean as heís been in awhile and is working his way back into the mix more and more each day. Carriker is still huge and I donít see much change in him at all in terms of strength up front. I had a conversation with strength coach Dana LeDuc a couple of months ago and he indicated that both Pace and Carriker were coming along well in their lifting and training. I know that isnít a definitive answer but Iím told both are at or near where they were in terms of strength before the injuries.

    As for my conditioning, well itís always better in the summer when I get some down time. My words per minute are good and I hope that Iíve been providing you and the rest of the fans with the information you crave. Now if I can just do something about this dorm bedÖ

    Jalil Bryant

    Hey Nick, do you think that the Rams will go after Rod Coleman or Grady Jackson since Wroten is suspended for a year and do you think that Justin King have more upside than Jonathan Wade?

    NW: It doesnít appear that adding another tackle of any significance is on the docket right now. The Rams are comfortable with Carriker, Clifton Ryan and LaíRoi Glover with Victor Adeyanju as a swing man. Another thing to keep an eye on is potential packages that have James Hall working inside.

    King and Wade are both making progress but I will admit that King seems to be more polished than I assumed he would be. Wade is clearly coming along. What that means for him in terms of playing time or production only time will tell but heís noticeably better than a year ago.

    Sean Findley

    Hello Mr. Wagoner,

    I will enjoy your reports as always this upcoming season. Not going to bore you with my Rams fan ship, but I am optimistic that this team will be back on track this year. I love the "The Road to Super Bowl...starts here" observation. One departure that does leave me somewhat bewildered is that of Isaac B. I don't understand that one, and living in the Bay Area, CA...49er land makes it even more ironic. I only wish him the best, because he is among the best...ever.

    NW: Thanks for the kind words. I wrote earlier this week about how much I miss having Jack Snow around here at training camp. Although itís obviously a different situation, I miss having Isaac around, too. His subtle humor and his relentless passion for the game made him a lot of fun to be around. Itís strange not to see 80 out there every day. It came down to a business decision and both sides did what was best for them. Thereís no doubt Isaac will be a handful for at least two games this season.

    Terry Paffenroth

    Do/will the Rams be doing anything special for kids going to practices?

    I was a fan of the Rams growing up while they were in LA. I also attended Concordia and still live in the Milwaukee area. My five-year-old son is becoming a huge football fan who happened to see on the television that the team started practice here this week.

    NW: I hope you and your son can/have made it over to a practice. While there arenít any clearly defined activities for kids, there is a lot of access to the players and coaches. There arenít a ton of people at the practices so when itís over, if you and your son have a camera or a pen and something to sign, he can get up close and personal with many of the players and coaches.

    Al Price

    The over/under on Rams wins is 6.5... I think they could win 8 or 9 if they stay healthy. How many do you predict?

    NW: I donít like to make preseason predictions if only because we never know what to expect from the other teams around the league. Nobody expected New Orleans to have such a drop off last year or Cleveland to improve so much. Thereís no way to predict that by going through the schedule. So Iíll take the easy way out and say thisÖif the Rams can get through an apparently brutal first part of the schedule with a solid record, they have as good a shot as anybody to win the NFC West. To me, itís that wide open.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Mailbag: July 30

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Nickís Mailbag: July 30, 2008

    (Any opinions are those of Senior Writer Nick Wagoner; they do not necessarily represent those of the Rams).

    MEQUON, Wis. Ė


    Al Price

    The over/under on Rams wins is 6.5... I think they could win 8 or 9 if they stay healthy. How many do you predict?

    NW: I donít like to make preseason predictions if only because we never know what to expect from the other teams around the league. Nobody expected New Orleans to have such a drop off last year or Cleveland to improve so much. Thereís no way to predict that by going through the schedule. So Iíll take the easy way out and say thisÖif the Rams can get through an apparently brutal first part of the schedule with a solid record, they have as good a shot as anybody to win the NFC West. To me, itís that wide open.
    Great read lots of good questions. I especially liked this last one. I just wish I knew what NW meant by a "SOLID RECORD"?

  3. #3
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
    RamsFanSam is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Re: Nick's Mailbag: July 30

    A "Solid Record" is when we win at least 3 of 8, and make it out without any significant injuries...other than not winning them all.

  4. #4
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    Re: Nick's Mailbag: July 30

    We can hope for a 3-3 for starters. That would be ok for a team that only won 3 overall.
    THE FIELD GOAL

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