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    Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Offseason update: St. Louis Rams


    By Vic Carucci
    National Editor, NFL.com




    (June 14, 2007) -- This is what I like about the St. Louis Rams' offseason moves: They took steps to help their defense reach the much higher level of production expected of Jim Haslett's aggressive-minded scheme. Hired by then-rookie coach Scott Linehan as defensive coordinator last year, Haslett was woefully short of quality pass-rushers and run-stoppers. He isn't anymore.

    The Rams' biggest addition to upgrade their pass rush was defensive end James Hall, whom they acquired from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. Hall has outstanding quickness off the ball, which along with his active style of play and knack for avoiding blockers allows him to overcome his smallish, 6-foot-2, 270-pound frame.


    Is Adam Carriker getting close to Marc Bulger because of talent or a suspect offensive line?
    The Rams addressed their porous run defense by making a tackle, former Nebraska standout Adam Carriker, their first-round draft pick. Carriker played end in college, but he has the size (6-6, 291 pounds), strength and versatility to start at tackle. He looks as if he will become the much-needed solid and steady force who should do plenty to allow Hall and fellow end Leonard Little be more effective.

    St. Louis used the draft to pick up two other tackles, fifth-rounder Clifton Ryan from Michigan State and seventh-rounder Keith Jackson from Arkansas, who could make immediate contributions as part of a rotation. The selections made it easier for the Rams to ship off underachieving tackle Jimmy Kennedy to the Denver Broncos.

    The Rams didn't stop with defense in their offseason shopping. They added a big-play receiver in free agent Drew Bennett, formerly of the Tennessee Titans. He should nicely fill the vacancy created after Kevin Curtis signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. The Rams made another offensive upgrade in former Miami Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael, who offers an impressive combination of athleticism and toughness. McMichael also is particularly dangerous in the red zone.

    Dante Hall, acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, adds a game-breaker to the Rams return game. The challenge will be for special-teams coach Al Roberts to find the players who can create running room for Hall. St. Louis' special teams also received a boost with the free-agent signing of ex-Dolphins punter Donnie Jones.

    Fullback Brian Leonard, a second-round choice from Rutgers, offers the sort of versatility the offensive-minded Linehan should be able to use to the fullest. Leonard's blocking, running and receiving figure to make him a perfect complement to featured back Steven Jackson.

    This is what concerns me: The offensive line. The Rams improved this unit's interior last year, but questions linger. Center Andy McCollum is trying to battle back from a season-ending knee injury he suffered in Week 1 in 2006. His replacement, Brett Romberg, was solid enough to compete in training camp this summer to be the permanent starter. But at 6-3 and 293 pounds, is Romberg large enough to hold up physically if he wins the job or McCollum is injured again? Right tackle Alex Barron gets flagged far too often for false starts.

    The Rams don't appear to have done enough to address their lack of depth at cornerback. As a matter of fact, there is reason to wonder whether starter Fakhir Brown, who was solid in '06, is capable of putting together back-to-back decent seasons


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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Signing two veteran corners and drafting another isnt addressing lack of depth at corner? I know we let Butler and Fisher go, but Butler wasnt going to play and Fisher was constantly criticised

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Quote Originally Posted by tomahawk247 View Post
    Signing two veteran corners and drafting another isnt addressing lack of depth at corner? I know we let Butler and Fisher go, but Butler wasnt going to play and Fisher was constantly criticised
    yeah and he also says that we dont have a pass rush problem anymore and his critisism of our O-line is a tad unfair...i pay more attention to our O-line than any other aspect of our team and i tell you im happier with what we got there right now than ive been in a long time!

    seems like he hasn`t done his research very well to me!
    Last edited by Drew; -06-15-2007 at 09:18 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    i dont hink we have a pass rush problem tbh

    Little is great and Hall is underrated
    we do need some youth though but that will come in next years draft

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    I was kind of surprised at his conclusions here, as well. Last year we had guys like Setterstrom, Incognito, and Romberg playing at a high level. If Romberg can't cut it, we've got McCollum, and we drafted Dustin Fry. We've got a competent backup at tackle in Steussie. Claude Terrell has potential at guard. Barron does get flagged for false starts too often, but of all the things to worry about on this team, the offensive line is the biggest concern?

    And I'd like to know exactly what reason we have to wonder whether Brown is capable of back-to-back solid seasons. He's not injured, and that has been what has held him back in the past. It's not exactly like the pass rush made him look better than he really was last year.
    Last edited by Goldenfleece; -06-15-2007 at 10:27 AM.

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Romberg is about the same size as olin kruetz if not a little bigger so I dont know what this guy is talking about being about being able to hold up physically. This guy really dropped the ball. Do you think he saw our line manhandle the vikings last year?

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    And I'd like to know exactly what reason we have to wonder whether Brown is capable of back-to-back solid seasons. He's not injured, and that has been what has held him back in the past. It's not exactly like the pass rush made him look better than he really was last year.
    Yeah, this jumped out at me too. Carucci says "as a matter of FACT" but doesn't provide any facts on his reasoning. I know a lot of people aren't high on Brown, but I liked what I saw last year before he got injured and if he gets adequate support up front, IMO he'll be more than solid in 2007.

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    You guys have to remember two things.
    1) this guy is writer, he can't possibly know about every team.
    2) our team wasn't that great, so refer to 1 meaning if we were a great team then he would have reason to know.

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Yes, it's true, JJigga. No given sports writer can possibly know every updated detail about every team player, coach and water boy.

    Often times we the fans know more and better based on the collective gathering of info constantly flowing in the media and since we are Rams fans, we focus more keenly on these specifics usually in a timely manner.

    That's what makes ClanRam so fine a resource. RamWraith posting the latest Rams news in cyberspace; then we have Avenger Poll, Nicxpertise, General Counseling, Ramman68-2007, RnD'n RamPal; also, an excellent running V6, Fleece O'gold, R8rh8rmike Ramlover, Tomahawk247-2007, CoyBacon wr-r-u-now, Adarian2; RF16 going on 20, Bruce4life, RamsTil-I-Die and beyond... and so many other excellent members that keep this source alive, active and accurate.

    That's why I enjoy this Clan out of site Ram recourse so much! :bash:


    Brett Romberg, was solid enough to compete in training camp this summer to be the permanent starter. But at 6-3 and 293 pounds, is Romberg large enough to hold up physically if he wins the job or McCollum is injured again? -- V. Carucci
    Andy McCollum stands 6-4, 300 lbs. Romberg is listed at 6-3 295-298, just a-waffle-and-couple-of-kosher-beef-sausages-for-breakfast shy of 300. I know that there can be a slight physical edge between two men of the same physique (center of gravity, arm length, hands, etc.) but I think Brett will be fine.
    Last edited by RealRam; -06-15-2007 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Quote

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    What a bunch of homers you guys are. Seriously, you're upset that he thinks we have questions on the o-line? We *do* have questions on the o-line. Plus, he was pretty easy on the pass rush thing - we have no idea whether Hall is the answer or not.

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    I think this guy was pretty much accurate up until the end of this thing. How can he say that we don't have a good offensive line? Did he miss the game where we manhandled two of the biggest defensive tackles in the game? I can understand why he might think that this unit isn't good since we have been putting together a mash unit every year for a while. I think that we can disprove this if we can manage to stay relatively healthy on the offensive line this year and get Alex Barron to stop all these false starts.

    As for the corner position. There is no proof to back up the statements he made about Brown. As for depth? We have Tye Hill and Fakhir Brown as our starters. Then we have Ron Bartell as our nickel who has made great strides. I believe that if called upon he could fill in for Brown as our starters. For depth behind them I can understand why he could have some concerns about starters, but how many of those guys are actually going to get starts this year?

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    What a bunch of homers you guys are. Seriously, you're upset that he thinks we have questions on the o-line? We *do* have questions on the o-line. Plus, he was pretty easy on the pass rush thing - we have no idea whether Hall is the answer or not.
    Well, it's all relative. I just think if you want to look for things not to like about this team, there are bigger issues to worry about than nitpicking about Romberg's size. I agree that he went pretty easy on the pass rush and the defensive line in general...and really the defense in general.

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    For the record, I like Carucci. I think he's one of the better balanced sports writers. A pro.

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    What a bunch of homers you guys are. Seriously, you're upset that he thinks we have questions on the o-line? We *do* have questions on the o-line. Plus, he was pretty easy on the pass rush thing - we have no idea whether Hall is the answer or not.

    I don't think we're homers as much as this reporter is just wrong. He likes our dl and doesn't like our ol and cbs? This should be the other way around. The ol looks kind of questionable on paper but we had like 15 different olines last year and I think this only helps with experience and depth. They really started to gel together the second half of last season. Incognito and Barron have the potential to be dominate in this league. I reallly like out chances on oline. I think we have good depth on oline and hill was pretty good last year and will only get better on his second season.

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    Re: Offseason update: St. Louis Rams by Vic Carucci

    Quote Originally Posted by helorm341 View Post
    I don't think we're homers as much as this reporter is just wrong. He likes our dl and doesn't like our ol and cbs? This should be the other way around.
    Think of it like this -- all three of these were weaknesses in some respects and we only made moves to improve one of them, the defensive line. I can see why he might focus on where we didn't make moves.

    The ol looks kind of questionable on paper but we had like 15 different olines last year and I think this only helps with experience and depth. They really started to gel together the second half of last season.
    I don't see why having an injury prone offensive line means that he shouldn't think our OL is a potential team weaknesses. And the argument about geling at the end of the season doesn't resonate as we played the weakest part of our schedule toward the end. For example, the Vikings have some good DTs...but they had absolutely no pass rush and not much of a secondary either. I don't find it so impressive that we were able score on their defense that I no longer wonder about interior line play.

    Incognito and Barron have the potential to be dominate in this league. I reallly like out chances on oline. I think we have good depth on oline and hill was pretty good last year and will only get better on his second season.
    Hill showed flashes, but he clearly needs to be more consistent. Ditto guys like Romberg. I agree that thinks look better now than they did at the beginning of last season, but saying there is reason for hope is a lot different than knowing they'll be good. None of know, many of us are hopeful. There is no reason for Carucci to write about hopefulness and every reason to try to give an honest assessment. All I was saying is that folks here were overreacting to his criticism of the OL and secondary depth, especially when we all know that there is plenty of room for criticism there.

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