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Thread: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

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    PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    By Dan Arkush
    June 28, 2012

    New Rams head coach Jeff Fisher isn’t banking solely on his well-regarded staff of defensive coaches to come to the rescue in the wake of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ indefinite suspension. The way we hear it, Fisher is also counting on a major pick-me-up on the other side of the ball courtesy of new offensive line coach Paul Boudreau, who earned strong reviews in Atlanta, where he managed to develop a very capable unit despite a lack of heralded talent.

    “He’s known for developing people, and that’s what they’re hoping he’ll do here, particularly at left guard,” said one team insider.

    Among a number of unsettled positions for the Rams, left guard might be at the top of the list at the moment, with journeyman Bryan Mattison appearing to have a leg up on a host of challengers.

    “He played surprisingly well,” the insider said of Mattison, who started the final four games last season at left guard (the first four starts of his career) after being claimed off waivers from the Ravens late last November. “He’s a big guy, a converted D-lineman with a defensive mentality. He looks like the type of guy Boudreau could make into something.”

    But word is Mattison could be facing some heavy competition at left guard. Free-agent pickups Quinn Ojinnaka and Robert Turner have previously played under Boudreau in Atlanta and new Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with the Jets, respectively, and could end up giving Mattison a run for his money later this summer, although Turner has been playing mostly center up to now with newly acquired Scott Wells having been sidelined by minor knee issues.

    In addition, long-armed fifth-round rookie Rokevious Watkins, who has excellent size, has gotten some early reps at left guard and could very well end up being a factor.


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    Re: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    I hope Boudreau's up to the task of getting this unit to play well, but I don't exactly have great memories of his previous stint in St. Louis. He has his job cut out for him here, I think.

    It's a bit of a concern for me - as much as one can be concerned in the early stages of OTAs and minicamps - that the team has been working with a patchwork line so far this offseason.

    Saffold isn't participating in team drills due to his previous injury. Wells has missed the entire mini camp with a lingering knee scope. There's a big question mark as to who is going to fill the role at left guard; any of the guys in the mix who win the job will come in with limited experience and probably have some growing pains. Not to mention the task of getting Jason Smith to play up to his talent.

    We say it every year, but the efficiency of an offense really begins up front with a team's ability to win the battle in the trenches. You can only achieve success if you're able to consistently open holes in the running game and provide a pocket for your quarterback to operate in. If you can't do either of these things consistently, then you're looking at a long season.

    I wish Boudreau the best of luck.
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    Re: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I hope Boudreau's up to the task of getting this unit to play well, but I don't exactly have great memories of his previous stint in St. Louis. He has his job cut out for him here, I think.

    It's a bit of a concern for me - as much as one can be concerned in the early stages of OTAs and minicamps - that the team has been working with a patchwork line so far this offseason.

    Saffold isn't participating in team drills due to his previous injury. Wells has missed the entire mini camp with a lingering knee scope. There's a big question mark as to who is going to fill the role at left guard; any of the guys in the mix who win the job will come in with limited experience and probably have some growing pains. Not to mention the task of getting Jason Smith to play up to his talent.

    We say it every year, but the efficiency of an offense really begins up front with a team's ability to win the battle in the trenches. You can only achieve success if you're able to consistently open holes in the running game and provide a pocket for your quarterback to operate in. If you can't do either of these things consistently, then you're looking at a long season.

    I wish Boudreau the best of luck.
    Well stated. It is an old cliche but true nonetheless: it all starts up front. Without protection for the QB, the receivers can't get separation and Sam will end up on his back often and eventually injured again.

    The offensive line is really a source of both frustration and bewilderment for me because it was ALWAYS a tremendous area of strength for us. Slater, Pace, Rich Saul, Tom Mack, Kent Hill, Dennis Harrah, Doug Smith, Tom Newberry et.al- great, great units over the years. Now it's a revolving door of underachievers, injury-riddled guys and stop gap players. Boudreau has his work cut out for him. Hopefully, he can get these guys to perform at a high level.

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    Re: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    Well stated. It is an old cliche but true nonetheless: it all starts up front. Without protection for the QB, the receivers can't get separation and Sam will end up on his back often and eventually injured again.

    The offensive line is really a source of both frustration and bewilderment for me because it was ALWAYS a tremendous area of strength for us. Slater, Pace, Rich Saul, Tom Mack, Kent Hill, Dennis Harrah, Doug Smith, Tom Newberry et.al- great, great units over the years. Now it's a revolving door of underachievers, injury-riddled guys and stop gap players. Boudreau has his work cut out for him. Hopefully, he can get these guys to perform at a high level.
    The bright side is that I think this group has the talent to make it happen. Scott Wells is coming off of a Pro Bowl year (for those who still believe that means something) and has a Super Bowl ring to motivate his new team. Harvey Dahl was a quality free agent pick-up by the last regime and has secured a right guard spot that for too often was manned by journeymen like Adam Goldberg. Jason Smith certainly has the talent to be a quality player in this league, the question is whether there's a coach out there who can get him to realize it. Saffold showed he was capable of playing well on the blind side in 2010, and already there are reports that Boudreau has helped him improve on some technique issues.

    If Boudreau actually is the kind of coach that some articles praise him as being, and if he can get these guys to play up to their potential, then this unit could be a strength of the team. I've been critical of Boudreau when it came to his previous time with the Rams, because my memories of the 2006-2007 offensive lines were not particularly glowing. But looking back at the talent of the unit he was working with in '07, it might be the worst group the Rams have fielded in the past decade. With some better talent at his disposal, it'll be interesting to see what he can help this group accomplish.
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    Re: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    The bright side is that I think this group has the talent to make it happen. Scott Wells is coming off of a Pro Bowl year (for those who still believe that means something) and has a Super Bowl ring to motivate his new team. Harvey Dahl was a quality free agent pick-up by the last regime and has secured a right guard spot that for too often was manned by journeymen like Adam Goldberg. Jason Smith certainly has the talent to be a quality player in this league, the question is whether there's a coach out there who can get him to realize it. Saffold showed he was capable of playing well on the blind side in 2010, and already there are reports that Boudreau has helped him improve on some technique issues.

    If Boudreau actually is the kind of coach that some articles praise him as being, and if he can get these guys to play up to their potential, then this unit could be a strength of the team. I've been critical of Boudreau when it came to his previous time with the Rams, because my memories of the 2006-2007 offensive lines were not particularly glowing. But looking back at the talent of the unit he was working with in '07, it might be the worst group the Rams have fielded in the past decade. With some better talent at his disposal, it'll be interesting to see what he can help this group accomplish.
    I agree there is a bright spot here and with your overall assessment. I have not yet given up on Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold, disappointing as they both were last season. These two guys are key- young, high draft picks that were selected to help anchor the line for years to come. They simply have to perform well for us. I sincerely hope they can stay healthy and produce to the level many thought possible. All that said, it is a HUGE year for both of them, and we're in trouble if each falters badly.

    I do like Dahl- a player with a bit of an edge to him which should fit in well with the Fisher coaching mentality. And by the accounts I've read, Wells was a good addition, and hopefully the "minor" knee issues are just that and nothing more.

    It could certainly work out for us. Hopefully, Boudreau will be the tonic this unit needs.
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    Re: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    Boudreau will succeed because he is French...Viva la France!!

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    Re: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    The bright side is that I think this group has the talent to make it happen. Scott Wells is coming off of a Pro Bowl year (for those who still believe that means something) and has a Super Bowl ring to motivate his new team. Harvey Dahl was a quality free agent pick-up by the last regime and has secured a right guard spot that for too often was manned by journeymen like Adam Goldberg. Jason Smith certainly has the talent to be a quality player in this league, the question is whether there's a coach out there who can get him to realize it. Saffold showed he was capable of playing well on the blind side in 2010, and already there are reports that Boudreau has helped him improve on some technique issues.
    I believe Scott Wells is going to be a great addition to our line. He brings instant veteran credibility, and more importantly he will be calling out the blocking assignments on every play. McDaniels dumped that responsibility on Bradford last year along with having to learn an entirely new offense. Add to that no offseason, OTAs, minicamps or coaching input and you have a recipe for trouble. There should be far more accountability with this year's O-line group than last year's with Wells making all the line calls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    If Boudreau actually is the kind of coach that some articles praise him as being, and if he can get these guys to play up to their potential, then this unit could be a strength of the team. I've been critical of Boudreau when it came to his previous time with the Rams, because my memories of the 2006-2007 offensive lines were not particularly glowing. But looking back at the talent of the unit he was working with in '07, it might be the worst group the Rams have fielded in the past decade. With some better talent at his disposal, it'll be interesting to see what he can help this group accomplish.
    I don't pretend to know how good of a coach Paul Boudreau is, but Jeff Fisher hired him, and that alone says something. If Jeff wants to run the ball successfully, he's obviously going to need an O-line coach who can get the most out of his group. It will be interesting to watch the development of rookie Rokevious Watkins under Boudreau's tutelage ..

    In the end, it's the players who can make or break coaches. IMO we've got more talent today on our O-line than we did back in 2006 - 2007. That opinion however, is just that of a kool-aid slurping fan. In the meantime, I'll just keep my fingers crossed ..

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    Re: PFW: Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise ..

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Boudreau will succeed because he is French...Viva la France!!
    That just made me lose all confidence in his ability to instill anything but a retreat mentality into the offensive line

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