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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
    MauiRam is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW...m?mode=nfcwest

    St. Louis

    The “Greatest Show on Turf,” one of the greatest offensive machines in NFL history, closed up shop a few years ago. Kurt Warner now works in Arizona as a backup, and Marshall Faulk is now a talking head for the NFL Network.

    No one’s comparing this current cast of skill-position players with that group. Nonetheless, the Rams have assembled a potent group of pass catchers, throwers, and ballcarriers under the Gateway Arch. The additions of WR Drew Bennett and TE Randy McMichael give St. Louis five players who caught at least 46 passes in 2006. Now, teams that try to double Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce on the outside could be burned by Bennett and McMichael over the middle. Add RB Steven Jackson to the mix, with what appears to be an improved offensive line, and points shouldn’t be a problem.

    Then again, points haven’t been a problem in St. Louis since the 1999 Super Bowl championship season. It has been the defense and special teams that have been a problem. The Rams have two new starters on the defensive line in James Hall and Adam Carriker, and a new return man in Dante Hall.

    If the defense and special teams are merely average — which will be an improvement — this will be a playoff team. The offense is that potent.

    Quarterbacks — With a new $65 million contract, a year in Scott Linehan’s system, and some new toys on offense, Marc Bulger has it all going for him. It will be hard to top last year’s production, because Bulger had a career year in most statistical categories. Although he doesn’t have the strongest arm, Bulger remains one of the league’s most accurate passers. Under Linehan, he learned to minimize mistakes by not forcing the football and by hitting check-down receivers. With strong-armed veteran Gus Frerotte on the bench, the Rams have one of the best 1-2 QB tandems in football. Grade: A.

    Running backs — After his breakout ’06 season, Jackson has elevated his game to the point where he’s generally considered among the top two or three running backs in the game. Jackson’s brash goal for this season is 2,500 yards from scrimmage — a feat which has never been done before — but also may be unattainable given the multiple options in the St. Louis offense this season. In any event, Jackson is now the centerpiece of the St. Louis offense, an all-around back who runs with speed and power, catches the ball out of the backfield and holds up well in pass protection. Second-round draft pick Brian Leonard is a versatile role player who will occasionally spell Jackson, play some fullback, and see some duty as a third-down back. Grade: A-minus.

    Receivers — Following offseason knee surgery, six-time Pro Bowl selection Holt won’t quite be 100 percent at the start of the regular season, but he’ll be close. One of the league’s most productive pass catchers this decade, Holt remains a deep threat and a precise route runner. Four-time Pro Bowler Bruce isn’t as fast as he was 10 years ago, but reports of his demise are highly exaggerated. At age 34, Bruce can still get downfield and still gain separation. Bennett adds a new dimension to the passing game because of his height (6-foot-5). He will be a threat in the red zone, over the middle and down the sideline on fade routes. Linehan doesn’t use four-WR sets very often, but there will be some packages involving Dante Hall, particularly quick-hitting plays that try to isolate him on the perimeter. Since the move to St. Louis in ’95, the Rams haven’t had a pass-catching threat like McMichael. Although it didn’t happen much last year, Linehan likes to throw to tight ends, so look for McMichael to be involved in the passing game, mainly as a safety valve and short-to-medium option. McMichael also helps the running game and pass protection because he’s a good blocker as well. With McMichael on hand, last year’s starter — Joe Klopfenstein — will be the “move” tight end, shifting, going in motion and occasionally lining up in the backfield like a fullback. His altered job assignments should make better use of Klopfenstein’s talent. He has pass-catching skill but is merely decent as a blocker. Linehan uses a lot of two-TE sets, so Klopfenstein will be on the field a lot. Grade: B-plus.

    Offensive linemen — With longtime ORG Adam Timmerman gone, a youth movement is under way up front. Rough-and-tumble Richie Incognito replaces Timmerman. He’s a talented thumper who must still learn to control his emotions and avoid silly penalties. At left guard, Mark Setterstrom was a pleasant late-season surprise as a rookie last season. He plays with tenacity, good leverage and consistency. ORT Alex Barron needs to cut down on false-start penalties and hold up better against the bull rush. There are signs that he is maturing as an NFL player and could be headed to a breakthrough season. Seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace remains one of the game’s top left tackles, but he’s coming off a left triceps injury that sidelined him for the final seven games of ’06. Either Brett Romberg or Andy McCollum will give the team a steady presence at center. Grade: B.

    Defensive linemen — Rather than pick up a veteran nose tackle, the Rams are putting all their eggs in Carriker’s basket. The Rams are hoping the rookie from Nebraska, who played defensive end in college, can shore up their interior run defense. Judging by what has transpired in training camp and the preseason, Carriker has made a surprisingly smooth transition to the position, playing with strength and passion. At right end, the Rams hope former Detroit Lion James Hall can complement DLE Leonard Little on passing downs, while helping to shore up the perimeter run defense. At the other DT spot, 12-year veteran La’Roi Glover will rotate with improving second-year man Claude Wroten. Grade: B-minus.

    Linebackers — It’s the same three starters as ’06, but WLB Pisa Tinoisamoa is healthy — and bigger and stronger — following offseason surgery. A healthy Tinoisamoa, paired with MLB Will Witherspoon, gives the Rams a pair of heat-seeking missiles who can roam sideline to sideline. On the strong side, Brandon Chillar is a solid, underrated performer, who holds up well against the run. The addition of Chris Draft from Carolina gives St. Louis another starting-quality linebacker who can play all three positions, be a core special-teams player and provide excellent leadership. Grade: B.

    Defensive backs — What figured to be a solid, if unspectacular, unit was jolted by the July news that CB Fakhir Brown would serve a four-game suspension at the start of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Unproven Ron Bartell, normally the nickel back, steps in for Brown at corner. Either veteran Lenny Walls or rookie Jonathan Wade will be the third corner off the bench in nickel situations. They must hold the fort until the underrated Brown returns. At the other corner, second-year man Tye Hill looks like an up-and-coming cover corner. Corey Chavous is solid at strong safety and provides leadership. Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe is an emerging playmaker at free safety. Grade: C-plus.

    Special teams — The kickers aren’t a problem. PK Jeff Wilkins is one of the league’s best and is particularly effective from 50-plus yards out. P Donnie Jones, the former Dolphin, has a young, strong leg. The trade for Dante Hall gives the Rams an electric return man for the first time in years. Even if Hall doesn’t approach the production of his glory days with Kansas City, he will be an upgrade over what the Rams have been going with lately. But the coverage units have been so bad for so long, seeing will be believing when it comes to any improvement there. Grade: B-minus.


  2. #2
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    My modifications follow.

    Quarterbacks — Grade: from A- to A.

    Running backs — Grade: no change, A -. A 'minus' here only because Leonard is unproven. Potential wise, I think we have a solid 'A' in this department.

    Receivers — Grade: from B to B+.

    Offensive linemen — Grade: no change. B. Very close to a B+!

    Defensive linemen — Grade: from B- to C. Very close to a C-!

    Linebackers — Grade: from B to B -.

    Defensive backs — Grade: from C+ to C - . Very close to a C!

    Special teams — Grade: from B- to C. Very close to D+!


    Overall I agree w/PFW's assessment. Even a bit too generous! :O

    But I sure do like and agree with this statement:

    "If the defense and special teams are merely average — which will be an improvement — this will be a playoff team. The offense is that potent."

    GO RAMS! :bash:
    Last edited by RealRam; -08-30-2007 at 03:45 PM. Reason: Deleted 1st quote; changed format.

  3. #3
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    It's about time I read an article where somebody actually bothered to do their homework. Good job.

  4. #4
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Receivers — Grade: from B to B+.
    Really? You only give them a B+? I'm surprised RR.

    I think even though age is a factor, I still think an A is a fair grade. They are still up there with, or even above the Colts, Cards, and Bengals overall as a WR group.
    BRUUUUUUUUCE


  5. #5
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    Quote Originally Posted by ramsbruce View Post
    Really? You only give them a B+? I'm surprised RR.

    I think even though age is a factor, I still think an A is a fair grade. They are still up there with, or even above the Colts, Cards, and Bengals overall as a WR group.
    Not only are they up there, they're number 1 as a group.:r



    A+

  6. #6
    Guam rammer's Avatar
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    Good read. here's my take for the Offense. If the offensive line doesnt man up and protect....everybody's grade goes down.
    And if the Defensive line doesnt stop the run or pressure the QB with effectiveness.....they won't even get a grade.
    It starts up front so I'm giving everybody A's and A+'s because i want to see our rams in the SB.

  7. #7
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    I'd give the receivers an A, but I agree it's a bit too generous on the defensive side of the ball. If a C is supposed to be average, then our whole defense is above average. I just don't see that.

    My rankings would be something like this:

    Quarterbacks — A (one of the top 5 or 6 QBs in the league and a solid backup)

    Running backs — A-

    Receivers — A+ (top four receiving options compare favorably to any other team in the league)

    Offensive linemen — B- (Young, talented, but undisciplined line if last year is any indication)

    Defensive linemen — C+ (great starting defensive ends, but lack of depth and inexperience are problems)

    Linebackers — B- (if Pisa wasn't such an injury risk, this would be a little higher)

    Defensive backs — C- (inexperience and Brownout)

    Special teams — C (Hall, Wilkins, and D. Jones good; coverage teams bad)

  8. #8
    suhpr3me's Avatar
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    Lets be honest..

    Quarterbacks - A
    Running Backs - A-
    Recievers- A
    Offensive Linement - B-
    Defensive Linemen - B
    Linebackers - C-
    Defensive Backs - C+
    Special Teams - D

  9. #9
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    Re: PFW on the Rams upcoming season ...

    you have to bump WRs up to an A, especially when you see how well Looker and Hagans have played in the 5th and 6th WR spots during pre season

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