Q&A with Randy Karraker from the HERD Board
Monday, August 09 2004 @ 10:16 PM CDT
Contributed by: Shaky


zn:

Howdy to Randy, and howdy to the herd.

Randy, do you agree or disagree with the following:

The question is, is it possible to replace a hyped up Turley who in fact had
trouble adjusting to the system last year, didn't LIKE the system blocking especially>, was injured at least part of the time ANYWAY, and was
never much of a run blocker on top of it? Okay, so, how good will this
year's OL be? That's an open question, but I sincerely doubt they will be
worse than last year when the offense was 30th in rushing and 29th in sacks
allowed supplemental blockers--TE, FB, etc.>.

I am of course being deliberately provocative and controversial and stuff,
but still, just use that as a platform and to go anywhere you want with it.

Thanks Randy and keep up the (as usual) good work.


RK:


Thanks for the comments. Sure it's possible (probable) to replace Turley,
and the offensive line can be a lot better. As they say, the cemeteries are
full of indispensable people, so any OL is replaceable. The bigger thing to
me is that individuals don't make a great line. Matt Light, Russ Hochstein,
Dan Koppen, Joe Andruzzi and Tom Ashworth won last year's Super Bowl. The
other side had Steussie, Donnaley, Mitchell, Jeno James and Jordan Gross. A
couple of good players, a couple of average ones, and a rookie. I'm more
than OK with Pace and Grant Williams at T. My concern is that Timmerman and
McCollum, with lots of miles on them, got pushed around a little bit last
season. I think they need to be more stout, a tougher group than last year.
Additionally, while Turley didn't take well to the coaching and the system,
he's still a great player. It couldn't hurt to have him.



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RamFanInPA:

Pace Comments BS?????
Orlando Pace stated a while back how he thought he and the Rams could get a
long term deal done. The Rams can't negotiate until he signs the tender
correct? So, why not sign the tender, get into camp, and then start
negotiating the long term deal!!!! Does Pace just want to skip camp? Was his
"big" statements just crap? When do you expect Pace to sign the tender and
get into camp?

Randy, thanks for all you do!

RK:

It appears that his comments were BS. You're right in that they can't
negotiate with him until he signs the tender. Everyone in Macomb thinks
he'll be in at the end of camp, just like last season, and the players I
talked to don't seem to have a big problem with it. Take care, and thanks.



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CedarRAM:

Drafting Offensive line?


Why won't this team actually spend an early draft choice on the offensive
line? I realize they spent a "2" on Kyle Turley but they also paid top
dollar for him contract-wise much more than a late-second rounder would have
cost.

It seems most of the really good guards and centers in this league were
drafted at the end of the first round, or in rounds two or three. The Rams
never seem to draft anything but LT's that high.

Thanks for your time!



RK:
That's just a philosophy they have. I believe it was borne of Hanifan's
ability to make offensive linemen over the years. The old Big Red line had
Dierdorf, a second rounder, than then a bunch of later round guys or FA's.
The Hogs were all late guys or FA's except for Mark May. Once again, look at
that Patriot line in the previous answer. Perhaps that philosophy will
change with Matsko, but I believe the answer is that it's more financially
prudent to either get a guy who can play right away, or develop a cheaper
guy. But, they don't want to develop an expensive, high round choice.




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RamDynasty:
Kickoff and Punt Returners?"
Who are the candidates and which ones are going to make the final roster?
IMO Brian Sump is camp fodder or a practice squader.


RK:

McDonald and Groce have shared PR duties so far in camp, with Groce having
a slight edge so far.even though McDonald was the guy in the scrimmage.
I agree about Sump, because I don't see him beating out any of last year's
six receivers.
Right now, Harris is still the favorite to be the KR.



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ramcat:

Haven't heard much about lb play. Curious if you have some thoughts on whose
distinguishing themselves? Whose going to stick?

RK:
Well, certainly the starters. They like Chillar. I thought Faulk and Newson
showed well in the practices I saw. Spoon was out. McWilliams didn't do much
for me. Justin Smith got accolades from Charley Armey...but I didn't see
much from him either. I'd say Faulk, Newson and Chillar will be the backups.


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Final Look Of The OL

Starting OL for 2004,

Pace, Dishman, McCollum, Timmerman, Randell?

That's what my brother-in-law heard the strength coach say at Macomb.

Old Hacker

"Go Rams !!!!!!!!!!"

RK:
Good go hear from you. Williams will definitely be a starter if Turley isn't
there. Dishman is too fat right now, he's going to need to lose 30 pounds to
play for this team. If I had to guess about opening day, I'd say Pace,
either King or Tercero, McCollum, Timmerman and Williams. Randall will be
this year's Rod Jones.



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mjr007:

Bears scrimmages

I've heard a lot of good things about both the offense and defense
signifying a clearly apparent superiority over the Bears in scrimmages with
them over the weekend.

I've heard lots of things with regard to how this team will evolve more to a
running game this year. With the additions of rookie Steven Jackson, with
the OL pickups we've made and with Williams starting at RT due to Turley's
injury, it would seems we'll have a much better rushing attack coupled with
a better run blocking team this year.

Do you agree with this notion of the Rams becoming much more of a rushing
team vs. passing team and what is your assessment as to how they will
perform?

Thanks again, Randy.


RK:

I think they started leaning that way last season, but you and I both know
Martz. Keep in mind about that scrimmage that Bruce, Holt, Bulger, Faulk,
Little, Thomas and the entire defensive backfield didn't get on the field,
so the Rams second team was faster and better than Chicago, and they did run
a lot. Jackson does look good, and depending on Bulger's and the o-line's
progress (or lack thereof), I could envision more balance. But, Martz loves
to throw the ball, he feels like he has at least four legitimate receivers
with a healthy Curtis and Looker, and loves the way Bulger is throwing. If
Bulger and the pass protection prove themselves, I think Mike will continue
to be aggressive in throwing the ball, and they'll be a typical Rams
offense.



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Jedimach:

Rams draft picks...

How are each of the Rams 2004 draft picks doing? I'm sure Jackson is already
addressed.


RK:

Hargrove is getting raves from coaches and teammates. He'll likely play and
contribute more than any of us thought on draft day. Chillar was hurt when I
was in Macomb, but he seems to be entrenched as the fourth linebacker.
Shivers, to me, was the most visible backup safety. He made plays in
practice. I like him better than Lucas or Coady so far (practice, mind you),
but I didn't get to see Knight. Smoker throws the heck out of the ball. I'm
intrigued to see him in a game Thursday. Larry Turner is noticeable in
practice, and I'd put my money on him being the starting center in '05. I
didn't get to see Jensen, but being moved to FB probably isn't a good sign
for him.



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Jedimach:

NFC West...

What is your order of finish for the upcoming season?

What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of each team?


RK:

I haven't really looked at the other NFC West schedules, but I would think
the Rams and Seahawks will battle down to the wire, with Arizona third and
S.F. fourth. I really like Seattle's balance on offense, they don't have any
weaknesses there. On defense, Grant Wistrom needs to be healthy and they
have to get a pass rush from their young DT's. Their defensive backfield is
terrific. Hasselbeck needs to learn how to win on the road. I loved the
Arizona offense until Shipp and Johnson got hurt. McCown will be winging it
to Boldin and Fitzgerald now. They just don't have any playmakers on
defense. I could see them being pesky in the opener. I'm not a fan of this
year's *****. They lose Deese and Stone, T.O. and Garcia. Kwame Harris
should be good at some point, so should Loyd and Barlow. But not right now.
On defense, they have no pass rush to speak of, especially with Peterson
holding out. They could be the worst team in the NFC.


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RandomAccessMemory:

Pete Kendall

Why didn't they go after him?

He's better than any of their interior linemen to begin w ith.Wohlabuagh's
injury would have been a perfect impetus to go out and get him.

RK:

"But it didn't take Kendall long to find work; on Friday, he signed a
five-year, $20-million contract with the Jets, and was plugged into the
starting lineup at left guard." That's from New York Newsday. He also said
he wanted to get back east. He's from Massachusetts and played at Boston
College.



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SamFisher:

Bulger Deep Ball

Some of the camp reports say he's terrible with the deep ball. Some say
he's hitting some good deep throws. From what you've seen has the coaching
staff been working with Bulger specifically on this? Is he getting better?

RK:

Bulger is never going to be a great deep-ball thrower. He's like Warner...in
that 40 yards downfield is about his limit. He's not Elway, Cunningham or
even Chris Chandler. He hits some in practice, doesn't hit others. But I
think the game plan should set a limit...from what we know in games last
year...of 40 or so yards downfield. I don't know that there's a lot coaches
can do about downfield throwing at this point.



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ramsfaninmd:

Toughness

Hello Randy,
Is there any discussion amongst the coaching staff on how the Rams were
blown off the ball in the Carolina game and seemd very, very soft? Was there
a philosophical difference in the size of the DL with Lovis as opposed to
Marmie? I'd love to watch the Rams be tougher and not so finesse-like on D,
thanks....


RK:

That's certainly something Kollar preaches all the time, and his group
wasn't stout against Carolina. As it turned out, Carolina was pretty darn
good. There's obviously a different philosophy now, with allowing DT's to
come to camp at a weight of their choosing. However, the cornerstone of this
defense is still speed, and I don't think Martz wants that to change.



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BnG:

Next year's payroll

At the risk of being stoned by the Herd, I'm slipping in a baseball
question. Does the Walker trade almost guarantee that the Cards will not
have the cash required to sign Matt Morris next year.


RK:

No. Walker effectively fills the Tino Martinez salary spot. So hopefully
next year the Cardinals will get something out of that $6
million...certainly more than they got in '04 from it.



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Rookie:

Free agents available for the O&D lines?

Any prize lineman that may be available for the Rams to pick up to help our
Line situation? Defensive and offensive.


RK:

The free agent pool has been completely picked over. The Panthers are in
crisis with the Adam Meadows retirement. If you want someone now, you have
to wait until teams start making cuts.



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dc:

Does the Cardinals success affect the Rams adversely

Hey Randy:

I figure I'll ask a different sort of question. As a life (45 years) long
St. Louisan, I notice I am not quite as into the Rams this preseason as
years past; Over the last 9 years, even over the playoff years and the Big
Mac 70 HR year, I just didnt have as much interest in the Cards. Now I'm
watching games on TV again and into the Cards.

I also think the loss of Warner, somehow, has affected me (kinda like the
Hull star value to the Blues) and that I will be disapointed IF Warner does
well and Bulger does not.

Long intro, I know. Here's the q. In St. Louis, a small market town, do you
think the Cards success will negatively impact the Rams, particularly if
they falter this year coupled with the Rams loss of their Marquis players in
Warner and possibly soon Faulk?



RK:

Well, I think if people are paying attention to the Cards, they will pay
less to the Rams. But folks have the ability to take in and focus on both. I
know I'm excited about both. Now, if the Rams start 0-3 and the Cardinals
are in the playoffs, then the borderline people will go to the Cards. But
there's a real strong core of football fans in St. Louis, and they've still
sold out every game.



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VanCanRampage:

Please explain Martz & his play calling (run plays last...


Please explain to the people Martz really wanted to run last year but he
realized the personel wasn't there to call the smash mouth plays the fans
cry for???Were we awful in short yardage and Martz knew it there for passed
more in short yardage situations!!!

My theory is the G's/C unit were not jellying together, as Andy was helping
Dave W w/ the protection calls, and then the FB situation was awful and only
improved slighty entering the playoffs...

I predict Martz will be more balanced in his play calling, as I think he
will be more comfortable w/ his personel this season do you agree???

Thx Randy


RK:

In my opinion, if Martz has a choice of running or passing effectively,
he'll pass every time. That's his history. You are right about the interior
OL last season, but if they are performing well, Mike would love to throw
the ball 35-40 times a game...regardless of the situation.



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VanCanRampage:

Do you think Steve Fairchild will be calling the plays ...

Do you think Martz will hand over the play calling to Steve this year??? How
do you see this ending up???

If Steve gets to call the plays can you give an idea to what to expect/look
for???

thx Randy


RK:

I think Fairchild will be heavily involved in implementing the game plan,
but when it comes to Sunday, I don't think Martz will give that up. He is
slowly giving more responsibility to Fairchild, but not the whole unit...not
quite yet.



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VanCanRampage:

Compare FB's/TE's Blocking wise last year to this year

Will our short yardage unit be an upgrade this season???

Last year Manu was confused, and the 2nd TE was a revolving door, will it be
improved w/ Jensen or a slightly beefed up Cam Cleeland??
Will be run alot of 2 TE packages??

Re: FB will Goodspeed be improved this year due to just knowing the playbook
better?? Is he a good blocker in general???

Talk about the OL and the run blocking going into this season, will it be
improved w/ Dishman/Randell/Tercero/King as starters???

thx Randy


RK:

Martz said he wanted to run the ball better this season...not more, but
better. Hopefully Manumaleuna will improve, but he really hasn't in two
years. Cleeland is a receiver, not a blocker, and Jensen has been moved to
FB. Goodspeed should be better, but he's not a very big guy...certainly not
a Hodgins. You'd hope the run blocking will be better, but I think the line
is going to be Pace, King or Tercero, McCollum, Timmerman and Williams. They
do need better work from TE and FB in the blocking dept, but I personally
don't think they've upgraded there over last year.



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chunkmeister:

Future Leadership on Defense

Who is the top candidate to lead the defensive squad into the future? This
could be Aeneas' last year and Tyoka is getting long in the tooth. The Rams
don't have a great history of drafting for leadership on defense, despite
all the picks in the past few years (I'll give them Fletcher...but they let
him get away).

Will this be Archuleta's team?....Maybe Pisa?


RK:

You answered it yourself. Archuleta and Pisa are the guys on this defense
that have the capacity to be leaders. I don't know Shivers, or if he has
that ability. I don't see any of the DL becoming leaders, or either CB.



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Jedimach:

What is the scoop on Turley?

Is he really ignoring Rams team and management phone calls, etc.?


RK:

According to Martz, he's called Kyle four times without getting a return
phone call. Kyle told us on KTRS the day before camp that he wanted to ease
in to camp after the back surgery, then they had him on the field right
away. Kyle has post-football plans, and doesn't want to be an invalid after
he's done playing, so I can see where he might be upset about their getting
him going right away. He's pretty scared about this injury.



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Team-Sport:

Dusty McGrorty

Will Dusty McGrorty make the opening day roster? He looks like he might be a
maniac on special teams (his main ticket to make the roster), and with his
low CG, possibly a tough runner to tackle - like a Stump Mitchell. Is he
getting much of a look in camp?


RK:

McGroarty has been impressive, but he's got an uphill climb. They'll keep
six receivers, plus the Faulk, Gordon (who will miss four weeks with knee
surgery), Jackson, Harris and Goodspeed. There just isn't a roster spot for
him.



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JackPMiller:

Turley

How much will Turley's injury effect this team? I mean do we have anyone in
your mind that can step in right away and take over the right tackle slot?


RK:

Grant Williams should do fine there. They need Pace in camp...hopefully for
two exhibition games...but that seems unlikely. Maybe later in the season
Randall will be able to play RT, too.



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Roanokeram:

question on backup DL

Randy, Have any of the backup DL impressed? I think we will need Howard this
year in the DL rotation.


RK:

I don't think Howard is going to make the team, unless it's on the practice
squad. Holsey was good in his first two practices, and he'll likely make it.
Little, Lewis, Pickett, Fisher, Jackson, Holsey, Moran, Hargrove. I think
that's it on the DL, with Tyoka seeing lots of time at tackle.



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AlCrawford:

A dumb question for ...

being this early in training camp.

But what is your biggest suprise so far? And what is your biggest
disappointment?

P.S. Keep these questions in mind and come back and answer them after the
last preseason game then again at the end of the season. Might be an
interesting comparison. Thanks for everything!


RK:

Al...no such thing as a dumb question...just a dumb person asking a
question. (Just kidding) My biggest surprise(s) are Hargrove (didn't think
he'd be ready to contribute) and Shivers (very impressive fifth rounder, at
least in practice.) Biggest disappointments are Turley's injury and Pace
letting his teammates down by holding out. Among guys in camp, probably
Robert Thomas (invisible while I was there) and Flowers, who doesn't look
like another Leonard Little to me.



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blockandtackle:

Rams Coaching Changes

Hello everyone at the Herd and thank you Randy for taking the time to answer
my question.

The Rams have one of the more expensive offensive lines in football and
after the signing of Turley it was expected that the Oline would dominate
the league. That didnt really happen last year which brought up the question
of Hanifan's effectiveness, as well as that of John Matsko. There were also
questions about accountability with the players themselves. There have
always been questions about Hanifan developing more finesse, pass blocking
lineman than physical, run blocking lineman.

The Rams pick Steven Jackson(a power runner) with the first pick and now
have to shuffle the OL deck a bit due to injuries.

Can you tell us how John Matsko and John Benton will impact the offensive
line and if you have observed any noticable differences (new attitudes,
emphasis on fundamentals, emphasis on the run, coaching styles, etc.) since
Hanifan's retirement?


RK:

Hanifan and Matsko were absolutely on the same page as far as coaching
offensive linemen. Hanifan did coach great all-around lines with the
Cardinals and Redskins, and Faulk ran for 1,300 yards a season from '99-'
01.so someone must have been doing some good run blocking. I've never talked
to anyone in the NFL who thought there was a better OL coach than Hanifan.
Now that I've defended him, I'll tell you that these coaches are just trying
to get guys up to speed. McCollum and Timmerman are the only guys that don't
need integration into the system at their positions, so Matsko and Benton
are really starting from square one with these guys. This will be a summer
long process with people like Tercero at tackle, King a guard, Turner,
Randall, Dishman and the other young OL. As mentioned above, I don't think
Martz will request a change in emphasis.



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mjr007:

Linebackers against the run.


First of all, thanks for sharing your time with the HERD. It is greatly
appreciated.

My question stems from the recent injury to Kennedy.

With the defensive tackle position being such a big question mark at this
point, one of the many questions I have is, does our undersized starting
linebacking corps of Polley, Tinoisamoa, and Thomas show signs of being
better able to stop the run this year?

Will the defensive front four be better able to disrupt the opponent
offensive line enough for them to plug holes better?

And could you please comment on your observations with regard to our backup
linebackers' ability re: stopping the run?

Who has impressed YOU most among them?

Thanks again, Randy.


RK:

Not to duck the question, but that's something that I really have trouble
judging before a game. There's no doubt the DT's have to do a better job of
tying up offensive linemen this year, but in terms of getting to the ball
and making the play, that's something I just can't tell you from practice. I
did like what I saw of Faulk and Newson last week. Both were around the ball
a lot vs. the Bears.



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Hram:

RDE

Have the Rams adequately replaced Wistrom with what they have available?
Will they try to go with one player getting most of the snaps or will they
platoon 2 or even 3?

Thanks for your time.


RK:

Right now it looks like a platoon of Fisher, Moran and Hargrove. I expect to
see lots of Hargrove in passing situations, and a rotation of the other two
on first down and second and short.



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droopy:

Cornerbacks

I feel our cornerbacks are average. Don't you feel to get to the next step
we need very good or a great set of cornerbacks?


RK:

I'd agree that these two were pretty average last year, but ascending. Keep
in mind, it was the first full season starting for both Butler and Fisher.
If they still plan to run "cover 2", most of the time, and get push from
their front four, these corners will be fine. I've always thought it was
foolish to pay for shutdown, man-to-man corners unless you were going to
have them play man-to-man, like Philadelphia does. If you get one in the
draft, great, but if you can win with less expensive guys playing a zone,
you should spend your money elsewhere.


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NJRAM:

Why so many ex-Cards

A winning organization like the Rams are bringing in too many players who do
not know how win. If the Cards are releasing these players be?Why not go
after a good player like Kendall and not Dishman?


RK:

I haven't seen Kendall's contract, but he did get a multi-year deal from the
Jets. Dishman signed a one year deal for the minimum. Aside from him, I
guess Marmie has recommended a bunch of his former guys. I have the same
concerns.you don't want to have to play your schedule AND the ex-Gridbird
factor. One guy, like a Williams, Rice or Pittman would be OK. But, this is
too many.



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ScRAM:

Smoker.....

Do you think Smoker is/could be our QB "of the future"? What exactly were
the troubles he got into at school?


RK:

Cards-Cubs in the NLCS would be something, wouldn't it? I think Smoker has
the chance to be a NFL QB, but Bulger is clearly the future with the Rams.
Smoker ran into a substance abuse problem at Michigan State, but checked
himself into rehab and by all accounts is a responsible citizen now.



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RFIP:

A trade?

Hi Randy!

I've heard ESPN's John Clayton say; "although I have not heard of his
availabilty, Rams RB Lamar Gordon is the ideal back for the Dolphins."

Clayton went on to say how impressed he was with Lamar when he (Clayton)
went to Rams camp, and what a great fit he'd be in South Florida.

ANY word on IF such a trade is in the oftening?

RK:

Gordon will miss four weeks with his surgery. I haven't heard anything about
such a possibility yet. It seems the Dolphins are waiting for some people to
get cut before making a move. If Jackson has a great pre-season, a trade
would seem logical. I would assume the Rams would ask for a number three
pick, to start talks.



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CanadaRam:

3rd WR...

Is Martz keeping the #3 WR spot open, or is Looker a lock to start the
season there?


RK:

It'll probably depend on the situation, but Looker and Curtis seem to be
locks for the 3 and 4 roles. On 3rd and 5 with a three WR set, it would
probably be Looker, but on 3rd and 15, probably Curtis. Curtis provides more
explosiveness, Looker more experience and Proehl-like reliability (although
Curtis has great hands, too)



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Sacram:

Mark Bulger

Thanks for taking our questions Randy....

Assuming that the receiving corps remains healthy, unlike last year, and
assuming that he gets decent protection (a big assumption, I know!) do you
foresee Mark Bulger improving greatly this year? Can he take that next step
to being a top 5-10 QB in this league?


RK:

I see no reason why not, although he'll probably suffer the same rap Warner
got, that he's a system quarterback, if he does succeed. But if he gets
protection, with this corps of receivers, and his accuracy, there's no
reason to think he won't take the next step. He simply needs to avoid the
turnovers that plagued him last year, but with a year of experience in the
offense, he should be able to step up into that elite category.



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RamUK:

Question on Jackson

Randy, I have heard so many people talk about SJ like he is the new messiah
that it worries me, because if he is not as good as we think/hope we are
suddenly vulnerable at that position if Marshall goes down.

How is he regarded by the Rams and also by others outside the organisation
bearing in mind he slipped so much on draft day, and indeed, why was that?

Cheers from England.

RK:

There were extenuating circumstances on draft day, because both Denver and
Dallas had guys on their boards (Bell for Denver, Jones for Dallas) that
they had rated close to the top RB's. Denver HAD to get a LB, and Dallas got
a first rounder next year for their top pick, and still got their guy. We
never know about running backs (Blair Thomas was #2 overall, KiJana Carter
was #1 overall, Terrell Davis went in the sixth, Priest Holmes was a FA). I
expect that unless Jackson is a superstar, the level of excellence at that
position will decrease when Faulk is gone. But Jackson does look good so
far, and hopefully they'll be able to get enough out of he and Gordon to
stil have a good running game even when Faulk is gone or hurt.



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caboose:

Marmie

Hi Randy!

Can you get a feel for how the players are responding to Marmie? How active
a role does he take ... delegator or active involvement? How does his
defensive philosophy compare to Lovie's? ... many here think Lovie was too
passive in the big games.


RK:

Marmie is much less involved than Lovie was. He stands behind the play and
watches, while the position coaches coach. Lovie was in there with all the
players on most occasions. I thought Lovie did what he could with the unit.
When it became clear last year that they needed to blitz, he did. He moved
Archuleta up into the box two years ago, and that worked. Marmie will
utilize a little more bulk and a little less speed up front from the DT's,
but won't change the system that much. Obviously, Marmie hasn't been
involved in any big games with the Cardinals, so we'll have to wait and see
on that.



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HappyNoodleBoy:

Current state of Pace negotiations?

Randy, it's been some time since we've heard any reports of Zygmunt and
Poston having any interaction with each other. Is there any activity going
on between the two, or are both camps waiting for the other to make the next
move?

RK:

There can be no negotiations until Pace signs that tender, otherwise, if a
long term deal is reached, the Rams will have to give up their franchise
tage for the length of the contract. So, there won't be any negotiations
until Pace signs the one year tender for $7 million.



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NewMexicoRam:

Defense

Randy,
Thanks for taking your time to take some questions.

Where is the defense headed this year? I am hearing some pretty good reports
out of camp that all 3 levels (line, LB, and backs) are really looking good
and stepping it up.

Will we see a top 5 defense this year that is capable of taking this team a
long way? Are players comfortable with the new DC?


RK:

The physical talent is there for this group to be very good...but they'll
need to get amazing advances from Lewis and another DT to be great. Polley
and Pisa have had good camps, the safeties are going to be fine. The
starting CB's have been hurt, but we know they can be OK with a good pass
rush. Everything hinges defensively on the DL, and especially the three guys
to the right of Little.



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Rubber Soul:

Offensive Line

How do you think the backup offensive linemen will perform if Kyle Turley
and Dave Wohlabaugh are unavailable?

RK:

I'm comfortable with Williams at RT. I don't like the idea of Tercero out
there, or Randall right now. Randall needs to get in shape. I'm OK with King
at LG. If they have to play the likes of Noll, Morgan or Jeremy
Phillips...they're in trouble.



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rams124:

Front Office

Randy,
Thanks for taking the time to chat with the Herd.

How would you describe the current chemistry between Coach Martz, Charlie
Armey and Jay Zygmunt?

Each of them plays an intgral role in the success of the organization and I
know there were some "rumblings" during the off-season regarding their
relationships. What is the story now?

In addition, what is the latest on John Shaw? He has been awfully quiet
since the draft. Is he still playing the prominant role he once played when
the team moved to St. Louis?


RK:

Everyone seems to get along fine. There wasn't any backbiting or sniping
last week when I was there. Shaw is in L.A., taking it easy, but I
understand he'll spend much of the season in St. Louis again.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



PhillyRam:

Question on Martz

First let me say that I don't have a lot of questions because I feel KTRS
and the posters on this forum keep us all pretty much informed on Ram
happenings.

So I will ask you a general question or two.

What do you say to those that feel Martz is a terrible head coach and should
not be the Rams head coach. Where would you rank generally rank him among
todays NFL head coaches? Top 10, top 5, bottom 10 etc...

And do you blame Martz for Warner now being a Giant and for having lost his
effectivness these last few years? I know you have allways squarely been in
his corner so I want your take on a subject that haunts these boards.


RK:

Philly...I know you listen all the time...thanks for that, I appreciate it.

Martz has more regular season wins than any other head coach in the last
four years, and has a higher winning pct. than anyone except Joe Gibbs among
active coaches. Based on that, I'd have to put him in my top ten. There are
quirks, to be sure, but I'd rather have Martz than Erickson, Dennis Green
and Holmgren in our division. He's a very astute judge of talent, as this
roster proves. And if you don't like the talent, you have to give Martz even
more coaching credit.


He also coaches a brand of football that I prefer. I'm not a big advocate of
the Wannstedt/Parcells/Schottenheimer approach of playing it safe to be
close until the fourth quarter. I like an agressive, passing approach.

The Warner-Rams relationship ended in divorce. There's blame to be cast on
both sides. Ultimately, when Martz benched Warner after the Giants game last
year, he ended Warner's stay in St. Louis. But Kurt didn't help things with
his interviews in Houston or Indy. So yes, I'd have to say Martz is
responsible for Warner not being a Ram. I'd say John St. Clair had more to
do with his ineffectiveness than Martz did, though...and as it turns out,
the Rams needed that Warner cap space to sign Holsey and the extra offensive
linemen in camp.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



dmoff206:

Running Back Questions......

Hey Randy,

A couple of questions on the Running Backs

1.) Will the Rams keep all four and if so what will be the roles of Gordon,
Jackson and Harris ?

2.) With this many RBs on the team, what exactly will be the role of the FB
and will the starter be Joey Goodspeed ?

Thanks for stopping by and please don't be a stranger. You are welcome here
24/7!!

Again, Thanks


RK:

Jackson is going to be number two right now, until Gordon is healthy again.
Harris is number three. I think they'll keep five, just like last year, with
Jackson filling Nead's roster spot. Faulk, Jackson, Gordon, Harris and
Goodspeed.



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whowadat:

question for Randy Karraker

Hello from the blue grass state! My question is how is the relationship
between the front office and Mike Martz, and is there any talk of this being
a make or break year for Mad Mike? Thanks for your time.

RK:

It's only training camp, but everything I understand is that the front
office is running smoothly right now.

I think it would take a complete collapse for Martz not to be back in '05. A
bad year for the team and Bulger, and a great year for Warner MIGHT have an
effect...but the loss of Turley gives Mike a mulligan, as does his previous
record.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


LMU93:

young surprises?

Randy,

Which rookies and or 2nd year players do you think are making the most
progress and will make the greatest contributions this season?

Many thanks,


RK:

Among rookies, Hargrove and Shivers.

Second year guys, Garrett and Groce (as a CB and PR), Kevin Curtis, Shaun
McDonald (also as a PR) and Scott Tercero. Last year's draft, after Kennedy,
may wind up being pretty good.