Rams 10th Anniversary Team
The official team site put together the best St. Louis Rams team. Some interesting picks to say the least.
For those that don't want to read the whole article, I'll give you the abridged version followed by the whole article.
QB - Warner
RB - Faulk
FB - Holcombe
WR - Bruce & Holt
TE - Conwell
OT - Pace & Turley
OG - Timmerman & Nutten
C - McCollum
DE - Wistrom & Little
DT - Farr, Tyoka, & Pickett
OLB - Mike Jones & Polley
ILB - Fletcher
CB - Aeaneas & Bly
FS - Lyle
SS - Arch
K - Wilkens
P - Landeta
ST - Looker
PR - Hakim
KR - Horne
And now for the whole article....
St. Louis Rams 10th Anniversary Team
Ten years, one world championship, three NFC West division titles, countless memories.
The number of players that have contributed to making the St. Louis Rams is well in to the hundreds, but the players that follow are, perhaps, the most responsible for bringing the Rams from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the heap. With the 10th season in St. Louis coming to an end, these are the men who were the best of the best, as voted on by the fans.
This position was a slam-dunk choice for fans. By now, everyone knows Warner’s story. From grocery bagger to MVP, Warner’s rise was, perhaps, the most meteoric of any athlete in any sport ever.
His run was rather short-lived, starting just three full seasons in St. Louis, but what a three seasons they were. From 1999-2001, Warner put together what was one of, if not the most prolific statistical runs any quarterback has ever posted. In that three-year span, Warner threw for 12, 612 yards and 98 touchdowns, while missing five game with an injury.
As the engineer of the “Greatest Show on Turf”, Warner led the aerial attack, lighting up the sky with perfect spiral after perfect spiral. At his best, Warner had the innate ability to thread the needle in traffic and throw a perfectly placed deep ball with equal aplomb. Unfortunately, injuries tainted Warner’s fast track to the Hall of Fame, but he will always be loved in St. Louis for winning Super Bowl XXXIV, where he claimed Super Bowl MVP honors and set the record for most passing yards in the game with 414 passing yards. He won the league’s MVP award that season and claimed it again in 2001, when he led the Rams back to the Super Bowl.
If Warner was the conductor of the Greatest Show on Turf, then Faulk was the engine that made it go. Faulk was traded to the Rams before the 1999 season at the small cost of second and fifth-round draft choices. Without question, that deal will go down in the annals of Rams’ football as probably the biggest steal of a transaction the team has made.
It didn’t matter much who the Colts drafted with those choices (linebacker Mike Peterson and traded to Cleveland, for the record), it was clear the Rams got the better end of the deal by a wide margin. While Warner was an unknown commodity, St. Louis knew exactly what it was getting with Faulk.
Faulk became one of the most exciting, game-altering playmakers the NFL has ever seen. Fortunately for the Rams, Faulk was hitting his prime by the time he arrived in St. Louis and it showed. His uncanny vision, darting cutbacks and sticky hands made Faulk the ultimate running back, the standard all others would be compared to.
While Warner was doing his thing through the air, Faulk did it on the ground and in the passing game. The numbers are nothing short of startling. Since arriving before that magical season, Faulk has rushed for 6,576 yards, caught 424 passes for 3,756 yards and scored 84 total touchdowns.
While Warner was injured in 2000, Faulk kept the string of Rams’ MVPs alive with his best performance. He ran for 1,359 yards and 18 touchdowns with 81 catches for 830 yards and eight more touchdowns.
Most fullbacks were never asked to do much more than block, but Holcombe had his moments as a tailback. Make no mistake, Holcombe was a solid blocker, but he was also capable of making plays out of the backfield. The local favorite who played his college ball at Illinois posted 12 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Rams. He is still in the league with Tennessee.
Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt
There were many beneficiaries on the receiving end of Warner’s astounding run, but a major reason, make it two major reason that Warner had so much success were Bruce and Holt.
Bruce is THE St. Louis Ram. He is the only player still on the roster who was on it when the team moved in 1995. Bruce has done it all in his time in St. Louis, making a big play in almost every important game. He holds almost every receiving record the Rams have and has been to four Pro Bowls.
Bruce’s reign as the original Ram started from the team’s first game representing St. Louis. Against Green Bay, on Sept. 1, 1995, Bruce blocked a punt and caught the team’s first touchdown. He also caught the game-winning 73-yard touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Bruce’s numbers were so large during his first few years that they could only diminish as his career went on. When Holt arrived from the 1999 NFL Draft, Bruce’s statistics suffered some, but one number got larger for the team: wins. Holt has become one of the league’s best receivers, teaming with Bruce to become one of the best receiving duos in the NFL.
Holt has gone to three Pro Bowls and made sure everyone knew his name with his best performance in 2003, catching 117 passes for 1,696 yards and 12 touchdowns. In his first six seasons, Holt has entered rarefied air for a receiver. Since 2000, Holt is the league’s leading receiver with 7,082 yards. He also is tied for second with Jerry Rice for most 100-yard receiving games in a player’s first six seasons with 32.
Holt earned his nickname “Big Game” with some of his best performances on the game’s biggest stage. He caught seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl victory.
Orlando Pace and Kyle Turley
Pace and Turley played together for just one season, but there was little doubt that they were the best tackle combination the Rams have had.
When St. Louis traded up to the first pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, it was obvious whom it had in mind to take. Pace was the clear-cut best tackle in the draft and the kind of franchise cornerstone that could be locked in for years on end.
Pace proved to be worth the trade and has gone to five Pro Bowls. He was the anchor of the offensive line that protected Warner and paved the way for Faulk. He was the reason the “pancake” block statistic was invented and he has continued to make his mark as one of the game’s best tackles.
Making Pace’s presence that much more important is the revolving door that has taken place at right tackle. That position has seen many faces cycle through in St. Louis, but Turley finally provided some stability when he was acquired before the 2003 season from New Orleans.
Turley provided the line something it hadn’t had before, a massive blocker with quick feet and a mean streak that complemented Pace’s even temper on the other side.
Adam Timmerman and Tom Nütten
In a strange twist of fate, these two have had a reunion this season as the starting guards. It doesn’t seem as though much has changed in the time since Nütten “retired.”
Timmerman remains one of the game’s nicest guys off the field, but one of its best pull blockers on it. He has gone to a pair of Pro Bowls and was a part of the revamped offensive line, coming to the Rams in 1999. He made the Pro Bowl that season and has proven to be a winner in his time in St. Louis.
Nütten left St. Louis for a contract with the New York Jets, but was forced to retire because of injuries. He is now back with the Rams and starting at his old left guard position. In his time before that, he started for the Super Bowl teams and was one of the best pass blockers at guard in the league.
McCollum has teamed with Timmerman to become a sort of St. Louis institution known as the “Doughnut Brothers.” McCollum has been the ultimate gamer and team player in his time with the Rams, moving from center to left guard when the team had a need and back to center this season after Dave Wohlabaugh had to retire.
McCollum is getting better with age as probably the Rams’ most consistent lineman this season. He filled in for Nütten in the Super Bowl run of 1999 at left guard and did an admirable job in helping the team to a world championship.
Conwell was a fan favorite in St. Louis for his affable personality and commitment to the team. One of the league’s largest physical specimens, Conwell was as muscular as they come. He came equipped with plenty of speed, though, and was another solid option in the Rams’ high-octane passing attack.
In seven seasons with the Rams, Conwell caught 146 passes for 1,574 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Horne was Dante Hall before anyone knew who Dante Hall was. One of the most exciting, dangerous return men in the league, Horne put together three great seasons for the Rams in 1998 and 1999.
Horne had 86 returns for 2,198 yards and three touchdowns in those two seasons, including a 102-yard return against Atlanta on Nov. 29, 1998 and a 95-yard jaunt in the 1999 playoffs against Minnesota.
Choosing Wilkins as the team’s kicker was as easy as a chip shot field goal for the man known as “Money.”
Wilkins owns nearly every team kicking record and currently holds the longest streak in the league for most consecutive extra points made. He is the team’s all-time scoring leader with 862 points and has over 1,000 points for his career. He has earned so much respect from his team for his efforts that he was even named a team captain this season.
The man probably most directly responsible for Wilkins’ recent run of success is Looker. Aside from being a solid No. 3 receiver, Looker is the team’s placeholder on kicks.
Looker helped Wilkins lead the league in scoring in 2003 and has been almost flawless in getting the ball down for his kicker.
Grant Wistrom and Leonard Little
This dynamic duo played off each other as well as Bruce and Holt in the passing game. Little emerged as the feared pass-rusher, capable of reaching the quarterback on any given play. Wistrom was the guy with the non-stop motor, who inspired the rest of the defense with his all-out play and leave it all on the field attitude.
Little started out as an undersized linebacker also making his mark on special teams. Eventually, he became one of the league’s best pass rushers, earning a Pro Bowl berth last season when he posted 12.5 sacks. In the past three seasons, Little has 39 sacks.
Wistrom was the better run stopper of the two, but was never afraid to bulrush his way to the quarterback. In six seasons with the Rams, Wistrom accumulated 41.5 sacks and 462 tackles.
D’Marco Farr, Tyoka Jackson and Ryan Pickett
Farr was the runaway choice as the No. 1 defensive tackle, if not just for his quick upfield burst on the field, but also for his likeability off it.
Farr started every game for the Rams for their first five seasons in St. Louis, earning a reputation as one of the team’s hardest workers. Farr finished his career a little earlier than expected because of injuries, but he finished it with 36.5 sacks and is still a loyal follower of his Rams.
Pickett and Jackson remain in the Rams’ rotation at tackle. Pickett, nicknamed “Big Grease,” is the team’s best run-stuffer in the middle and consistently requires a pair of players to block him. His statistics aren’t gaudy, but most defensive tackles don’t have particularly impressive numbers.
Jackson is a team leader and captain and has become a fan favorite in St. Louis for the work he has done on and off the field. Jackson was a part of the 2001 Super Bowl team and had three sacks that season.
Tommy Polley and Mike Jones
Polley is still starting at this position for the Rams and has proved to be one of the more athletic linebackers St. Louis has had. Polley had two interceptions in a playoff game against Green Bay on Jan. 20, 2002 that helped St. Louis advance to the NFC Championship game. He returned one of those interceptions 34 yards for a touchdown.
Jones was a solid linebacker for many years for the Rams and in the league, but his career will always be defined by one play. The play is simply known as “The Tackle.” Everywhere Jones goes, he is recognized for his tackle on Tennessee receiver Kevin Dyson as time expired to preserve the Rams win in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Fletcher was the heart and soul of the Rams’ defense during the team’s Super Bowl runs. Always around the ball and always emotional, Fletcher gave St. Louis a spark whenever it needed one on defense.
Fletcher made 105 solo tackles in 2000 and led the team in stops in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He now plays the same position for the Buffalo Bills.
Aeneas Williams and Dre’ Bly
When the Rams traded for the crafty veteran Williams prior to the 2001 Super Bowl run, they got much more than they bargained for. They knew they were getting a shutdown cornerback, but Williams also became the team’s spiritual leader and a rallying point for the team during that season. He earned a Pro Bowl berth that year with 100 tackles and four interceptions. Williams is a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Bly earned the nickname “Big Play Dre’” because of his penchant for creating turnovers and nose for the ball. Bly had an important interception in the 2000 NFC Championship game against Tampa Bay, one of many important plays he made in his time with the Rams. Bly finished with 14 picks in his four seasons in St. Louis and served as a dangerous punt returner. He now plays for the Detroit Lions.
Lyle was one of the league’s best playmakers in his seven seasons with the Rams. He was with the team from day one and became a fan favorite for his all-out effort and nose for the ball. He had nine interceptions in 1996 and was a big reason for the team’s quick start in 1995, the season it moved to St. Louis.
Archuleta was loved by the fans from day one after being chose in the 2001 NFL Draft. With a reputation as a big hitter, Archuleta lived up to the hype and then some. Still with the team, Archuleta strikes fear into any receiver coming over the middle and offers the added dimension of playmaker with a penchant for finding the ball.
A workout fanatic, Archuleta has 289 tackles, 10.5 sacks and a pair of touchdown returns.
Landeta was also an original St. Louis Ram, but, like Nütten left and returned to the team. A punting legend, only Ray Guy has the reputation at the position that Landeta has created. After two seasons with the Rams in 1995 and 1996, Landeta returned to the team last season and proved to be solid once again. In 1996, Landeta tied his career-best with a 44.8 yards per punt average.
Even with the likes of Faulk, Holt and Bruce, perhaps no player kept fans on the edge of their seats more consistently than Hakim. Before he departed in free agency to Detroit, Hakim earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s most dangerous return men. Hakim started returning punts in 1999 and it was no coincidence that that move coincided with the Rams’ high-scoring performances. That season, he returned a punt for a touchdown and averaged 10.5 yards. In 2000, Hakim was even better, averaging 15.3 yards.