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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    Posted July 02, 2010 @ 10:08 a.m. ET
    By Dan Arkush

    Needless to say, the Rams have concerns galore coming off a one-win season, and one of the biggest, our sources agree, is the continued lack of a decent complementary running back behind workhorse Steven Jackson. Since selecting Jackson in the first round in 2004, the Rams have drafted only two running backs Brian Leonard in the second round in '07 and Chris Ogbonnaya in the final round last year. Leonard never panned out and was traded to the Bengals last year, while Ogbonnaya is one of only two veterans currently on the roster third-year pro Kenneth Darby, who has been ordinary at best, is the other in the mix to back up Jackson this season after the Rams failed to draft any RB reinforcements this season.

    Said one team source: "Spags (Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo) said it was no big deal (not drafting a RB), but Jackson is coming off (April 15) back surgery, and you just never know when running backs might hit that wall. It's been two years now that they've had to run Jackson to death, and it just seems very puzzling that they haven't made more of an effort to find a decent backup."

    The way we hear it, the best backup option at present could be rookie free agent Keith Toston out of Oklahoma State. "I think he's better right now than either Darby or Ogbonnaya," the source said of Toston, whose style is considered very similar to that of Jackson. The Rams have contemplated signing former Eagles star Brian Westbrook, going as far as to bring him in for a physical exam in April. Westbrook would seem to be a no-brainer addition if he were healthy enough, but we hear the two concussions he suffered last season, in addition to a problematic left knee that might not react well to the Rams' playing surface, continue to make him a long shot to be wearing a St. Louis uniform in 2010 or any team's uniform, for that matter.

    Well Dan, thanks for stating the obvious, but I doubt Spags and Billy are losing any sleep over acquiring a solid backup for Jackson. Six days from now the Rams will attend Unga's pro day, and if they are underwhelmed by Harvey's performance, then they can turn to the waiver wire and have their pick of any rbs which are released during camp and preseason. If we had to go through the season with our current rbs, there'd be cause for concern. However, that's not the case, and given the way Billy D. and Spags have aggressively turned over the roster they inherited and subsequently infused the team with new talent, I'll not lose any sleep over this either ..


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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    bringing up the same point over and over again is getting a bit wearisome. Its the back-up runningback position, not the starting qb. If we go into the season with what we have then that tells me the coaching staff feels good about what we have. No worries on my part.

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    The Rams #2 RB is either Toston, Unga(if acquired in the supplementary draft) or someone else that is waived by another team. I still don't see why they released Pittman if they thought they had a problem at the #2 RB.

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lesson View Post
    The Rams #2 RB is either Toston, Unga(if acquired in the supplementary draft) or someone else that is waived by another team. I still don't see why they released Pittman if they thought they had a problem at the #2 RB.
    obviously they didn't think pittman was worth a darn. if they did he'd still be here eh?

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
    obviously they didn't think pittman was worth a darn. if they did he'd still be here eh?

    You're probably right. But he's better than Gado, IMO.

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    They all suck, we need help at running back, this is getting ridiculous the coaching staff needs to get more aggressive worth finding better talent it's a legitimate complaint.

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    Quote Originally Posted by mikhal5569 View Post
    They all suck, we need help at running back, this is getting ridiculous the coaching staff needs to get more aggressive worth finding better talent it's a legitimate complaint.
    We have six players left on our roster from the time Spagnuolo jumped aboard. I'd wager that we'll still be fielding one of the youngest teams in the league this season. That's not aggressive enough for you?

    It seems to me like we haven't played all our cards at once this year. Last offseason there were a flurry of acquisitions, cuts and trades in a short space of time. This year, the FO have taken a more measured approach. Finding the best players out there at the right time. But it adds up. We've managed to sign all but two of our rookies, we've added veteran leadership along the OL and DL and most importantly at QB. We've traded for Bobby Carpenter and jettisoned some of the players we couldn't keep any longer, like Barron and Incognito. We've just inked Atogwe. We don't have to play a meaningful NFL game until September, and we've just rolled on into July.

    The bottom line, to me, is that if the team hasn't signed anybody in Free Agency it's because there's nobody on the market who they feel could fill that hole. Westbrook might be the exception to the rule, but he reportedly wants to play for a contender this season. With the amount of change that we've been going through, I think it's fair to say that the Rams will probably not be a serious contender this year.

    Teams are still making their cuts to get to their training camp limits of around 80, and then by the preseason they have to trim to the mid 50's. That's 25 players from 31 teams who will be cut by the end of August. If you're counting, that's a player pool of 775 additional athletes for the Rams to choose from. If we're really lucky, a team in cap strife will chose to ditch a veteran to avert paying him a bonus. I'm not counting on that and I don't think Spagnuolo or Devaney are, either. What I am counting on is that somewhere between now and the beginning of September, the Rams will find their backup either on the open market, after the training camp cuts or through the supplemental draft in the next couple of weeks.

    Breathe easy. We've been doing a lot of good things this offseason, (albiet at a very steady pace) and I can't find a reason for that to stop now.

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    IMO, our #2 running back is going to be either Toston or Ogbonnaya. I feel that Unga isn't anything special.

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    Quote Originally Posted by mikhal5569 View Post
    They all suck, we need help at running back, this is getting ridiculous the coaching staff needs to get more aggressive worth finding better talent it's a legitimate complaint.
    So let me get this straight. Because the media and some fans are concerned mean the Rams made a mistake not getting a rb? The Rams went through an entire draft and didnt draft a running back. To me right there tells me a backup rb is not a huge concern right now. It seems to be more of a concern for fans and media then the guys calling the shots. Sure they brought in Westbrook but that doesnt mean they were going to sign him. Jackson's back surgery was not major surgury. It was minor surgury and even Jackson isnt concerned in the slightest. Could Jackson get injured sure, but I dont think no matter who we sign is gonna come in and give the Rams even close to the production Jackson provides anyway. Westbrook is more injury prone than any rb in recent history so signing him isnt exactly and insurance policy. I'm going to go ahead and just trust the front office on this one and say I think they are comfortable with what we have unless something better come along. If they think there is better talent out there that will make this team better without breaking the bank they will sign the guy. Otherwise stand pat and trust the guys you have already drafted.
    Last edited by rammiser; -07-03-2010 at 01:43 PM.
    Just Fix It

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    If the Rams had a solid short passing game...no worry about getting a solid #2RB. The same would be said if the Rams had a solid long-passing game too.

    IF the Rams had a multi-tasking FB...no worry about getting a solid #2.

    However to this point the Rams have neither of the above. To S. Jacksons credit he has performed excellent. And yet the Rams won one game last year--so its safe to say he can't carry the whole team on his own. The missing key is a multi-dimensional offenses, either on the ground or in the air as well as a combination of both.

    The problem is if S. Jackson gets injured, then what? Right now he is the one consistant element to the offense. S. Bradford is a future piece to the puzzel, but his strength is throwing and everyone knows a starting QBs best friends is a good ground game. And it maybe that Bradford will not even start this year or until latter in the season.

    Perhaps these realities ought to encourage management to look a little harder for a good #2RB--or at the least design an offense that keeps an opponents defense off balance. Otherwise it maybe yet another long and fruitless season

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    Quote Originally Posted by rammiser View Post
    The Rams went through an entire draft and didnt draft a running back. To me right there tells me a backup rb is not a huge concern right now.

    Or it could tell you we had more pressing needs than a back-up RB. That is two very different things.

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    One thought bears pondering concerning Jackson and a viable backup for him. When Jackson was healthy, we weren't winning all that many games last year. Sure he gained good yardage over the season, but it didn't translate into wins. For the Rams to start winning, the whole team needs to improve across the board. If an overall improvement does not occur, it won't matter who is backing up Jackson ..

    The three areas where (IMO) the team must acheive gains were put forth in another thread by Av:

    Second year in Spags' system

    Improvement of 2nd/3rd year players

    Impact of rookies (other than Bradford)
    (Won't hurt to include Sam in this instance.)

    As probably most would agree, it all starts up front with the O-line. If they can show significant improvement this year it should translate to better play in both the running and passing game. We don't need a "star" to back up Jackson, just a guy who can get enough yards to get those crucial 1st downs with some consistency. Again - refer to the O-line .. Our no name receivers and TEs need to earn "names" by producing on the field of play this year especially since they'll have that extra half second or second provided by our revamped O-line. Are you guys collectively up to it Jason, Jacob, Jason, Joe, and Rodger ??

    Same applies to the other side of the ball. Guys like James L., Fletcher, Scott, Ryan, Murphy, Davis and Long to mention a few, need to demonstrate the benefits of the experience they've acquired playing for a season or two in Spags system, along with gains hopefully made in the offseason. If there isn't significant improvement in pretty much all of these areas, it won't matter who our backup rb is, as we'll not be winning many games anyway ..

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    Or it could tell you we had more pressing needs than a back-up RB. That is two very different things.
    You mean like drafting two tight ends and 3 defensive ends and an ILB with 6 of our last seven picks I doubt it. I dont think if the front office had bigger needs it would have been project tight ends and project defensive ends with some still pretty productive rb's on the board when most of these guys were taken so I'm gonna say no that wasnt the issue. Seems like the front office didnt think back up rb was a big deal. Like I said I'm going to trust the front office on this one. Obviousley our back up rb's are not great but maybe they didnt see anything better to draft in April outside of the 3rd round.
    Just Fix It

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    Quote Originally Posted by rammiser View Post
    You mean like drafting two tight ends and 3 defensive ends and an ILB with 6 of our last seven picks I doubt it. I dont think if the front office had bigger needs it would have been project tight ends and project defensive ends with some still pretty productive rb's on the board when most of these guys were taken so I'm gonna say no that wasnt the issue. Seems like the front office didnt think back up rb was a big deal. Like I said I'm going to trust the front office on this one.

    First of all, I would say that our TE and DE positions need more help than our back-up RB position.

    That is why we took 2 TEs and 3 DEs. We need at least a few of them to pan out, so we can fill some holes.


    Are you sure they were productive? Maybe the FO just didn't feel that the remaining RBs at that point in the draft were better than the available TEs and DEs.


    Again, all these points don't add up to back-up RB = non major need.

    It just means there were better options to choose from at that point and that we had more needs.

    Obviousley our back up rb's are not great but maybe they didnt see anything better to draft in April outside of the 3rd round.
    Huh?

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    Re: Rams' backup RB situation remains worrisome ..

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    First of all, I would say that our TE and DE positions need more help than our back-up RB position.

    That is why we took 2 TEs and 3 DEs. We need at least a few of them to pan out, so we can fill some holes.


    Are you sure they were productive? Maybe the FO just didn't feel that the remaining RBs at that point in the draft were better than the available TEs and DEs.


    Again, all these points don't add up to back-up RB = non major need.

    It just means there were better options to choose from at that point and that we had more needs.


    Huh?
    What is there not to understand we all know our back up running backs are not great. Some of you however seem to think it's this huge need when we arguably have the best running back in the NFL in Jackson. Some of you talk like you expect him to go down and there for we need a guy just as good to come in and give him a spell. We just need a back up running back to take some of the reps, he doesnt have to be great most backups arent like Turner was in San Diego.

    If a back up tight end is a bigger need than a back up rb thats fine. That just tells me the front office isnt very worried about it. Like I said the front office isnt running around all crazed and stressed because we didnt get someone better than what we already have to spell Jackson. They seem farely content and obviousley feel that out of everything that was out there so far only the oft injured Westbrook would be worth it because when healthy he's an upgrade.

    Your pretty much answering you own posts by saying the front office felt there were bigger needs. Thats just fine so why is back-up running back such a major issue for fans and for the media and not the front office? It's because the front office isnt doom and gloom like fans and media and they dont expect Jackson to go down. Even if Jackson did go down have you seen a rb outside of the 3rd round you can predict will have even half the impact Jackson does on offense? We dont have to get a back-up rb because the need is not that great. The front office isnt going to panic entering the season with Toston,Darby or Ogbonnaya as Jackson's backup. I never said there wasnt room for improvement but I dont see it as a huge concern and it's pretty clear the front office doesnt either.

    To add a side note if you really want to take pressure off of Jackson then hope that our passing game improves.
    Last edited by rammiser; -07-03-2010 at 05:48 PM.
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