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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Are Rams better? No

    Are Rams better? No, but they still could be a contender
    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    03/20/2007


    The Rams are back to work, doing their “voluntary” offseason activities at Rams Park with a reconfigured roster.

    Is this team better than the 2006 team that finished 8-8?

    No.

    Could the Rams become an NFC title contender by cleaning up in the NFL Draft and by adding a key second-wave free agent or two?



    Of course.

    The addition of rangy possession receiver Drew Bennett and tight end Randy McMichael made great sense, since they are better fits for Scott Linehan’s offense than speedy Kevin Curtis and Dominique Byrd. Both players should become favorite targets for Marc Bulger in the red zone, where the Rams were highly inconsistent last season.

    ESPN.com’s KC Joyner warned Rams fans not to get too excited about McMichael, who didn’t produce good yards-per-attempt numbers in Miami.

    “If the Rams are thinking they acquired an elite tight end, the signing will be a miss,” Joyner wrote. “If they realize they simply added a solid possession tight end, it could be considered a hit.”

    Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline is somewhat skeptical of the new Rams wide receiver. “Bennett is a nice player, but is he really better than Curtis, the man he's replacing with the Rams? I'll take Curtis' speed.”

    Former Rams coach Mike Martz liked to use lots of three- and four-receiver sets. He liked small, speedy receivers in the No. 3 and No. 4 roles because he could put them in motion to get them off the line of scrimmage in one piece.

    Mad Mike was confident he could get these guys open and get them the ball. What he coveted, then, was yards-after-catch capability.

    Linehan prefers to use two-receiver and two-tight end sets, so Bennett and McMichael ought to be good fits. The Rams aren’t looking for either of those players to supplant Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce as the primary receivers this season.

    On the defensive side, the Rams added depth and created a bit more competition by trading for defensive end James Hall and signing safety Todd Johnson, linebacker Chris Draft and defensive back Mike Rumph as free agents.

    Here are snippets from the Scouts Inc. breakdowns of the new Rams:

    Draft: “Against the run, he is a bit overmatched when lined up on the left offensive side and is at his best in the bubble as the weak side linebacker. He doesn't play real big when attacking downhill towards the line-of-scrimmage. He is more of an edge than a natural take-on player. He is an aggressive and physical take-on player. Draft has good reactions and has some suddenness and quickness. However, he does struggle to disengage and get off blocks. He can and will get engulfed at the point of attack.”

    Johnson: “(He) has been a special teams stalwart with his speed, tackling and nose for the football and could gather some attention from NFL teams needing an intelligent, physical safety.”

    Hall: “He is a great pursuit player who makes more than his share of backside plays. He is very good at locating the ball while on the move. He excels on blitzes and stunts and always seems to be around the ball. He can be effective in some zone-blitz situations. But Hall is undersized and lacks power. He can be overpowered at the point of attack when reached. He lacks great edge speed and is able to finish plays based more on his effort than any closing burst.”

    Rumph: “He is a ferocious hitter and tackler when he gets a target lined up. But Rumph lacks quick-twitch athleticism and fluid hips. His mental mistakes, focus and durability have further held him back. He lacks the make-up speed to recover if he misses with his jam. He is slow to flip his hips in transition. He is a straight-line athlete who doesn't play in control in space. He struggles against quick, darting receivers and isn't a sure open-field tackler. He takes some bad angles to the ball. He guesses too often and gets out of position. He lacks burst and is slow to close his cushion from off coverage.”

    None of the defensive additions are headliners, which is fine. The ’07 free agent class was dramatically overpriced. The Rams didn’t land a big impact defender, but there were few to be had.

    The team also didn’t make a big mistake. Jay Zygmunt continues to handle the salary cap quite well and now the football staff is positioned to beef up the “D” during the draft.

    The Rams’ work isn’t done. But the groundwork for a productive offseason has been laid. Let’s see if the front office can finish the job.


  2. #2
    maineram's Avatar
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    Blah, Blah, Blah !!!
    Last offseason was considered a good one and look where it landed us on defense.
    It's the same old, same old. Whiners, Cowgirls, Patsies, and other NFL darlings help thier team considerably no matter who they pick up.
    If they've got a team pegged as a loser, nothing wil change thier view.

    I get my info here from our insiders / experts who follow the team and know what the team needs are.

    EXPERTS ...... BAHHHH

    Maineram -

    Maineram -
    and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !

  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    I, the sportswriter, will now give you my opinion, and to back it up, I will cut and paste the opinions of other sportswriters.

    The bad thing about articles like this being online is that they don't even have the functional use of a printed article (i.e. wrapping fish, wadding up to use as packing materials).

  4. #4
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    Ok, riddle me something: what did Jeff say that isn't true? What, did Hall suddenly become a stalwart DE because he signed with the Rams? No. Has McMichael been compared to Gates or Gonzalez? No. Is Draft a househould LB name? No. Is Bennett that good that much better than Curtis? An argument could be made to support that Curtis is better than Bennett. Is Johnson a starting S? No.

    So we signed a bunch of guys that if they don't work out it won't break the bank. Well good for Zyggy and the Blonde dancer but where does that leave this team?

    8-8.....maybe.

  5. #5
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    all that sounds like what it is ramblng I just want desire , heart And fundamentals

  6. #6
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Ok, riddle me something: what did Jeff say that isn't true?
    Most of what he said wasn't true or untrue, it was merely opinion... and not even his opinions. He just reprinted things others have said.

    That makes him slightly more informative than a Google search.

  7. #7
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Ok, riddle me something: what did Jeff say that isn't true? What, did Hall suddenly become a stalwart DE because he signed with the Rams? No. Has McMichael been compared to Gates or Gonzalez? No. Is Draft a househould LB name? No. Is Bennett that good that much better than Curtis? An argument could be made to support that Curtis is better than Bennett. Is Johnson a starting S? No.

    So we signed a bunch of guys that if they don't work out it won't break the bank. Well good for Zyggy and the Blonde dancer but where does that leave this team?

    8-8.....maybe.
    u bring up a very valid argument but i believe we dont need all stars that cost 6yr 40 million like thomas did or kerney who got 37 million or especially clements who is a great corner but doesnt deserve no 80 million thats for sure...' zyggy is doing a good job maintaning the cap.... period

    lets face it man, a couple things go our way last season and we're 106, 11-5, its as simple as that... i trully believe we are only a couple of role player away from being a playoff team again...

  8. #8
    blood85's Avatar
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    I agree. We don't need all the stars, just people who can make plays. The 99 team had players like Fletcher,Jones, Lyght,Horne and so forth. They weren't stars, they just played well ,especially when it counted most.

  9. #9
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    They are no more experts than we are. All they have is the time to study particular players, and look at stats. But unless a guy is consistently great. You don't know what he's gonna do. Even when he's good you have no idea of telling how a team does. I think our additions are solid pick ups and we'll do fine.

  10. #10
    RAM-BO's Avatar
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    I don't think our new offense can be considered the next GSOT because it is a completely different philosophy and mindset than the original.

  11. #11
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    I have to give the FO credit, they did a great job of filling the holes in the FA so far. Unfortunately I'm not so optimistic about the Rumph signing. I would have rather seen that money go toward resigning Turk.

  12. #12
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    well we have added players and lost some bad players (Fisher), how is that not an improvement? Curtis for Bennett is a push, but McMicheal is far better then the Rams have had at TE for a long time. To say they havent improved as a team is just rubbish.

    However we might not have improved to better then 8-8. but the bottom line is we have improved

  13. #13
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce4life View Post
    u bring up a very valid argument but i believe we dont need all stars that cost 6yr 40 million like thomas did or kerney who got 37 million or especially clements who is a great corner but doesnt deserve no 80 million thats for sure...' zyggy is doing a good job maintaning the cap.... period

    lets face it man, a couple things go our way last season and we're 106, 11-5, its as simple as that... i trully believe we are only a couple of role player away from being a playoff team again...

    I'm under the impression that people create their own luck, good or bad. Our offensive is wickedly potent but our defense is wickedly pourous. There is a reason why Seattle was able to come back and win both games, they know how to exploit our defense. Plain and simple. That's why those "couple of things" did not go our way.

    Hey, I'm a huge Rams fan too. I want to win. No one on this website wants to win more than me. Ask Dez. However, I'm somewhat ticked off that year in and year out we spend all our big money on the offensive side of the ball and take leftovers from tupperware bowls on the defense and there is only one reason for that: offense sells tickets. Ziggy knows that. So in that perspective, he's doing a great job. I just don't think he's doing all he can to win.

    C'mon, did we really need Bennett? I don't think so. This is a deep WR draft. We could have got a Bennett clone in the third round. Everyone here says we can shore up the defense through the draft, well why can't we plug a few holes offensively in the draft and see if we can get a top notch corner to help Hill. Bartell is inconsistent, Butler can't cover me, Groce isn't effective, and Brown is just serviceable.

  14. #14
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    I believe that we are going to have a winning record. Because the RAMS are ready for this year. Other teams are going to underestimate us and we are going to take advantage.

  15. #15
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    Re: Are Rams better? No

    The way this team is stacked on offense I can't see how we won't make the playoffs. However if the defense doesn't show up, we will likely leave just as fast. This is not the GSOT anymore and I personally like it that way. I've been hoping for a well rounded, hard nose, old school football for a long time. We are not their yet, but this as about as close as we have come so far.

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