Rams chat with Jim Thomas: Aug 7
Tue Aug 07, 2012
Thanks Jim- How has Calvin Middleton the UFDA RB from Jacksonville State looked? Who looks better, Middleton or Darryl Richardson, the 7th round pick?
by CaliSteve 11:08 AM
@CaliSteve Some of the reporters are calling Middleton the "Mini-Bus" _ a smaller version of Jerome Bettis, aka The Bus. Middleton is shorter, but has a husky build like Bettis, and he also wears Bettis' jersey No. 36. MIddleton looks OK, doesn't have great speed. Richardson has yet to practice in "team" situations _ 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 _ because of a fairly significant hamstring injury during summer training.
by jthomas 11:10 AM
What is your take on Justin King's remarks about rather having Luck over Bradford?
by CMALK 11:10 AM
Well, he's drawing his paycheck in Indy now. I'd be surprised if he said anything's different.
by jthomas 11:11 AM
Hey Jim--I've been hearing some not-so-good reports out of camp about the O-line. What's your take on how they're coming along? And is there any chance Wells comes backs soon?
by Doug 11:11 AM
Nothing's changed from the end of last season in that offensive tackle remains the biggest concern. DEs Chris Long and Robert Quinn continue to give Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold fits in practice. The Rams expect Scott Wells back in time to play a preseason game or two.
by jthomas 11:14 AM
What are you reading right now, if anything? Anything sports related?
Have you read Scorecasting yet?
by Todd 11:14 AM
The sports pages, particularly anything related to the NFL that I have the time to read.
by jthomas 11:14 AM
Hi Jim, any interest from the Rams in former Bears OT Chris Williams? or is it too early in camp to panic yet about the supposed O-Line trouble?
by mc in dc 11:14 AM
Too early. Let's wait until the team plays at least one preseason game.
by jthomas 11:15 AM
Jim, glad we are back into the swing of football season! When do you think we will see the first Rams depth chart leak out?
by mc in dc 11:15 AM
Nothing has to leak out; it's right there in training camp practice. On offense: LT Saffold, LG Ojinnaka, C Turner (w/Wells out), RG H. Dahl, RT Smith, TE Kendricks, QB Bradford, FB Miller, RB Jackson, WR Amendola, WR Gibson. On defense: LE Long, DT Langford, DT Brockers, RE Quinn, OLB Dunbar, MLB Laurinaitis, OLB Haggan, CB Finnegan, CB Jenkins, SS Mikell, FS Dahl or Stewart. Granted, some of these jobs are still up for grabs: LG, FB, WR, OLB, FS.
by jthomas 11:19 AM
I just posted a blog on this. That was surprising to hear. Fisher says he's not concerned. We'll see.
by jthomas 11:24 AM
Been reading these chats for awhile now and I've been hearing about a lot of talk about who we keep at WR and who starts at left guard, but I'm interested in who get a spot as a corner on this team. I know that Cortland, Janoris, and Trumaine are safe however, who do you think gets traded or cut out of Fletcher, Murphy, and Gordy?
by Mike 11:25 AM
If the Rams keep six, I think those six spots as we sit here now go to Finnegan, Jenkins, Fletcher, Johnson, Gordy, and Murphy. If they keep only five, Murphy probably is in the mmost trouble right now.
by jthomas 11:28 AM
Chances Danario Alexander makes the team? Its a shame hes so good but cant stay healthy for 5 minutes.
by Brad 11:29 AM
If they keep six, and if nobody gets hurt, right now you'd have to say Danario is No. 7 on a depth chart that probably keeps only six. So he has to get on the field and make something happen in the preseason games. And as of yesterday Fisher wasn't sure if Alexander would play this week in the preseason opener against Indianapolis. I should note that Fisher has kept seven wideouts in the past. The team won't have to worry about what to do with Pettis _ who's among the top 8 _ until Week 3 because of the two games remaining on his suspension.
by jthomas 11:32 AM
@jthomas You have to keep 6 CBs in this day and age, tho, right?
by Todd 11:32 AM
Yeah, I would think so.
by jthomas 11:32 AM
@jthomas What was surprising to hear?
by Todd 11:32 AM
Sorry about that, I cut myself off trying to answer the question about Bradford's ankle. The answer should be below.
by jthomas 11:32 AM
How is Rodger Saffold progressing? Is there a concern at left guard?
by Robert 11:33 AM
He was held out of Saturday's practice and was limited only to individual drills on Monday. I'm not sure what the injury is, but I don't think it's anything major. He has been more consistent than Smith at RT, but as I mentioned earlier, Saffold is having trouble blocking Quinn.
by jthomas 11:35 AM
Jim, it's a shame what happened to Andy Reid's son. Therefore, my question is do any of the Ram coaches let their adult kids stay at the training camp facilities?
by Bopat from SoCal 11:35 AM
For one, the coaching staff is littered with coaches' sons, from Brandon Fisher to Blake Williams to Paul Boudreau (same name as line coach, but not a junior). There are lots of younger sons serving as ballboys running all ovver the field. Jeff Fisher even had the dog of one of his sons around for a while in the spring.
by jthomas 11:38 AM
Keep reading our D Line is looking good. How's Brockers and Langford looking? Are DE's going to be our strengths this year?
by ClaytonJim 11:39 AM
Brockers definitely looks the part and so does Langford. Brockers is so young and relatively inexperienced, he figures to have some ups and downs, but he is very strong, and while I don't think he'll be a big sack guy should be able to provide the occasional inside push which will help the defensive ends on the pass rush. I haven't watched Langford as much, but he's a big man as well, and also looks the part. I think the d-line overall this year has a chance to be a strength.
by jthomas 11:47 AM
With the Rams likely to use a lot of 2-2 personnel packages for max protection, and WRs that don't have a reputation for getting open, I sure hope Jackson stays healthy. Is Pead an every down guy if SJax goes down?
by DVH 11:47 AM
The biggest adjustment for running backs as they enter the NFL is pass protection/blitz pickup. Pead has struggled in some of the one-on-one pass-blocking drills I've watched, but he looks to be a willing blocker and you have to assume he will improve.
by jthomas 11:48 AM
Jim, I live in Fla. so it's not easy to get a real read of things, Some on ESPN have questioned Sam pasion & intensity for the game, What's your take on that ?
by Bluefish 11:48 AM
From what I've seen, I don't know how you could question it. He puts in tons of hours at Rams Park, has brought skill-position players to Norman for extra work in the summer two offseasons in a row _ on his dime. But some may mistake his low-key personality for lack of intensity.
by jthomas 11:51 AM
Jim, is this the year Chris Long and James Laurinaitis make the Pro Bowl? If there is a Pro Bowl?
by Bopat from SoCal 11:51 AM
I'm not saying it's right. But I think the Rams have to do better _ much better _ in the won-loss colum for that to happen.
by jthomas 11:51 AM
Any chance that the Rams add another QB--or are we too far along for that?
by Todd 11:52 AM
Actually, I think we're not far enough along yet for that. Once the roster cuts start at the end of the months, I think the Rams will be looking to see what QBs are cut loose, especially in this age where lots of teams keep only two QBs.
by jthomas 11:54 AM
Worse can scenario Bradford re-injures ankle, is Clemens a capable backup or is it a possibility the Rams pick up McCoy from Browns? System is similar under Shurmur that Schotty is running here.
by RamFanILside 11:54 AM
Clemens is bright, tough, scrappy, and has leadership qualities. He knows this offense from his time with Schottenheimer in New York with the Jets. The issue is his accuracy, which isn't what you want in a starting QB.
by jthomas 11:56 AM
How big of a role will isaiah Pead and Daryl Richarson have this season.
by matthew mingo 11:56 AM
The expectation is that Pead will have a decent role, spelling Jackson, doing some third-down work, maybe some kick returns. The Rams feel Richardson has big-play potential, but he needs to get back on the field _ he hasn't practiced yet in an 11-on-11 or "team" setting because of a hamstring injury suffered in summer training. It's hard for rookies to catch up if they miss too much time at the start of camp.
by jthomas 11:59 AM
Is Wells in camp and is he doing anything with the team? THe most important position on a highly-suspect O-line - we need him on the field badly.
by NYRamsGuy 11:59 AM
Wrote about him today in a story on injuries. He has participated in all the walk-throughs, is on the field every day in practice. His rehab is on schedule.
by jthomas 12:00 PM
I realize it's very premature, but if past history is any indication Fisher tends to not draft O linemen in early rounds. Should our O line continue to be the biggest problem area do you see him spending a high pick or do you think the solution will be dealt with via free agency?
by Reds 12:01 PM
Hard to say. I think he has faith in line coach Paul Boudreau's ability to develop talent, and some of the best lines on the best teams aren't loaded with high draft picks. But if the team needs help at offensive tackle at the end of the season, which appears likely, maybe Fisher and Snead consider using one of those extra first-rounders next year for o-line help.
by jthomas 12:04 PM
Jim, predictions on Rams record? 10-6, 9-7? wishful thinking?
by Ekern55 12:05 PM
Those numbers sound highly optimistic.
by jthomas 12:05 PM
If the OTs are having trouble blocking the DEs, does that mean the OTs are playing poorly or the DEs are playing great?
by David 12:05 PM
I do think the Rams' DEs are good, Quinn could be headed to a breakout year. Then again, there aren't many NFL teams that don't have at least one good DE.
by jthomas 12:06 PM
Mr. Thomas..Suspect O-Line Sam's ankle Equal another long and frustrating season.
by lipnoid 12:07 PM
That's definitely one possible scenario.
by jthomas 12:07 PM
Of the WR who's been the most intense or who has stood out most ?
by Bluefish 12:08 PM
Amendola has been the most consistent, and I still maintain that pound-for-pound he's one of the toughest players on the team. Gibson obviously has had a good camp. All of the other main wideouts have had their ups and downs. Some tough catches. Some drops. So far, I haven't seen much separation in the group.
by jthomas 12:09 PM
Fisher said he wanted to have a tougher, nastier offensive line but how easy will it be to make players who are used to playing soft suddenly play with a nasty streak to them?
by sentientsix 12:10 PM
That's what Boudreau is here for.
by jthomas 12:10 PM
If Jason Smith falters/gets injured, how much does that set this line back? Where do they get help?
by Tackleberry 12:10 PM
No doubt the team is thin at tackle. I will say this though, Barry Richardson hasn't looked bad in camp so far.
by jthomas 12:11 PM
If Jason Smith is having trouble, will we see Harvey Dahl at RT?
by David 12:11 PM
I think the Rams would rather keep Dahl at rg, for continuity's sake, but he more than held his own there late last season, and could be an option.
by jthomas 12:12 PM
Has Coach had any consistance for the starting LBs?
by NYRamsGuy 12:12 PM
It had been Dunbar, Laurinaitis, and Haggan all through camp, but yesterday (Monday), McIntosh and Hull got a lot of work with the starters at OLB around Laurinaitis. So the OLB starting jobs I think are still a little in flux.
by jthomas 12:13 PM
The gameplan thats being preached is "Protect Sam" which I'm reading translates to multiple Te sets, dink and dunk passes and lots of running. Do you think that'll be a handicap to us in todays higher scoring NFL
by Reds 12:14 PM
I'm as curious as anyone to see how this plays out. But this could end up looking more like the Shurmur offense of 2010, which a lot of fans complained about because of it's lack of big plays and downfield throws. I think the quicker Quick and Givens develop, the more this offense can have some flexibility. Obviously, to score big, it helps to have a big play every know and then. A lot has to go right to consistently produce 10_ or 12-play drives.
by jthomas 12:15 PM
my boss is flying in to go to the ED to see GB play the Rams on Oct.21st what would be the best way to have him get a jersey signed by any of the rams?
by lipnoid 12:16 PM
Assuming you're in town, or know somebody in the STL, come out to one of the Rams' opening training practices, and have a player or more sign the jersey. Players sign after every open practice, although it's usually one or two position groups per day. So if you're trying to get Steven Jackson to sign a Steven Jackson jersey, you may have to check with Rams PR in advance to see when Jackson's signing.
by jthomas 12:18 PM
If something happens and Steven Jackson has to miss an entire game, do you think Pead can carry the load and how do you think the offense will change play calling wise?
by Rodger 12:18 PM
Pead isn't the biggest back in the world, so I don't know about doing it for, say, half a season. But I think he could do it for a few games.
by jthomas 12:19 PM
Jim, is Brockers the real deal? Past draft disappointments at DT makes me worry. Is this the DT that finally makes a differnce on our defense front? How is he looking in camp? thanks again...
by Ekern55 12:19 PM
It's impossible to give a definitive answer on that less than two weeks into full-squad training camp. So far, so good. That's about all I can say on that one.
by jthomas 12:19 PM
Hey Jim, thanks for the Q's! Will the game be televised this Sunday?
by JIM 12:27 PM
Yes, KTVI, Channel 2 in St. Louis.
by jthomas 12:27 PM
Jim, we haven't heard boo about the rookie punter, although I hear the kicker will be a steal in my fantasy league! What about the punter?
by NYRamsGuy 12:28 PM
Sorry, delayed for a few minutes for a visit to the media room by the great Gil Brandt who's at Rams Park doing Sirius radio broadcast. I wrote about Hekker in the spring and also blogged on him last week. I'll try to attach the links. If that doesn't work, the short answer is Hekker has a strong leg but has been erratic in camp: St. Louis Sports, News, Jobs, Classifieds, Entertainment & Weather
by jthomas 12:45 PM
NYRamsguy: Here's the other Hekker link: St. Louis Sports, News, Jobs, Classifieds, Entertainment & Weather
by jthomas 12:54 PM
I feel like the performance of the entire teamwill depend on the performance of the OL. Bradford, Sjax, the WRs, the defense (if it has to spend all day on the field). Would you agree? Is there any chance the line outperforms last year?
by RamsFaninMD 12:54 PM
Well, you've hit the high spots. But if you boil it down, I'd say the play off the offensive tackles is key _ a lot will feed off that on offense. And can Robert Quinn play as good in the season as he looks now. A lot on defense will follow that.
by jthomas 12:55 PM
Jim, has Fisher given any indication on how long the 1s will play in the first exhibition game, and who will be the kick and punt returners to start?
by NYRamsGuy 12:55 PM
He hasn't. Usually that comes later in the week.
by jthomas 12:56 PM
Do you think there will be more player changes before the start of the season? or do you think that the the team is set?
by Art Pineda 12:56 PM
I'm sure there will be some changes between now an opening day. Injuries and preseason play will dictate how many. One of the most surprising things about this camp is that there hasn't been a single change so far.
by jthomas 12:57 PM
Jim, does mike harkey have a chance to make the team or at least the practice squad?
by Kevin 12:57 PM
It's Cory Harkey (Mike Harkey _ his dad _ is the former big league pitcher who I believe is pitching coach of the Yankees.) The Rams like what they've seen so far from Harkey. Remember, he was way behind because of UCLA's quarter system schedule. So I'd say right now he has a chance for practice squad _ and maybe the final 53.
by jthomas 12:59 PM
How has Kendricks looked in camp? I am looking for a breakout season!
by JTDelz 12:59 PM
Dropped some passes early in camp. A little banged up now.
by jthomas 1:00 PM
It appears the Rams will have more NFL-caliber cornerbacks and wide receivers (though not at the highest levels) than they have room on their roster. Are the Rams trying to package a couple of them in a trade for an NFL-caliber offensive lineman?
by keith e 1:00 PM
Not away of anything like that at this point.
by jthomas 1:01 PM
Jim, it seems like there have been a lot of stories lately about what's going on in camp (stretching, Yoga, etc). Do you feel that Fisher is fairly open with the media in terms of talking about practices, etc?
by Sam 1:02 PM
Fisher is old school in the sense that he doesn't sweat the small stuff. He's also very secure in his skin. So yes, it is a more relaxed, more open atmosphere at Rams Park. Fisher is very serious about football but realizes it's just football: He's not out here guarding nuclear secrets.
by jthomas 1:04 PM
Whats the word on the safety from Duke, Daniels? Has he been impressive could he possibly be a rookie-signing steal??
by Warren 1:04 PM
He's getting work with the second team. I'm curious to see how he does in the preseason.
by jthomas 1:05 PM
Jim, what's your response to the pole questions. I'm really looking forward to seeing Jenkins and Johnson myself.
by NYRamsGuy 1:05 PM
I'd have to say young wideouts and new corners, only because I don't think the starting offensive tackles will be in the game that long.
by jthomas 1:05 PM
Sorry went to high school with mike harkey old habit
by Kevin 1:06 PM
by jthomas 1:06 PM
New Orleans back-up running backs looked good Saturday. Are the Rams well-positioned if any of them hit the waiver wire?
by keith e 1:06 PM
I'd say that depends on Richardson's health. (He's the odds-on favorite to be the No. 3 RB, and most teams keep only 3 RBs.) But if RIchardson's hamstring injury lingers, the team probably looks around.
by jthomas 1:07 PM
Jim, do you see a lot of 3rd-and-long situations this season?
by Bopat from SoCal 1:07 PM
For Bradford's sake I hope not.
by jthomas 1:07 PM
Would it have made sense for the Rams to give Terrell Owens a shot?
by David 1:08 PM
If they were a player away, maybe. But based on where the team is now, I'd say no.
by jthomas 1:08 PM
Jim, any word on what the vets think of the new coaching staff? Any buy-in issues or disgruntledness to speak of? I would think Jeff F. would command a lot of instant respect, but you never know.
by Ryan 1:08 PM
The early feedback has been positive, not that it wasn't for Spagnuolo _ or even Linehan for that matter. But I think what's helping Fisher is 1.) His track record. 2.) The fact that he played the game. 3.) His personality and the way he does things.
by jthomas 1:10 PM
Jim, what's your take on the importance of a good pre-season won/lost record? Last year we were 4-0 and yet the season was a disaster.
by NYRamsGuy 1:10 PM
I'd say you never want to be 0-4 or 4-0. To back up your point about last preseason, Spagnuolo was 10-2 in the preseason with the Rams and 10-38 in the regular season with the Rams.
by jthomas 1:11 PM
Hi Jim, I realize that part of Demoff's job is dealing with PR stuff that Stan can't be bothered with, but claiming that they wanted to show fans some appreciation on scrimmage day for supporting a team that lost 65 games over five years seems like a poor trade for losing a home game against a team we hate more than any other. Or have they updated how they plan to "showcase" St. Louis in London?
by ihtnep 1:11 PM
Your point is well taken about a "poor trade" but at least they made a gesture towards the fan with last Saturday's event, and I don't know how you can blame them for that.
by jthomas 1:12 PM
It seems that the Rams may have a corner or WR that another team may covet. Do you see any scenario where they try and trade 1 or 2 along with a late pick for O-line help, particularly a OT?
by Ramballin 1:12 PM
I guess it's within the range of possibility, but barring injury, I don't see them even considering making such a move until they see what the preseason brings.
by jthomas 1:13 PM
I've seen a lot of positive reviews about Jenkins this summer. Do you think he will be tasked with covering Johnson week 1?
by JTM 1:13 PM
I would be surprised if Finnegan wasn't the guy assigned to shadow Megatron.
by jthomas 1:14 PM
Would you attribute Saffold's "regression" entirely on injuries, or did he overachieve as a rookie?
by DVH 1:14 PM
Interesting question. I think partly, he wasn't given enough help. Teams had a better idea of what worked against him. More 7-step drops (deeper passes) under McDaniels, which meant the line had to block better. He didn't get much help in terms of having tight ends or running back chip block. Also, I think he lost some of his confidence.
by jthomas 1:16 PM
Jim, Is Janoris the most talented CB the Rams have drafted since coming to St. Louis. I think he is going to have a great season
by Ben Spann 1:16 PM
We'll see. Dre' Bly had a pretty good run here, as did Ron Bartell. Dexter McLeon had his moments. But then, there's Justin King, Jonathan Wade, Tye Hill, Jacoby Shepherd
by jthomas 1:20 PM
When the Rams play their game in London, will it be played in Wembley Stadium or Olympic Stadium?
by Bopat from SoCal 1:20 PM
Rams are playing in Wembley. Have to head out to the practice field now, sorry I couldn't get to all the questions. Talk to you all next week!
by jthomas 1:21 PM