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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/23/2006
    Panthers Baker
    Jason Baker (7), who led the NFL in net punting with Carolina last season, couldn't come to terms with the Rams.
    (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    The Rams seemingly have been searching for a punter ever since Sean Landeta was released after the 1996 season. And the search continues.

    On Wednesday, punter Jason Baker came and left town without a contract - an unusual occurrence in the current free agency landscape, where players usually visit cities to sign contracts.

    There were indications Wednesday evening that the club had turned its attention instead to Matt Turk, 37, an 11-year veteran who missed the entire 2005 season in Miami because of a groin injury.

    Turk apparently would come cheaper than Baker, who led the NFC in net punting for Carolina in '05. Baker, 27, is coming off a career year and was thought to be seeking more than $1 million a year. He's drawing interest from Baltimore, Seattle and Carolina.

    After a late arrival Tuesday because of the weather, Baker left St. Louis on Wednesday morning. The Rams and Baker's agent talked about the parameters of a contract, but there apparently was no offer made by St. Louis.

    The Rams have gone through six punters in the past five seasons, and haven't had a punter last more than two full seasons since Landeta joined the club midway through the '93 season and stayed through the '96 campaign.

    Turk made three consecutive Pro Bowls with the Washington Redskins from 1996 through '98, but has not averaged more than 41.7 yards in any season since the 2000 campaign in Miami.

    Detroit Rams

    The Detroit Lions and former Rams head coach Mike Martz seem intent on collecting former Rams players. The Lions have signed running back Arlen Harris and offensive lineman Rex Tucker in the past week.

    Earlier this week, safety Mike Furrey paid a free-agent visit to Detroit, where Martz now works as offensive coordinator.

    Harris signed a one-year deal with Detroit that pays him a base salary of $500,000 in 2006. Tucker signed a three-year contract that pays him base salaries of $710,000 in '06, $750,000 in '07 and $1.09 million in '08, according to figures filed with the NFL Players Association.

    The Rams did not make Harris a tender offer as a restricted free agent, thereby cutting ties with him. In three seasons with the Rams, Harris gained 339 yards on 118 carries, an average of 2.9 yards per carry, and scored five touchdowns.

    The Rams appeared to have no interest in re-signing Tucker, an unrestricted free agent. Slowed by a calf injury, Tucker played in only eight games for the Rams in 2005, his only season in St. Louis. He started three games at right tackle, a position he had not played previously in the NFL. Like Harris, Furrey was not given a one-year tender offer by the Rams as a restricted free agent. This came as somewhat of a surprise given that Furrey started 11 games last season at free safety and led the club with four interceptions. Furrey made the radical switch from wide receiver to safety last season. Although not shy about contact, he struggled with his pursuit angles and missed some tackles at the new position.

    Furrey spoke again with the Lions on Wednesday, but did not return phone calls from the Post-Dispatch.

    LB Smith to visit

    Free-agent linebacker Raonall Smith of the Minnesota Vikings is scheduled to visit Rams Park today, according to league sources. Smith, 27, has been a spot starter the past two seasons for the Vikings. He registered 30 tackles last season, with one sack, making six starts, and is considered a good special teams player.


  2. #2
    Fat Pang's Avatar
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    Re: Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    Can anyone enlighten us as to potential draft day options for punters? Turk doesn't exactly sound like a world beater does he?

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    Ryan Plackemeir from Wake Forest and John Torp from Colorado are probably the top 2. Either should be available in the 5-6 round of the draft.

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    Re: Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Ryan Plackemeir from Wake Forest and John Torp from Colorado are probably the top 2. Either should be available in the 5-6 round of the draft.
    Another potential draftee is USC's Tom Malone. He didn't get many chances (for obvious reasons), but when he did he showed an extremely strong leg. He typically only punted roughly 3 times per game, but 1/3rd of his punts traveled over 50 yards, and 55% of his punts landed within the 20.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    Matt Turk is an average punter. I've seen him many times in training camp. He has good ball placement but his leg is getting a little tired. That groin injury was not serious at all... It happened in pre-season so we went with donnie jones and put him on IR...we released him a few weeks later when he was healed so that he couldn't get an injury settlement. It was a groin pull if am not mistaken.
    And it looked like such a good day...

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    Matt Turk is an average punter
    We don't need another injury prone punter who's best days are behind him. I think we need to get one via the draft and keep him this time.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

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    Re: Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68
    We don't need another injury prone punter who's best days are behind him. I think we need to get one via the draft and keep him this time.
    For camp purposes, I expect we will do both.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams eye Turk after Baker exits picture/Detroit Rams

    Arlen Harris, I will miss him, a fairly good backup RB. Rex Tucker, thanks for trying (injury ridden).

    Punter, punter ... hmmm. Draft a good, new punter. :clanram:

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