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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    By Steve Reynolds on May 18, 2007

    On paper, the St. Louis Rams ' offense looks primed to explode. With the addition of tight end Randy McMichael, wide receiver Drew Bennett, and versatile rookie running back Brian Leonard added to a youthful O-line that was able to gain valuable experience as last season wound down, the NFL's sixth-ranked offense can only increase its potency. Adding this sort of weaponry to star mainstays Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt is akin to handing a blowtorch-toting arsonist a bag of bottle rockets.

    On paper, the Rams' defense is disturbingly similar to last year's. The additions of linebacker Chris Draft, defensive end James Hall and rookie lineman Adam Carriker are the most notable names brought in during a seemingly unremarkable offseason on that side of the ball. To describe last year's defensive squad as underwhelming is an understatement comparable to saying that Paris Hilton has "loose" morals.

    On paper, however, the Rams appear to like what they see on both sides of the ball. The coaching staff has made no effort to acquire any "name" players on defense, opting to pass on players such as DTs Kris Jenkins and Sam Adams. Additionally, the acquisitions on offense, though not marquee players, are proven veteran talents just entering their prime. As a result, the offensive roster is now arguably the most talent laden in the league.

    So, what does all of this mean for Rams fans? It means you're either supremely confident in this year's club, bracing yourself for a rehash of last season's unrealized success, or your thoughts fall somewhere in the middle of the emotional spectrum.

    Scott Linehan has opted for the confident posture, explaining, "I feel so much better this time of this year than I did last year. I think we were still working trying to find some answers that weren't there yet. Now I think we have addressed those needs and now we have to go out and prove it and do it on the field."

    Of course, a head coach has no option but to appear confident at this point in the offseason; he couldn't exactly proclaim, "I've really made a mess of things," even if he believed that were the case. However, Linehan appears genuinely intrigued by the performance of his younger players, praising the likes of rookie Carriker's mini-camp performance as well as former doghouse resident Claude Terrell in recent interviews.

    The fact that the Rams have only added complementary players rather than making wholesale changes is telling; it signals that Linehan believes that the core of the team is set and only needed a little fine tuning.

    The defensive line was a problem, so potential starters Hall and Carriker were added. Dante Hall was added to the perennially problematic special teams, and although his electrifying days may be behind him, he need only show up to bolster the Rams' return game immeasurably. Outside of these changes, the Rams will basically field the same team as last season, the only difference being they will have a year in the system under their belts.

    Perhaps there is a method to Linehan's madness, unlike his predecessor, who seemed to frequently have a madness to his method. Perhaps Linehan's confidence is justified after all.

    When one looks at the awesome array of weaponry on offense and the potential of the young players on defense, it is hard not to share the head coach's confidence.

    With a roster replete with proven veterans and young potential, the Rams appear at least the equal of any NFL team in terms of talent. They appear to have all the tools required to build upon last year's season-ending three-game winning streak. They now possess the talent and ability to push to the next level and into the playoffs.

    On paper.

  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    The Rams will almost certainly have three new starters on defense. How does that translate to "lack of change"?

  3. #3
    smizzhfx Guest

    Re: Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    To describe last year's defensive squad as underwhelming is an understatement comparable to saying that Paris Hilton has "loose" morals.
    Is this guy for real? Hahaha.

  4. #4
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    I am very optimistic about the upcoming season. This article seems to under estimate the importance of having 1 season under their belts, players and coaches. Yes, Dante Hall will help improve our special teams return units. He left out that Johnson and Draft will help improve our special teams coverage units. In my opinion Linehan has done a nice job addressing our off-season issues "on paper". Now Linehan and the players have to show us on the field. I'm very confident they will.:r

  5. #5
    The Shredder Guest

    Re: Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    Wow, this guy is nuts.

    The Rams clearly did better on the offensive side of the ball when the most glaring in need was the defense. I dont know if you can really count on Hall, Draft, and Carriker to really turn things around on defense. I think what Linehan is doing is plugging the leaks with duct tape at this point. It will take a couple more seasons to make the defense respectable. Thats why all the sports networks are being negative because the offense to a sense didn't need all of the spark it got in the offeseason as opposed to what the defense needed.

  6. #6
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    I can't fault the team for most of our off-season moves. As Linehan pointed out, the defensive tackles available in free agency were back-up calibre players when we needed a starter. Kerney was arguably the only more talented defensive end on the market, but he wasn't as good a fit at RDE. Many thought we also needed a starting quality OLB, and we got one. My one big complaint is that we didn't get another defensive end in the draft despite our lack of depth at the position and the age of our starters.

  7. #7
    TheBritishRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    I am very confident about the upcoming season, i can see no way that the defense could be worse than last season, every off season move on the D has helped it in some way. Also Hill, Atogwe and Bartell are coming along very nicely. Our offense will be better after having a whole season in linehan's system and with the additions over the offseason. Since the colts made it the playoffs with the only defense that was worse than the rams i see no reason why they can't make the playoffs

  8. #8
    bruce4life's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' lack of change puts league on notice

    shredder other than donnie edwards and napolean harris what did the cheifs do in the offseason???? you guys have lost in back to back to season willie roaf and brian waters, 2 Perennial pro bowlers... so do not give me this bull crap that the rams have not done anything in the offseason...

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