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Rams Park Quiet After Lockout Lifted
Rams Park quiet after lockout lifted
BY BILL COATS
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Players showed up at several NFL facilities Tuesday, a day after U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson granted an injunction halting the league's six-week lockout.
Linebacker James Laurinaitis was spotted at Rams Park shortly after noon, but it could not be determined whether he actually entered the building. Apparently no other players arrived at the facility in Earth City.
"I think all the players understand kind of what's going on," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "They're getting a lot of information."
Nelson has yet to rule on the league's request to stay the injunction.
"We're anxious to get everybody back in here and get to work," Spagnuolo said. "We'll just see how it plays out. It'll work itself out."
General manager Billy Devaney said the lockout, which pushed free agency behind the draft this year, hadn't affected the Rams' preparation for the three-day draft, which kicks off Thursday evening in New York.
"You've heard us talk about the board dictating our draft and best player available, all that stuff. That's going to be our model this year," Devaney said. "Free agency will be here in some form eventually, but that hasn't had any impact on how we've put our (draft) board together and the way we're going to approach our selections."
Should Nelson refuse to stay the injunction, free agency could get under way soon. The Rams will be ready, Spagnuolo assured.
"We knew anything could happen. You've got to be prepared. I think every team in the NFL will tell you that," he said. "We would've had to be ready for it back in March (when it was originally scheduled). Pull out those notebooks and away we go."
Devaney and Spagnuolo are working together on their third draft, and they report that the process is becoming smoother each time.
"I think the working relationship between the coaching staff and the scouts gets better and better each year. It's been seamless," Devaney said. The Rams' draft board has been stacked, with few, if any, changes expected in the next couple of days.
"I think we're just about ready to go. We could probably have the draft today if need be," Devaney said. "We're down to the bottom of the draft, getting that lined up. That's a lot harder, of course. You don't know what's going to be there at that point.
"You start thinking about taking for needs when you get to (rounds) six and seven. If you've taken a couple of offensive linemen early in the draft, chances are you're going to go another direction. So that's the point we're at."
running back wanted
The Rams would like to find a complementary running back to Seven Jackson, either in the draft or free agency. "People call them third-down backs, sub backs, change-of-pace backs. ... It's as important as other positions," Spagnuolo said. "It's one of them we think of, but it's not like we're putting any of these at the top of the order."
They aren't in any hurry, however, to land a successor to Jackson, a seven-year veteran who turns 28 in July.
"In our minds, (Jackson) is still playing at an extremely high level. So we don't feel like, 'Gosh, we'd better start looking down the road,'" Devaney said. "This kid is as good as there is. We don't feel any pressure to start lining somebody up to take Steven Jackson's place."
trading up or down
Unlike the previous three years, when they drafted in the No. 2 overall slot in 2008 and 2009 and No. 1 in '10, the Rams hold the 14th position this year. At least for now.
Devaney said moving up or down in the order was possible — but not likely.
"You never say never. Who knows what's going to unfold?" he said. "We've been in touch with teams above us and behind us. It's just kind of an elephant dance right now. It's a little ritual everybody does: 'Yeah, we're interested in trading up.' Yeah, whatever. And you never get a phone call back from them.
"Everybody does kind of the same thing at this time. You just reach out and make sure you have the right phone numbers and see how the draft unfolds."
If the Rams stay at No. 14, "there's a good pool, a good number of players there that we'd be thrilled to get," Devaney said. "We feel confident ... that we'll have pretty good options at that point. …
"We're hell-bent on just making the Rams better when the draft is over."
Re: Rams Park Quiet After Lockout Lifted"We're hell-bent on just making the Rams better when the draft is over."
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