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  1. #1
    Bralidore(RAMMODE)'s Avatar
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    Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    Before and after this year's NFL draft, I, and Im sure just about all of you, have been getting the "devoid of talent" in regards to the Ram's roster force fed down our throats. Even after the draft it seems that it has remained a mainstay in in Ram 2010 prospects.

    So my question is, are we really devoid of talent, or experience?

    QB: Before the addition of Sam Bradford we definitively were short on perceived talent. A.J Feeley, Keith Null, and (at the time) Mike Reilly, left much to be desired. With the addition of Bradford, who has been called one of the best QB prospects of the 2000s (behind only Carson Palmer and Eli Manning according to Casserly), the talent question mark has been erased and instead replaced with the experience one.

    RB: Everyone knows Sjax is one of the best backs in the league. Behind him is only a bunch of question marks like Ogbonnaya, Toston, and Darby. None have done anything to say if they have talent or not, and one (Darby) doesn't look to have anything special based on what we've seen of him.

    WR: Here's one of the biggest question marks on the team. What do we really have here? Laurent Robinson has flashed "go-to-guy" ability in a Ram's uniform but has been consistently bitten by the injury bug in one form of another. If he can remain healthy he has the talent to be a number one guy it would seem. He has talent, just not experience

    Donnie Avery is a bit of an enigma. He definitely has talent. With his special speed, he can stretch the field and make big plays. However he seems more fit to be utilized in this role rather than the reliable possession guy. His hands are suspect and so far he has not been reliable enough to be counted on to make the catch. He has talent, just not experience

    Brandon Gibson could be a compliment to Avery. He has great looking hands, something Avery has not shown. He also shows an ability to make YAC with his quick hips and moves. He does not possess considerable speed however. If he can stay healthy, he could be a very effective role player or starter. He has talent, just not experience

    Mardy Gilyard was a steal in the fourth by all indications. He is the classic case of a guy not being flashy on paper (unless you look at his production ) but just flat out MAKES PLAYS. He is just at 6 feet, if that, and his 40 time isn't eye opening with a 4.5 average, but his agility and quicker than normal change of direction ability makes him a slippery guy after the catch. This also gives him an advantage in route running and returning as it allows him to stop on a dime and make a cut without losing too much momentum. His hands are also fairly reliable, rarely will you see him drop a pass watching the tape. Above all however, the guys is simply a playmaker. He gets behind the defender despite his perceived lack of speed and he is a pain in the open field with his quick hips and agility. If this guy can establish that chemistry with Bradford, and be put on the field in the correct capacity, he could become an X-factor for this team. He does everything Amendola does and more. He has talent, just not experience

    TE: Nothing but raw potential here. Fells is an average H-Back type that can give you a few plays but will rarely win you the game. He is a solid addition on the team but his injury sets him behind in a position that has no "world beaters" as of yet. His absence could cost him his starting spot if guys like Hooma continue to impress when the armor goes on.

    On Hoomanawanui, he seems to be more than capable of starting based off of his perceived abilities. He is said to be a bull in the run blocking department, all the while possessing a pair of soft hands. His speed is adequate to be a great possession Tight End that will get the first downs. I have literally seen NO tape on this guy however as its harder to find then a parking space in New York; however all reports are positive so far. He has talent, just inexperienced

    Enough has been said about Fendi Onobun at this point; POTENTIAL. At this point this is all you can say. He has the size, speed, and character to become this oh so great player, but his rawness (as much as it has been stated) still gets overlooked. Overlooked to the point where you have some people half thinking he could be ready to play by the regular season. This is possible but extraordinary unlikely. He hasn't played ball since 7th grade. All in all however, He has talent, just not experience.

    OL: In Jason Smith you have a former number 2 overall selection in the draft. His athletic ability isn't a question here. Last year he played like a rookie that was gaining experience and starting to "get it". As usual it seems however, he got bitten by the beast and his season ended prematurely. He lost valuable PT but is poised to return strong. He has recovered just fine with a new concussion protected helmet and a great conditioning program. He has talent, just not experience.

    Jason Brown has been a great and even underrated addition by the Devaney regime. His leadership along the line has been invaluable to this young group of big men. His production has made him one of the only mainstays on the offensive line and has allowed him to survive most of the "Rams Offensive Line Sux!" bullets that were shot at the line this past year. Needless to say really, He has talent and experience.

    Jacob Bell is one guy who has indeed underachieved. I believe he has plenty of talent, but his size allows him to get pushed around a bit more than one would like for the interior. His injury certainly does not help him, but he will apparently not miss any Training Camp, which is where the real money is made. This guy has talent and has played in the league long enough to have gained necessary experience for sure, he simply isn't as consistent as you would like. Is it talent he's lacking or size? Regardless, I don't think you can call him talentless.

    Rodger Saffold will eventually man the RT spot along the line. He was a 4 year starter for Indiana, who, if they had nothing else, had a good offensive line. He is very technically sound and can both run and pass block. What he does in pads is in question as he hasn't gotten into them yet, and his minor nicks and dings don't help, but he definitely has the talent to succeed. He has talent, just not experience.

    The RG spot is up in the air and can go a number of ways. Greco, Setterstrom, Goldberg and the rest all look to compete for a job here. Whether these guys are talented or not remains to be seen. Goldberg is the classic utility man that is more valuable as a backup than a starter. Greco and Sett haven't shown enough of anything to be judged one way or another, so the jury is very much so still out on them. I reserve judgement here.

    DE: Here we have a lot of bodies, but no names except for Long. Chris Long has talent, athleticism and the desire and motor. He is poised for a breakout season after coming on strong down the stretch. He has the talent and has gained solid experience. A switch to the left side and a few additions in the middle has Long in a "no excuses" position this year. We need an at least semi big year from Long to prove his worth, whether it comes from sacks or outstanding run defense. He has talent and some experience, its time for him to do work.

    Hall is a good veteran DE that contributes. He doesn't have above average ability but is more valuable to us then he probably would be to someone else, because of his time with the team and veteran presence. He will give us moderate and solid production. He isn't anything particularly special however.

    Selvie is another fairly well known college player that flat out produced initially. His measurables in terms of timed speed and weight leave a ton to be desired, but he made plays at USF. Whether he adjust to the pro game is a big question mark and obviously was a concern among coaches because he lasted until the last round. However I think its safe to say.
    He has talent, just not experience.

    DT: First up is Clifton Ryan. An underrated piece of the Rams interior, he made quite a few plays in the back field and was solid against the run, especially later on in the year. Another year in the same scheme and a veteran like Robbins should be to his strong benefit.

    Dorell Scott is a talented guy that scared off teams due to the fact that he took plays off in college. This was initially a perceived problem last year ain the beginning. Late however, Spags seemed to had broken through the wall because he started playing much better and partly due to injury and partly due to play, he ended up starting. Year 2 should show marked improvement for this guy. He has talent, just not experience

    Fred Robbins is on the tail end of his career but is in great shape with no durability concerns. He is a big, powerful run stuffer and provides a veteran presence for our young defensive linemen.

    LB: Laurinaitis is the unquestioned leader in the middle here. Had an impressive showing last season and looks to build on that this coming up season. Although he had a great season, he still only has one year of experience under his belt. He has talent, just not experience.

    Carpenter is another enigma. Obviously has talent with his speed, agility, and size. He is a sideline to sideline defender and could become as good as he wants to be. He has the talent and the experience, it just hasn't culminated into any type of solid production. If this scheme change suits him as everyone thinks it should, he could lock down that weakside position. His Buckeye pedigree sure helps as well.

    Diggs is a journeyman veteran. He has experienced the highs in his career most likely and serves as a solid, stop gap option on the strongside. His size and experience should equate to solid numbers.

    Vobora could possibly be the future at either the strong or weak side. He tends to get lost in the shuffle by fans but the coaches and local media haven't forgotten about him. He has the ability to start for sure, but lacks the experience, we must wait and see with this guy.

    FS/SS: Mr. Atogwe is as talented a ball hawk as the Rams have ever had. He has a knack for the big play but lacks in the fundamental department. He is a bit less than solid in tackling and passable in coverage. The guy flat out causes turnovers however. He is talented and experienced but is currently in FA. However the Rams seem to be the top players in signing Atogwe and are currently in contract talks with him for a 4 year deal (just heard off of 101 ESPN as im typing this), the question now is the amount of money he will be paid in the deal.

    Butler did a very respectable job at SS last year even with his bone headed plays (running back into the end zone after the interception still haunts me..).
    He is the favorite to reman that spot this year and is likely to do so. He is a maybe a bit above average at SS and if nothing else, is a solid starter.

    CB: Another very intriguing battle here. Bartell is coming off a season where he was plagued and considerably hampered by nagging injuries to his legs. He played through the pain all year without complaining, but his play noticeably suffered for it. He is 100% this off-season and is looking to return to form this year. He is a fast, talented CB that is a solid starter. Hopefully he rebounds this year.

    Bradley Fletcher is coming off of a nasty knee injury from last year. He landed awkwardly after a defensive play and was lost for the season. Before the injury he was another guy that was looking very solid in coverage before going down. He is scheduled for a Training Camp return and if he can return to form, likely has the #2 corner spot locked down. He has nowhere to go but up in his second year. He has talent, just not experience.

    Jerome Murphy is a Spags guy that can do it all just about. He is a physical corner that can play the pass and the run. He isn't exactly a ball hawk but he can certainly produce the turnover. He also can contribute on special teams if needed. Look for him to man the nickel in his first year anticipating the return of a healthy Fletcher. He has talent, just not experience.

    I didn't get everyone on the roster here and left off a few guys I felt were talented as well. Hopefully this dispels the notion that we are without talent. The truth is we have guys with ability for sure, they are just all mainly unproven and inexperienced. Ultimately, we will see who will fulfill their talent and who will fall by the waistside. You just can't see who is a liability and who isn't without watching the guys improve. Why draft guys if you can't wait for them to develop?

    I'm not trying to lean one way or the other here, just wanted to shed a different light on the issue. Talent devoid or experience devoid?
    Last edited by Bralidore(RAMMODE); -06-07-2010 at 02:57 PM.


  2. #2
    Warner4prez's Avatar
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    I think they might be, but don't hate immediately upon reading this. There is a TON of potential in some of these players, and I love that! I'd take a ton of potential over a handful of 'talented' players (see Detroits' FA acquisitions).

    In all reality though, we don't have a ton of talented players. We have quite a few players that have the ability to make a few plays. I think our O-Line is our greatest strength without a doubt and that statement is still based on players with potential like Saffold, Greco and Smith.

  3. #3
    msha is offline Registered User
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    I was just thinking about the "lack of talent" earlier today. But I do agree 100% with you that we do not lack talent.

  4. #4
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    Spags and Devaney definitely have a vision for the rebuilding of this team, and this particular formula takes time to develop. We're essentially trying to do what the Eagles, Patriots and Colts among others have done over a long number of years: develop talent primarily through good drafting. This isn't going to be a flashy, quick turnaround that most fans want from their favorite NFL team. Fans tend to remember the individual successes of teams who have had dramatic turnarounds from one year to another, and forget about the far greater number of teams who haven't shared that same success. It's easy to look at the Falcons or Dolphins and wonder why we can't do the same thing with our team. Fans are especially impatient with their team when they're not doing very well, mostly because they desire to see their team succeed more than anyone else.

    It's important to stay the course and have patience. The successful teams have become that way from YEARS of good drafting and talent evaluation, not a one year turnaround. They have allowed their players to develop naturally, and in the future have the luxury of developing new ones while another starter finishes his career. In the coming years, I anticipate that's the way this team will be. We won't sign the Julius Peppers' or the Albert Haynesworth's of the world, but will instead draft more of the James Laurinaitis' and Jason Smith's of the world: dependable players who will blossom into great ones.

    Spags and Devaney stripped this team to the bone. When you have an average of 7 draft picks each year, you won't be able to restock the 50-60 or so type of players you are going after, in one or two years. I'm certainly not suggesting that we'll hit a home run on each draft pick, but you can already see the difference in our drafting, and hopefully we'll be successful with this strategy, and hit more than we miss.

    In short, this team is certainly full of talent. It just hasn't blossomed yet.

  5. #5
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    Every NFL team technically has talent. When people say the Rams donít have talent, I donít think theyíre trying to suggest there isnít anyone on the roster with talent. I think the point being made is what kind of proven, capable talent does this team have, and there really doesn't appear to be a whole lot.

    That speaks a little towards your experience argument, but even so, I donít know how talented you can consider guys like Fred Robbins, Naíil Diggs, and James Hall. Theyíre experienced, but not exceptional talents at this point in their careers. Furthermore, I donít think you can point to mid to late round picks at tight end or defensive end and claim the team suddenly has talent there. As many liked to say during the actual draft, thereís a reason they went when they did.

    IMO, the talent level on this team is improving but still is far from great. I think the front office personnel are trying to move things in the right direction, but they still have a ways to go.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    If Avery steps up and finally lives up to being the top WR drafted that year.....
    If Robinson comes back healthy and makes plays.....
    If Bartell shakes off a bad year last year and returns to the level prior to that....

    then the Rams have some talent. If those guys don't, then the Rams don't have much talent.

  7. #7
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    I agree with Nick. Its more of a question of "proven talent."

    The Rams are an extraordinarily young team at this point. There are several projected starters who have not peaked. Not even including the most obvious player - Bradford - this list incudes the entire WR corps, starting OTs, at least 2 of the starting 4 DL, two of three starting LBs and, with the possible exception of Atogwe (if he returns), the entire DB.

    The pundits look at this picture and declare that there is a "lack of talent." I wait in eager anticipation to see which of these young players will prove them wrong.

  8. #8
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    Also, talent is relative. Of course, the Rams have talented players; all NFL teams have talented players. A fourth round steal like Gilyard sounds great and all, but it's not like all the other teams who have well-established players don't have guys like that on their rosters, too.

    The problem is that while we can say all these great things about our guys when looking at them in a vacuum, the comparisons to other teams tend to look less flattering. How many players of ours would be considered in the top 10 at their positions? How would our various personnel groups (e.g. receivers, offensive line, etc.) rank against other groups in the league? Right now they wouldn't fare well in such comparisons largely because it is such a young team. I agree with Av that it will be exciting to see who proves the critics wrong, but at this point, even we don't necessarily know who those players will be.

  9. #9
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    The pundits look at this picture and declare that there is a "lack of talent." I wait in eager anticipation to see which of these young players will prove them wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    I agree with Av that it will be exciting to see who proves the critics wrong, but at this point, even we don't necessarily know who those players will be.
    Good points. Hopefully we're going to have some guys emerge as solid players despite not being expected to do much. But at the same time, there are probably going to be some players who prove the critics right, or who don't work out.

    It's nice to think all of our moves are going to work out, but obviously that's not going to happen. Otherwise, our holes at #1 WR and starting TE would be solved because both Donnie Avery and Joe Klopfenstein would have locked those spots down by now. Of course, we're still waiting on Avery to break out and Klop isn't on the roster any more.

    That's why I think people need to be careful about looking at mid or late round guys and assuming we've added some real talent to this team. Players coming out of those rounds and being able to make an impact at the next level are more the exception than the rule, yet post-draft, I think every fan base likes to think they've found some diamonds in the rough who will emerge. However, it wouldn't shock me if, after the season, we're still talking about holes on the DL and at tight end, despite these selections.

    I have more faith in Devaney and company in terms of finding guys who can play than I am previous regimes, but we also have to be ready for some of these guys to not pan out like we hope they will, too.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    Mardy Gilyard was a steal in the fourth by all indications.
    ---cringe----

    I gotta be honest, fellas. I always knot up a little when I hear about (talented prospect) being a steal since we drafted him in the (round later than expected). This year it's Gilyard.

    I get nervous for two reasons. One, a "steal" is a productive player who was not expected to be productive. The Saints' Colston is a great example. The Pats' Brady another. Neither were expected to do anything, but have been big. I think we have allowed the (premature) "steal" tag on Gilyard to generate higher than should-be (ironically) expectations for him.

    The other reason is more pragmatic. In a draft class that was weak at the WR position he was drafted 12th. Every team passed him over multiple times. A full third of the NFL, in need of WR, went a different direction. They didn't just forget he was there; they believe another guy was a better choice.

    Maybe he turns out great, but we can't expect the world out of this kid immediately, or maybe ever. And I really don't think we should be sticking the "steal" tag on him just yet.
    "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

  11. #11
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    As RAMS fans it's far to easy to over-rate our players.

  12. #12
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    ---cringe----

    I gotta be honest, fellas. I always knot up a little when I hear about (talented prospect) being a steal since we drafted him in the (round later than expected). This year it's Gilyard.

    I get nervous for two reasons. One, a "steal" is a productive player who was not expected to be productive. The Saints' Colston is a great example. The Pats' Brady another. Neither were expected to do anything, but have been big. I think we have allowed the (premature) "steal" tag on Gilyard to generate higher than should-be (ironically) expectations for him.

    The other reason is more pragmatic. In a draft class that was weak at the WR position he was drafted 12th. Every team passed him over multiple times. A full third of the NFL, in need of WR, went a different direction. They didn't just forget he was there; they believe another guy was a better choice.

    Maybe he turns out great, but we can't expect the world out of this kid immediately, or maybe ever. And I really don't think we should be sticking the "steal" tag on him just yet.
    The perspective that we have as fans is often times rather amusing. For instance, in the wake of Jimmy Clausen falling out of the first round, some defended the selection of Bradford by claiming Clausen obviously "fell for a reason." Yet we have a guy like Gilyard fall to us in the fourth round, with as you said numerous receivers taken ahead of him, and the talk is how much of a steal he was.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    That's why I did not mention a rookie in my post. I mentioned guys who were brought in here, already drafted, or resigned that supposedly have talent but haven't really showed it. That is what in the past has killed this team. Now, with the "new" regime, these guys are still looked upon as having "talent"? Do they? I think the jury is still out but if they don't, then this team is in trouble not just this year but next year as well.

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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    We are devoid of consistent, proven talent.

    All we have is potential. But can that potential be harvested into talent?

    Maybe, maybe not.



    Like Nick said, every NFL team has talent.

  15. #15
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    Re: Are the Rams really that "Devoid of Talent"?

    *watches air deflate out of tires*

    All very good points here, naturally. If indeed every roster has talent, it irks me when pundits come on and say your team definitely "lacks talent".

    I guess the result of turning over your roster and deciding to build young, is having a roster full of young "talents" that are wet behind the ears and still have much to prove.

    I realize however that its not the job of critics to be politically correct when they assess a team, and instead, they opt to use the blunt axe when stating something about a team. This year (and for the last few years) the Rams have been at the top or the top 5 of football jokes and laughs and we've become the quintessential "whipping boy".

    I'd rather not assume the worse and stick my head in sand when it comes to our prospects because I am a "tommorow's another day" type a guy. But until we win football games its not going to matter what we do, we'll always get overtly criticized for every move and non-move.

    And hell, when your losing consistently, is that such a bad thing?

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