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Thread: Rams Team Report
Rams Team Report
August 27, 2006
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM: New coach Scott Linehan has provided a return to normalcy after a tumultuous 2005 season. The focus is back on the field, not on feuding between the football staff and the front office. New defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has instilled a new attitude. This unit will tackle better, compete better and play with more attitude. At the least, it will go from 30th in the league last season to the middle of the pack. DT La'Roi Glover, MLB Will Witherspoon and SS Corey Chavous -- all free-agent pickups -- bring talent, playmaking ability and much-needed leadership. On the offensive line, LG Richie Incognito doesn't appear too rusty after a two-year layoff; C Andy McCollum and RG Adam Timmerman are healthy after recent years marred by offseason surgeries, and Todd Steussie gives the team its best No. 3 tackle in years.
REASONS FOR CONCERN: Two rookies, Joe Klopfenstein and Dominique Byrd, will be asked to play prominent roles at tight end, a key position in Linehan's offense. Klopfenstein has some pass-catching skills but is on the slender side and is a work in progress as a blocker. Byrd has more ability as a pass catcher but is even more of a liability as a blocker. As a result, he has fallen behind ***** castoff Aaron Walker on the depth chart. Marshall Faulk's unofficial retirement left the team scrambling for help in the backfield. Backup RBs Tony Fisher and Moe Williams are hard-nosed runners, but neither has the speed to be a change-of-pace complement to RB Steven Jackson. There will be pressure on Jackson to stay healthy for 16 games, something he didn't do in his first two seasons. Despite the defensive additions, questions remain about whether the Rams will be able to stop the run consistently. P Matt Turk is an upgrade, but the special teams haven't shown much improvement otherwise.
THOMAS' BOTTOM LINE: The Rams are improved but will face a tougher schedule, so it's no certainty they will improve much on last year's 6-10 record. Still, if the defense is respectable, the Rams have enough firepower at the skill positions to contend for a wild-card berth.
SNAPSHOT WITH RE ANTHONY HARGROVE: Funniest trash-talker: Jimmy Kennedy because he always talks about people's looks. If he's playing across from a guy who's really ugly, that's all you'll hear about all day. We were playing Philadelphia, and he called some guy "a big, black Smurf." It was a great call. Most wired: Our special teams coach, Bob Ligashesky. Liggy's the most hyper coach I've ever seen. There are a couple stairs at the front of our team auditorium, and I always count how many times he goes up and down them during our special teams meetings. We say he's getting his StairMaster workout. He has to do about 100 stairs during the meeting. Player I most hate to play against: Leonard Davis. He's got those big "uncle" hands -- the kind of hands that when you're in trouble, your uncle or your dad just kind of hits you. When (Davis) puts them on you, it's like, "Is that my dad who just hit me?" Can't-miss weekly dining tradition: Me and my baby (his fiancee) like fast-food stuff. We love Steak 'n Shake. Her and I eat grilled cheese and chili there. That's our thing. Nobody knows this about the Edward Jones Dome: We have the worst coming-out music ever. Any time you have to warm up to something like "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?" that's bad.
Re: Rams Team ReportNew defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has instilled a new attitude. This unit will tackle better, compete better and play with more attitude.At the least, it will go from 30th in the league last season to the middle of the pack.