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Thread: Rams Team Report
Rams Team Report
January 14, 2007
by Jim Thomas
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Free-agent WRs Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald both could head elsewhere this offseason, which would give Marques Hagans and Dominique Thompson chances to make the team at wide receiver. Hagans and Thompson spent the 2006 season on the practice squad. Hagans, who played quarterback in college, is trying to make the transition to receiver and kick returner. He has good hands and elusiveness but lacks top-end speed. Thompson has decent size (6-1, 190) and speed and has improved his overall game after spending most of the past two seasons on the practice squad. Forgotten veteran Dane Looker, a reliable possession receiver, also could have an expanded role after seeing almost all of his playing time on special teams in 2006.
Tough and durable WR Torry Holt bypassed knee surgery last offseason, but his decision to undergo surgery this time around was the right move. The injury continued to nag Holt during the 2006 season, particularly over the final third of the season. Holt didn't have his usual burst, limiting his effectiveness on deep routes. He had more drops than usual, but the knee problems, as much as anything, prevented him from extending his NFL-record string of six straight 1,300-yard receiving seasons. Holt should be ready to go for training camp, if not sooner.
HARD TRUTH: The biggest mistake made last offseason was not re-signing NT Ryan Pickett. Pickett went to Green Bay as an unrestricted free agent for a relatively modest price and was his usual active self, spearheading the Packers' run defense. Meanwhile, the Rams were next-to-last in the league in stopping the run. Even average run defense probably would have resulted in another victory or two, which would have given the Rams a playoff berth and possibly the NFC West title. So with Jimmy Kennedy a major disappointment in place of Pickett, the Rams once again are looking for a nose tackle. For the fourth time in seven drafts, the team is faced with the possibility of taking a defensive tackle in the first round, which undoubtedly makes fans cringe. Among those first-round DTs, only Kennedy remains with the team. Like Pickett, Damione Lewis signed elsewhere (Carolina) last offseason.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: A pass-rushing defensive end, either a free agent or in the draft, is a must for the Rams this offseason. But Victor Adeyanju showed enough during his rookie season that he should have a role next season, even if it's only as a run-stopping specialist. Adeyanju has good strength and instincts in shedding blocks and is an extra-effort player who never gives up on a play. His pursuit skills are second only to Leonard Little among the team's defensive linemen. But to be an every-down player, he must make a quantum leap in terms of pass-rushing skills. Adeyanju, who had only one sack in '06, must learn to use his hands better to fend off bigger tackles and develop some wiggle en route to the quarterback. Although not devoid of quickness, he doesn't have the burst --such as Little -- to be a straight-line speed rusher.
Re: Rams Team Report
That pass-rushing DE might be Brian Smith of Mizzou.