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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams Team Report

    July 10, 2007

    Jim Thomas
    For Sporting News

    FAST FACT: Staying home is all about convenience for the Rams, who are training at their year-round facility for the third consecutive year. It's a mere 50 paces from the locker room to the practice fields at Rams Park; not even 10 steps from the locker room to the mess hall -- a converted gym. The team hotel is a quarter mile away. At practices, there's even a family seating area so Junior can watch Dad do his thing on hot summer days.

    TOP PRIORITY: The No. 1 question entering the '07 season is did the team do enough to strengthen its porous defense, both in terms of stopping the run and rushing the passer? Coordinator Jim Haslett will do some tweaking to his scheme, largely to make the best use of his personnel. But more importantly, this still-undersized unit must develop confidence and learn to play with attitude. Rookie DT Adam Carriker, DE James Hall and possibly LB Chris Draft will be the only new starters. So it's largely a matter of getting returning players to perform better, including CB Tye Hill, FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, nickel back Ron Bartell, DT Claude Wroten and DE Victor Adeyanju. Hill, Atogwe, and Bartell all showed marked improvement in their play late in the '06 season. They must continue to progress if the St. Louis defense is to hold up its end of the deal.

    CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: Not only are the Rams looking for big things from Carriker, their first-round pick, they want him to do it at a new position. Primarily an end at Nebraska, Carriker will move inside to play tackle in the pros. Carriker has bulked up to 310 pounds and seems to have the strength and attitude to grind it out in the middle. But to date, all of the favorable reviews have come in practice settings without pads and without full contact. ...

    It looks as if Andy McCollum isn't quite ready to call it a career just yet. The team's starting center for most of this decade, McCollum has made by all accounts an impressive recovery from major knee surgery. At age 37, he appears ready to reclaim his starting position that for a while was all but handed over to youngster Brett Romberg, who more than held his own in three late-season starts. This shapes up as the biggest battle of training camp. ...

    If the center position is No. 1 when it comes to depth chart competition, the left guard position is 1A. That's assuming wayward road-grader Claude Terrell has is head on straight and returns to his form of 2005 when he was a pleasant surprise in 10 starts as a rookie. But after missing the entire '06 season with a wrist injury, Terrell must now unseat second-year man Mark Setterstrom, who was impressive in six late-season starts at the position a year ago. ...

    About the only thing the St. Louis offense didn't do well a year ago was score well in the red zone. That figures to change this season with the addition of 6-5 WR Drew Bennett and 6-3 TE Randy McMichael. Both offseason pickups have impressive credentials when it comes to catching the ball over the middle and in third-down situations. Bennett gives the Rams' its biggest receiving target since the move to St. Louis in '95. McMichael easily is its best receiving TE since the franchise move. The key is incorporating them in an offense that already includes WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, and RB Steven Jackson -- all three Pro Bowlers -- and keeping everyone happy. ...

    RB Steven Jackson will continue to be the workhorse in the backfield, but second-round draft pick Brian Leonard has an excellent opportunity to be a busy jack-of-all trades. The Rams want Leonard to spell Jackson on occasion, catch some passes out of the backfield in third-down situations, work at a fullback in some two-back sets, and take a full turn on all of the special teams units. It's a big job, especially for an NFL newcomer. The Rams got by without a true No. 2 a year ago and got lucky because Jackson made it through the entire season unscathed by injury. They want Leonard to be their safety net in the backfield -- and more.

  2. #2
    chipperjones Guest

    Re: Rams Team Report

    I like Brandon, but I hope Draft beats him out. What do yall think the odds of that is?

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams Team Report

    I like Chillar as well, and if he could solidify himself on the strong side it would be better for the Rams as he's younger, though he is a free agent after the year and would potentially want to go elsewhere. That all said, I think that Draft is a better linebacker than Chillar is now. I also think that he and Spoon may have a better connection since they were both on Carolina together, but who knows.

  4. #4
    RamsNation Guest

    Re: Rams Team Report

    Look, I Like Chillar. I don't think he is a premier SLB, but I dont think our LB corps can be fairly judged on last years performance. Chillar has more than what he needs to be a viable option at SLB, and schematically our chronic breakdown at defensive tackle gave our linebackers way more than they could handle. There is no way any set of LB's could have functioned correctly given the slew of blockers(that were'nt supposed to be there) they had to face and still be able to make it to their assignment on a given play. They were trying to do to much(because they had to) and I think with DT improvement will come LB improvement. I am not as down on Chillar as some are, and I wont be dissapointed if he makes starter, no offense to Chris Draft. This is merely my opinion, and I'm suffering from severe NFL malnutrition.

  5. #5
    RamsSB99's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Team Report


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