Rams team report
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan has mentioned frequently the draw head coach Jeff Fisher was in his decision to sign with the Rams as an unrestricted free agent. But Fisher wasn't the only reason.
While in New York to represent the Rams in the unveiling of Nike's new uniforms, Finnegan said that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was also a major part of his motivation, even though he's never been coached by Williams in his career.
"Every player you talk to says what a great coach he is," Finnegan said, while wearing his new Rams jersey No. 31. "I was so excited to have a chance to play for him. He has a great defense and players love playing in that defense."
With Williams under indefinite suspension for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, Finnegan said he hopes Williams will be reinstated. But what will be the Rams' approach for the 2012 season?
As Fisher has pointed out several times, the defense began with him and he has talked about a collaborative effort in coordinating the defense with the key question who will call defenses on game day.
Assistant head coach Dave McGinnis has done that in his career as has secondary coach Chuck Cecil when he was Tennessee's defensive coordinator.
But Finnegan had a surprising opinion of who might end up having a large role in the defense: linebackers coach Blake Williams, who is Gregg Williams' son.
Even though he also hasn't been coached by Blake Williams, Finnegan said, "He has a great understanding of the defense and might have the best understanding after being with his father so long. I have a feeling he might get a lot more freedom here.
"However, all of them can do it, although I don't think Chuck wants it. But it's not going to be a problem. I know Jeff and how detailed he is; who knows how he'll do it? I do plan to talk to him about the plan when I get there Monday."
Blake Williams is just 27 years old, and has been on coaching staffs with his father since 2006 with the Redskins.
Gregg Williams elected not to appeal the suspension handed him by commissioner Roger Goodell. His philosophy was further detailed when an audio file was released by filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who was following the Saints for a story on former Saints safety Steve Gleason, who has ALS.
Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports wrote about a defensive meeting the night before the team's playoff game against San Francisco this past January.
At the meeting, Williams says, "Kill the head, the body will die" and said, "We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."
Williams also said, according to Pamphilon, "We're gonna swarm. We're gonna dominate the line of scrimmage. And we're gonna kill the (expletive) head. Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head ... continue to touch and affect the head."
As for ***** wide receiver Kyle Williams, who had experienced concussions during the season, Williams said, "We need to find out in the first two series of the game, the little wide receiver, No. 10, about his concussion. We need to (expletive) put a lick on him, move him to decide. He needs to decide."
Finally, he directed comments at wide receiver Michael Crabtree, saying, "We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a fake-ass prima donna or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find that out, and he becomes human when you (expletive) take out that outside ACL."
In watching the game, however, Pamphilon told Silver, "I was two feet behind the Saints' bench and it looked like they were trying to kill each other every play. But I've watched about 15 NFL games from the sidelines, and I didn't see anything different in that game than I've seen in any other football game. To me, they're all trying to separate guys from the ball and all trying to get big hits that land them on 'SportsCenter' - on every play."
—New Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar's two-year contract has a base value of $3.05 million, but he told friends he can also earn up to $750,000 in play-time incentives each season.
Dunbar is due a $1 million signing bonus and base salaries of $750,000 in 2012 and $1.3 million in 2013. That makes his cap charge $1.25 million for this season.
Although contract figures obtained by The Sports Xchange indicated the incentives total $250,000 each season, Dunbar said he gets $125,000 for playing time of 60-64 percent; $250,000 for 65-69 percent; $500,000 for 70 percent or more and $750,000 for 70 percent or more and making the playoffs.
Dunbar also took to Twitter (@JDunbar56) to ask followers what number he should pick with the Rams. Aside from Dunbar, the Rams have only three linebackers under contract: James Laurinaitis (No. 55), Josh Hull (56) and Justin Cole (52).
Dunbar tweeted that he was hoping to get 56, his number with the Saints. He wrote, "Trying to convince a teammate to change numbers with me. His price is FAR too high. I think I am going to have to say goodbye to #56." In another tweet, Dunbar claimed Hull (without naming him) was asking for $20,000.
He concluded, "I'm thinkin #58 reppin my boy @scottshanle in the Louie lol."
—Former Rams wide receiver Torry Holt signed a one-day contract wirth the Rams April 4 and then officially announced his retirement.
Holt played for the Rams from 1999 through 2008 and for Jacksonville in 2009. He was in camp with New England in 2010, but was placed on injured reserve and then released with an injury settlement.
In a press conference, Holt said, "I loved everything about being a Ram. And I feel blessed that I'm able to formally finish my career with the organization that drafted me in 1999. The fans and the city of St. Louis have been good to me, my wife, and my family. I feel very fortunate that I was able to come to St. Louis and be surrounded by so many outstanding coaches and outstanding players. This is where it all started for me and it's fitting that this is also where it ends. So thank you guys for coming out, thanks for sharing in the moment of being a St. Louis Ram, being a champion. That's one thing that they can never take away from us is that we were able to bring a champion to the city of St. Louis and I'm so thankful and honored to be a part of that."
Numerous former players were present, including tackle Orlando Pace, cornerback Aeneas Williams, and safety Corey Chavous.
—The Rams open their preseason scheduled in what could be the NFL debut of Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck. The Rams will visit the Colts in the first week of the preseason (Aug. 9-13).
The next week (Aug. 16-20), the Rams will host the Kansas City Chiefs followed by a game in Dallas (Aug. 23-27) and home against Baltimore (Aug. 29-30).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Shoot, we've got to get Cris Carter in the Hall, we have to get Andre Reed in the Hall, we've got to get Tim Brown in the Hall before we even start mentioning anything about Torry Holt being in the Hall. In terms of the Hall, if it happens it'll be great, but that validation for me, like I said, it'd be cool, but this is great validation for me. I've got this, I've got a ring, I've got great teammates, great coaches, great family, great friends. That's validation for me and the Hall would just be like gravy. It'd be that extra cupcake that was sitting over there. That's what the Hall would be. It would be a tremendous honor, but there's a lot of group of guys that are ahead of me that are well deserving. I hope when my name does come up, hopefully if you respect and love football and know football, hopefully my body of work would indicate me or give me a nod of getting in." - Former Rams WR Torry Holt, when asked about the Hall of Fame.