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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams tight end is a weapon about to be unleashed

    New offense has many more options
    Associated Press

    In perhaps the most dazzling play thus far of St. Louis Rams training camp, tight end Randy McMichael caught a pass and then his helmet, which had popped off, without breaking stride.

    "You should get style points for that," coach Scott Linehan said with a grin.

    McMichael, a somewhat forgotten option in one of the NFL's worst offenses last year, has made several other less-spectacular grabs. It's a promising sign for an offense that was one of the NFL's worst last season, and for a player accustomed to being heavily involved.

    "Randy's still going to be a guy who's going to be big in the run game and pass protection," Linehan said. "But he's going to be a weapon for us. In this system he's going to get some pretty good looks, and he's really done a good job."

    McMichael averaged 65 catches the previous three seasons before joining the Rams with a three-year free agent deal after the Dolphins released him in a salary cap move. His big numbers in Miami when Linehan was offensive coordinator made St. Louis a natural destination, although his first season with the Rams was as forgettable for him as it was for the rest of the team in a 3-13 season.

    He finished with 39 catches, an 11-yard average and three touchdowns last year, spending most of the time in blocking mode after three linemen, notably seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace, landed on injured reserve. The die was cast before that, though, when McMichael did not get any receptions in the preseason.

    Aside from a six-reception game against Pittsburgh near the end of the season, he had more than three grabs in only two games.

    This year, 65 catches may not be enough in an attack that promises to use more of the field and all the skill players. That would be good news for all, especially a receivers group that had no plays longer than 40 yards last season.

    "I hope more than that," McMichael said. "I'm really excited for this offense."

    Last year, besides the altered responsibilities, McMichael and quarterback Marc Bulger also had to get on the same page. McMichael noted Bulger's familiarity with Torry Holt, built over several seasons, plus the tight end has never been a big part of the offense in Bulger's first six seasons with the team.

    "It was a new role that I wasn't accustomed to, and me being the person I was, I didn't really want to adjust," McMichael said. "I really felt like 'Why do I have to adjust my game?' but I had to.

    "It was miserable, but it was a humbling experience. It lets you know that sometimes things aren't going to always go your way."

    Those days appear to be over. New offensive coordinator Al Saunders plans on utilizing the tight end a lot more, and McMichael has been one of Bulger's favorite and most reliable targets in camp.

    "It's my opportunity, so I'm just going out there and trying to make a play," McMichael said. "It's all about getting better and learning from your mistakes. That's all I'm trying to do is be consistent and keep gaining the trust of Marc and the offensive coaches, so they know that when it's time to call the play, I'll be ready for it."

    When the Rams install max protection packages in the next few days, McMichael will be staying home more and the catches figure to drop off somewhat. But that's just a stage.

    All last year, even when he ran a pattern, McMichael was a decoy as often as not. This year, he won't just be clearing space.

    "Now, you run like you're getting the ball every play," McMichael said. "Everybody is in a progression whenever a play is called. That's why you have guys flying all over the place, because everybody wants to get the ball.

    "So, I think the first guy to get open, Marc's going to throw it to him."

  2. #2
    Ram Dragoon's Avatar
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    Re: Rams tight end is a weapon about to be unleashed

    So how many TEs do the Rams roaster now? Last year wasn't it 6? Don't recall getting a lot of production on long stretch running plays, pass protection, nor pass completions from the TEs.

    It would be a welcome treat to open the play book to give the Rams a short to medium threat from the TE core. If I could fault M. Martz during his stint was that he under used TEs--that was till I saw the disaster that was last year

    Anything positive coming so soon is a welcome boost to the fans. A good post

  3. #3
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Rams tight end is a weapon about to be unleashed

    I remember Klop missing several blocks last year, and killed our running game, but I do remember Randy making some good plays.

    I've heard tons of good stuff from him coming out of camp, even from ProFootballTalk. Hey, hopefully we can finally get a stud TE in there to become a receiving threat. It would take a lot of pressure off our rookie WRs when they are in if the defense knows we can throw to the TE effectively.

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