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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/08/2007

    When the Rams closed the 2006 season with a three-game winning streak, I was geeked. The head coach, Scott Linehan, improved through a challenging rookie season. Running back Steven Jackson became a star. A young offensive line took root. Quarterback Marc Bulger had the best right arm in St. Louis next to Chris Carpenter. The offense flowed as the Rams kicked in down the stretch.

    Good times were ahead in 2007, as long as the Rams could make their dreadful defense respectable by adding a few key parts.

    It's early, but we're still waiting for the Rams to fix the defense. And yes, I think it's OK to be impatient and demanding.

    The Rams have raised ticket prices, again.
    The Rams were flush with free money under the salary cap.



    The Rams are close to becoming an NFL playoff team again.

    This isn't a rebuilding situation. Here's all that they need to rebuild: THE RUN DEFENSE.

    OK, the Rams added a solid defensive end, James Hall, who came from Detroit for a fifth-round draft choice. Smart move.

    But where's the beef?

    Instead, the Rams splashiest investment was signing a wide receiver. Look, I'm glad that the Rams got that wideout, Drew Bennett. He's 6-5, and will give them size, and some hops, in the red zone. His strongest routes are those deep-in patterns that poke holes in the Cover 2 defense.

    I'm not knocking the decision to recruit Bennett with a $30 million contract. Again: Where's the muscle? How can the Rams field largely the same lightweight, defense again in 2007?

    Haven't we seen enough of Jimmy Kennedy blocked down and on his backside to conclude that the Rams need new personnel at defensive tackle? Sure, the Rams can draft a D-tackle in the first round, at No. 13 overall. Maybe the Rams can grab Louisville's Amobi Okoye, who, if you believe the scouts, has a chance to be special. But rookies need time to develop. And some (Kennedy) never do.

    For a team that has an opportunity to make a power move in the NFC West next season, the Rams should be more concerned about locating immediate help. There are a few reputable, intriguing, tackles on the free-agent list: Ian Scott, Ron Edwards, Michael Myers. And there's Robaire Smith, who can line up inside, or at end. And even with Hall coming in, the Rams are thin at defensive end. A pass-rush specialist, David Bowens, is still on the market.

    I just don't understand the laid-back approach concerning this defense. And for all the words I've used to stress the importance of reinforcing the defensive line, let's remember that the Rams are hardly impenetrable at linebacker. I think it's safe to say that the Rams have overrated the quality of their linebackers, who were often three rolls of paper towels in this tissue-soft run defense.

    Contrast the Rams' conservative attitude to that of their NFC West rival, the San Francisco *****. The ***** already have signed cornerback Nate Clements, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, safety Michael Lewis and outside linebacker (edge rusher) Tully Banta-Cain. The Niners identified their needs and moved aggressively to fill them.

    Did San Francisco overpay? Sure. But please, I have no desire to hear lectures on how NFL teams must be careful to avoid payroll excesses that lead to salary-cap jams. I've been hearing these warnings for years about the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks and other teams who continue to spend big money, and win games. This notion of an NFL salary-cap hell is basically a myth. Teams always find a way out.

    The Rams have lots of room under the salary cap. And unfortunately, running backs have lots of room when they're handed the ball against the Rams defense. So spend some money. Take some chances. Instead, the Rams are taking the responsible approach. And given how close they are to winning, that's irresponsible.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    I wonder how quick the money would be spent if it came out of Bernie's pocket!:x

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    Where's the beef is a good question, as there are no big DTs on the market at all.

    why bernie thinks its a good idea to overpay for a DT just because the player is fat is beyond me. There are currently no decent run stuffing DTs on the market. yes by all means pick one up, but he cant expect the Rams to solve their run stuffing problem through FA.

    And that pass rush specialist, David Bowens, had as many sacks in 16 games last year as Hall had in 7.

    As for the San Francisco Redskins spending spree? they spent all that money on defense and yet still wont be able to stop the Rams. maybe if they added to the offense as well we should start being worried, but at the moment? no way.

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    Bernie has his points, I just think maybe it's dumb luck with the Rams and what "position" they need is just not there.

    We draft three defensive players in Rd 1 not so long ago and all were very good in college. Only Pickett panned out, and he went to GB. Then, we draft another college stud in Kennedy and he didn't develop. DLew and Kennedy in close years, both studs in college, both busts so far in the NFL.

    The Rams are strong offensively so they resign the FA's that are here. Pace, Bruce, Holt, Warner, Faulk, Bulger.....all big names and in somewhat technical jargon.....all free agents. So, with all that money spent....the Rams couldn't just get out of contracts like the Seahawks who didn't have all this firepower built into it's salary cap.

    Now, the Rams have some space but the cupboard looks bare. There really isn't a DT out there worth the GNP of Zaire or anything. My take, let's be a little patient and see what happens in the draft and Rd 2 of free agency.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    But where's the beef? There is no NT that is out there, where we need to break the bank.

    We got a good DE and WR both needs. FA not over and the draft is coming relax.

    FA is a gamble just ask Washington how Arch worked out, I'm sure on paper it looked good.

  6. #6
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/08/2007

    It's early
    You're exactly right, Bernie, its early.

    Did San Francisco overpay? Sure.
    Another good point. You're on a roll, here Bernie!

    the Rams are taking the responsible approach.
    Dead on, Bernie!

    Note: The rest of the article is complete rubbish.

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    I like it Av..

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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    THis from a guy who slammed the Cardinals' FO and pressbox settings, only to have an egg on his face when they won it all last year. Hopefully the Rams will have the same ending...

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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    You're exactly right, Bernie, its early.



    Another good point. You're on a roll, here Bernie!



    Dead on, Bernie!

    Note: The rest of the article is complete rubbish.
    Rubbish?? Is that you Simon Cowell?

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    You're exactly right, Bernie, its early.



    Another good point. You're on a roll, here Bernie!



    Dead on, Bernie!

    Note: The rest of the article is complete rubbish.
    It amazes me that he gets paid to write this stuff.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  11. #11
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    From a poster named TerrySKC. Bernie didn't answer the questions presented to him, of course:

    Bernie, what DT's are out there? The Rams DID need to improve their depth at safety (especially one who can tackle and play special teams.) They also needed to improve their red zone offense, so signing Bennett and McMichael make sense. Signing Thomas would have been nice, but were they even able to get into the game? Do you think Mitchell at MLB an WW at SLB would an improvement? Again, what DT's are out there that would be an upgrade? I'm not saying the Rams' DT are any good, just that those on the market don't represent an upgrade.

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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    You're exactly right, Bernie, its early.



    Another good point. You're on a roll, here Bernie!



    Dead on, Bernie!

    Note: The rest of the article is complete rubbish.
    Basically Bernie almost put a sentence together that wasn't absurd! Bernie is on his way up, I can see it now...


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  13. #13
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    It never ceases to amaze me how quick the fans are to panic. Once again like I stated in an early post of mine, it's barely only been a week into free agency and so far the coaching staff hasn't made any decisions that I thought were rash or poorly thought out. There is not one one nose tackle out there in FA who is going to solve all of this teams defensive problems. (Not now or ever.) Anyone out there who thinks other wise is delusional. The coaching staff has brought in guys like tully batan cain, made them an offer. but things didn't work out. You make it out like their not trying and that theres no time left to find another good player. There is no need to panic and over pay some has been for the past. The real future in our defense is "youth" which will be found in the draft next month. Anything else is unrealistic.

  14. #14
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    Re: Rams waste time as rivals aren't afraid to open wallets

    I pulled this off the PD board. It's somebody challenging Bernie and his responses.

    Bernie I agree with you on your column the Rams need defense, but obviously they are not finished. I am sure they have a plan, and looks like they have a bg lineman coming in for a visit. I can see if training camp started tommorow, but its obvious they are going to upgrade the defense, give them time. The draft hasnt even happened yet. Just seems like you have it if for Linehan for some reason, just an opinion Bernie.
    Yeah, I have it in for Linehan.

    That's why I wrote a season-ending column last year praising him for how he grew as a coach during the season, and how well he handled himself through adversity and challenges, and how bright I thought the future was for the team (as long as they improved the defense).

    That's why today I wrote, "The head coach, Scott Linehan improved through a challenging rookie season."

    That's why in today's column I praised the offense he put together, and wrote positively of the additions of Bennett and Hall.

    Yep -- I'm out to get the guy. It's a vicious vendetta.

    Rolling Eyes

    --B
    Today's column was spot on. Right on the money.
    They need DTs.
    They need to upgrade the defense.
    Do that, and those of us who live in the real world will be happy.

    --B

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