Randy McMichael is ready ,,,,,
McMichael ready for big change
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, May. 29 2007
The degree to which Randy McMichael's life was about to change was illustrated
in early March, when he flew from Miami to St. Louis to join his new team.
"It was 87 when we left, and I get here and it's snowing," McMichael said.
"It's an adjustment, but it's not a big deal."
No, the big deal was when the Dolphins released the 6-foot-3, 255-pound
McMichael, the most productive tight end in franchise history. Instead of
paying him a $3 million roster bonus, Miami let him walk.
"It was a real shock to me and my family," said McMichael, 27. "But it's the
NFL; you've just got to always prepare yourself for it. I'm not upset about it."
The Rams spent two of their first five draft picks in 2006 on tight ends:
second-rounder Joe Klopfenstein and third-rounder Dominique Byrd. The next day,
they traded three-year starter Brandon Manumaleuna to San Diego.
Klopfenstein won the starting job and wound up with 20 receptions for 226
yards. Byrd played in just five games, catching two passes for 39 yards.
Veteran Aaron Walker was used mostly as a blocker but contributed five catches
for 68 yards.
Adding McMichael means that one of those three probably won't make the team.
Klopfenstein appears to be secure, so Byrd and Walker figure to go head-to-head
for the final spot.
Given the uncertainly at the position, Rams coach Scott Linehan was quick to
pounce when McMichael became available. Three days after his release, McMichael
agreed to terms on a three-year deal that will pay him close to $4 million
McMichael's per-season average in five years with the Dolphins was 56 catches.
His production surged over the past three seasons, when he averaged 65
receptions, 671 yards and four touchdowns.
"The thing he really doesn't get credit for is, he's a very, very good blocker
in the run game and in the pass game," said Linehan, who was Miami's offensive
coordinator in 2005.
With a laugh, McMichael said, "Being a tight end, you don't want to be known as
a great pass-blocker. ... You want get out and run routes."
Still, he said had labored to polish his blocking skills. "Especially that year
Scott was there, I really concentrated more on the blocking aspect of my game,"
McMichael said. "I think one thing that I can bring to the table is that I can
pass-block one-on-one with defensive ends and I can run-block one-on-one with
defensive ends. So the offensive linemen can stay inside and worry about the
Because of his season under Linehan, McMichael was familiar with the offensive
system here and adapted quickly during organized team activities at Rams Park.
"Randy kind of came in and hit the ground running," offensive coordinator Greg
Olson said. "He's been real good out there."
The Rams' corps of receivers remains anchored by veterans Torry Holt and Isaac
Bruce. But the addition of McMichael, plus wideout pickups Drew Bennett and
Dante Hall, gives quarterback Marc Bulger several targets from which to choose.
"I'd rather have that problem than trying to find one guy; I'll make them
happy," Bulger assured. "We'll definitely have the most talent on our side of
the ball since I've been starting."
A fresh start
McMichael confronted several hurdles along the route to St. Louis. His mother,
just 17 when he was born, gave up a college basketball scholarship to raise
him. Randy has had only occasional contact with his father.
Angel McMichael joined the Army, took her young son to Germany with her for
three years during her deployment, and made sure he had his priorities in
order. "When I'd get in trouble, she'd put that military discipline on me," he
told the Miami Herald.
Angel and Randy ultimately settled in Fort Valley, Ga., a town of 8,300 about
90 miles south of Atlanta. Randy, a three-sport star at Peach County High, went
on to the University of Georgia, where he caught 90 passes for 1,113 yards and
earned All-Southeastern Conference honors his final year.
McMichael left after his junior season and expected to be a first-day draft
pick in 2002. But he had to wait until the fourth round, when the Dolphins took
him with the 114th overall selection.
He surprised by earning a first-team job at his first training camp and wound
up starting 80 games in Miami. His best season was in 2004, when he piled up 73
catches and 791 yards.
There were problems off the field, though. McMichael was arrested twice for
domestic incidents. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of
criminal trespass stemming from an argument with his wife at a restaurant
McMichael said he realized some stigma remains as a result of missteps.
"People are going to have their preconceived notions about you, and you can't
really do anything about that," he said. "You just have to move on and show the
people around you what you're really all about."
In that vein, McMichael said he welcomes a fresh start in a new place.
"When I had an opportunity to come here, I jumped on it. I think it's a great
system with a lot of playmakers that's going to elevate my game to another
level," he said. "I'm excited to be a St. Louis Ram, and I'm just trying to
start off on the right foot, get to know the guys and just find out where I fit
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Re: Randy McMichael is ready ,,,,,
Signing McMichael could be bigger than the Bennett signing?
Re: Randy McMichael is ready ,,,,,
What I don't understand is why Miami cut McMichael. That leaves them with who? Ronnie Brown and Chris Chambers. If they are trying to get better on offense, why cut one of the better Tight Ends in the league for what, 3 million roster bonus. I'm not complaining though, their lose our gain.