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  1. #1
    ramhard's Avatar
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    Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    In the FA and draft debate, and viewing a recent TX post. I wonder whether the Rams are in a rebuilding state or a adjustment state. The two arguments:

    REBUILDING:

    1. Too much to rebuild in one year at two key positions: must rebuild OL and LB core.
    2. D and special teams must both make dramatic turnaround, not just from being below average, but from being horrible. Too much to expect a complete turnaround from horrible to above average in a year.
    3. Making transition from older stars to younger stars: Marshall to Jackson, Fisher to Hargrove, Aeneus to Pisa, and even slightly Bruce to Curtis... might all be good moves, but too much to expect to work in one year.
    4. No depth at key positions leave the Rams vulnerable to injuries, need at least one more year to build quality depth at the QB, LB, OL, and safety positions.

    SLIGHT ADJUSTMENT:

    1. The Rams have building blocks at key positions: QB, RB, , WR, LT (if Pace signs), and on D two decent corners, plus Pisa, Hargrove and Little (if able to play).
    2. Unlike O, you can rebuild a D faster as you don't have as much system to learn, so D turnarounds can happen faster if you bring in vets (which is why I think the Rams will dip into the FA tap on the D side more than the draft), and put rookies in special situations where natural ability can take over (e.g. pass rushing for DE's, run stopping for LBs, specific coverages for DBs). Plus the Rams have done slightly better in the draft finding offensive value for a pick than defense.
    3. The Rams have done this before (blown up D and rebuilt) so they have a good idea how to do it (though you wonder why they are back having to do it again so quickly).
    4. The West will be even weaker next year. The Shehawks will be worse due to cap restrictions, the Whiners will be about the same, the Cardinals will be better but still not playoff caliber. So the Rams have some growing room, and if they can at least get homefield advantage then they can make some noise in the playoffs as the pieces come together.

    So ladies and gentlemen, which way do you lean? I'm going to lean toward tweaking with one caveat. For the Rams to be in the hunt they have to sign two LB FA's that work out. At least one needs to play like a run stopping stud - Pro Bowl level. Without this, then I think it is 7-9, 8-8 with missing the playoffs a high possibility. With the LBs I think 9-7, 10-6 is about right but with the team peaking at the end of the season, with 3 of 4 at the end heading into the playoffs.


  2. #2
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    I think it depends on free agency and what we can get acccomplished, starting with signing Pace to free up the cap and probably restructuring bruce and faulk. Also, the open issues of turley and little, again. We have way too much talent to rebuild, given how difficult it is to predict who will contend from year to year in the nfl. It all comes down to how much cap we have to fix whats broken.

    Obviously, the defense needs work (specifically the lB's) and the O line needs work, but again, every single team has holes and issues and a major part of the equation is how lucky you get with injuries from year to year.

    To me, the eagles, given their talent, organization, cap status and number of high picks are in by far the best position in the NFC. After that, we are basically as good as anyone else, and one injury to mcnabb and the eagles are very very human.

    If we cant get pace signed and open up the cap, i think we are going to have major issues.

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  3. #3
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    I should be a little more specific, which is to say, cap money availability aside, you have to pick guys that actually perform. Having money available doesnt help if you overpay based on need (see wistrom) or sign guys who look like a bargain but then dont perform (see jamie duncan).

    I also should note that we have to make draft selections that help the team and hope that the young players on the team continue to improve (ie kennedy, curtis, mamliamula, etc).

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  4. #4
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    I don't think the Rams are in a rebuilding mode overall. The strength of the team since 1999 has been the skill players on offense, and the Rams are still healthy there with Bulger, Jackson, Faulk, Bruce, Holt, Curtis and McDonald. Clearly the offensive line needs an infusion of young talent, but I don't think they are too far away from being a top 5 offense once again.


    Defense is another story. Major changes are needed. That said, a couple of key acquisitions can have a "trickle up" effect. Plug in a Hartwell and perhaps a stud rookie and a big step can be taken.

    The Rams will have be surgical with their "tweaking," though. They can't afford to waste first day draft choices, nor can they miss the mark in free agency.

  5. #5
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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    We are in a tweaking stage. Heavy tweaking with the defense should make us a serious contender this year.

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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    I'm pretty much on the other side of the fence I guess. I would rather tank a year and rebuild. I would concentrate on youth at defense and really build up a defense to compliment the offensive side of the ball. The Rams have an ideal position financially with the Bulger contract being so cheap. The Rams could possibly build up the LB/OL this year, get the secondary in line next year and make a serious run.

    Maybe tank a year isn't a very good statement, but I don't think the Rams have the talent to win it all defensively.

  7. #7
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    TX, i certainly agree as the roster looks on defense today, but if we can get some cap space, make some prudent free agent pickups, draft a guy or two, who do you think is better than us in the nfc other than philly.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    Considering both the general weakness of the NFC as well as the parody in this league regarding how quickly a poor team can become a championship contender, I think we're a good way's away from full rebuilding mode. That said, I think there are units on the team that need to be rebuilt, and it sounds as if the Rams are attempting just that.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    The NFC isn't who I'm worried about. However, the AFC would clean our clock right now in the big game if we had to go in with our roster the way it is.

  10. #10
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    I agree with that also tx, but if you make it to the Big Dance, its one game one time and anything can happen (see the blunderbowl vs. the pats in new orleans).

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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    The NFC isn't who I'm worried about. However, the AFC would clean our clock right now in the big game if we had to go in with our roster the way it is.
    Right, I agree that if we go with our roster the way it is, we'd get cleaned by the AFC. But the NFC should also be who we're worried about, because in order to get to the big game, we have to go through the NFC. And since the NFC is relatively weak, it probably wouldn't take a complete overhaul to be competitive in this conference.

    I guess that's what I was trying to get at.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    Ok fine, Champs of the NFC. I won't complain about that.

    Still, I don't see the Rams being able to stop these teams in the AFC:

    1. New England
    2. Pittsburgh
    3. San Diego

    Any of those three would beat us RIGHT NOW in a big game. However, let's see how FA pans out.

  13. #13
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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    Yes, right now those teams would beat us. No one's arguing that, I don't think...
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  14. #14
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    You could add the colts to that list as well, but again, we have a legit shot to get there with an improved defense and lord knows the defense cant be much worse.

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  15. #15
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    Re: Realistically - How far away are Rams? Tweak or Rebuild

    Here's my thing. Maybe rebuilding isn't the answer, but we DEFINATELY need a playmaker to step up and take charge defensively. I mean, 8 INT's from the secondary ALL YEAR? That's crazy.

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