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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Is This Really The First Unit?

    By Howard Balzer

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    Rams fans head to the Edward Jones Dome Saturday evening with a distinct degree of trepidation. The teamís poor performance against Tennessee has everyone wondering what kind of team will be fielded this season.

    The note that the first unit has yet to score a touchdown with Scott Linehan as head coach has been repeated ad nauseum. But what does that really mean, and how much significance does it really have? And, Linehan isnít in charge of the offense anymore, Al Saunders is. So, if the offense becomes productive, do we hail Saunders, but rip Linehan if it doesnít?

    In addition, Iíll go back to the question in the headline: Is this really the first unit? We know running back Steven Jackson wonít play tomorrow night. Itís also likely wide receiver Torry Holt will be on the sideline. Holt has been bothered by a tight back this week, so what earthly purpose is there to put a 32-year-old receiver on the field on Aug. 16? The answer is a resounding none.

    So, the offensive group that huddles for the first offensive possession Saturday night will have either Antonio Pittman or Brian Leonard at running back, with the starting receivers anyoneís guess. During the teamís walk-through Friday afternoon, a three-receiver set with the No. 1 unit featured Drew Bennett, Reche Caldwell and Dante Hall. Hardly The Greatest Show on Turf or anywhere close.

    Itís no great revelation that an offense with Pittman or Leonard as the starter wonít cause too many defenses to play eight in the box to stop the run.

    Should there be enormous alarms if that first unit struggles? Sure, it would be good to see decent production, but itís not very realistic against a defense as good as San Diego.

    These are practice games, after all, but ones played in the glare of the spotlight at regular-season prices, compared to other major sports, where they are played in relative obscurity.

    Asked if itís fair to judge a team in the preseason, Linehan said, ďI donít know whatís Ďfair.í I donít know that itís Ďfairí to judge anyone in the NFL when we are all playing a lot of players and trying to evaluate the roster. I donít know whatís Ďfair.í

    ďBut, Iím really interested to see how this team plays tomorrow. Iíve seen lots of improvement in this team while we were away, but I didnít see it in the game (last week).Ē

    Seems the coach is just as curious as all of us.

    *It appears as if Nick Leckey will start at center instead of Brett Romberg, who has been bothered by an injury to his right hand for a few weeks. Linehan said heíd like to have the first-unit line set by next weekís game against Baltimore. Leckeyís play has turned it into an unexpected competition.

    *Quarterback Brock Berlin pulled even or slightly ahead of Bruce Gradkowski with his performance last week against Tennessee. Saturday, Gradkowski is expected to get the chance to start the second half, and Berlin will finish the game. Marc Bulger will start, and Trent Green will probably play one or two series.

    *Linehan said there was nothing of substance to report on the status of Jackson, but he did say, ďThere have been some talks and they are moving along.Ē Whatever that means, itís certainly better than no talks.

    Right guard Richie Incognito on Jackson not being with the team: ďWith or without Steven, we have to get our fits right up front and block our butts off.Ē (He really did say ďbutts.Ē)

    *Whether wide receiver Donnie Avery or linebacker Will Witherspoon plays will be a game-time decision, but the plan is for them to play.

    *Cornerback Justin King, who it was said was out for the season because of a toe injury, is seeking a second opinion on whether surgery is necessary. King had been scheduled for surgery Friday.

  2. #2
    renrawtruk is offline Registered User
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    Re: Is This Really The First Unit?

    IF I were to pick a starting WR unit that did not include Torry Holt, it would be Bennett, Looker, and probably Hagans over Dante Hall.

    Not Riche Caldwell.

    I don't like when the coaches don't know the players as well as we do. Looker is proven. Hall did not perform that well when he got to start last year....he dropped a lot of passes. They can use Hagans or Stanley for any of the plays they are thinking of using Dante Hall for. Hall should be strickly a return man, but Saunders likes him because he knows him, but that was 5 years ago.

    Hedgecock, Manumaleuna, Kevin Curtis, and Jeremetrius Butler were all better than the most of the guys we have now at their positions.

  3. #3
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Is This Really The First Unit?

    Quote"IF I were to pick a starting WR unit that did not include Torry Holt, it would be Bennett, Looker, and probably Hagans over Dante Hall."

    I don't know about Hagans I was reading a article he might be the odd man out.

  4. #4
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: Is This Really The First Unit?

    I hope they put Burton in there with the first team, I'd like to see what he brings. I say leave the first team in until they score a TD.

    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

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