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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Sep. 08 2004

    A few days before the 2004 regular-season opener, the Rams seem unusually
    restless.

    They're signing waiver-wire pick-ups and other castoffs in a late, desperate
    rush to upgrade the roster. They tried to lure used-up Jason Sehorn out of
    retirement, but he flunked the physical. In this flurry of activity, the Rams
    oddly failed to address the most glaring weaknesses, at cornerback and
    defensive tackle.

    If you're going to invite people off the street for open auditions, why not try
    to reinforce the unimposing, underachieving cast at defensive tackle? And how
    can the Rams be comfortable with only one experienced NFL cornerback in
    Jerametrius Butler? (I'm not counting Aeneas Williams; the Rams insist he will
    remain at free safety). The NFL is a passing league, and the Rams simply don't
    have enough cover guys.

    The Rams also made a debatable, peculiar decision to trade promising running
    back Lamar Gordon to Miami. Marshall Faulk's health is an open-ended concern.
    If Faulk's knee folds, the offense will have to rely on a rookie, Steven
    Jackson, who had knee issues late in his college career at Oregon State. Arlen
    Harris is a tough runner and can fill in at the position, but he lacks speed.

    Astoundingly, the Rams got nothing more than a third-round pick for Gordon. And
    they didn't insure themselves with a side agreement to upgrade to a more
    premium draft choice should Gordon produce a 1,000-yard rushing season in
    Miami. (And he will). More baffling is that the Rams unloaded Gordon's
    salary-cap friendly contract. Gordon wasn't costing them much, so why move him?

    After the retirement of head case Ricky Williams, the Dolphins were hard up for
    a back, and the Rams should have exploited the situation by holding out for a
    better draft choice. They're not running a charity.

    Gordon's frustrating foot problems finally were solved through surgery, so the
    move was hardly embraced inside every office at Rams Park. I'd be surprised if
    coach Mike Martz privately gave an enthusiastic endorsement to this trade.
    Martz offered mixed signals Wednesday when discussing the deal. While
    explaining that Gordon was expendable because of Jackson's emergence and the
    increased confidence in Faulk's viability, Martz also described the transaction
    as "risky" and his feelings as "nervous."

    "Lamar's a terrific value," Martz said.

    Yes, and the Dolphins undoubtedly would agree.

    It's been a fidgety week at Rams Park.

    "Very, very, busy," Martz said.

    And the roster tuning has taken Martz away from his game-planning for the
    Arizona Cardinals.

    The Rams usually are quiet at this time of summer, concentrating on getting
    ready to play their first real game. But this year, they're moving bodies in
    and out. I suppose it's good to see the Rams be so aggressive. But it also
    points to something I wrote about in our football preview section: the Rams'
    gradual erosion of talent. I don't believe these Rams have as much depth of
    talent as other squads we've seen here since 1999.

    And I repeat: If the Rams are going to make late roster alterations, why not
    stitch the obvious holes at DT and CB? The Rams' offense should be fine, but
    the defense is vulnerable. Martz concedes that the Rams are "a little thin" at
    defensive tackle, and "a corner short" on defense. But he's counting on
    internal improvement.

    "You look beyond your own roster so often to find these needs, but you brought
    these guys in here because you like them, and you think they can play," he
    said. "And you'd better see if they can play. Because if they can't play,
    you've made a mistake. But you've got to show that kind of trust in them.
    That's the reason you have them here, so you should give them that opportunity
    first."

    Are the Rams ready to open the season? I wonder. But at least they're fortunate
    to have the Cardinals coming to town.


  2. #2
    moklerman's Avatar
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    Re: Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    Who the hell is this guy? Questioning the Rams' personnel decisions and readiness for the season to start! Doesn't he know Mike Martz's record?

  3. #3
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    Re: Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    I'd rather see them rushing to get waiver-wire guys than just accepting what they had and moving on. At least they are attempting to make improvements.
    DJRamFan
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    LONG LIVE MIKE MARTZ

    NFL Champions: 1945, 1951
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    Super Bowl XXXIV Champions

  4. #4
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    Re: Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by DJRamFan
    I'd rather see them rushing to get waiver-wire guys than just accepting what they had and moving on. At least they are attempting to make improvements.
    I'd rather see them rushing to identify unsuitable talent and getting rid of them while there is time to get someone into football condition.

  5. #5
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    Re: Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    I'm not going to pass any judgement until they do one thing....

    PLAY THE DAD GUM GAME. All this speculation is making no one but my ulcer happy.

  6. #6
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    Re: Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    Bernie's opinion that the Rams could have gotten more for Lamar Gordon has absolutely no basis in fact or logic.

    Once again, he seems to go out of his way to complain.

  7. #7
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    Re: Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Bernie's opinion that the Rams could have gotten more for Lamar Gordon has absolutely no basis in fact or logic.

    Once again, he seems to go out of his way to complain.
    I try to give Bernie the benefit of doubt when possible, but I've got to admit this one is way out in left field. Unless we knew that Faulk couldn't go or Jackson just wasn't ready, this was the best move and the most value we are going to get out of Gordon. No way could we have gotten anything higher than this 3rd round pick. The pick will probably be in the low 80's next draft and we can certainly find someone decent there.

    Bernie's entitled to his opinion, but I think AV is right; Bernie fumbled this one.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  8. #8
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    Re: Roster scrambling, defensive holes hint at trouble for Rams

    Maybe, we have all this roster thrashing and player changes and player injuries and signings and re-signings and reassignments all confused.

    Maybe our "Real Man of Genius" (aka MM) is using all this as a way to distract our opponents and draw attention away from the Ram's real weakness - the Head Coach. :redface:

    That's a hint a trouble alright!!

    ARF ARF ARF

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