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Thread: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

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    Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Strauss: Time for Rams to produce

    March 14, 2014 9:00 am • BY JOE STRAUSS

    It’s time.

    It’s been more than 26 months since the laughingstock Rams uttered a straight line by announcing Jeff Fisher as head coach and Les Snead as general manager. The hires were celebrated in circles that long had cackled over a dysfunctional franchise’s back-biting, ineptitude and naivete. After consecutive botched experiments involving novice head coaches, the Rams could place a Super Bowl coach and his creative accomplice near chief operating officer Kevin Demoff, a Dartmouth-educated fast-riser rated among the NFL’s next wave of power brokers.

    Fisher’s first two years saw him make do with transitional defensive coordinators. The transition supposedly ended with the recent hire of the familiar and notorious Gregg Williams, the guy who allegedly made it rain in New Orleans for quarterback take-out.

    Fifth-year quarterback Sam Bradford projects ready for the 2014 season opener after requiring mid-season surgery to repair his left knee.

    We’re told left tackle Jake Long should return from his wrecked knee by Week 4, perhaps Week 1.

    Taking the Rams at their word, they’re again a functional, adult franchise capable of walking the streets within the rugged NFC West.

    Training wheels are no longer offered here. Trophies are for winning, not mere participation. Three years into the process, it’s time for hardware, not orange slices and postgame Slurpee runs.

    The franchise is past apologizing for the endless Linehan and Spagnuolo learning curves and an acrid roster constructed without direction.

    It’s time.

    It’s time for even a soft market to move past comparing the current regime with its overmatched predecessors. Fisher and Snead deserve recognition for elevating the Rams from punching bags to seven wins in 2012 and 2013 while filling the locker room with the league’s youngest roster. Swell. And Fisher turned a potential disaster into a face-saving 7-9 last season despite losing Bradford in the seventh game. Kudos.

    This regime has performed ably enough that its point of reference should be the progress it achieved rather than the non-competitive moonscape it inherited.

    According to the regime’s own blueprint 2014 is to represent something more: a breakout, a leap from the shadows of a muscular division into its center ring. The emphasis should turn to The Now.

    Three days into free agency, the Rams have returned two of their own, guard Rodger Saffold and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Saffold’s return is an odyssey unto itself with the Rams expressing faith in the soundness of a player the Oakland Raiders dumped following a team physical. Dunbar rarely played on passing downs and represents a third backer.

    So far, so good in getting (some of) the band back together. The natives are justifiably restless. They want a fresh talent before the draft. They thirst for immediate impact, not just development.

    For two years patience has been a virtue. The Rams have held to the long view while mixing in familiar free agents. They’ve congratulated themselves on drafts featuring quality through quantity.

    Those paying attention realize the Rams were vulnerable in the secondary and pedestrian at skill positions last season. Fisher tried to shorten games with ground-and-pound offense. A manic pass rush became the rule more than the exception. Defensive end Robert Quinn became a supernova. Rookie Zac Stacy came within a wisp of 1,000 rushing yards despite waiting until Week 5 for his first start.

    So a fan base long told to wait is allowed to ask what’s under the Christmas tree. It’s OK to survey an offensive line taken apart by injury and free agency and wonder who will protect a quarterback required to play the rest of his career in a brace.

    The fear here is that the Rams will survey what they’ve done the past two years and insert another verse in The Same Old Song by asking for more time, more patience.

    In the aftermath of releasing the overpaid and injured Cortland Finnegan, the Rams’ reluctance to pursue free agent cornerback Alterraun Verner seems odd. Verner is age-appropriate (25) and went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at a cap-friendly price ($24.5 million over 4 years). Demoff insisted Tuesday the front office is reactive to its coaching staff, implying that his new defensive coordinator did not see Verner as a ready fit for a philosophy reliant on press coverage rather than a Cover-2 scheme.

    Demoff voiced support for incumbent corners Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson. But it’s a young, brash group that could also benefit from a more proven commodity, just as the receiving corps could use a signature wideout as it waits for Chris Givens and Brian Quick to fulfill their promise.

    Remember, this is a team that allowed a 94.7 passer rating and 8.1 yards per attempt — both in the league’s bottom third — while ranking among league leaders in tough talk. A new stadium may be a separate issue, but it only generates more wear on a market awaiting its first winning season since 2003.

    It’s time.

    It’s time to take a major step to address the club’s most obvious needs. The draft offers another page in development, which is fine. But this team requires a broader push to move it beyond .500 where it might actually rub against a wild-card berth. This is, after all, the third year of a three-year plan.

    Today the Rams announce Saffold’s return to the fold at guard rather than tackle. Familiar faces are welcome, familiar outcomes are not. Fisher’s Rams and their atrophying fan base know what seven wins looks like. They want to see Fisher’s first playoff team since 2008 and lust for his first playoff win since 2003. A year after signing a starting tight end and left tackle, the Rams are again talking development.

    Come on, it’s time.


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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Okay, it's time.

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Okay, it's time. :

    ........lol

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    And its not time to produce results when in the NFL? Even the woeful Jags in 2013, put forward a gallant effort. It goes without saying, every year ALL NFL teams go for results.

    Agreed, the offense was less then stellar; also agreed the defense gave up too many big plays. We all knew the Rams OL was something less then what we wanted and fans here where commenting on the Vanilla defense coming into the season. That as fans we where perhaps too patient, trusting in leadership that something better was in the offering--that assumption going in to week 5 however being shattered.

    The poor showing in my opinion was all on the coaching staff. I take a look at the Pats and see what they did considering how they made their run proves the value of coaching--a team devoid of much of their talent, running a patchwork offense with the singular advantage of ONLY being in a dreadful division (Dolphins=dysfunctional, Jets=laughable, and Bills=implode prone). Yet the Pats got wins against those whom on paper should have rolled over them, where as the Rams couldn't say the same in reverse.

    So the Rams must produce, just like every other team regardless of their state--that's the nature of the game. Honestly there are no excuses--EVER! You are a good team and well run or your not, period. Its all in W & L. Considering who the Rams lost to and the reasons for those losses, unacceptable. If the Saints can turn around their entire defense in one season which proves it can be done, leaves no excuse for the Rams, especially on offense and more so with their defense. Doesn't do a team a whole lot of good to have the most sacks and the better front 7 in the entire league, when your home watching the playoffs rather then playing in them.

    Yes I am watching daily what the Rams are doing on player personal. But the real test is what the brain trust will do with what they get and how they use them. Another such showing in 2014, I'd be leading the chores in arguing for a coaching change. And I will be comparing that with how the Cards do in 2014; after all they have a new coach, had more holes in their team then the Rams and walked away with a real shot at the playoffs. When it comes to make or break years 2014 really is that time for Fisher and Co

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    I think the Rams underachieved and played undisciplined football the first half of last season. After Bradford got hurt, be it out of necessity or a renewed sense of focus, the Rams got better. Young guys started to produce a bit more. Clemens played about as well as one could expect. The running game flourished. And the Rams had a couple of improbable wins. We can criticize the coaching staff for a lack of focus and discipline the first half of the year, but must also give credit for keeping the team together, playing hard and at least being respectable at 7-9.

    That said, I want a winning record and a shot at a playoff spot in 2014. It is neither unreasonable nor crazy. We can either believe this team is capable of playing good football while continuing to build a solid unit or we can bellyache about how tough the division is, how "we need a five year plan", cry about the schedule and find reasons why we shouldn't win. I've had enough of it. I expect fruitful dividends from this new staff, young talent and the benefits of the extra picks the RG III trade afforded us.
    Last edited by NJ Ramsfan1; -03-17-2014 at 01:55 PM.
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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    That said, I want a winning record and a shot at a playoff spot in 2014. It is neither unreasonable nor crazy. We can either believe this team is capable of playing good football while continuing to build a solid unit or we can bellyache about how tough the division is, how "we need a five year plan", cry about the schedule, etc. I've had enough of it. I expect fruitful dividends from this new staff, young talent and the benefits of the extra picks the RG III trade afforded us.
    Amen. Year 3 for Fisher and Year 5 for Bradford not to mention Long, Laurenitus and the other high draft picks on the Rams roster over the last 5 or 6 years. Time to show up and play consistant ball over 16 games with no excuses.

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    This IMO is a solid article fact based. Still a lot of question marks on this team. From the health of too many key players to the development of so many draft picks. Year three for JJ, Tru, Givens, Quick, Drich and Brockers these guys need to play much better. TA, Bailey, Tree, TJ, Jones and Stacy need to play better then the first draft class did in year two, to many regressed and none really took off. This year draft we need to hit on both first rounders they need to come in and be starters day one and be productive. The rest of the draft not as much pressure to find day one starters as the roster is now set.

    It's going to come down to health and how much the young players have improved. We can talk about how good our drafts have been but for me it's time to see it and if we do then we should be in the mix for a playoff spot. If we don't then we will be waiting on this class and the 2013 class to carry the weight. Quick,JJ,Givens, DRich and Brockers have to play like pros not young players their time is up.

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    I'm thinking this is year 3 of a 5 year plan....
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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    I'm thinking this is year 3 of a 5 year plan....
    Five years for what? I assume you mean SB Champions.....which means in year 3 we have a winning record and are in the playoffs. Right?

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Will put it in 1 simple sentence: Expecting playoffs, but damn this damn division.

    Also I think we will see a breakout year from Bradford and will solidify himself as the starting QB. No more arguments.
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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Quote Originally Posted by RuffRams View Post
    Will put it in 1 simple sentence: Expecting playoffs, but damn this damn division.

    Also I think we will see a breakout year from Bradford and will solidify himself as the starting QB. No more arguments.
    Let's do it. Forgive the simplicity of my supporting reply: "GO RAMS!"


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    Last edited by RealRam; -03-18-2014 at 01:45 AM. Reason: Old reamer

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    I'd like to see:

    1) Bradford's breakout season, over a full 16 game season.
    2) The young receivers take a step up.
    3) The secondary solidify.
    4) No one else backslide.

    That will get us a winning season, which would be a good step.

    Would it get us a playoff birth? 10 wins wasn't enough for the Cards last year. It may, it may not, depends on how the rest of the conference pans out.

    Realistically I don't think we are ready to win the division. There's a chance, but its a small one, and would require lots of luck.

    But I think if we hit on a couple of our draft picks this will be the best team the Rams have fielded since 2005, and that's definitely heading in the right direction.
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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    Quote Originally Posted by macrammer View Post
    Five years for what? I assume you mean SB Champions.....which means in year 3 we have a winning record and are in the playoffs. Right?
    I'm thinking year 3 is the year we get over the hump. By that I mean a winning record. Playoffs will be tough but not out of the question. Seahawks have lost some key players (always happens to Superbowl Champs), The rumor is the the Whiners players are sick of Harbaugh's baloney. The Cardinals like us are on the rise. 4 very good teams in the NFC West are going to battle it out down to the wire!!!!

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    The main guy I'm waiting for this year is Bradford. Last year was supposed to be the year but this is his last chance. Make it or break it year for him. No excuses....

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    Re: Strauss: Time For Rams To Produce

    If you think of it 3 years in the NFL is an eternity. Lots of contracts start to get pricy, lots of players are cut do to salary cap considerations, player's get older-some retire. But most importantly fans start getting restless. With the Rams its been a long time that we have something to cheer about.

    Here is a question for all those out there....would you accept another 7-9 season at the end of 2014? Are you willing to wait another 2 years before the Rams become credible and stop being everyone else's door mats?

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