The team continues to look around for possible punting competition for Kevin Stemke, who replaced Sean Landeta after Thanksgiving. Former Atlanta P Chris Mohr worked out at Rams Park recently, and the team also looked at former Ohio State P Andy Groom during a private workout in Columbus. At the very least, there will be some form of competition in training camp for Stemke, who displayed good directional skills but lacked ideal distance last season. . . .

Signing LT Orlando Pace to a multi-year contract and the restructuring of WR Torry Holt's contract saved the team more than $4 million in salary cap space for 2005 and put the team more than $6 million under the salary cap. Although most of the high-profile free agents have already signed contracts, the Rams will continue to shop the market for reasonably priced help. Depth at safety and on the defensive line, still need to be addressed. But even if the Rams don't do much with that cap money in free agency, they could concentrate on re-signing some of their own. Several players have contracts that expire after '05, including DT Ryan Pickett and S Adam Archuleta. Emerging WRs Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald are scheduled to be restricted free agents after '05. . . .


If Aveion Cason can show coaches he has a firm grasp on the complex Mike Martz offense, then he has a chance to make the team as the No. 3 running back ahead of Arlen Harris. Cason has the added versatility of being able to return kickoffs. But there will be competition for roster spots behind Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk, because the Rams are expected to select a running back sometime during the draft.


SCOUTING REPORT: Raw but talented Anthony Hargrove took over the starting defensive end job as a rookie late in the 2004 season. Now he must prove worthy of the promotion over the long haul. Hargrove has the speed and energy level to be an effective pass rusher. But he still has a long way to go in terms of reading and setting up blockers, using his hands, and establishing a variety of pass-rush moves. Despite his relatively modest stature (6-3, 269) Hargrove actually played the run better than he rushed the passer last season. There were times when he showed surprising strength and used good leverage to get to the ball carrier. Nonetheless, Hargrove may have to learn the hard way because of his lack of experience at end. He came to Georgia Tech as a quarterback and was academically ineligible his final season in college.


DRAFT BUZZ: Even with the long overdue signing of LT Orlando Pace to a multi-year contract, the Rams still need help on the line particularly at right tackle, where Kyle Turley is not expected back. Several tackle prospects, including Oklahoma's Jammal Brown, Florida State's Alex Barron, and Richie Incognito (formerly of Nebraska) are expected to make pre-draft visits to Rams Park in the coming weeks. Barron probably will be unavailable when the Rams pick at No. 19 overall. Last year, for example, the Rams never expected to be in position for RB Steven Jackson late in the first round. There's a decent chance Brown would be there at 19; he has the size and toughness that could make him a good fit at right tackle. The Rams love Incognito's toughness and skills. But given his history of getting kicked off teams, does he merit even a second-round draft pick?