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  1. #1
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    Cool Ten Questions for the Rams

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Jul. 29 2005

    1.) What challenges does first-round draft pick Alex Barron
    face at right tackle?


    Although he played a fair amount of right tackle in college, it mostly was as a
    run blocker. Barron did very little pass blocking from the right side, so he
    needs a lot of technique work. He also must gain a working knowledge of the
    complex Mike Martz system. Until that happens, Blaine Saipaia is the starter.


    2.) Can Steven Jackson handle the load as the starting running
    back?


    Absolutely, provided he stays healthy. Jackson combines speed and power in the
    backfield, and is a good pass catcher. He made progress as a blocker as a
    rookie last season but still needs work there. The new FieldTurf surface at the
    Edward Jones Dome will be more forgiving on his knees.


    3.) How much does Marshall Faulk have left?

    After 11 seasons in the NFL, Faulk's knees are worse for the wear. He doesn't
    seem to have his old burst or elusiveness. But he's still capable of flashing
    his vintage form from time to time. The new turf will help him, too. Defenses
    must still account for Faulk, and Martz will spend part of his preseason
    devising ways to use Jackson and Faulk in the same backfield.


    4.) Have the Rams solved their safety problems?

    If they don't, it won't be for a lack of candidates. Adam Archuleta and rookie
    Jerome Carter enter camp as the starters. But free-agent pickups Michael
    Hawthorne and Michael Stone could figure in the mix, as could rookies
    Oshiomogho Atogwe and Ron Bartell. Even converted wide receiver Mike Furrey has
    a chance to stick, based on his special-teams abilities. The Rams don't need
    all of the newcomers to click, just two or three. Archuleta must show he's over
    his back problems.



    5.) Have the Rams solved their nickel back woes?

    Again, it won't be for a lack of candidates if they don't. Hawthorne, Stone and
    Bartell all could be used to cover slot receivers. Other possibilities are
    free-agent pickups Terry Fair and Corey Ivy, and 2004 roster holdovers Dwight
    Anderson, DeJuan Groce and Kevin Garrett.

    6.) Is Rex Tucker the answer at left guard?

    Yes, provided he stays healthy. Tucker has size and strength. Plus he has
    experience from his time with the Bears. Tom Nutten will back up Tucker, and
    there's a chance Saipaia could move to left guard if Barron proves ready to
    play right tackle.


    7.) Do the Rams have enough up front on defense?

    After losing starting right ends in back-to-back offseasons via free agency to
    Seattle (Grant Wistrom and Bryce Fisher), the Rams need second-year man Anthony
    Hargrove to contribute right away - particularly as a pass rusher. Jimmy
    Kennedy needs to pick up where he left off at defensive tackle. At linebacker,
    Chris Claiborne brings much-needed bulk and run-stuffing ability to the middle,
    and Dexter Coakley brings leadership and playmaking ability to the outside.


    8.) Can Jamie Martin cut it as the No. 2 quarterback?

    Martin will benefit from nearly a full offseason and preseason in the Rams'
    system, a luxury he didn't have in previous stints with the club. Martin's arm
    strength is average at best. But he is accurate, and most important, he has the
    confidence of Martz. Entering camp, Jeff Smoker and intriguing rookie Ryan
    Fitzpatrick are competing for the No. 3 job.


    9.) Will there be anything special about special teams?

    Seeing will be believing. It does appear that several roster candidates -
    players such as Ivy, Hawthorne and Stone - will help on coverage units. Groce
    and wide receiver Shaun McDonald will compete for the punt return job. A
    slimmed-down Arlen Harris will compete with Aveion Cason for the kickoff return
    job.



    10.) Are the Rams really going with a rookie punter?

    It looks that way. Holdover Kevin Stemke was gone less than two weeks after the
    team drafted Ball State's Reggie Hodges in the sixth round this spring. The job
    is Hodges' to lose - he's the only punter in camp.



  2. #2
    evil disco man's Avatar
    evil disco man is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Re: Ten Questions for the Rams

    Adam Archuleta and rookie Jerome Carter enter camp as the starters.
    Well, that's news to me, especially considering he was drafted after O.J. Atogwe.

    Groce and wide receiver Shaun McDonald will compete for the punt return job.
    This could be one of the most exciting training camp battles that no one will talk about.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ten Questions for the Rams

    I think the LB's will be much improved. Coakley and Pisa should bring good speed and toughness to the group. :clanram:

    Time to bang some heads.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  4. #4
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Ten Questions for the Rams

    COUNTDOWN! "Ten ... nine ... eight ... seven..." :football:

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