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Thread: Thomas: Rams Run Risks, Chart New Course

  1. #1
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    Thomas: Rams Run Risks, Chart New Course

    Rams run risks, chart new course

    Fisher, Snead are taking aggressive approach as they try to end team's long stretch of futility.

    BY JIM THOMAS
    Monday, April 30, 2012

    Who knows what the future will bring for the draft class of 2012 in particular, and on a broader scale, for the marriage of Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead?

    But one thing is already certain about Fisher and Snead: They are neither shy nor timid. They've made it crystal clear they are not going to tip-toe through the process of rebuilding a franchise that hasn't experienced a winning season since 2003.

    Example No. 1 came with the early March trade with Washington that netted the Rams three extra picks and gave the Redskins the opportunity to draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

    In free agency, the Rams didn't always get the player they wanted, especially at wide receiver. But they were active, signing a $10-million-a-year cornerback (Cortland Finnegan), a $6 million-a-year-defensive tackle (Kendall Langford) and a $6 million-a-year center (Scott Wells). All told, they've signed 10 veteran free agents from other NFL teams.

    Next came the 2012 draft. The Rams traded down twice for extra picks from No. 6 overall to No. 14, and then from No. 45 overall to No. 50. And look what they did with those picks.

    At No. 14 overall, they selected Louisiana State defensive tackle Michael Brockers. He may end up being the run-stuffer who anchors the line for years to come. But he enters the NFL as a two-down player with only 15 college starts.

    With their second pick came Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick at No. 33 overall. He's one of the most athletic, and potentially, most talented players in the draft. But he's also raw. He didn't play high school football until his senior year, and then played at the second tier of college football what used to be called Division I-AA.

    When a Rams contingent hopped a private jet a week ago to work out five wide receivers, they were so enamored of Quick, they rated him as 1B of the five, right behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon at 1A. Next came Illinois' A.J. Jenkins, followed by Michael Floyd of Notre Dame and Kendall Wright of Baylor.

    Yes, the Rams had Quick and Jenkins rated ahead of Floyd. So in the case of their first two picks, the Rams must trust their talent evaluators and have faith that their coaches can get Brockers and Quick up to speed as quickly as possible.

    Ant finally there's the "bad boys" club:

    Seventh-round linebacker Aaron Brown was suspended for Hawaii's season opener after his involvement in a bar fight at the Zanzabar night club in Waikiki.

    "It was a mistake," Brown said. "It was a lack of judgment. ... It's just one of the things in life you have to learn from and not make the same mistake."

    Police used a stun gun on third-round cornerback Trumaine Johnson of Montana after a party he hosted got out of control following a victory over Northern Arizona last October.

    "I just decided to throw a party after a win," Johnson said. "It got loud. The cops came and shut it down. As we were shutting it down, one of my buddies got tased, so I went over there to see what was going on and I got tased."

    They both were arrested. Johnson said he was charged with disorderly conduct and had to pay a fee.

    "I believe everybody throws parties and has fun in college," Johnson said. "I feel like I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time so I shouldn't have thrown the party in the first place just because we were in the season. I learned from it and it's behind me now."

    North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins was taken No. 39 overall, or early in the second round. That's extremely valuable territory when it comes to NFL draft picks. If a player goes bust there, it's a blow to a franchise. Jenkins has top 15 talent but got kicked out of the University of Florida for numerous indiscretions, two of which involved marijuana use.

    "He's apparently so incredibly talented that someone will look the other way," said former Rams scout Matt Littlefield.

    Littlefield, who now works for Russ Lande's GMJr. Scouting service, made his remarks a few days before the draft.

    "But it'll be one of those things where everyone will say, 'See, I told you so,' if in his second year in the league he's in all sorts of trouble," Littlefield added. "'Hey, you knew there was a risk when you took him.'"

    Littlefield paused, and added: "But he might also lead the league in interceptions."

    Welcome to the new Rams. High risk. High reward. There hasn't been this kind of approach since the days of John Shaw, Jay Zygmunt and Charley Armey. That group took chances and wasn't afraid to make bold moves. Sometimes it paid off wonderfully, as in the trade for Marshall Faulk in 1999. Sometimes it didn't, as in trading away Jerome Bettis and drafting Lawrence Phillips on the same day in 1996.

    And now, Fisher and Snead.

    "We came in here expecting to win and we're going to do what it takes, within reason," Fisher said. "We mentioned that we had taken players off the board. There were players 'in the drawer' for whatever reason. The guys that we had on the board, we feel like we got at the right time."

    "I'll elaborate a little bit," Snead said. "When you have so many picks five in the top 65 I looked at it a little bit like a mutual fund. It allowed you maybe to take a risk at one (point) for talent, whereas if you might have had less picks you may go a little less risky. This is what this draft enabled us to do. That's what we did. You want to try to get first-round talent in the second round."

    So these Rams are going to take some calculated risks and live with the consequences.

    "We're not necessarily taking chances," Fisher said. "I look at it more from the standpoint that we're going to be aggressive. This team has lost more games in five years than any team in franchise history. We're going to put a stop to that. In order to do that, you've got to go fill some holes, and you have to be aggressive with that."

    Even if it means going with a rookie place-kicker and punter.

    "You know what? We're not going to punt this year, so I'm not worried about it," Fisher joked.

    "You can't be scared," Snead added with a shrug.
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  2. #2
    chucknbob is offline Registered User
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    Re: Thomas: Rams Run Risks, Chart New Course

    I love that we are rolling the dice with a couple of guys. If half of our new guys play to their ability we will be a better team than last year. We really have nowhere to go but up from the last few seasons.
    live4ramin likes this.

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    Re: Thomas: Rams Run Risks, Chart New Course

    I LOVE the line "We are not going to punt this year"

    Charles Barkley had a tremendous line when it comes to coaches. He said (and i am paraphrasing), "If you lose, you are going to get fired no matter how you pick players. So, you might as well pick the players you want and the players you believe in rather than what is popular with the fans or the media" That comment is 100% correct, the fisher era is here, its his ship to captain as he will deal with the consequences win, lose or draw.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    live4ramin, MauiRam, viper and 5 others like this.


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    Re: Thomas: Rams Run Risks, Chart New Course

    I love it!!!! Hey! How'd the 4 pillars work out? Or how did drafting 10 zillion TE's workout? Fisher and Snead have taken the bull by the horns and changed our teams philosophy. The new philosophy has them sticking their necks out to get to the ultimate prize, Winning!!!!!!
    GROUND DOG 39 likes this.

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    Re: Thomas: Rams Run Risks, Chart New Course

    Lets not jump to conclusions, the season hasn't even started yet, neither has training camp.

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    Re: Thomas: Rams Run Risks, Chart New Course

    One phrase comes to my head: Why not? Why not take a gamble when you're in the bottom of the league? Why not go for talent with a little baggage? Honestly, what do we have to lose? Because we can't exactly lose much more than we already have.

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