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Very impress with this years move...
IMO this years off season moves and draft has addressed team needs....
In past drafts the Rams focused on picking up the best player available at thier position. Not bad it got us Jackson who I think is an upcoming star in this league....
This year we had too many needs to fill and did not have the luxury of picking the best player on the board,,,
What impress me with this season is the team identifying needs and going out and picking up affordable players to fill those needs...
Rams weakness last year
Stopping the run.....
Considering free agency, draft, and player development I feel this years team will be much more competitive than last year. You may ask HOW!!!!
Well lets consider this....
Weakness problem #1 Stop the run
The team acquired to very good line backers. Also, Kennedy started to show signs of talent on the line. Not to mention some of the other younger talent like Hargrove will have a season under thier belt... Even if the improvement is slim the Rams should present more obstacles against the run game....
Weakness problem #2 Pass Protection
Last years injuries was too much for any team to endure on the line. I was very impressed how Bulger played without a line. The coaches deserve credit for the job they did..
Last years weakness maybe this years strength. I feel that this line could compete with anyone in the league.....
Weakness problem #3 Run Blocking
Big line men picked up in the draft.... With Jackson and the OL I do not think teams will be calling the Rams SOFT?????
Weakness problem #4 Special Teams
For the 1st time in Martz tenure the team focused on picking up players who can contribute at a position as well as on special teams....
Weakness problem #5 Secondary
Numerous draft selections were used to add depth and competition in this area. The rams need 1 or 2 players to step up and show some consitent play in the secondary.....
If the Rams improve just a little in each of the problem areas then I will be happy.
8-8 last year could easily translate into 12-4 this year with a few adjustments and upgrades.....
Re: Very impress with this years move...
There is no question that this year's offseason moves will improve our team. I believe we made significant strides to address our weaknesses. I expect us to be very competive.
Regarding drafting for need versus the best player available, I think we got both in Barron. Especially considering our glaring need for a RT. Even though the media seems to think that we dropped the ball on many of our remaining picks, reaching for many, I think back to Armey's comments prior to the draft when he said there we several "sleepers" that he had set his sights on. I defer to his judgement rather than those paper pushers. Just maybe he knew something they didn't know. What a concept!
Expect great things this year!!!
Go Rams!!! :ramlogo:"...and a great new warrior emerged from the many, to carry the torch, and his name was Rammin' Jackson...and a new era had begun! Bring on the battles to come, he screamed!"
-05-04-2005 #3Registered User
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Re: Very impress with this years move...
Every year in the off season after the draft, "hope springs eternal." Particularly after the first mini-camps have concluded with coaches gushing over their rookies---you never hear coaches during the mini-camps saying "Boy did we ever blow it! This guy couldn't block a chipmunk!"
Having said that, I think that this year's draft could be one of the most productive drafts since the Rams moved to St Louis. Perhaps I am being a pollyanna, but I think that every single draft choice has a solid chance at making our roster. With the exceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Claude Terrell, and Alex Barron the other eight guys have ALL played on special teams. How many drafts since Martz has been at the helm have had anywhere near this many ST players, as opposed to ST projections ?
1) Barron is being handed the starting RT job--he will have to screw up big time or be injured not to be our starting RT.
2) R. Bartell has a great chance to help us out as a nickel or dime back as well as contributing on special teams.
3) O. Atogwe will end up starting (IMHOP), and will likely contribute on ST as well if Martz allows it.
3) R. Incognito will be brought along slowly, but when he finally gets healthy it will be hard to keep him out of the starting lineup. He also will be able to contribute on special teams if he is not starting.
4) J. Carter should make the squad as a backup (assuming that Arch is healthy). He could end up starting if Arch can't come back, although if that were the case the Rams would probably sign a post June 1st veteran. Carter who was renowned for his violent tackling during his collegiate career will be a natural on special teams.
4) 343 lb Claude "the bulldozer" Terrell will compete with Rex Tucker and Blaine Saipaia for the left guard position and should make the roster, particlularly as Incognito will likely be on the PUP list when the season opens. If Tucker who has a history of injuries gets dinged up again in camp or preseason, Terrell could end up starting.
5) Jerome Collins purportedly was the fastest TE in the draft but lacks experience at the position. However, he certainly does not lack experience playing special teams, and his having played defensive end and linebacker in college prior to moving to tight end, can only enhance his special teams mentality.
6) Dante Ridgeway will have an excellent opportunity to make the roster given the move of M. Furrey to safety. He is burly for a wideout, runs good routes with no fear when going over the middle, has decent speed and great hands, with a propensity for getting yards after the catch. I believe he will will make the roster as the #5 receiver as well as being a contributor on special teams.
6) R. Hodges has an explosive leg and is not afraid to assist in coverage ala J. Wilkins. He has a better than even chance to unseat K. Stemke and should be the Rams punter for 2005.
7) Ryan Fitzpatrick appears to have endeared himself to M. Martz as a result of his perfomance during the 1st mini-camp; however Martz could be trying to exert more pressure on Smoker by being effusive over Fitzpatrick. If Smoker beats out Martin for the #2 QB slot, Fitzpatrick should make the squad as our #3. If Martin gets cut before the season starts it is unlikely that another team would want him so in effect he would still be available in an emergency.
7) Madison "Hammertime" Hedge**** is going to make this team period. John Bunting, Hedge****'s college coach (formerly a defensive coach with the Rams) put together a tape of Hedge**** "splatterings" on special teams and sent it to NFL teams prior to the draft. Apparently the Rams were impressed and the rest will be history!! OK so "Hammertime" is my pet pick. Nothing against Joey Goodspeed, but I expect Madison to be our starting FB.
With the off-season free agent acquisitions of Clairborne, Coakley, Roland Williams, Rex Tucker, Stone and Hawthorne along with the aforementioned draft class of 2005 we stand to be vastly improved....winning the NFCwest going away! Am I "homer"??...Absolutely....