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  1. #1
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    Will the winds of change bring relief for Rams?

    Y JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    07/27/2005

    Already there is good karma at Rams Park.

    When the players reported for training camp Wednesday, the murderous heat and humidity was gone -– washed away by thunderstorms and a cold front. The winds of change were certainly welcome.

    But will the good feelings last? Have the Rams summoned the right newcomers to push this franchise back on a championship track?

    Here are the new Rams that should prove pivotal during the 2005 season:


    Alex Barron, right tackle: Blaine Saipaia starts camp as the starter at this position, after filling in admirably a season ago. But Barron has the physical ability to star one day, particularly as a pass blocker.

    Given the overall age of the offensive line, Barron simply MUST make it big. Good tackles are hard to find. The Rams will bet a large sum of money on him.

    He cannot turn into the OL version of Damione Lewis, or the team will suffer. Barron must sign his rookie contract, get into camp and prove he can play tough enough to become a difference-maker.


    Chris Claiborne, linebacker: Last season, Robert Thomas vanished. Tommy Polley flickered on and off and poor Pisa Tinoisamoa kept re-injuring his shoulder. A once-promising linebacker corps became a huge liability.

    As a result, the Rams “D” got gashed for some big plays on the ground. Clairborne doesn’t force a lot of turnovers, but he should give the Rams a more consistent presence in the middle of their defense.


    Jerome Carter, strong safety: A fabulous offseason gives him an opportunity to be an impact rookie this season. He is a hard hitter who picked up the defense quickly.

    The Rams suffered wretched safety play last season, when Adam Archuleta was limited by his back injury and Rich Coady was nearly invisible. If Carter holds up, Archuleta will stay on the weak side and try to regain his hard-hitting form.


    Dexter Coakley, linebacker: Like Tinoisamoa, he possesses a motor that always runs. He has terrific speed and tackling skills, which serve him well on special teams, too. Like Tinoisamoa, though, Coakley is undersized, so shedding blocks can be a challenge.

    If the Rams defensive front wreaks more havoc this season, Coakley will get enough room to use his speed and make some plays.


    Roland Williams, tight end: The media is thrilled to have him back, since he is a splendid talker. (Such a commodity was hard to find last season.) Williams is also a solid receiving threat, so he should supplant inconsistent Brandon Manumaleuna.

    Williams should do a better job learning and executing Martz’s various protection schemes, too. His ability to help out the right tackle will be another plus.


    Rex Tucker, guard: When healthy, he has played at a near-Pro Bowl level -– particularly as a run blocker. But he hasn’t been healthy the last few years, so expectations for him are tempered. Veteran Tom Nutten returns for insurance purposes while Scott Tercero continues his growth process.

    If Tucker holds up and Barron pans out, the Rams could make HUGE strides on the offensive line -– even if veterans Adam Timmerman and Andy McCollum lose a half step to advancing age.


    Michael Hawthorne, cornerback/safety: He will add size and versatility to the secondary, though not much star potential. He has enough reach to be disruptive on the pass patterns underneath.


    Oshiomogho Atogwe, safety: Carter outshone him during the offseason, but this promising rookie could step in should Archuleta struggle again this season. He should also put some bite into the special teams, which were dreadful last season.


    Madison Hedgecock, fullback: This guy is a maniac, which is just what the special teams need. He could also become a devastating lead blocker if he gets a grip on the offense. He could make the offense a whole lot more physical.


    Michael Stone, cornerback/safety: The Rams added many athletes who should upgrade special teams. Stone could become a difference-maker on kick coverage while providing depth in the secondary.


  2. #2
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    Re: Will the winds of change bring relief for Rams?

    Wow - two weeks, two days and two hours 'til our pre-season kick-off.

    God - this is almost AGONIZING! Almost hell, it IS!:smoke:

    This post should be entitled "miscellaneous ramblings" or "ramstreamofconscienceness".

    I told my wife last nite I have a good feeling about the Rams this year - "You say that every year"

    "Actually , honey, if you EVER paid attention, you'd realize I DIDN'T". Wasn't really worth pursuing, so I didn't.:tut

    But I really was not too excited last year with the only (IMO) bright spots being Jackson, and maybe that Kennedy would come on. SOSA Linebackers, D-Line and Safeties, Turley and W gone, Little preoccupied, Lovie gone, Berger gone, and the whole flippin' world picking Seattle.

    Hindsight's always what it is, but aside from the natural inherent excitement of the NFL starting up, I wasn't extra-jazzed.:bored:

    This year however, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am VERY jacked-up about this team and the season.:up:

    We went 8-8 last year, and lost 2 we should not have. 'Nawlins and Cards.:tut

    For some reason, got annhilated by the Bills, Packers and Dolphins. That stuff happens, but.....Special Teams and Safeties, anyone?

    But our wins were deserved, 'cept maybe at Seattle, (but was that ever sweet).:bling:

    Point is, between special teams, safeties and linebackers, we're (almost) guaranteed two more games, putting us at 10-6, with an easier schedule, (based on 8-8 vs. 12-4).

    All of the above is without factoring in Jackson having one year under his belt, Barron playing AT ALL, Curtis becoming flat scary, Kennedy stepping up, Arch being healthy, Little in the clear, Bulger getting better, o-line depth VASTLY improved, Faulk healthy and able to stay fresher...:clanram:
    Sorry...gettin a little carried away.:drunk:


    Now guys, I'll admit to being a glass is half full kinda' guy, but will NOT admit to homerism, (unless I HAVE to).



    Therefore, y'all have my PERSONAL guarantee tht we will go 11-5, and will be playing in the NFC title game.
    Last edited by VegasRam; -07-27-2005 at 05:29 PM.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  3. #3
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    Re: Will the winds of change bring relief for Rams?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    Oshiomogho Atogwe, safety: Carter outshone him during the offseason
    How could he not? OJ wasn't able to attend the June mini-camp because his class at Stanford hadn't graduated!
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Three
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  4. #4
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    Re: Will the winds of change bring relief for Rams?

    I have a feeling that Brandon will lose his job to Williams, just a feeling!!!! I'm pleased he's back with the team!!!


    steve

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    Re: Will the winds of change bring relief for Rams?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    How could he not? OJ wasn't able to attend the June mini-camp because his class at Stanford hadn't graduated!
    Picky, picky...

    Well Wraith - what have you got to say for yourself?:smoke:


    Actually, that's right up there with Barron "LOSING" the starting job after one week of mini-camp.LOL

    That really cracks me up for some reason.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: Will the winds of change bring relief for Rams?

    Therefore, y'all have my PERSONAL guarantee tht we will go 11-5, and will be playing in the NFC title game.



    That would be nice VR,But I want the Suberbowl against the Pats.We score 62 points.1 second left in the game a Adam Viniteri kicks a field goal making it 62-3

    The media howls for Viniteri to get the MVP over Bulger and/or Steven Jackson,but to no avail.
    My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild

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    Re: Will the winds of change bring relief for Rams?

    Quote Originally Posted by psycho9985
    Therefore, y'all have my PERSONAL guarantee tht we will go 11-5, and will be playing in the NFC title game.



    That would be nice VR,But I want the Suberbowl against the Pats.We score 62 points.1 second left in the game a Adam Viniteri kicks a field goal making it 62-3

    The media howls for Viniteri to get the MVP over Bulger and/or Steven Jackson,but to no avail.
    waddaya' mean, "that wouuld be nice BUT..."

    I didn't say we'd LOSE the Title game.:drunk:
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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