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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Saturday, Apr. 12 2008

    For the Rams, free agency 2008 has not been the free-spending blitzkrieg that
    Washington used to be famous for or that Oakland and the New York Jets
    engaged in last month. But coach Scott Linehan had no complaints when asked how
    the Rams have done in free agency this offseason.

    "I think we've done about as good as you can do now," Linehan said recently.
    "Free agency's hard. There's not many (quality players)."

    With their attention now turned almost exclusively on the draft, the Rams are
    all but done with free agency. With the possible exception of a trade, or a
    bargain basement free-agent pickup, any roster help will now come from the
    college ranks.

    "I said this and I mean it," Linehan said. "I think we signed the best free
    agent in all of football in (kicker) Josh Brown. I swear to you there wasn't a
    guy as good at his position as Josh Brown. ...

    "We wanted to address our offensive line, and we were able to get what we
    think's a really solid up-and-coming interior lineman."

    That would be Jacob Bell, the left guard who was signed away from the Tennessee
    Titans.

    "So if you're able to add a starter, let alone two starters in free agency,
    you're doing a good job," Linehan said.

    But Linehan said his favorite free-agent pickup might just be Trent Green, who
    will back up Marc Bulger at quarterback.

    "What Trent brings to the team is credibility and leadership," Linehan said. "I
    know he's going to help Marc a ton. And he's giving you a backup that you know
    you can win with."

    Illustrating that leadership, Linehan said, was what happened last month when
    Green's flight was canceled coming to St. Louis for the start of the offseason
    conditioning program.

    "He got three connections, and got to St. Louis at 4 in the morning or
    something crazy like that and was at the facility at 6 a.m.," Linehan said.
    "He wanted to be the first guy there. That's kind of old school. That's
    awesome."

    Perhaps the Rams' most underrated free-agent pickup was blocking tight end
    Anthony Becht from Tampa Bay.

    "I've wanted a dominant blocking tight end since I've been here," Linehan said.
    "He gives you that kind of a guy. He's a fierce competitor and a great
    blocker. And he's not a shabby receiver."

    The Rams also added a pair of low-cost Washington Redskins in Reche Caldwell
    and David Macklin. Both were depth pickups. Caldwell will compete for the No. 3
    wide receiver job. Macklin could be the third or fourth cornerback, depending
    in part on Fakhir Brown's availability next season.

    Besides signing players from other teams, another piece of the free agency
    puzzle is deciding which of your own players to re-sign. Almost all of the
    Rams' efforts on that front were aimed at improving depth.

    Running back Travis Minor, safety Jerome Carter and offensive linemen Adam
    Goldberg, Brandon Gorin and Brett Romberg all were re-signed to one-year deals.
    Of that group only Romberg, a center, is expected to compete for a starting job.

    One of the more interesting moves made by the Rams was re-signing defensive end
    James Hall just weeks after releasing him. Hall had been scheduled to make $3.5
    million under his old contract, including a $500,000 roster bonus due the first
    weekend of free agency.

    Hall re-joined the Rams in late March for a cheaper two-year deal but it's
    still not peanuts. Hall will make $2 million in 2008, in the form of a $700,000
    signing bonus and a $1.3 million base salary. That's a lot of money for a
    backup, if the Rams take a defensive end at No. 2 overall in the draft. But
    Hall serves as a safety net of sorts if the Rams don't take an end, or if
    Leonard Little is slow to recover from last season's toe surgery.

    In terms of free-agent departures, the Rams lost two starters in wide receiver
    Isaac Bruce (San Francisco) and strongside linebacker Brandon Chillar (Green
    Bay). Bruce was released in a cap-saving move. Chillar was an unrestricted free
    agent who had a much more lucrative offer from the Packers than what St. Louis
    offered.

    The only twist among remaining Rams free agents could come from safety
    Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe. He is a restricted free agent, and the deadline for
    such players to receive offers from other clubs is April 18. There have been no
    indications that Atogwe is drawing significant interest, probably because the
    Rams get a first-round draft pick as compensation if he signs elsewhere.


  2. #2
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    Re: Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    "I've wanted a dominant blocking tight end since I've been here," Linehan said.
    "He gives you that kind of a guy. He's a fierce competitor and a great
    blocker. And he's not a shabby receiver."
    What a surprise...

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    Re: Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    No joke, but Becht will be solid. He blocked for Curtis Martin for the Jets and did well. He also blocks for Cadillac and he had a decent season for an okay running back. Steven Jackson's one of the top RBs in the league and adding Becht will make him look even better. Looks like our offensive line has gotten better and if healthy all year long, we'll be one of the top offensive team in the league.
    :clanram: DIE HARD RAMS' FAN!

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    Re: Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    "I've wanted a dominant blocking tight end since I've been here," Linehan said.
    "He gives you that kind of a guy. He's a fierce competitor and a great
    blocker. And he's not a shabby receiver."
    Becht is a good blocker, but plenty of Jets fans will tell you that he is a shabby receiver. Most of that comes from the first round expectations, but don't expect Gonzalez or Gates. Or even Crumpler

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    Re: Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    I'm excited to see Becht play. I know he'll give McMichael more plays and Steven Jackson more yards.

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    Re: Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominator View Post
    Becht is a good blocker, but plenty of Jets fans will tell you that he is a shabby receiver. Most of that comes from the first round expectations, but don't expect Gonzalez or Gates. Or even Crumpler
    Since we have McMichael I'm not to worried about Becht's receiving skills. Blocking is what he was brought here to do.

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    Re: Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    I feel the same way, Bruce. If Becht gets a first down at some point, wonderful. If not, as long as he paves the road for Jax to get some yards, I'll be rather happy. He's here to be a sixth lineman, not a dynamic pass catcher. Mauling a linebacker into a safety to get Jax into the endzone is as good as getting a TD himself in my book. Same goes for leveling a blitzer who would have taken off Bulger's head.

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    Re: Free-agent pickups please Linehan

    We should have brought back David Hill. Best blocking tight end the rams ever had. Truly a floating tackle.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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