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  1. #1
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    Gordon's take on the Rams FA plans

    Here's the free-agent game plan for the Rams

    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist

    Online Columnist Jeff Gordon

    As you read this, Mike Martz and his minions are working the phones. The free-agent marketplace is open for business and the Rams are turning over a big chunk of their roster -Ė starting now.

    The critical makeover is underway. Will the Rams get back to the high side of .500 in 2005?

    Or will they slide out of playoff contention and trigger an even more significant overhaul?

    How the Rams assess talent and manage their salary cap dollars during the coming weeks will decide that.

    Linebacker Tommy Polley, defensive end Bryce Fisher and safeties Aeneas Williams, Rich Coady and Antuan Edwards apparently are gone. Fisher and Edwards were two players the Rams wanted to keep, but their salary expectations are apparently out of whack with their performance and potential.

    With linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa moving to safety, safety Adam Archuleta trying to overcome a disk injury and defensive end Leonard Little facing legal issues and potential league disciplinary action, there could be many holes to fill.

    Middle linebacker, outside linebacker, free safety, defensive end . . . the Rams will need at least one of each, both for their defense and for their miserable special teams.

    On the other side of the ball, offensive linemen Chris Dishman and Tom Nutten figure to re-retire. Tackle Kyle Turley appears finished, at least from the Ramsí perspective, and Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman are getting older.

    Although the Rams have reason to believe youngsters Scott Tercero and Blaine Saipaia could grow into starting assignments next season, Martz must add a quality veteran or two to shore up what became a patchwork unit.

    And, oh yeah, the Rams must sign left tackle Orlando Pace ASAP to free up additional cap space. With Chris Samuels signing in Washington -Ė on the heels of Walter Jonesí signing in Seattle -Ė the market for all-pro tackles is clearly set.

    Pace has finally hired his new agents, so itís time for Jay Zygmunt to get Ďer done so the team has one less question mark.

    Also, the franchise needs to address its field surface crisis, or the Rams will lose out on those free agents leery of playing on the so called ďartificial turfĒ at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Here is how your cyber-correspondent would rank the more likely free-agent targets:

    Mark Wahle, G-T: He is the one prime-age, Pro Bowl-caliber offensive lineman up for grabs. It might be overkill putting him on the left side next to Pace, but Wahle would give the Rams a second bulwark to build upon. The Packers will miss this man.

    Ed Hartwell, OLB: My 1380 ESPN colleague Howard Balzer loves him, so thatís good enough for me. A lot of guys could look great playing next to Ray Lewis for the Ravens, but football people insist Hartwell is THE impact linebacker up for grabs.

    Kendrell Bell, LB: Martz will have to fight Dick Vermeil and the Chiefs to get him. When healthy, he was a standout for the sturdy Steelers defense. Some scouts believe he could make a productive shift to middle linebacker in the 4-3 set.

    Antonio Pierce, MLB: He proved he can do a solid job in the middle, which the Rams sorely need. Itís too bad the team couldnít develop its own defensive stopper from the pile of linebackers drafted in recent years, but they didnít.

    Fred Miller, T: The Rams would love to have him back on the right side, where he excelled during the teamís run to Super Bowl 34. There are many miles on his odometer, however, so the team must be careful not to overspend.

    Marco Rivera, G: Another ex-Packer, he could provide a short-term fix, especially in the run game.

    Derrick Burgess, DE: Many of the better mock drafts have the Rams selecting a defensive end in the first round this spring. But that strategy could change if the team lands a promising young veteran at that spot.

    Dwight Smith, FS: He just got busted for pulling a pellet gun on an annoying fan in the wee hours of the night. Since the gun wasnít a .38 magnum, I suppose St. Louisans wouldnít mind if the Rams took a run at him.

    Morlon Greenwood, OLB: He would be more of a stabilizer than a playmaker, but he has been much more consistent than the enigmatic Polley. He hasnít been much of a force against the run, which is a major Rams concern.

  2. #2
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Gordon's take on the Rams FA plans

    I guess Coakly slid under the RADAR or is this a bad move?

  3. #3
    ramsfan1975 Guest

    Re: Gordon's take on the Rams FA plans

    well hoenstly i think its a good move, we need veteran talen, he may not be the best but hey we got him cheap and hes durable....if we can get jolley ole pace to sign and get some more cap room we might just end up with a decent set of new guys this year..... :king:

  4. #4
    psycho9985 Guest

    Re: Gordon's take on the Rams FA plans

    I dont know about Pace.Hes going to want a 5 year deal and hes not gonna take less than 4 mil a year.Rams will most likely Trade him hope I'm wrong,but the guy is greedy.
    Last edited by psycho9985; -02-02-2006 at 10:18 PM.


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