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  1. #1
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    Let's Talk Offensive Line

    There looks to be a number of potential UFA guards and tackles in this year's free agent class. But the question of questions appears to be not "who" (as in who do the rams look for) but "where" (will they fit).

    Thus, I think this offseason we'll find a lot of people trying to justify spending lots of money on this player or that player. But the reality of the situation, as it occurs to me, is that we don't really know what we have. We know that there are deficiencies all along the OL, but it appears difficult to target one player and say "you- you're the problem".

    Therefore, I'm going to do just that. I'm going to justify who I want, who I don't, and why we should notbreak the bank on the OL in free agency.

    I'll start at tackle, where the best available looks to be a guy like Max Starks from Pittsburgh. He's probably not a guy you can justify spending a lot of money on. That's because really, you don't know what you have with Pace and Barron. Barron spent a year out of position, and Pace has virtually spent the last two years recovering from an assortment of injuries. So does it make sense to throw a lot of money at a top flight free agent who will come in and "compete"? I don't think you can say it does...because what if he doesn't see the field? You've spent a lot of money on a guy who may not see the field until Pace retires. And it's probably the same story with Jake Long.

    What you're essentially buying at OT is piece of mind. The security that comes with knowing that if Pace happpens to go down again, you have a player who can step in and fill in amicably. The best way to do so? I believe that there's such great depth in this OT class that we can probably look to take one in round 2, and still get a quality player. With that said, I think Miami could well snatch the player we're looking for in BOTH rounds, with the release of their incumbent starter at RT today. They could look for Chris Long and Godser Cherilus/Chris Williams. Is it safe to put all your eggs in that one basket? for that reason I'd say no, and suggest picking up a veteran at OT, or a hybrid OG/OT to play at both positions if required...not at the same time, of course.

    Now, moving inside. Starters Setterstrom and Incognito were both hurt this year, Sett more prominently than Cogs. And again, it's a case of not knowing what you have, especially at LG. Did Setterstom show enough in 2006 to warrant us not finding a replacement-egg basketing? I think not. We can't be certain if Steussie will return, nor if age will finally take its toll. That's why my opinion is that if you're going to spend some money, you may as well spend it on the interior...but wait...wouldn't it make sense to insure ouselves incase we don't land an OT round 2, as may happen? That's why my choice is a hybrid. A player who can play inside and out, and who has done so in the past. I don't want to shell out top dollar for an ageing Alan Faneca, nor do I want to spend good money on the recently release Mike Wahle. My choice is Stacy Andrews, who can play OG or OT at a consistent level, and has done so in the past, and Jacob Bell, who boasts a similar resume'. You'll pay good money for both, but both are relatively young, and relatively experienced. Therefore, in the case that Pace goes down, you might have the hybrid you sign shift outside, and still have Mark Setterstrom to play inside and show the promise we thought he had at the beginning of this season. It also opens us up to the notion of grabbing a speed WR in round 2, provided we go with a DE in round 1. So we could cover our bases this way, too.

    Center is an unknown commodity. Romberg is a freee agent, and we don't know if he'll be brought back. Perhaps we could find an amicable solution in the draft, as there doesn't appear to be any great options in FA, and we don't know if McCollum will be back. My preference would be to resign Romberg on the cheap, and have him compete with Dustin Fry, who spent half of this season on the acitve roster playing special teams. I'd like to see what they can do.

    So; in summary, I'd no matter what like to see a hybrid OT/OG in the spiralhorns this offseason. Their role is to comepte at guard and backup at OT if Pace goes down. If avaiable, I'd prefer OT in round 2 over round 1, and if not until day 2, round 4ish, fine, if it means we pick up a speed guy like Manningham/Hawkins or a Safety.

    Discuss?


  2. #2
    chiguy's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Talk Offensive Line

    I agree that we shouldn't sign a high profile OT, mainly for the reasons you list. It makes more sense to draft a good one and create some competition for Barron and depth in case of further injuries.

    I don't agree that it doesn't make sense to puruse a starting guard. Setterstrom and Incognito flash promise, but also haven't demonstrated the ability to consistently live up to that promise on the field. In such a situation, I'd like to see us go and sign a guy like Lijla or Wahle and then have Incognito/Setterstrom battle it out for the second spot. Again, we'd have some competition for PT and some more depth than last year.

    Past that, we do need a hybrid player for backup duty like you say.

    I'm also not opposed to the idea of signing a tackle and moving Barron inside, though its not my first option. If we did that, I'd still like to see us draft Pace's eventual replacement.

    I understand your reasoning, but if we're going to run Saunders' offense we need more quality offensive linemen than we had on the roster last year and we can't simply *assume* the injury problems are past us ('Cogs has been hurt a lot in his career) or that the young guys will improve (who knows what we have with Setterstrom).

    Nice post.

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    Re: Let's Talk Offensive Line

    I really find it hard to believe that pace will not be injured next year. The past two years he has played what? 8 games? Why do some people think that he will be healthy next year? That said I hope imp wrong and he has a monster year, but realistically I don't see that happening

  4. #4
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Talk Offensive Line

    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post

    I don't agree that it doesn't make sense to puruse a starting guard. Setterstrom and Incognito flash promise, but also haven't demonstrated the ability to consistently live up to that promise on the field. In such a situation, I'd like to see us go and sign a guy like Lijla or Wahle and then have Incognito/Setterstrom battle it out for the second spot. Again, we'd have some competition for PT and some more depth than last year.
    Oh, nono, may I clarify?

    I mean pursue a hybrid like Bell or Andrews who has enough ability to start at either position. Surely they wouldn't come in to be backups? That would relegate Setterstrom to a backup role, and if Pace goes down, our hybrid slides over and Setterstrom steps in to start, if we don't draft an OT round 2. I hope we do. It's just nice to insure yourself.

  5. #5
    chiguy's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Talk Offensive Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Bar-bq View Post
    Oh, nono, may I clarify?

    I mean pursue a hybrid like Bell or Andrews who has enough ability to start at either position. Surely they wouldn't come in to be backups? That would relegate Setterstrom to a backup role, and if Pace goes down, our hybrid slides over and Setterstrom steps in to start, if we don't draft an OT round 2. I hope we do. It's just nice to insure yourself.
    I'm OK with that, except that I'd prefer to sign a veteran backup at tackle *and* a starter at guard.

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    Re: Let's Talk Offensive Line

    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    I agree that we shouldn't sign a high profile OT, mainly for the reasons you list. It makes more sense to draft a good one and create some competition for Barron and depth in case of further injuries.

    I don't agree that it doesn't make sense to puruse a starting guard. Setterstrom and Incognito flash promise, but also haven't demonstrated the ability to consistently live up to that promise on the field. In such a situation, I'd like to see us go and sign a guy like Lijla or Wahle and then have Incognito/Setterstrom battle it out for the second spot. Again, we'd have some competition for PT and some more depth than last year.

    Past that, we do need a hybrid player for backup duty like you say.

    I'm also not opposed to the idea of signing a tackle and moving Barron inside, though its not my first option. If we did that, I'd still like to see us draft Pace's eventual replacement.

    I understand your reasoning, but if we're going to run Saunders' offense we need more quality offensive linemen than we had on the roster last year and we can't simply *assume* the injury problems are past us ('Cogs has been hurt a lot in his career) or that the young guys will improve (who knows what we have with Setterstrom).

    Nice post.
    Couldnt have been said better than this. We could use a goo back up player because we ALWAYS get nailed with an injury on the OLine. I don't think we need a HUGE NAME Oline because they cost so much. We could get a player who shows potential and work them up. Like you said Lijla or Wahle would be good to have competition. But even if they dont start, when our players get injured...we can throw the ones who aren't starting in.

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    Drew's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Talk Offensive Line

    i think we need a minimum of 3 O-linemen...either in the draft or F.A.

    OT- we should go for a vet and rookie here.
    Pace could go down,Barron may still remain to unfulfill his potential..Stuessie may not come back atall..we have 3 players with question marks about them producing anything for us next year and thats it,no one else!

    OG-Cogs is fine,Setterstrom has shown that he is better than his 7th round pick suggests but has he shown that he is the starter for the next decade? not yet and id sure like to have him as 3rd choice OG for a year or two behing a good vet,rather than put the seasons chances on the development of a 7th rounder coming back from a long spell on the sidelines...i do like Mark but lets edge our bets!

    C-we need a vet here ,McCollum seems done,Romberg seems starter "only on a poor line,back up on an elite line" at this point ,Fry remains unproven...

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