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  1. #1
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    Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/29/2007


    PHOENIX Rams fans might be jittery over the state of the St. Louis defense, particularly the run defense. Coach Scott Linehan is not.

    "The first thing I can say is we're three weeks into free agency," Linehan said Wednesday at the annual NFC coaches' breakfast. "So it's hard to say we've stopped. We've still got a draft coming up. ... You never know, a trade could pop up that we can't refuse."

    It's not as if the Rams have been inactive so far on the defensive side of the ball. They traded a fifth-round draft pick for Detroit end James Hall on the opening day of the free-agency-trading period (March 2). Hall will start at right end.

    In free agency, they've added a starting-quality linebacker in Chris Draft. Draft will begin his Rams tenure as the team's fourth linebacker. They've added depth in the secondary in strong safety Todd Johnson and cornerbacks Mike Rumph and Lenny Walls.

    But where's the sizzle? Fans almost play fantasy football at this time of year, hoping their team will sign "name" players. In the Rams' case, linebackers Adalius Thomas and Joey Porter come to mind.

    "We have some fantasy football in us, too," Linehan said. "We'd like to have those guys. But both of them are 3-4 outside linebackers. If you've got a player like that, you're going to probably change your scheme (to a 3-4). But the problem is that you have 10 other positions you've got to take into account to do that."

    In the Rams' system, that would have meant a radical change in personnel in their front seven, something that just isn't feasible. Porter's playing style might have been more suited than Thomas' to a 4-3 alignment. But team sources told the Post-Dispatch a couple of weeks ago that the Rams couldn't even get Porter to return a phone call after his release by Pittsburgh. He ended up signing with Miami, another 3-4 team.

    For those decrying the lack of "impact" defensive moves in the offseason, Linehan said the re-signing of potential free agents Leonard Little and Pisa Tinoisamoa during the 2006 season should be included in the ledger.

    "We didn't let our 13-sack player (Little) go to another team," Linehan said. "Had he gone to free agency, I don't know what would've happened. But it would have been off the chart."

    As for nose tackle, Linehan said the Rams didn't see any good options in free agency once targeted players Terdell Sands (Oakland) and Hollis Thomas (New Orleans) re-signed with their teams. As for the group of available free-agent defensive tackles. ...

    "We felt like they were backups," Linehan said. "And we needed a starter. Claude Wroten's going to end up being a more effective player than anyone thinks right now. He's a younger player that we have high expectation for. Victor Adeyanju is going to be a much-improved player (at end). Those guys will be better in that (backup) role than bringing in somebody else's backup. That's not going to be the difference between us going from 31st in the league against the run to first. I promise you that."

    Ever the optimist, Linehan believes many of the Rams defenders will show improvement next year, through more experience. Nine of the defense's 11 primary starters in '06 were either veterans new to the team, or young players getting a chance to start for the first time.

    While looking for a potential starter at the nose tackle, Linehan said the Rams aren't ready to give up on Jimmy Kennedy, who's entering the final year of his contract.

    "I think Jimmy will be better," Linehan said. "How much better, we're going to find out. Jimmy played really good in that first game (against Denver) before he broke his hand."

    Whether it's defensive tackle or defensive end, Linehan expects to move quickly in that direction in the draft. "Whether it be the first round, or the first day, somebody else is going to be in that mix that's going to make us better," he said.

    Linehan would love to add an edge rusher who can provide a further complement to Little.

    "That's why you don't get caught up in: 'You need a nose tackle,' " Linehan said. "If you've got a guy that can rush the passer just like a guy who can score touchdowns you're not going to pass that guy up."


  2. #2
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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    I have to admit, I like Linehans explanations on the defensive issues at hand.

    We have a very interesting season in front of us. Can't wait to see how our team performs in all aspects of the game.:r

  3. #3
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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    Linehan said. "We'd like to have those guys. But both of them are 3-4 outside linebackers. If you've got a player like that, you're going to probably change your scheme (to a 3-4). But the problem is that you have 10 other positions you've got to take into account to do that."
    Wait a minute, hold the phone. Coach, are you trying to tell us that certain players play certain positions? You mean, we can't just sign a player cause we know his name and just throw him on the field? You're an idiot, Linehan; I do it all the time on Madden!!!

    That's madness! Who made this man the head coach?!?!
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    Linehan just gets better and better.

    Id like to see what Kennedy can do in a season where he is completely healthy throughout

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    Big Bison, i love your newfound biting skepticism.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    "We felt like they were backups," Linehan said. "And we needed a starter. Claude Wroten's going to end up being a more effective player than anyone thinks right now. He's a younger player that we have high expectation for. Victor Adeyanju is going to be a much-improved player (at end). Those guys will be better in that (backup) role than bringing in somebody else's backup. That's not going to be the difference between us going from 31st in the league against the run to first. I promise you that."
    This is why we have added to the O, there just is not a DT that is better then what we have. Take the best players on the board.

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    In the Rams' system, that would have meant a radical change in personnel in their front seven, something that just isn't feasible. Porter's playing style might have been more suited than Thomas' to a 4-3 alignment. But team sources told the Post-Dispatch a couple of weeks ago that the Rams couldn't even get Porter to return a phone call after his release by Pittsburgh. He ended up signing with Miami, another 3-4 team.


    Here's a radical change for you......we are running a 1-3 front seven. Yes, my math is correct. Currently, we have Little as the D LINE, not the DE, the WHOLE D LINE. Why not change some strategy? Recently, this front office is struggling with defensive line talent. All they sign in Little. I'm still extremely bitter about the Ryan Pickett situation. We had our solution and the Rams didn't push to keep him. Basically, let him walk for an aging Glover and a rookie in Wroten.

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Wait a minute, hold the phone. Coach, are you trying to tell us that certain players play certain positions? You mean, we can't just sign a player cause we know his name and just throw him on the field? You're an idiot, Linehan; I do it all the time on Madden!!!

    That's madness! Who made this man the head coach?!?!
    Come on Hub, everyone knows that Alston is better suited at DE.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    ou never know, a trade could pop up that we can't refuse.
    Such as for Kris Jenkins
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    That comment about trading leads me to believe they are actively looking for DT help through a trade

  11. #11
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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    Quote Originally Posted by tomahawk247 View Post
    That comment about trading leads me to believe they are actively looking for DT help through a trade
    I agree, that was my first thought.
    RamsFan16

  12. #12
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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    But team sources told the Post-Dispatch a couple of weeks ago that the Rams couldn't even get Porter to return a phone call after his release by Pittsburgh.
    Wow, talk about no respect.

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan16 View Post
    I agree, that was my first thought.
    Professor Plum in the Study with the Candlestick?

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    O K fella's ,relax. Coach has knowledge and is alot sharper on whats up and who's who and the rest. Ya'll need to chill and let the man be who he's gotta be. I believe Scott WILL get it right and put the best he can out there. 31 other teams, and our moves so far aint all that bad, I feel ya ,and know its tough when you think you know we screwed up. But 2nd yr out and the Rams do look and feel alot better than Martz had out there. We are who we are and as long as the team plays hard and leave's it all on the field i'm cool. I know its damn tough see'in all the players we ' feel' maybe could've helped us go, but damn, most wont take their new teams any closer to the top either! So go RAMS, play hard ,and represent well!!!

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    Re: Linehan stays calm on status of defense

    Quote Originally Posted by marccat View Post
    But 2nd yr out and the Rams do look and feel alot better than Martz had out there.
    That's a very strong comment. Say what you want about Mike Martz, but that man took the Rams to the playoffs 4 our of his 5 full years as a head coach with two divisional titles and a Super Bowl appearance. Until Linehan even has a winning season, I would hold judgement on that comparison.

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