Ramdom NFL Thoughts
What else is there to do when you are getting snowed and frozen in this weekend !!!
Time to immerse once again in the playoffs and Bowl games and who is coming out in the draft.
Looks like most of the biggest names are coming out, with Brett Hundley UCLA's stud QB yet to announce, as well as some Florida State and Auburn stars who might be very high picks.
Leslie Frazer is going to Tampa Bay, joining Lovie Smith, back after being fired in 2012 after a 10-6 record.
They have Tony Dungy's old gang back together, and they have some real talent there, especially on defense, at running back, and interior O-line. They have a great receiver and another dep threat.
Tampa Bay will be fighting for a playoff spot in the next couple years, maybe even in 2014 if they get good QB play.
Looking at that South division should give fans who want the wide open offense to lead the Rams to the promised land as it did in 1999 food for thought.
Seems like fans want the Rams to go the way of Atlanta, with a couple stud receivers
and a pass catching tight end, as well as some pass catching backs.
The Saints didn't get back to the playoffs till t hey fixed their defense, nd Carolina who looks to dominate the division for awhile, is all about great defense.
They are the closest to an NFC West team.
Atlanta can't win because they can't run te ball or protect their QB, who needs a pocket, just as the Rams Sam Bradford does to be great.
Atlanta also can't rush the passer, so the Rams are a leg up on them.
The model for winning in the NFL right now is clear:
1. Stay the course, because constant change is deadly
The Bengals stayed with Marvin Lewis, and Bill Belichick was caned by Cleveland, to show both ends of THAT spectrum.
I know Kroenke feels this way too and will do that with Snead and Fisher and Demoff.
2. Consider the competition. It's all about winning it all, so you must build your team to compete with the best there is.
3. Don't rush the process - Reaching on draft day for a seemingly quick fix can backfire and ruin your plan.
4. Build a winner, even if it isn't flashy, by maximizing available talent. Don't switch schemes when you lack the personnel.
5. Coach the basics. Tackling, blocking, unselfish and disciplined play still win the game. Errors lose games, and even one can ruin a season.
6. Build first to win your division. For the Rams that means protecting your passer, running the ball, and stopping t he other division foes from running the ball, especially the running QBs.
7. Do what other teams are doing that win long term
New England, Cincinnati, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia seem to be those teams now.
The Patriots and Packers and Saints win because of their QB though, same with Denver.
But Denver started winning because they built a TOP defense, a must in that division.
The Packers won it all when t heir DEFENSE and protection was better.
Cincy is very balanced, maybe the best team of all in overall talent.
Seattle and the Niners BOTH built great defenses BEFORE they worked on improving their offenses, and Carolina has done the same.
They all spent lots of high picks on offensive linemen as well.
Those teams with older QBs will start fading soon enough, and the Rams will be left competing with their division foes mostly at the top of the NFC, along with Carolina and maybe Philly, who seems set to dominate the East.
To beat those top teams, the Rams MUST protect Bradford with the kind of TOP drafted talent those other teams possess.
They must get after the QB and stop the run with a great D-line - They have this in place.
They MUST get solid and consistent play from the DBs, to force teams to check down, where the speedy Rams LBs can make plays, and also to get coverage sacks.
Their nickel and dime defenses are THE biggest weakness, and in the playoffs, it would spell doom.
If you look at building this team, with this coach and this plan for the long term, it's clear t hat they must focus on offensive linemen and defensive backs early in this draft.
Anything else would seem to be a luxury, and not much help in beating those great defensive teams, let along being able to cover Cincinnati's three top WR, or Denvers guys, if they ever played in the Super Bowl soon.
It may not be sexy to not have new RB or WR to watch in camp, but the guys coming in for year two and three will be way better than they were this year, because that's how it works for rookies and sophomores in the NFL.
I would guess that Jeff Fisher and Les Snead know that a bread and butter draft is what they need this t ime around.
They can't afford to go for more dressing on their sandwich when what they need is meat, and maybe a bit of relish in a couple star DBs.
It's a great year for guards and tackles in this draft, at least to pick 50.
However, the best will go fast, 8 to 10 possibly in round one.
Waiting to get a developmental type in rd 3 or 4 is not gonna cut it.
Hopefully Saffold signs, and plays guard, hopefully Williams is re-signed as well.
However, with Dahl, and /or Wells probably gone, the need for a tackle and a guard early seems quite clear.
I see a deal down to add an extra high #2 this year, and a #1 in 2015 plus other picks to even out the draft trade chart.
Having two #1 picks again , and who knows how high one might be, gives the Rams great flexibility to finish off the rebuild in 2015, and get a QB even if Bradford somehow fails miserably.
I love Mike Evans, but I think they can get a big possession receiver later in a deep draft there.
if the Rams end up 6th, 13th, 37th and 44th,
Looking at the values there on my draft board so far,
I see Matthews, then either CB Dennard or a another trade down to get a CB or guard later, plus another second or third rounder.
Then with the two rd 2 picks, I am looking defensive back or guard, whichever I didn't get in rd 1, and maybe even another DB if they did get Dennard in rd 1.
My top 4 picks would be OT, CB, G, DB, and I think they can get top value at each pick that also fills the needs.
Yea, no new WR toy, but that's OK, because another rookie would not help much there in 2014.
Instead, you go into the season with Jake Long (hopefully near 100% by opening day), and Jake Matthews at tackle, with Barksdale a great backup you know you will need at some point, maybe even a playoff game.
You have Saffold at one guard, and lets say Gabe Jackson, Cyril Richardson or David Yankey at the other. If they have Williams he provides great backup as well, and they could keep Wells at center, since Jones seems to be out ofthe picture as the future starter there.
They could draft a center as well, as T. Swanson, the best one, is worthy of even a first round pick. If he falls to rd two, he would be hard to pass on.
In the secondary you have T. Johnson, J. Jenkins, McDonald, plus Dennard and Roby, or a safety like Joyner or Bailey or Buchanon.
Actually I see the Rams looking for a veteran free safety in free agency or via trade.
They need a settling influence there. Now sure Finnegan could play safety, but he migh return after getting cut to lower his cap number a ton.
Seems,like he'd be a good nickel back at least.
Well... that was certainly... random.