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  1. #1
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    Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    We need to get that OL back in good working order! :bash:

    __________________________

    Free Agency Preview: OL
    Monday, February 4, 2008

    By Nick Wagoner, Senior Writer



    Before the 2007 regular season even started, the Rams offensive line was already being hit with labels like patchwork and hodgepodge.



    Of all of the injuries that hit the Rams last season, nowhere did they hit harder than along the offensive line. Richie Incognito and Todd Steussie suffered serious injuries in the preseason to get things started.



    But none of those injuries hit as hard as the season ending shoulder injury suffered by left tackle Orlando Pace in the season opener againstCarolina .



    Soon enough, the Rams were starting the likes of Nick Leckey, Brandon Gorin and Rob Petitti, three guys who were signed off the street after the season started.



    The depth that had once been considered a strength of the team was diminished and quarterbacks Marc Bulger and Gus Frerotte were taking regular poundings. Only Alex Barron remained for the duration and even he had to play on the left side in place of Pace.



    As the Rams head into the free agent market which opens in March, there is nary a need more important than replenishing the depth on the offensive line.



    As it stands, Pace is on course to return from shoulder surgery and guards Incognito and Mark Setterstrom are also on course to make a comeback from season ending ailments.



    Centers Brett Romberg and Andy McCollum are unrestricted free agents. McCollum isnít likely to return and could retire while Romberg is a candidate to come back. Even if Romberg does return, though, the Rams will likely explore other options for center and at the least create a competition at the spot.



    Rookie Dustin Fry could figure into the mix after earning a midseason call up from the practice squad. Kansas City ís Casey Wiegmann leads the charge of free agent centers.



    At guard, there are also plenty of question marks as Incognito and Setterstrom come back from injury. Milford Brown provided solid depth in 2007 and ended up as a starter, but Brown is probably more suited as a backup.



    The Rams will hit the free agent market looking for a more proven upgrade on the interior of the line with some good options available. The guard position has become a big dollar one in recent offseasons and top names like Pittsburgh ís Alan Faneca and Indianapolis í Ryan Lilja will command big money. The Rams will likely at least kick the tires on those players when free agency opens.



    At tackle, much of what the Rams do will depend on Paceís recovery. As of now, everything is on schedule for him to return in time for the 2008 season. Barron will likely shift back to his right tackle spot, but the Rams will also be in need of finding another tackle to provide depth.



    Itís not likely the Rams will delve into free agency for a big name like Dallas í Flozell Adams. Rather, they will probably turn to the draft to find a young tackle capable of developing behind Pace and potentially competing with Barron for a starting gig.



    A return for Steussie as a swing man and veteran leader on the line is also a possibility should he choose to come back.



    When all is said and done with free agency, expect the Rams to emerge from the offseason with plenty of reinforcements for new offensive line coach Steve Loney.





    Top Five Offensive Tackles

    Flozell Adams, Dallas
    Jordan Gross, Carolina
    Sean Locklear, Seattle
    Travelle Wharton, Carolina
    Maurice Williams, Jacksonville


    Top Five Guards

    Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh
    Ryan Lilja, Indianapolis
    Jake Scott, Indianapolis
    Jacob Bell, Tennessee
    Floyd ĎPork Chopí Womack, Seattle


    Top Five Centers

    Casey Wiegmann, Kansas City
    Jeremy Newberry, Oakland
    John Wade, Tampa Bay
    Jeff Faine, New Orleans (option)
    Brett Romberg, St. Louis


  2. #2
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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    Nick, I noticed you and I posted the very same article at the very same time! And I see you moved it 'over here'. :-)

    I thought it would go in Rams Talk because it refers to the Rams considerations for FA but then, there is a separate forum for FA... serious dilemma.


    In any event, I hope the Rams do well -- make that very well -- in selecting FA players for the 2008 OL. A critical top priority.

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Nick, I noticed you and I posted the very same article at the very same time! And I see you moved it 'over here'. :-)

    I thought it would go in Rams Talk because it refers to the Rams considerations for FA but then, there is a separate forum for FA... serious dilemma.
    Yeah, I figured if someone else was up this late at night, they deserved to be the true thread starter.

    As for where the thread belongs, there's a valid case to be made on either side. To be frank, where a thread should go can present a dilemma as you say. I simply moved it here since it was a topic about Free Agency and this is the Draft & Free Agency forum. There's a lot of stuff in this forum that is Rams related as well.

    But every year, the mods have a debate about if certain offseason threads should go in Rams Talk or in Draft/FA. Maybe this year we can find a good solution.

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    cheers for putting list up RR!

    Out of the players available id say any of the top 5 guards would be great,i dont think they`ll get Faneca but maybe one of the others could get picked up.....Centres apart from Faine,dont look appealing to me and OT tho worth a look all seem to have some issue that could put you off them e.g. Age,durability,attitude etc....(kinda sounds like what we already got!:\)

    out of the OT`s available i think Gross would be the better option,but from what i hear out of Carolina is that out of Wharton and Gross,Wharton is most likely to be the one out the door! so maybe he would then go to the top of my own personal OT wishlist....i dont know about Lockyear,he can play and is young, but i dont know... i get the feeling that he would be trouble!

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    Centers Brett Romberg and Andy McCollum are unrestricted free agents. McCollum isnít likely to return and could retire while Romberg is a candidate to come back. Even if Romberg does return, though, the Rams will likely explore other options for center and at the least create a competition at the spot.


    Rookie Dustin Fry could figure into the mix after earning a midseason call up from the practice squad. Kansas Cityís Casey Wiegmann leads the charge of free agent centers.

    -- Nick Wagoner

    Hmm, yes, Andy will most likely not return but I was hoping we could keep both Romberg and Fry for our center position (and Cog as 3rd backup). I realize Fry still has some playing and proving to do but I don't think he's far from ready.



    PS: Thanks Nick / Clan for your note. :l

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    I notice that the list does not include Stacy Andrews from Cincinnati. He can play guard and some RT. Some of my friends are in love with him. Might be a better option than an expensive, aging and possibly slipping Faneca. Anybody have an opinion on him?

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominator View Post
    I notice that the list does not include Stacy Andrews from Cincinnati. He can play guard and some RT. Some of my friends are in love with him. Might be a better option than an expensive, aging and possibly slipping Faneca. Anybody have an opinion on him?
    Most definately, I picked up on that as well.

    I would love to see Andrews on our squad, he's younger than Faneca, and would come cheaper.

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominator View Post
    I notice that the list does not include Stacy Andrews from Cincinnati. He can play guard and some RT. Some of my friends are in love with him. Might be a better option than an expensive, aging and possibly slipping Faneca. Anybody have an opinion on him?

    Most definately, I picked up on that as well.

    I would love to see Andrews on our squad, he's younger than Faneca, and would come cheaper.
    -- Mooselini

    Most interesting. That man is a mountain, is 26 years old, going into his 5th NFL season, and yes, would be affordable.

    GET HIM ON THE PHONE! ...NOW! :bash:

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    Most definately, I picked up on that as well.

    I would love to see Andrews on our squad, he's younger than Faneca, and would come cheaper.
    That's right. A multidimensional starter on the unit that allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL last season. I'd love to see Andrews a Ram, as I would Jacob Bell or even Lilja.

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    Re: Rams Free Agency Preview: OL

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Most interesting. That man is a mountain, is 26 years old, going into his 5th NFL season, and yes, would be affordable.

    GET HIM ON THE PHONE! ...NOW! :bash:
    I agree with everything except for the affordable part. With the prices of guards skyrocketing a young guy like Andrews isn't going to come cheap. Maybe cheaper than Bell, but not necessarily Faneca. On the bright side the cap keeps going up, so expensive may still be "affordable".

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