Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend the Legends of the Dome game, a benefit flag football game at the former TWA Dome in St. Louis.
It wasn't quite the same - but it was great to see Warner send one down the field to Bruce for the first TD of the day - followed with the Bob 'n' weave. Reverend Ike, Torry Holt, Az Hakim, Jeff Wilkins, Mike Martz, Jim Hannifan, the Donut Brothers, Shawn McDonald, Orlando Pace, Mike Jones - they were all there. So were MANY others. The greatest thing of all is that they limited the number of tickets - only about 10000 were available, and they all sold. It was a very fun, family atmosphere - and I was lucky enough to have seats close to the tunnel, ten feet from the field. I admit, it was strange to see Timmerman and Wilkins score touchdowns. There was only one injury in the game - Wilkins had his ankle wrapped after being tackled while running the ball.
I really don't know how to explain the atmosphere - the "Ring of Fame" is still there, so is a lot of advertisements with Rams logos, even the fireplugs outside the dome are still blue and gold. There were tailgates, thousands of fans wearing Rams jerseys...it was a game day feeling.
Each of the players thanked the fans - and some got emotional. No one wanted to leave - the Dome officials actually had to ask everyone to leave.
It was a bittersweet day - and a very sad one.
It was the last time the guys from the GSOT will be on the field for a game...and seeing 80 yard passes, Bruce making a one-handed grab, Pace blocking 4 guys at once, and Holt running those routes...wow...what a way to remember the Greatest Show on Turf.
Yesterday's goodbye was the greatest way the Rams could thank the city and Fans of the St. Louis Rams...and for the fans to thank the Rams....
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By RYAN KARTJE / STAFF WRITER
LOS ANGELES – In 21 seasons as an NFL head coach, Jeff Fisher has been charged with the development of just two rookie franchise quarterbacks. With each, he proceeded with industrial-strength kid gloves.
Steve McNair, the third overall pick in 1995, started just two games as a rookie in Houston, then four as a sophomore before finally rising to the top of the depth chart in his third season. He stayed for a decade.
By the time the Titans moved on, drafting Texas phenom Vince Young as McNair’s replacement, the league’s standard for developing quarterbacks had shifted. But true to form, Fisher waited as long as he could to throw the Heisman runner-up into the fire. After three straight losses to open the season, though, Young was named the starter in Week 4. He went on to win Rookie of the Year, leading the league in fourth-quarter comebacks. But the success was fleeting. Four years later, he was released.
It should come as no surprise then, given the past that colors this conservative approach, that Fisher has been in no hurry to anoint his latest rookie quarterback, Jared Goff, to unquestioned starter until absolutely, unabashedly necessary.
But trust this: Fisher understands the price the Rams paid to move to No. 1 and select Goff. Six picks. Two first-rounders. Plus a new city of prospective fans waiting to see what unfolds. Mishandling Goff would almost certainly mean a clean sweep of the front office and coaching staff.
This is the reality in today’s NFL, where the pressure to start quarterbacks early has never been higher, leaving far less room for nuance than in 1995, when McNair spent two seasons carrying a clipboard. All five quarterbacks selected at No. 1 since Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell in 2007 have been in the starting lineup for Week 1. None has had the weight of a rejuvenated franchise on his shoulders.
On the final day of OTAs in June, Fisher was asked whether Goff would get the majority of the team’s first-team reps at training camp, in order to prepare for a Week 1 debut on “Monday Night Football.”
“We haven’t changed our philosophy,” Fisher said. “We’re going to coach him to be successful. We’re not going to put him in with a chance to fail. That’s the most important thing in developing a young quarterback.”
A few hours before the question was posed, Goff stood under center, taking snaps with the first-team offense. It would be his worst practice yet as a Ram. Goff threw four interceptions, missing high and wide, never quite finding a rhythm. It was a dispiriting conclusion to an otherwise impressive three weeks. Shortly after practice, Fisher declared that incumbent Case Keenum would open camp as the starter.
But the question remains: With the Rams in a new city, desperate for a franchise face, how long can he possibly hold off the future?
• • • ...1 day ago
By RICH HAMMOND / STAFF WRITER
From 90 to 75 to 53, the culling of the first roster of Los Angeles Rams in more than two decades will be swift, fascinating and, for those on the fringe, painful.
It will be a history-making season, one that informally starts Tuesday when Rams rookies report to training camp at UC Irvine (followed by veterans on Thursday). The return of most starters on offense and defense means the depth chart already is well-populated, but some interesting decisions remain.
Before the Sept. 12 opener at San Francisco, the Rams must cut almost half of their roster, and that doesn’t account for players who might be poached from other rosters after being released.
As usual with the Rams, quarterbacks will be in the spotlight. That will be a position battle to watch throughout camp, as will receiver, tight end, cornerback and safety.
In a way, Jared Goff will be the focal point of all. The No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, Goff will be throwing to those offensive players and trying to keep the ball out of the hands of the defensive backs as he goes through seven weeks of training camp and attempts to show the Rams he is ready to start.
That’s no sure bet, though the presumption is that the Rams didn’t give up a pile of draft picks to Tennessee simply to have Goff watch from the sideline. Coach Jeff Fisher has chosen his words carefully about the situation.
“`I said we’ll start him when he’s ready,” Fisher said at the end of optional workouts last month. “I didn’t say that to imply that he was going to start the opener. I said, we have options. He can start anywhere from the opener to whenever, and we haven’t changed our philosophy on that.”
It’s all but certain that Fisher will defer the decision between Goff and Case Keenum until late in camp and that Sean Mannion once again will be the third quarterback.
That’s rough for Nick Foles, last year’s deposed starter, who is set to be traded or released during camp unless Goff or Keenum suffers an injury. The only question appears to be whether Goff, who was inconsistent during summer workouts, takes over from the start or sometime midseason.
“I think as practice went on, I definitely (picked) it up quicker,” Goff said last month. “But at first they were giving me all those looks and I was like, ‘What is this? What is this?’ But as a few practices go through, you get more comfortable, you see it more often and you're able to recognize it quicker.”
Less settled is to whom Goff will be throwing the ball.
The Rams hired Mike Groh as receivers coach in January and also gave him the title of “passing game coordinator,” an implicit nod toward the idea that they will open up their traditional run-heavy offense.
After Goff, the Rams used four of their five draft picks on pass-catchers: receivers Pharoh Cooper and Michael...1 day ago
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