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  • Rams could find a tonic at top of draft

    Rams could find a tonic at top of draft

    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
    [More columns]By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/18/2009

    In this, their unfortunate season of imperfection, the Rams get no breaks. Whatever can go wrong usually does go wrong.

    On Monday afternoon, Steve Spagnuolo had just finished running through the injury report from the Rams latest defeat when he paused for a moment to stare at the slip of paper that was chock full of names and assorted bumps and bruises.

    "Wow this thing really is pretty long," he said, only half-joking.

    There are other places in the pro football universe, like Indianapolis and New Orleans, where they contemplate the ramifications of trying to get through their schedule unblemished. Every NFL talking head, talk-show host and ex-player and coach has an opinion about the value of chasing a perfect season.

    Oh, to be so lucky. The Rams haven't been in that exclusive neighborhood in nearly a decade. Way over here on the darker side of the NFL, the imperfect Rams — the worst team in pro football at 1-12 — just ponder more creative ways to suffer.

    And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it does.

    A swine flu mini-epidemic just swept through Rams Park.

    Practice was canceled Thursday when a half-dozen players or so came to work suffering from swine flu symptoms.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    Q: Who where the only Rams players who didn't get the swine flu?

    A: The wide receivers. They haven't caught anything all year.

    On Thursday afternoon, the only thing the Rams coach could do was laugh about the crazy circumstances. When someone asked him if he was worried that he might not have enough healthy players to suit up for Sunday's game with Houston, Spags chuckled. "I will be out there," he said. "Don't even send me down that direction."

    This wretched season just keeps getting more curious, and I just happen to love it. Stop me if you've heard this before, but I have found the silver lining in this dark, dark cloud. At this point for the 1-12 Rams, losing is definitely a very good thing. If they're going to be bad, you might as well aim to be the worst team in the NFL, because losing does have its rewards.

    If you're going to be this historically bad, the silver lining is knowing that there is a stud future Pro Bowl game-changing defensive tackle waiting for the Rams if they get the first pick in next spring's NFL draft and if they're only smart enough to take him.

    Sometimes you get star-crossed when you are a bad team, and that is what has happened to the Rams the last few years. They get just bad enough to be near the top of the draft, but then they get stuck with having to draft a player with the second overall pick who isn't really a drop-dead, game-changing automatic stud.

    This year, they are in the running to get one of those once-in-a-generation players whom NFL scouts and coaches drool about.

    Who should the Rams draft if they get the first pick?

    Oh, that's easy.

    "That defensive lineman from Nebraska, I can't pronounce his name," said former NFL coach of the year Tony Dungy.

    The name is Ndamukong Suh.

    And just so there are no mistakes, folks. Repeat after me:

    N-dom-AH-ken .... SUH.

    Write it down. Memorize it. Teach it to your kids with flash cards if necessary.

    "He's a great player, and I don't think you can ever pass up defense if you can get a dominant player like that," said Dungy. "That's where I would go."

    But here's my only fear. The way things have been going for the Rams lately, I am petrified that the bad news is never going to end. I am fearful that they will actually find a way to win a game or two over the last few weeks and simply hand the first pick in the draft over to Tampa Bay.

    But if the Rams actually have to show up Sunday even more woefully undermanned than usual with this flu bug, this just puts them one step closer to a shot at that first overall pick.

    So for all you people who keep whining about how bad things are and you pay your good money to see them win, know this: You are out of your minds.

    Winning accomplishes nothing for the Rams at this point. It is a cosmetic more useless than lipstick on a pig. We have to make you understand just how bad things are at Rams Park, how talent-deficient things really are (and if you haven't figured that out by know, you are blind or just plain stupid).

    The only thing that can fix this franchise is an influx of talent, and I will keep beating this drum until everyone in Rams Nation understands the message.

    Let the Colts and Saints contemplate victories.

    N-dom-AH-ken SUH. N-dom-AH-ken SUH. N-dom-AH-ken SUH.
    :ramlogo:

  • #2
    Re: Rams could find a tonic at top of draft

    I totally agree at this point. Ive been following the rams since 98' (only 17) and this has been the worst season in terms of not only production, but injuries, talent deficiency and just blame dumb luck. Swine-Flu epidemic???!? seriously...Jesus..

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    • MauiRam
      Rams could find a tonic at top of draft ..
      by MauiRam
      Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      12/18/2009

      In this, their unfortunate season of imperfection, the Rams get no breaks. Whatever can go wrong usually does go wrong.

      On Monday afternoon, Steve Spagnuolo had just finished running through the injury report from the Rams latest defeat when he paused for a moment to stare at the slip of paper that was chock full of names and assorted bumps and bruises.

      "Wow this thing really is pretty long," he said, only half-joking.

      There are other places in the pro football universe, like Indianapolis and New Orleans, where they contemplate the ramifications of trying to get through their schedule unblemished. Every NFL talking head, talk-show host and ex-player and coach has an opinion about the value of chasing a perfect season.

      Oh, to be so lucky. The Rams haven't been in that exclusive neighborhood in nearly a decade. Way over here on the darker side of the NFL, the imperfect Rams — the worst team in pro football at 1-12 — just ponder more creative ways to suffer.

      And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it does.

      A swine flu mini-epidemic just swept through Rams Park.

      Practice was canceled Thursday when a half-dozen players or so came to work suffering from swine flu symptoms.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      Q: Who where the only Rams players who didn't get the swine flu? MORE
      A: The wide receivers. They haven't caught anything all year.

      On Thursday afternoon, the only thing the Rams coach could do was laugh about the crazy circumstances. When someone asked him if he was worried that he might not have enough healthy players to suit up for Sunday's game with Houston, Spags chuckled. "I will be out there," he said. "Don't even send me down that direction."

      This wretched season just keeps getting more curious, and I just happen to love it. Stop me if you've heard this before, but I have found the silver lining in this dark, dark cloud. At this point for the 1-12 Rams, losing is definitely a very good thing. If they're going to be bad, you might as well aim to be the worst team in the NFL, because losing does have its rewards.

      If you're going to be this historically bad, the silver lining is knowing that there is a stud future Pro Bowl game-changing defensive tackle waiting for the Rams if they get the first pick in next spring's NFL draft and if they're only smart enough to take him.

      Sometimes you get star-crossed when you are a bad team, and that is what has happened to the Rams the last few years. They get just bad enough to be near the top of the draft, but then they get stuck with having to draft a player with the second overall pick who isn't really a drop-dead, game-changing automatic stud.

      This year, they...
      -12-18-2009, 08:42 AM
    • AvengerRam_old
      In case the Rams get the first pick, let me say this now for the record.
      by AvengerRam_old
      We must all fight against those who will inevitably try to pick apart Ndamukong Suh as a prospect.

      It happens EVERY year. There are players who, in November/December, are viewed as premium prospects who... for no reason other than the availablity of a platform for every yokel on the planet with a opionion... are nitpicked to the point where they become UNDERvalued.

      For example, last year, Michael Oher was viewed as a top 10 pick throughout the NCAA season. Then, a the season ended and the "evaluation" period began, people began to question him (mainly regarding subjective criteria). As a result, he ends up as the 22nd pick in the draft (only to play like an early first rounder as a rookie).

      Who knows how or why it will happen to Suh. Maybe he'll weigh in at 295 instead of 300. Maybe he'll run the 40 slightly slower than expected. Maybe someone will hyper-focus on some aspect of his personality or past. But, mark my words, there will be people who will try to argue that he's not worthy of the first pick in the draft.

      If you've watched him play, you know better. If you look at his stats (which are OFF THE CHART for a DT), you know better.

      Ndamukong Suh is the best prospect in the draft.

      He will still be the best prospect in the draft in April.

      Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
      -12-18-2009, 11:57 AM
    • eldfan
      Rams can turn record around by closing talent gap
      by eldfan
      Rams can turn record around by closing talent gap

      Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
      [More columns]By Bryan Burwell
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      12/22/2009

      Well so far, I must say that things are pretty much going as planned. I realize that because of the NFL's blackout policies, most of you did not get to see the latest episode of our favorite reality TV show, "Football Players of St. Louis," but in my role as the Notorious Man of the People (the Notorious MOP), let me give you a synopsis of what you might have missed:

      I was happy with the effort and positively joyous about the result.

      Sunday was a good day for those of us who understand that victory on the field during the dwindling days of another lost Rams season is no longer a necessary building block for the future. So what we hoped for on Sunday was exactly what we got.

      On two separate fronts, the Rams got good news in the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

      Tampa Bay (now 2-12) won, the Rams (now 1-13) lost, and thus the home team's place in front of the line for the No. 1 pick dramatically improved. With only two weeks to play in the regular season, the Rams have, without tampering with the integrity of the game, moved one step closer to locking down the all-important first pick in the draft (let it roll off your tongue easily: N-dom-Ah-ken Suh ... N-dom-Ah-ken Suh ... N-dom-Ah-ken Suh), and that is a very good thing.

      In case there is any confusion, let me clear this up: I am not suggesting that I want the Rams to tank the rest of the season. First of all, that's not in the nature of the players or the coach. The point is, I just want the Rams to continue to do what they've been doing all season — give the sort of gritty effort that is epitomized by their no-nonsense coach Steve Spagnuolo and their ultra-competitive and combative star tailback Steven Jackson.

      But the Rams are still a very bad team, and that is not going to change between now and the end of the season.

      Effort is admirable, but there's a very good reason why the Rams are the hardest working 1-13 team in the NFL. Unless effort is combined with superior talent, effort won't be enough to produce consistent winning at this level.

      But even as the season drags its way toward an inevitable 1-15 conclusion, there are two very good reasons why the Rams are better off now than they were at any time during the past few seasons:

      1. Steve Spagnuolo is a better head coach than Scott Linehan could ever be.

      2. Billy Devaney is a better general manager than Jay Zygmunt ever dreamed of being.

      After the game on Sunday, I ran into CBS Sports and NFL Network analyst Solomon Wilcots in the Edward Jones Dome, and just like every other TV analyst and NFL personnel man I have talked to this season before or after Rams...
      -12-22-2009, 11:09 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick
      by r8rh8rmike
      Advice rolls in for Rams on No. 1 pick

      By Bryan Burwell
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      02/28/2010


      INDIANAPOLIS —Now that the center of the pro football universe has descended on this place for the NFL scouting combine, it's hard to find anyone within a six-block radius of Lucas Oil Stadium who isn't eager, willing or able to offer the Rams a little helpful or slightly misguided advice about how to use that rather valuable No.1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

      In coffee shops and hotel lobbies, greasy-spoon diners and five-star steak houses, on windy street corners and comfy stadium luxury boxes and just about every other place where more than one NFL executive, coach, TV talking head or ink-stained sportswriter might gather to dish rumors and dispense information, it doesn't take long to gather an opinion about who the Rams will, or should, draft.

      In a nutshell, it is a two-man race to the Radio City Music Hall center stage with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on April 22nd. It's either Nebraska's all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma's strong-armed, but surgically uncertain quarterback Sam Bradford, and it is a furious and intriguing debate that won't be decided before the Rams football trinity of team vice president Kevin Demoff, general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo return to St. Louis on Tuesday evening.

      There's a lot of late momentum building here for the Rams to take Bradford instead of Suh, but it's for all the wrong reasons.

      I keep hearing some very smart football people swear that the Rams have no choice but to draft Bradford because they failed to take Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez the last two seasons.

      Really?

      That scares me because that sort of misguided logic violates one of the most sacred rules of smart drafting. As Giants general manager Jerry Reece said Saturday, "You should always try to avoid reaching for your needs in the draft."

      If after exhaustive research, scouring through a million miles of game footage, a half-million miles of practice footage, a thousand interviews with everyone from the kid's high school shop teacher to the assistant locker-room attendant, Spags, Devaney and Demoff come away convinced by reports from their scouting department that Bradford is the smarter pick than Suh, then they ought to go for him.

      But please don't do this because it's a matter of need, or worse yet, it's a business decision based on some silliness that you can't invest $12 million on a defensive tackle. It has to be because everyone is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Bradford is in fact a better player than Suh.

      Here's what I rarely heard from the NFL folks who touted Bradford over the past few days: I never heard one of them say they were absolutely, positively certain that you draft Bradford because he's...
      -02-28-2010, 07:52 PM
    • AvengerRam_old
      I'm psychic. That's why I know the Rams first pick will...
      by AvengerRam_old
      ... upset many Rams fans.

      If its Bradford, there will be those who will scream that the Rams made a huge mistake taking a QB with a history of injuries and passing on a "once in a generation" DT.

      If its Suh, there will be those who will scream that the Rams made a huge mistake passing on the next great franchise QB in favor of a defensive tackle.

      If the Rams trade down, there will be those who will scream that the Rams should have taken one great player, instead of two merely good players.

      There will be Suhians, Bradfordites, and even the odd McCoyian and Clausenian.

      There is no pleasing the fan base... at least not as a whole.

      I have my opinions like everyone else but, in the end, I have faith in decisionmakers to make a reasoned decision. There are no guarantees, so it might not turn out as we hope, but THEY KNOW MORE THAN WE DO and, unlike the previous regime, they actually have a background in FOOTBALL.

      So... sit back and watch. All I have said will come to pass will indeed... come to pass.
      -03-16-2010, 06:21 PM
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