Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Who NEEDS to have a great 2004 in your mind?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Who NEEDS to have a great 2004 in your mind?

    Which players on the 2004 Rams squad really need a great 2004 in order to keep their contract, support, or position on the team in general? Basically, which players do you think 2004 is "make it or break it" for?

    Here's my list...

    1) The entire defensive tackle squad: While Pickett and Lewis have had some success, they've not lived up to their draft position at all, Lewis especially. Kennedy saw practically no action at all. With a new defensive coordinator that isn't hindering the tackles by asking them to be slimmer, they need to show they can be productive this season. Otherwise, how much longer can the Rams expect before these guys develop? I think 2004 is a key season for all three of the Rams' first round tackles on the D-line, and if they still can't perform to their draft status, the team should really begin reevaluating their role on the team.

    2) Brandon Manumaleuna: Guy just got a big contract, so in the eyes of the coaches, it's probably not a vital year for Manu. But in the eyes of the fans, it's a mystery as to how that happened. At or around 300 lbs, you'd think he'd be a force as a blocker, but he was often beat. He doesn't offer much in the passing game. If he can't make an improvement on his play this season -- now that he's no longer going to have to play some fullback as well -- then I think most people will be calling for his replacement.

    3) Marc Bulger: A four year contract is nice, but Bulger is coming off of a successful yet statistically unimpressive year. The Rams released Kurt Warner because -- among other things -- they have faith in the young guy from the WV and think he can be the man for them. But if Bulger doesn't have a great year, he's going to continue alienating those fans with a special place for Kurt in their heart. He needs to come out and have a good year or else he may be digging a hole he might never come out of. He should benefit from being the focus of attention this spring and summer, and not having the shadow of Kurt Warner looming over him, but does he have the physical and mental skills to actually excel at the job, or was his success in 2002 and 2003 more luck than talent? We all have our opinions, and I think 2004 is a year in which Bulger can and will turn some of those opinions into fact.

    4) Marshall Faulk: Who would have thought Faulk would see this list? Well, he's here and I'll tell you why. He hasn't started 16 games in a season since 1999. His yards per carry since '99 have gradually decreased. He's 31 years old and has fought moderate injury over the past two seasons, when he failed to rush for over 1,000 yards. Prior to 2002, Marshall Faulk failed to reach the 1,000 yard mark in only one of his eight season. Faulk has shown flashes of having stuff left in the tank, but if he wants to continue earning the big bucks, he's going to have to show he can still be the man for the Rams in the backfield. I'm sure Steven Jackson would love the chance to prove he can be that man if Faulk can't.

    5) Robert Thomas: Not many two year pros would make this list if it were up to me, but Thomas has a lot to prove and 2004 could be a vital year for him to do it. He's been on the sideline with injury in both of his years in the NFL, and while he does look more natural as a middle linebacker, he'll be no good to this team if he can't stay healthy and be in there to contribute. Let's not forget this guy was a first round pick -- barely. I think 2004 is the year he starts showing us why. Otherwise, the Rams might be a little more interested in veteran middle linebackers who become available in free agency.

  • #2
    Re: Who NEEDS to have a great 2004 in your mind?

    Given the cap considerations, this year is clearly make it or bye bye for damione lewis. Polley is an interesting case as well since he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. He is not going to be a core guy for us either way, so if he doesnt really step up, it is highly likely in my mind that someone will overpay for him and he will be gone. Of course, in polleys case, its a little odd since if he does really great, we may not be able to afford him unless he is willing to take less money to stay (that also depends on whether we free up some money by signing pace long term and whether any of the other linebackers emerge as a viable replacement.)

    Another guy is Mccollum, who really needs to do great with andy king in the wings. It is a possibility that king could win this job in camp.

    ramming speed to all


    general counsel

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Who NEEDS to have a great 2004 in your mind?

      Good job Nick. You have certainly went into some depth with your list. I firmly believe that evry starter needs to have a great year and every back-up needs to be prepared to step in. I think it takes an entire team effort to reach the highest of goals in the NFL.
      Curly ~ Horns

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Who NEEDS to have a great 2004 in your mind?

        With Warners legacy, Definitely agree on the bulger front. That D line needs a monster year to justify those 3, 1st round picks.
        The Breakfast Club. You want cheese with that?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Who NEEDS to have a great 2004 in your mind?

          The interior offensive line has to be better, they didn't play real solid last year.

          Also, the TE/FB position has to be able to block better in this scheme. Especially in the red zone.

          How about the Kickoff team? I better not see one TD given up by this unit this year.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Who NEEDS to have a great 2004 in your mind?

            I think the Rams need big years from three players in particular.

            1. Jimmy Kennedy - if he can get with the system and play like he did in college, he could be a huge difference maker for the whole defense.

            2. Robert Thomas - he needs to stay healthy and continue to progress.

            3. Marshall Faulk (or, if Faulk can't stay healthy, Steven Jackson) - without the threat of a running game, ultimately teams will find ways to stop Bulger and the offense.

            Comment

            Related Topics

            Collapse

            • Nick
              ESPN Scouts Inc: Rams Team Summary
              by Nick
              Training camps start late this year, with the first rookies not due to report until July 27. But Insider will keep the NFL fires burning all month with complete training camp previews of each team. Scouts, Inc., has sized up every roster and checks in with position-by-position breakdowns.



              Quarterbacks
              In terms of overall talent of the unit, the Rams are clearly not as deep with Marc Bulger and newcomer Chris Chandler than they were with Bulger and Kurt Warner. However, with coach Mike Martz and the Rams' organization finally putting an end to its quarterback soap opera, the team as a whole is much better off.

              This is finally Bulger's team, and often times that confidence of knowing that you don't have to look over your shoulder every time you make a mistake can be invaluable for a quarterback. Bulger has proved that he can be effective as a starter. He is still young and has the upside to develop into an even better player with more experience in the future. However, in order for Bulger to take his game to the next level he must cut down on his mistakes, force fewer passes if his primary target is not open, and become more consistent with his deep ball. For as many good things as he did in '03, throwing as many interceptions (22) as touchdowns is unacceptable. That type of carelessness with the football will prevent the Rams from making a serious run at another Super Bowl, which is why so much time and effort in the offseason and preseason is being spent on building Bulger's confidence and working with him to limit his mistakes.

              Chandler will be 38 years old in October and is nearing the end of his string quickly. He obviously has great starting experience and has proved in the last couple of seasons that he can step in for the short term and move an offense. He also is intelligent and has a history of picking things up quickly, so he should be ready to run the offense this season if needed.

              However, his skills are on a heavy decline and, as a result of his age and durability problems, he no longer can be trusted as a multiple game starter if necessitated by injury. Chandler was signed to be Bulger's backup in '04, but the Rams need to make sure they find a replacement for Chandler -- whether it's rookie Jeff Smoker or another veteran addition -- in '05, because Chandler is just a decent backup at this point and he's on a steep decline.

              Smoker, who slipped on draft day because of a substance-abuse problem in college, was a great find for coach Mike Martz that late in the draft. Smoker has dealt with his problems and showed a lot of courage by returning to his team and re-assuming the leadership role. He has the physical tools of a third-round quarterback and could wind up becoming Bulger's backup by '05.



              Running backs
              Marshall Faulk is still one of the elite weapons at the position when he is fully healthy,...
              -07-26-2004, 09:10 AM
            • sbramfan
              The Future is bleek...
              by sbramfan
              Jackson has NEVER shed ONE block in the backfield in his entire career. Marshall literally would tell his blockers to take the second guy, because he'll get around the first guy. I think that was clear in this game. Nobody gets Marshall on the first try. Everyone gets Jackson on the first try. I'm sorry, but if you were to ask me what makes a good back, it would things like, finding the end zone, or the first down marker. Finding the hole. Shedding tackles. Jackson has none of this. He has one thing: Give him a big hole, and he'll run through it and it will be hard for the secondary to bring him down once he gets a head of steam. Even the TD he scored was another "hmmm, maybe if I run all the way around the line I'll see an opening". It does work once in a blue moon, but this guy sucks. And the O line is not the excuse because as soon as Marshall comes in, they move the ball on the ground. I'm also starting to think that Steven Jackson is "telling" the defense when he is going to get the ball by his stance, or whatever. He must be. You know, when he stands on his toes, vs. flat footed, or something like that.

              The whole team is full of mediocre players, other than about 3 guys. Even Tinoisamoa is just an average, decent Linebacker. Problem is, since he's the only guy on this defense that can tackle, he almost looks like he could be a star.

              With this many mediocre players, it's impossible to know which one's to keep, and which one's to replace. It will take years. They can only bring in so many new guys. This is not a team that is on the way up, where you just need to fill in a few blanks. This is a team that will patch a few of the holes in the damn next year, only to find more created. Guys on the O'line will start to retiree, as well as Bruce and Faulk, so even if they fix a few holes next year, there will be others to fill.

              There are teams on the rise out there, and the Rams are not one of them. They did not have good luck with the Defensive players they drafted, but they're all busts. Really, it just came down to luck. I mean, if Robert Thomas was the best Linebacker on the board, the Rams had to take him. And the same with Damione Lewis, and Travis Fisher, etc... I mean with 3 first round picks at DT, they should have a great D'line, but they don't. And their other 1st round pick, Archuleta, is in the same league as Coady, and Sorenson. He's a better tackler than these guys, but not much better, if at all, in coverage. Furry gets the "overachiever of the year" award, but not a starting job at free safety in 2006. Sad that he is one of the better players they have on the defensive side. Also, I think the bookends of Little and Hargrove are a liability. They are good passrushers, but the Rams need DE's that are bigger and can stuff the run. Little and Hargrove would be great at 3rd down blitzing, but unfortunately, there's 2 other downs...
              -12-24-2005, 09:02 PM
            • RamWraith
              Overview from ESPN
              by RamWraith
              Monday, July 26, 2004


              Scouts, Inc.
              Chat with Scouts, Inc., at 2 p.m. EST today!
              Training camps start late this year, with the first rookies not due to report
              until July 27. But Insider will keep the NFL fires burning all month with
              complete training camp previews of each team. Scouts, Inc., has sized up every
              roster and checks in with position-by-position breakdowns.
              Quarterbacks
              In terms of overall talent of the unit, the Rams are clearly not as deep with
              Marc Bulger and newcomer Chris Chandler than they were with Bulger and Kurt
              Warner. However, with coach Mike Martz and the Rams' organization finally
              putting an end to its quarterback soap opera, the team as a whole is much better
              off.

              BulgerThis is finally Bulger's team, and often times that confidence of knowing
              that you don't have to look over your shoulder every time you make a mistake can
              be invaluable for a quarterback. Bulger has proved that he can be effective as a
              starter. He is still young and has the upside to develop into an even better
              player with more experience in the future.
              However, in order for Bulger to take his game to the next level he must cut down
              on his mistakes, force fewer passes if his primary target is not open, and
              become more consistent with his deep ball. For as many good things as he did in
              '03, throwing as many interceptions (22) as touchdowns is unacceptable. That
              type of carelessness with the football will prevent the Rams from making a
              serious run at another Super Bowl, which is why so much time and effort in the
              offseason and preseason is being spent on building Bulger's confidence and
              working with him to limit his mistakes.
              Chandler will be 38 years old in October and is nearing the end of his string
              quickly. He obviously has great starting experience and has proved in the last
              couple of seasons that he can step in for the short term and move an offense. He
              also is intelligent and has a history of picking things up quickly, so he should
              be ready to run the offense this season if needed.
              However, his skills are on a heavy decline and, as a result of his age and
              durability problems, he no longer can be trusted as a multiple game starter if
              necessitated by injury. Chandler was signed to be Bulger's backup in '04, but
              the Rams need to make sure they find a replacement for Chandler -- whether it's
              rookie Jeff Smoker or another veteran addition -- in '05, because Chandler is
              just a decent backup at this point and he's on a steep decline.
              Smoker, who slipped on draft day because of a substance-abuse problem in
              college, was a great find for coach Mike Martz that late in the draft. Smoker
              has dealt with his problems and showed a lot of courage by returning to his team
              ...
              -07-27-2004, 05:26 AM
            • Nick
              Q&A with Randy Karraker from the HERD Board (LONG!)
              by Nick
              Q&A with Randy Karraker from the HERD Board
              Monday, August 09 2004 @ 10:16 PM CDT
              Contributed by: Shaky


              zn:

              Howdy to Randy, and howdy to the herd.

              Randy, do you agree or disagree with the following:

              The question is, is it possible to replace a hyped up Turley who in fact had
              trouble adjusting to the system last year, didn't LIKE the system blocking especially>, was injured at least part of the time ANYWAY, and was
              never much of a run blocker on top of it? Okay, so, how good will this
              year's OL be? That's an open question, but I sincerely doubt they will be
              worse than last year when the offense was 30th in rushing and 29th in sacks
              allowed supplemental blockers--TE, FB, etc.>.

              I am of course being deliberately provocative and controversial and stuff,
              but still, just use that as a platform and to go anywhere you want with it.

              Thanks Randy and keep up the (as usual) good work.


              RK:


              Thanks for the comments. Sure it's possible (probable) to replace Turley,
              and the offensive line can be a lot better. As they say, the cemeteries are
              full of indispensable people, so any OL is replaceable. The bigger thing to
              me is that individuals don't make a great line. Matt Light, Russ Hochstein,
              Dan Koppen, Joe Andruzzi and Tom Ashworth won last year's Super Bowl. The
              other side had Steussie, Donnaley, Mitchell, Jeno James and Jordan Gross. A
              couple of good players, a couple of average ones, and a rookie. I'm more
              than OK with Pace and Grant Williams at T. My concern is that Timmerman and
              McCollum, with lots of miles on them, got pushed around a little bit last
              season. I think they need to be more stout, a tougher group than last year.
              Additionally, while Turley didn't take well to the coaching and the system,
              he's still a great player. It couldn't hurt to have him.



              --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



              RamFanInPA:

              Pace Comments BS?????
              Orlando Pace stated a while back how he thought he and the Rams could get a
              long term deal done. The Rams can't negotiate until he signs the tender
              correct? So, why not sign the tender, get into camp, and then start
              negotiating the long term deal!!!! Does Pace just want to skip camp? Was his
              "big" statements just crap? When do you expect Pace to sign the tender and
              get into camp?

              Randy, thanks for all you do!

              RK:

              It appears that his comments were BS. You're right in that they can't
              negotiate with him until he signs the tender. Everyone in Macomb thinks
              he'll be in at the end of camp, just like last season, and the players I...
              -08-11-2004, 05:21 PM
            • RamWraith
              HOLY CRAP! No wonder Marshall is not the same
              by RamWraith
              I was reading in the Sporting News that Marshall has had his surgury 87 times on his knees. Is this true??? WOW! How can the guy even walk much less run.
              -09-01-2004, 07:14 AM
            Working...
            X