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  • Jackson shows bruising running style

    Jackson shows bruising running style
    By John Clayton
    ESPN.com

    Macomb, Ill. -- Five observations on the St. Louis Rams from training camp practices on July 29.

    1.
    Steven Jackson could be an interesting fit in the Rams offense, which plans to use a little more running this season. His style -- and this isn't because of his dreadlocks -- is similar to Ricky Williams. He's a powerful between the tackles runner, who would rather run through a tackler than avoid him. It's interesting to note backup Lamar Gordon looks a little quicker to the hole. But Jackson looks like he can be that 20-to-25 carry a game back. It will interesting to see how Mike Martz integrates him into the offense.

    2.
    The offensive line looks stouter because of two adjustments created by the hip injury to Dave Wohlabaugh. Andy McCollum has moved back from guard to center while Wohlabaugh is sidelined. Being promoted to left guard is Andy King, a 310-pound practice squader who could play at around 320. Defenses with big defensive tackles caused some problems for the left to interior of the line last season and if King impresses, Wohlabaugh might be in a dogfight to keep his starting job. The right side of the line improved last year by putting Kyle Turley next to dependable Adam Timmerman.

    3.
    Third-round choice Tony Hargrove might be the long-term sleeper at defensive end in the efforts to replace Grant Wistrom, who got $14 million to sign with Seattle. The 6-3, 269-pound end from Georgia Tech has a strong inside move and the type of bull rush power that could give tackles troubles. He's working with line coach Bill Kollar, who is one of the best. It might be too much for Hargove to jump to the front of the line for playing time this year because he's raw, but watch him. For now, the Rams are going to run numbers at offensive tackles from the right end spot, giving Bryce Fisher, Sean Moran, Erik Flowers and Tyoka Jackson the chance to compete for playing time on the other side of Leonard Little.

    4.
    The big guys are back at defensive tackle. Now that former defensive coordinator Lovie Smith moved on to the Bears as head coach, the mandate to force defensive linemen to lose weight is gone. Jimmy Kennedy, who had a miserable rookie season mostly on the inactive list, looks better. He was ordered to get down to around 310 last year, but his natural weight is anywhere from 325 to 335. Ryan Pickett is in the 320s. Damione Lewis a still a little under 300, but he's the movement tackle in the group. Pickett and Kennedy will rotate at the tackle spot, but both players seem to be shooting the gaps with more speed now that they are allowed to play at weights that feel more natural.

    5.
    The strength of this defense may be in the linebacking core. Tommy Polley, Robert Thomas and Pisa Tinoisamoa can all run. As their health goes, so goes the hopes of this defense. New defensive coordinator Larry Marmie is going to incorporate more combination zone coverages and a few more man-to-man pressure schemes into the defense. What isn't going to change is the range and playmaking ability of the linebackers, who have the speed to cover deeper zones and the range to rush the quarterback.

    Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Jackson shows bruising running style

    Originally posted by RamDez
    1. Steven Jackson could be an interesting fit in the Rams offense, which plans to use a little more running this season. His style -- and this isn't because of his dreadlocks -- is similar to Ricky Williams. He's a powerful between the tackles runner, who would rather run through a tackler than avoid him. It's interesting to note backup Lamar Gordon looks a little quicker to the hole. But Jackson looks like he can be that 20-to-25 carry a game back. It will interesting to see how Mike Martz integrates him into the offense.
    Ferter, are you reading this?? ;)


    Originally posted by RamDez
    2. The offensive line looks stouter because of two adjustments created by the hip injury to Dave Wohlabaugh. Andy McCollum has moved back from guard to center while Wohlabaugh is sidelined. Being promoted to left guard is Andy King, a 310-pound practice squader who could play at around 320. Defenses with big defensive tackles caused some problems for the left to interior of the line last season and if King impresses, Wohlabaugh might be in a dogfight to keep his starting job. The right side of the line improved last year by putting Kyle Turley next to dependable Adam Timmerman.
    I absolutely LOVE the idea of King growing to become a starter with this team. I'd really enjoy seeing us find an adequate answer for the left guard position without having to dig into free agency.


    Originally posted by RamDez
    3. Third-round choice Tony Hargrove might be the long-term sleeper at defensive end in the efforts to replace Grant Wistrom, who got $14 million to sign with Seattle. The 6-3, 269-pound end from Georgia Tech has a strong inside move and the type of bull rush power that could give tackles troubles. He's working with line coach Bill Kollar, who is one of the best. It might be too much for Hargove to jump to the front of the line for playing time this year because he's raw, but watch him. For now, the Rams are going to run numbers at offensive tackles from the right end spot, giving Bryce Fisher, Sean Moran, Erik Flowers and Tyoka Jackson the chance to compete for playing time on the other side of Leonard Little.
    This news about Hargrove is getting very exciting. I remember questioning the pick a bit whenever we made it, but it looks like I might be eating a little crow if he's half as good as some of this hype.


    Originally posted by RamDez
    4. The big guys are back at defensive tackle. Now that former defensive coordinator Lovie Smith moved on to the Bears as head coach, the mandate to force defensive linemen to lose weight is gone. Jimmy Kennedy, who had a miserable rookie season mostly on the inactive list, looks better. He was ordered to get down to around 310 last year, but his natural weight is anywhere from 325 to 335. Ryan Pickett is in the 320s. Damione Lewis a still a little under 300, but he's the movement tackle in the group. Pickett and Kennedy will rotate at the tackle spot, but both players seem to be shooting the gaps with more speed now that they are allowed to play at weights that feel more natural.
    Hopefully they continue to progress now that they are able to play at a more comfortable weight. This defense is starting to sound like it has some potential, which I know some people have been preaching for a little while.


    Originally posted by RamDez
    5. The strength of this defense may be in the linebacking core. Tommy Polley, Robert Thomas and Pisa Tinoisamoa can all run. As their health goes, so goes the hopes of this defense. New defensive coordinator Larry Marmie is going to incorporate more combination zone coverages and a few more man-to-man pressure schemes into the defense. What isn't going to change is the range and playmaking ability of the linebackers, who have the speed to cover deeper zones and the range to rush the quarterback.
    Agreed. I'm pumped to see how Pisa progresses through this season and next. I think he's going to be a real playmaker in the NFL.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Jackson shows bruising running style

      Originally posted by NickSeiler
      Ferter, are you reading this?? ;)
      Yeah I read it Nick......LOL

      You think I agree? -- Well you are correct....I don't.

      And John Clayton is a well-rounded talking head and not because he looks like egghead in Foghorn Leghorn.


      :tongue:

      Comment

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      • RamDez
        Everything's on the line when the Rams play this summer
        by RamDez
        Everything's on the line when the Rams play this summer


        BY JEFF GORDON
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        08/10/2004





        Want a reason to pay attention when the Rams play their preseason games this summer?

        Here's one: Both lines, offensive and defensive, are currently works in progress. Both units have lost key players, either temporarily or permanently.

        Several unfamiliar faces have the opportunity to earn key roles for the 2004 season. So the trench battles during the four preseason games should be interesting to watch.

        If both jerry-rigged units meet the challenge, the Rams will be a Super Bowl contender. If either unit falters because of the talent turnover, the Rams could be in for an unhappy adventure this season.

        Here are the factors at play:


        * Orlando Pace is AWOL. The All-Pro left tackle has nothing to gain by sitting out, since the team cannot begin negotiating a long-term contract with him until he signs the tender he received as the franchise player. The longer he sits, the less likely it is he'll get that long-term deal he covets.

        The longer he sits, the more likely it is he'll struggle for a few games once the real season starts. And doomsayers must be wondering if Pace's relationship with the team will finally blow up.

        If it does, Pace wouldn't be the first franchise player to miss regular-season games as part of a power play his agents orchestrate.


        * Kyle Turley might be done. The standout right tackle is contemplating his future. After tweaking his surgically repaired back, Turley must decide whether he can and should continue his career.

        The Rams believe he could play this season, but ultimately Turley must make that decision.

        "Kyle's down in the dumps, this thing isn't as far along as he wants it to be," coach Mike Martz said. "He's very frustrated. We just have to get a conclusion medically in terms of the course of action he needs to take. We're not there yet, so I'm not going to worry about it. I understand what Kyle's going through, I feel for the guy."

        Suddenly journeyman Grant Williams is hugely important to the team. He is starting in Pace's place for now, but would move over to cover for Turley should the Big O return.

        So far, Williams is having a fine camp. "There's no question in my mind that we can win with Grant Williams at tackle," Martz said.

        But then again, he promised that Travis Scott would start by his second year.


        * Jimmy Kennedy is toast. After suffering a broken foot during a drill last Friday, the second-year defensive tackle needed surgical repair. The best-case scenario calls for a late-season return, but, given the nature of that injury, that is wishful thinking.

        The Rams are resigned to playing
        ...
        -08-11-2004, 12:19 AM
      • Nick
        Rams are hoping they end up with defensive line answers (Post Dispatch)
        by Nick
        Rams are hoping they end up with defensive line answers
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        07/22/2004

        Any coach well-versed in football-speak will insist that all starting positions are open heading into training camp. But realistically, only two spots will be up for grabs when the Rams assemble next week in Macomb, Ill.

        Both are on the defensive line: End Grant Wistrom, the team's first-round draft pick in 1998 and a five-year starter, snatched up Seattle's six-year, $33 million free-agent offer in the offseason. Brian Young, another free agent who was emerging as a top-flight tackle, accepted a four-year deal with New Orleans that included a $4 million signing bonus.

        Those losses are significant for a once-porous defense that had improved into a respectable unit. Last year, the Rams ranked 16th among the 32 NFL teams in total defense, and sixth in the 16-team NFC. They led the league in takeaways with 46 - 24 interceptions and 22 fumble recoveries.

        Wistrom, 28, piled up 108 tackles, fourth-best on the team and No. 1 among linemen, and had 7 1/2 sacks, a total exceeded only by All-Pro left end Leonard Little (12 1/2). Young, 27, had 102 tackles, No. 6 in team totals, including 2 1/2 sacks.

        Defensive line coach Bill Kollar acknowledged that the challenge of filling those holes effectively has him fretting just a bit. "When you end up losing two guys that really played good for you and really set a good effort tone, it makes it tough," Kollar said. "It'll be a pretty interesting task, and we'll just see what we're able to get out of these (other) guys."

        Despite his legal difficulties, Little is expected to report to Western Illinois University on Tuesday with the rest of his teammates, and to be available for the season. Meanwhile, Ryan Pickett started 13 games at nose tackle last year and should fill that role again this season, although he could wind up sliding over to Young's spot. Pickett's performance last season was hampered by a nagging ankle injury.

        The leading candidates to take over for Wistrom at right end are Bryce Fisher, a fifth-year pro who has started just once in 20 games with the Rams; Sean Moran, a former Ram who recently returned as a free agent; and Erik Flowers, a six-year veteran who played in only three games in his first season with the Rams.

        "Fisher will start out as the No. 1 guy," Kollar said. "Now, that's not saying that he is the starter. But right now, he's the guy that we've got in there, and it'll just depend on how it goes during training camp and the preseason games."

        Kollar also indicated that newcomer Anthony Hargrove, a third-round draft selection from Georgia Tech, could figure into the mix. Hargrove stood out at the team's rookie minicamp and was solid in the full-squad minicamp that followed.

        ...
        -07-23-2004, 06:47 AM
      • RamDez
        St. Louis Rams 2004 Season Preview
        by RamDez
        St. Louis Rams 2004 Season Preview

        From James Alder,
        Aug 14 2004

        QB Controversy No Longer an Issue

        The defending NFC West Champion St. Louis Rams decided it was time to cut ties with former two-time league MVP Kurt Warner because of a contract that made it prohibitive for them to keep him as a backup. In doing so, they also rid themselves of the quarterback controversy that has dogged this team since Warnerís fairy-tale career took on a tailspin that mirrored his meteoric rise just a few short years ago. And now that all questions about his starting QB have been erased, the mad scientist, head coach Mike Martz, can get back to work devising further ways to frustrate defensive coordinators. As in recent seasons, the Rams find themselves in the situation of having what promises to be one of the most potent offenses in the league. They also find themselves, once again, looking for answers on defense.zSB(3,3);if(!z336){var zIsb=document.getElementById("adsb");if(zIsb){zIsb.style.display="inline";zIsb.style.height="0px";zIsb.style.width="0px";}var zIss=document.getElementById("adss");if(zIss){zIss.style.display="inline";zIss.style.height="0px";zIss.style.width="0px";}}





        Lovie Smith accepted a head coaching job in Chicago, so the responsibility of pulling the defensive squad together falls squarely on the shoulders of new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, who promises to use much of the same system used last year with a little more man-to-man schemes thrown in. Potentially, he has a very good unit, but there are legitimate concerns with durability, depth, and experience at several positions.




        Quarterback
        Now that Warner is in New York, the issues at quarterback appear to be settled. Starter Marc Bulger will no longer have to look over his shoulder to see if he is going to be replaced every time he makes a mistake, which should only add to his confidence. Bulgerís ability to make quick reads is a good fit for this offense, but he tends to force the ball at times. He must cut down on the 22 interceptions he threw last season if this team is to become a legitimate contender again.

        Backup Chris Chandler will be entering his 18th year in the league, and while he can be as effective as anyone throwing the ball, he has to have great protection to get the job done. He tends to hold onto the ball too long, which is why durability has become such an issue for him in recent years. Jeff Smoker, who slipped on draft day because of off-field issues, was added late in the daft and will likely be a developmental prospect in the No. 3 role.

        Running Backs
        When healthy, Marshall Faulk is still one of the best running backs in the league, but heís had two knee surgeries in the last year and is 31-years old, which is why the Rams used...
        -08-14-2004, 02:15 PM
      • RamDez
        Veteran steps in for his injured teammate
        by RamDez
        Veteran steps in for his injured teammate
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        08/07/2004





        MACOMB, Ill. - Don't look for Bernard Holsey in an instructional fitness video any time soon. The veteran defensive tackle was doing a plyometrics workout during the offseason when he lost his equilibrium.

        "It was one of those freak accidents," Holsey said. "I was doing box jumps and kind of lost my balance. I fell down and my leg kind of stayed up on the box."

        He suffered a torn quadriceps tendon in his left leg and underwent surgery in February. Which is hardly the best way to begin the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

        Because of the surgery, Holsey wasn't expecting to hear from NFL teams until the start of training camp. Much to his surprise, the Rams signed him to a one-year, $660,000 contract on June 18.

        "I really wasn't expecting that," Holsey said. "The Rams came out of the blue on that one. I really appreciate their trust and faith in me that everything's going to work out for the best."

        For the most part, Holsey had been a spectator during the first nine days of camp as he continued rehabilitation work on his leg. Now, it's time for Holsey to reward the Rams for that "trust and faith."

        Thursday afternoon, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy was lost for 10 to 12 weeks with a fractured foot. On Friday afternoon, Holsey took part in his first full-scale practice with the Rams.

        Kennedy wasn't going to start this season; Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis will handle those chores. But Kennedy had shown enough to merit a spot in defensive line coach Bill Kollar's rotation.

        "Obviously, he still had a ways to go," Kollar said. "But he was getting better and working pretty hard."

        With Kennedy shelved for at least half the season, Holsey becomes the No. 1 candidate for the No. 3 spot at defensive tackle.

        "To me, starting is not that important," Holsey said. "I'm here to play. And the way Coach Kollar rotates his guys, I'm going to get to play a good amount."

        Given Lewis' injury history, Holsey could play even more than he thinks. An eight-year veteran from Duke, Holsey has played for the New York Giants, Indianapolis, New England and Washington. He has started only 33 of 104 games over that span, but started all 16 games last season for the Redskins.

        "He's a stout-looking guy and stuff," Kollar said. "I know he's a tough guy, which we like."

        Other possibilities for tackle help off the bench include defensive captain Tyoka Jackson and youngsters Brian Howard, Justin Montgomery and Kevin Aldridge.

        "Over the last couple years, Ty has really done a good job at left end for us, and we really like him out there,"
        ...
        -08-07-2004, 01:54 PM
      • evil disco man
        The Good and The Bad
        by evil disco man
        With the Rams' first preseason game only days away, I thought it a good time to take a look at what the Rams put on the table this season - from two perspectives. Feel free to add your opinions and even new categories while trying to include both the possible positive and negative aspects of each.

        Quarterbacks
        GOOD: Marc Bulger can relax now, knowing that the job is his. He's had a full offseason to prepare with the team as the sure-fire starter, and will therefore show more confidence and production with the team behind him. Chris Chandler is the perfect backup; not durable enough to challenge for the starting job, but is an accurate, smart, veteran passer. Jeff Smoker is young, talented, is over his past troubles and could be the quarterback of the future.

        BAD: Marc Bulger was too inconsistent last year to prove he is really worthy of leading the Rams' passing attack. His decision-making and read progressions are questionable, and his long ball is awful. The team is on his shoulders now, and it will be too much for him to handle. Chris Chandler is old and entering a new offense, and he's known for being a statue in the pocket - something that isn't encouraging knowing that he's been severely injury-prone. Jeff Smoker is too young and unproven right now, and with his legal history in mind, he could only have a negative impact.

        Running Backs
        GOOD: Doctors found something previously undiscovered in Marshall Faulk's knee, fixed it, and he'll now be able to play like the old Marshall instead of an old Marshall. He provides the team with great leadership and knowledge and can carry this offense. Steven Jackson was considered the best back in the NFL Draft. He can run over, around, and through would-be tacklers and is a great receiver. He will be a workhorse in the near future for the Rams, and will be able to give Faulk a rest every now and then this season. Lamar Gordon and Arlen Harris provide great depth, as both are experienced in this offense. Joey Goodspeed emerged from the plethora of fullbacks the Rams brought in last season and will be a dependable lead blocker. Arlen Harris could even see time at fullback as the Robert Holcombe-type.

        BAD: Marshall Faulk isn't getting any younger, and he showed that last season. He had to have surgery on that knee again and could be even more prone to injuries after losing weight this offseason. Steven Jackson is too young to step into this offense right now as an unproven rookie, and his head will be swimming trying to learn Martz's playbook. Lamar Gordon is injury prone and inconsistent as a backup; there's no way the team could rely on him if injuries occur. The only thing Arlen Harris can give the team is three yards and a cloud of dust. Martz as usual ignores the fullbacks, and as a result the Rams really have none worth noting.

        Receivers
        GOOD: Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt are the best tandem at wide receiver in...
        -08-09-2004, 02:53 PM
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