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Q&A with Randy Karraker from the HERD Board (LONG!)

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  • Q&A with Randy Karraker from the HERD Board (LONG!)

    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
    talked to don't seem to have a big problem with it. Take care, and thanks.



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


    CedarRAM:

    Drafting Offensive line?


    Why won't this team actually spend an early draft choice on the offensive
    line? I realize they spent a "2" on Kyle Turley but they also paid top
    dollar for him contract-wise much more than a late-second rounder would have
    cost.

    It seems most of the really good guards and centers in this league were
    drafted at the end of the first round, or in rounds two or three. The Rams
    never seem to draft anything but LT's that high.

    Thanks for your time!



    RK:
    That's just a philosophy they have. I believe it was borne of Hanifan's
    ability to make offensive linemen over the years. The old Big Red line had
    Dierdorf, a second rounder, than then a bunch of later round guys or FA's.
    The Hogs were all late guys or FA's except for Mark May. Once again, look at
    that Patriot line in the previous answer. Perhaps that philosophy will
    change with Matsko, but I believe the answer is that it's more financially
    prudent to either get a guy who can play right away, or develop a cheaper
    guy. But, they don't want to develop an expensive, high round choice.




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



    RamDynasty:
    Kickoff and Punt Returners?"
    Who are the candidates and which ones are going to make the final roster?
    IMO Brian Sump is camp fodder or a practice squader.


    RK:

    McDonald and Groce have shared PR duties so far in camp, with Groce having
    a slight edge so far.even though McDonald was the guy in the scrimmage.
    I agree about Sump, because I don't see him beating out any of last year's
    six receivers.
    Right now, Harris is still the favorite to be the KR.



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



    ramcat:

    Haven't heard much about lb play. Curious if you have some thoughts on whose
    distinguishing themselves? Whose going to stick?

    RK:
    Well, certainly the starters. They like Chillar. I thought Faulk and Newson
    showed well in the practices I saw. Spoon was out. McWilliams didn't do much
    for me. Justin Smith got accolades from Charley Armey...but I didn't see
    much from him either. I'd say Faulk, Newson and Chillar will be the backups.


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


    Final Look Of The OL

    Starting OL for 2004,

    Pace, Dishman, McCollum, Timmerman, Randell?

    That's what my brother-in-law heard the strength coach say at Macomb.

    Old Hacker

    "Go Rams !!!!!!!!!!"

    RK:
    Good go hear from you. Williams will definitely be a starter if Turley isn't
    there. Dishman is too fat right now, he's going to need to lose 30 pounds to
    play for this team. If I had to guess about opening day, I'd say Pace,
    either King or Tercero, McCollum, Timmerman and Williams. Randall will be
    this year's Rod Jones.



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



    mjr007:

    Bears scrimmages

    I've heard a lot of good things about both the offense and defense
    signifying a clearly apparent superiority over the Bears in scrimmages with
    them over the weekend.

    I've heard lots of things with regard to how this team will evolve more to a
    running game this year. With the additions of rookie Steven Jackson, with
    the OL pickups we've made and with Williams starting at RT due to Turley's
    injury, it would seems we'll have a much better rushing attack coupled with
    a better run blocking team this year.

    Do you agree with this notion of the Rams becoming much more of a rushing
    team vs. passing team and what is your assessment as to how they will
    perform?

    Thanks again, Randy.


    RK:

    I think they started leaning that way last season, but you and I both know
    Martz. Keep in mind about that scrimmage that Bruce, Holt, Bulger, Faulk,
    Little, Thomas and the entire defensive backfield didn't get on the field,
    so the Rams second team was faster and better than Chicago, and they did run
    a lot. Jackson does look good, and depending on Bulger's and the o-line's
    progress (or lack thereof), I could envision more balance. But, Martz loves
    to throw the ball, he feels like he has at least four legitimate receivers
    with a healthy Curtis and Looker, and loves the way Bulger is throwing. If
    Bulger and the pass protection prove themselves, I think Mike will continue
    to be aggressive in throwing the ball, and they'll be a typical Rams
    offense.



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


    Jedimach:

    Rams draft picks...

    How are each of the Rams 2004 draft picks doing? I'm sure Jackson is already
    addressed.


    RK:

    Hargrove is getting raves from coaches and teammates. He'll likely play and
    contribute more than any of us thought on draft day. Chillar was hurt when I
    was in Macomb, but he seems to be entrenched as the fourth linebacker.
    Shivers, to me, was the most visible backup safety. He made plays in
    practice. I like him better than Lucas or Coady so far (practice, mind you),
    but I didn't get to see Knight. Smoker throws the heck out of the ball. I'm
    intrigued to see him in a game Thursday. Larry Turner is noticeable in
    practice, and I'd put my money on him being the starting center in '05. I
    didn't get to see Jensen, but being moved to FB probably isn't a good sign
    for him.



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


    Jedimach:

    NFC West...

    What is your order of finish for the upcoming season?

    What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of each team?


    RK:

    I haven't really looked at the other NFC West schedules, but I would think
    the Rams and Seahawks will battle down to the wire, with Arizona third and
    S.F. fourth. I really like Seattle's balance on offense, they don't have any
    weaknesses there. On defense, Grant Wistrom needs to be healthy and they
    have to get a pass rush from their young DT's. Their defensive backfield is
    terrific. Hasselbeck needs to learn how to win on the road. I loved the
    Arizona offense until Shipp and Johnson got hurt. McCown will be winging it
    to Boldin and Fitzgerald now. They just don't have any playmakers on
    defense. I could see them being pesky in the opener. I'm not a fan of this
    year's *****. They lose Deese and Stone, T.O. and Garcia. Kwame Harris
    should be good at some point, so should Loyd and Barlow. But not right now.
    On defense, they have no pass rush to speak of, especially with Peterson
    holding out. They could be the worst team in the NFC.


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



    RandomAccessMemory:

    Pete Kendall

    Why didn't they go after him?

    He's better than any of their interior linemen to begin w ith.Wohlabuagh's
    injury would have been a perfect impetus to go out and get him.

    RK:

    "But it didn't take Kendall long to find work; on Friday, he signed a
    five-year, $20-million contract with the Jets, and was plugged into the
    starting lineup at left guard." That's from New York Newsday. He also said
    he wanted to get back east. He's from Massachusetts and played at Boston
    College.



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



    SamFisher:

    Bulger Deep Ball

    Some of the camp reports say he's terrible with the deep ball. Some say
    he's hitting some good deep throws. From what you've seen has the coaching
    staff been working with Bulger specifically on this? Is he getting better?

    RK:

    Bulger is never going to be a great deep-ball thrower. He's like Warner...in
    that 40 yards downfield is about his limit. He's not Elway, Cunningham or
    even Chris Chandler. He hits some in practice, doesn't hit others. But I
    think the game plan should set a limit...from what we know in games last
    year...of 40 or so yards downfield. I don't know that there's a lot coaches
    can do about downfield throwing at this point.



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



    ramsfaninmd:

    Toughness

    Hello Randy,
    Is there any discussion amongst the coaching staff on how the Rams were
    blown off the ball in the Carolina game and seemd very, very soft? Was there
    a philosophical difference in the size of the DL with Lovis as opposed to
    Marmie? I'd love to watch the Rams be tougher and not so finesse-like on D,
    thanks....


    RK:

    That's certainly something Kollar preaches all the time, and his group
    wasn't stout against Carolina. As it turned out, Carolina was pretty darn
    good. There's obviously a different philosophy now, with allowing DT's to
    come to camp at a weight of their choosing. However, the cornerstone of this
    defense is still speed, and I don't think Martz wants that to change.



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



    BnG:

    Next year's payroll

    At the risk of being stoned by the Herd, I'm slipping in a baseball
    question. Does the Walker trade almost guarantee that the Cards will not
    have the cash required to sign Matt Morris next year.


    RK:

    No. Walker effectively fills the Tino Martinez salary spot. So hopefully
    next year the Cardinals will get something out of that $6
    million...certainly more than they got in '04 from it.



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



    Rookie:

    Free agents available for the O&D lines?

    Any prize lineman that may be available for the Rams to pick up to help our
    Line situation? Defensive and offensive.


    RK:

    The free agent pool has been completely picked over. The Panthers are in
    crisis with the Adam Meadows retirement. If you want someone now, you have
    to wait until teams start making cuts.



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



    dc:

    Does the Cardinals success affect the Rams adversely

    Hey Randy:

    I figure I'll ask a different sort of question. As a life (45 years) long
    St. Louisan, I notice I am not quite as into the Rams this preseason as
    years past; Over the last 9 years, even over the playoff years and the Big
    Mac 70 HR year, I just didnt have as much interest in the Cards. Now I'm
    watching games on TV again and into the Cards.

    I also think the loss of Warner, somehow, has affected me (kinda like the
    Hull star value to the Blues) and that I will be disapointed IF Warner does
    well and Bulger does not.

    Long intro, I know. Here's the q. In St. Louis, a small market town, do you
    think the Cards success will negatively impact the Rams, particularly if
    they falter this year coupled with the Rams loss of their Marquis players in
    Warner and possibly soon Faulk?



    RK:

    Well, I think if people are paying attention to the Cards, they will pay
    less to the Rams. But folks have the ability to take in and focus on both. I
    know I'm excited about both. Now, if the Rams start 0-3 and the Cardinals
    are in the playoffs, then the borderline people will go to the Cards. But
    there's a real strong core of football fans in St. Louis, and they've still
    sold out every game.



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



    VanCanRampage:

    Please explain Martz & his play calling (run plays last...


    Please explain to the people Martz really wanted to run last year but he
    realized the personel wasn't there to call the smash mouth plays the fans
    cry for???Were we awful in short yardage and Martz knew it there for passed
    more in short yardage situations!!!

    My theory is the G's/C unit were not jellying together, as Andy was helping
    Dave W w/ the protection calls, and then the FB situation was awful and only
    improved slighty entering the playoffs...

    I predict Martz will be more balanced in his play calling, as I think he
    will be more comfortable w/ his personel this season do you agree???

    Thx Randy


    RK:

    In my opinion, if Martz has a choice of running or passing effectively,
    he'll pass every time. That's his history. You are right about the interior
    OL last season, but if they are performing well, Mike would love to throw
    the ball 35-40 times a game...regardless of the situation.



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



    VanCanRampage:

    Do you think Steve Fairchild will be calling the plays ...

    Do you think Martz will hand over the play calling to Steve this year??? How
    do you see this ending up???

    If Steve gets to call the plays can you give an idea to what to expect/look
    for???

    thx Randy


    RK:

    I think Fairchild will be heavily involved in implementing the game plan,
    but when it comes to Sunday, I don't think Martz will give that up. He is
    slowly giving more responsibility to Fairchild, but not the whole unit...not
    quite yet.



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



    VanCanRampage:

    Compare FB's/TE's Blocking wise last year to this year

    Will our short yardage unit be an upgrade this season???

    Last year Manu was confused, and the 2nd TE was a revolving door, will it be
    improved w/ Jensen or a slightly beefed up Cam Cleeland??
    Will be run alot of 2 TE packages??

    Re: FB will Goodspeed be improved this year due to just knowing the playbook
    better?? Is he a good blocker in general???

    Talk about the OL and the run blocking going into this season, will it be
    improved w/ Dishman/Randell/Tercero/King as starters???

    thx Randy


    RK:

    Martz said he wanted to run the ball better this season...not more, but
    better. Hopefully Manumaleuna will improve, but he really hasn't in two
    years. Cleeland is a receiver, not a blocker, and Jensen has been moved to
    FB. Goodspeed should be better, but he's not a very big guy...certainly not
    a Hodgins. You'd hope the run blocking will be better, but I think the line
    is going to be Pace, King or Tercero, McCollum, Timmerman and Williams. They
    do need better work from TE and FB in the blocking dept, but I personally
    don't think they've upgraded there over last year.



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



    chunkmeister:

    Future Leadership on Defense

    Who is the top candidate to lead the defensive squad into the future? This
    could be Aeneas' last year and Tyoka is getting long in the tooth. The Rams
    don't have a great history of drafting for leadership on defense, despite
    all the picks in the past few years (I'll give them Fletcher...but they let
    him get away).

    Will this be Archuleta's team?....Maybe Pisa?


    RK:

    You answered it yourself. Archuleta and Pisa are the guys on this defense
    that have the capacity to be leaders. I don't know Shivers, or if he has
    that ability. I don't see any of the DL becoming leaders, or either CB.



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



    Jedimach:

    What is the scoop on Turley?

    Is he really ignoring Rams team and management phone calls, etc.?


    RK:

    According to Martz, he's called Kyle four times without getting a return
    phone call. Kyle told us on KTRS the day before camp that he wanted to ease
    in to camp after the back surgery, then they had him on the field right
    away. Kyle has post-football plans, and doesn't want to be an invalid after
    he's done playing, so I can see where he might be upset about their getting
    him going right away. He's pretty scared about this injury.



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



    Team-Sport:

    Dusty McGrorty

    Will Dusty McGrorty make the opening day roster? He looks like he might be a
    maniac on special teams (his main ticket to make the roster), and with his
    low CG, possibly a tough runner to tackle - like a Stump Mitchell. Is he
    getting much of a look in camp?


    RK:

    McGroarty has been impressive, but he's got an uphill climb. They'll keep
    six receivers, plus the Faulk, Gordon (who will miss four weeks with knee
    surgery), Jackson, Harris and Goodspeed. There just isn't a roster spot for
    him.



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



    JackPMiller:

    Turley

    How much will Turley's injury effect this team? I mean do we have anyone in
    your mind that can step in right away and take over the right tackle slot?


    RK:

    Grant Williams should do fine there. They need Pace in camp...hopefully for
    two exhibition games...but that seems unlikely. Maybe later in the season
    Randall will be able to play RT, too.



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



    Roanokeram:

    question on backup DL

    Randy, Have any of the backup DL impressed? I think we will need Howard this
    year in the DL rotation.


    RK:

    I don't think Howard is going to make the team, unless it's on the practice
    squad. Holsey was good in his first two practices, and he'll likely make it.
    Little, Lewis, Pickett, Fisher, Jackson, Holsey, Moran, Hargrove. I think
    that's it on the DL, with Tyoka seeing lots of time at tackle.



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



    AlCrawford:

    A dumb question for ...

    being this early in training camp.

    But what is your biggest suprise so far? And what is your biggest
    disappointment?

    P.S. Keep these questions in mind and come back and answer them after the
    last preseason game then again at the end of the season. Might be an
    interesting comparison. Thanks for everything!


    RK:

    Al...no such thing as a dumb question...just a dumb person asking a
    question. (Just kidding) My biggest surprise(s) are Hargrove (didn't think
    he'd be ready to contribute) and Shivers (very impressive fifth rounder, at
    least in practice.) Biggest disappointments are Turley's injury and Pace
    letting his teammates down by holding out. Among guys in camp, probably
    Robert Thomas (invisible while I was there) and Flowers, who doesn't look
    like another Leonard Little to me.



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



    blockandtackle:

    Rams Coaching Changes

    Hello everyone at the Herd and thank you Randy for taking the time to answer
    my question.

    The Rams have one of the more expensive offensive lines in football and
    after the signing of Turley it was expected that the Oline would dominate
    the league. That didnt really happen last year which brought up the question
    of Hanifan's effectiveness, as well as that of John Matsko. There were also
    questions about accountability with the players themselves. There have
    always been questions about Hanifan developing more finesse, pass blocking
    lineman than physical, run blocking lineman.

    The Rams pick Steven Jackson(a power runner) with the first pick and now
    have to shuffle the OL deck a bit due to injuries.

    Can you tell us how John Matsko and John Benton will impact the offensive
    line and if you have observed any noticable differences (new attitudes,
    emphasis on fundamentals, emphasis on the run, coaching styles, etc.) since
    Hanifan's retirement?


    RK:

    Hanifan and Matsko were absolutely on the same page as far as coaching
    offensive linemen. Hanifan did coach great all-around lines with the
    Cardinals and Redskins, and Faulk ran for 1,300 yards a season from '99-'
    01.so someone must have been doing some good run blocking. I've never talked
    to anyone in the NFL who thought there was a better OL coach than Hanifan.
    Now that I've defended him, I'll tell you that these coaches are just trying
    to get guys up to speed. McCollum and Timmerman are the only guys that don't
    need integration into the system at their positions, so Matsko and Benton
    are really starting from square one with these guys. This will be a summer
    long process with people like Tercero at tackle, King a guard, Turner,
    Randall, Dishman and the other young OL. As mentioned above, I don't think
    Martz will request a change in emphasis.



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


    mjr007:

    Linebackers against the run.


    First of all, thanks for sharing your time with the HERD. It is greatly
    appreciated.

    My question stems from the recent injury to Kennedy.

    With the defensive tackle position being such a big question mark at this
    point, one of the many questions I have is, does our undersized starting
    linebacking corps of Polley, Tinoisamoa, and Thomas show signs of being
    better able to stop the run this year?

    Will the defensive front four be better able to disrupt the opponent
    offensive line enough for them to plug holes better?

    And could you please comment on your observations with regard to our backup
    linebackers' ability re: stopping the run?

    Who has impressed YOU most among them?

    Thanks again, Randy.


    RK:

    Not to duck the question, but that's something that I really have trouble
    judging before a game. There's no doubt the DT's have to do a better job of
    tying up offensive linemen this year, but in terms of getting to the ball
    and making the play, that's something I just can't tell you from practice. I
    did like what I saw of Faulk and Newson last week. Both were around the ball
    a lot vs. the Bears.



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



    Hram:

    RDE

    Have the Rams adequately replaced Wistrom with what they have available?
    Will they try to go with one player getting most of the snaps or will they
    platoon 2 or even 3?

    Thanks for your time.


    RK:

    Right now it looks like a platoon of Fisher, Moran and Hargrove. I expect to
    see lots of Hargrove in passing situations, and a rotation of the other two
    on first down and second and short.



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



    droopy:

    Cornerbacks

    I feel our cornerbacks are average. Don't you feel to get to the next step
    we need very good or a great set of cornerbacks?


    RK:

    I'd agree that these two were pretty average last year, but ascending. Keep
    in mind, it was the first full season starting for both Butler and Fisher.
    If they still plan to run "cover 2", most of the time, and get push from
    their front four, these corners will be fine. I've always thought it was
    foolish to pay for shutdown, man-to-man corners unless you were going to
    have them play man-to-man, like Philadelphia does. If you get one in the
    draft, great, but if you can win with less expensive guys playing a zone,
    you should spend your money elsewhere.


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


    NJRAM:

    Why so many ex-Cards

    A winning organization like the Rams are bringing in too many players who do
    not know how win. If the Cards are releasing these players be?Why not go
    after a good player like Kendall and not Dishman?


    RK:

    I haven't seen Kendall's contract, but he did get a multi-year deal from the
    Jets. Dishman signed a one year deal for the minimum. Aside from him, I
    guess Marmie has recommended a bunch of his former guys. I have the same
    concerns.you don't want to have to play your schedule AND the ex-Gridbird
    factor. One guy, like a Williams, Rice or Pittman would be OK. But, this is
    too many.



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


    ScRAM:

    Smoker.....

    Do you think Smoker is/could be our QB "of the future"? What exactly were
    the troubles he got into at school?


    RK:

    Cards-Cubs in the NLCS would be something, wouldn't it? I think Smoker has
    the chance to be a NFL QB, but Bulger is clearly the future with the Rams.
    Smoker ran into a substance abuse problem at Michigan State, but checked
    himself into rehab and by all accounts is a responsible citizen now.



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


    RFIP:

    A trade?

    Hi Randy!

    I've heard ESPN's John Clayton say; "although I have not heard of his
    availabilty, Rams RB Lamar Gordon is the ideal back for the Dolphins."

    Clayton went on to say how impressed he was with Lamar when he (Clayton)
    went to Rams camp, and what a great fit he'd be in South Florida.

    ANY word on IF such a trade is in the oftening?

    RK:

    Gordon will miss four weeks with his surgery. I haven't heard anything about
    such a possibility yet. It seems the Dolphins are waiting for some people to
    get cut before making a move. If Jackson has a great pre-season, a trade
    would seem logical. I would assume the Rams would ask for a number three
    pick, to start talks.



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

    CanadaRam:

    3rd WR...

    Is Martz keeping the #3 WR spot open, or is Looker a lock to start the
    season there?


    RK:

    It'll probably depend on the situation, but Looker and Curtis seem to be
    locks for the 3 and 4 roles. On 3rd and 5 with a three WR set, it would
    probably be Looker, but on 3rd and 15, probably Curtis. Curtis provides more
    explosiveness, Looker more experience and Proehl-like reliability (although
    Curtis has great hands, too)



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



    Sacram:

    Mark Bulger

    Thanks for taking our questions Randy....

    Assuming that the receiving corps remains healthy, unlike last year, and
    assuming that he gets decent protection (a big assumption, I know!) do you
    foresee Mark Bulger improving greatly this year? Can he take that next step
    to being a top 5-10 QB in this league?


    RK:

    I see no reason why not, although he'll probably suffer the same rap Warner
    got, that he's a system quarterback, if he does succeed. But if he gets
    protection, with this corps of receivers, and his accuracy, there's no
    reason to think he won't take the next step. He simply needs to avoid the
    turnovers that plagued him last year, but with a year of experience in the
    offense, he should be able to step up into that elite category.



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



    RamUK:

    Question on Jackson

    Randy, I have heard so many people talk about SJ like he is the new messiah
    that it worries me, because if he is not as good as we think/hope we are
    suddenly vulnerable at that position if Marshall goes down.

    How is he regarded by the Rams and also by others outside the organisation
    bearing in mind he slipped so much on draft day, and indeed, why was that?

    Cheers from England.

    RK:

    There were extenuating circumstances on draft day, because both Denver and
    Dallas had guys on their boards (Bell for Denver, Jones for Dallas) that
    they had rated close to the top RB's. Denver HAD to get a LB, and Dallas got
    a first rounder next year for their top pick, and still got their guy. We
    never know about running backs (Blair Thomas was #2 overall, KiJana Carter
    was #1 overall, Terrell Davis went in the sixth, Priest Holmes was a FA). I
    expect that unless Jackson is a superstar, the level of excellence at that
    position will decrease when Faulk is gone. But Jackson does look good so
    far, and hopefully they'll be able to get enough out of he and Gordon to
    stil have a good running game even when Faulk is gone or hurt.



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



    caboose:

    Marmie

    Hi Randy!

    Can you get a feel for how the players are responding to Marmie? How active
    a role does he take ... delegator or active involvement? How does his
    defensive philosophy compare to Lovie's? ... many here think Lovie was too
    passive in the big games.


    RK:

    Marmie is much less involved than Lovie was. He stands behind the play and
    watches, while the position coaches coach. Lovie was in there with all the
    players on most occasions. I thought Lovie did what he could with the unit.
    When it became clear last year that they needed to blitz, he did. He moved
    Archuleta up into the box two years ago, and that worked. Marmie will
    utilize a little more bulk and a little less speed up front from the DT's,
    but won't change the system that much. Obviously, Marmie hasn't been
    involved in any big games with the Cardinals, so we'll have to wait and see
    on that.



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



    HappyNoodleBoy:

    Current state of Pace negotiations?

    Randy, it's been some time since we've heard any reports of Zygmunt and
    Poston having any interaction with each other. Is there any activity going
    on between the two, or are both camps waiting for the other to make the next
    move?

    RK:

    There can be no negotiations until Pace signs that tender, otherwise, if a
    long term deal is reached, the Rams will have to give up their franchise
    tage for the length of the contract. So, there won't be any negotiations
    until Pace signs the one year tender for $7 million.



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



    NewMexicoRam:

    Defense

    Randy,
    Thanks for taking your time to take some questions.

    Where is the defense headed this year? I am hearing some pretty good reports
    out of camp that all 3 levels (line, LB, and backs) are really looking good
    and stepping it up.

    Will we see a top 5 defense this year that is capable of taking this team a
    long way? Are players comfortable with the new DC?


    RK:

    The physical talent is there for this group to be very good...but they'll
    need to get amazing advances from Lewis and another DT to be great. Polley
    and Pisa have had good camps, the safeties are going to be fine. The
    starting CB's have been hurt, but we know they can be OK with a good pass
    rush. Everything hinges defensively on the DL, and especially the three guys
    to the right of Little.



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



    Rubber Soul:

    Offensive Line

    How do you think the backup offensive linemen will perform if Kyle Turley
    and Dave Wohlabaugh are unavailable?

    RK:

    I'm comfortable with Williams at RT. I don't like the idea of Tercero out
    there, or Randall right now. Randall needs to get in shape. I'm OK with King
    at LG. If they have to play the likes of Noll, Morgan or Jeremy
    Phillips...they're in trouble.



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



    rams124:

    Front Office

    Randy,
    Thanks for taking the time to chat with the Herd.

    How would you describe the current chemistry between Coach Martz, Charlie
    Armey and Jay Zygmunt?

    Each of them plays an intgral role in the success of the organization and I
    know there were some "rumblings" during the off-season regarding their
    relationships. What is the story now?

    In addition, what is the latest on John Shaw? He has been awfully quiet
    since the draft. Is he still playing the prominant role he once played when
    the team moved to St. Louis?


    RK:

    Everyone seems to get along fine. There wasn't any backbiting or sniping
    last week when I was there. Shaw is in L.A., taking it easy, but I
    understand he'll spend much of the season in St. Louis again.



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



    PhillyRam:

    Question on Martz

    First let me say that I don't have a lot of questions because I feel KTRS
    and the posters on this forum keep us all pretty much informed on Ram
    happenings.

    So I will ask you a general question or two.

    What do you say to those that feel Martz is a terrible head coach and should
    not be the Rams head coach. Where would you rank generally rank him among
    todays NFL head coaches? Top 10, top 5, bottom 10 etc...

    And do you blame Martz for Warner now being a Giant and for having lost his
    effectivness these last few years? I know you have allways squarely been in
    his corner so I want your take on a subject that haunts these boards.


    RK:

    Philly...I know you listen all the time...thanks for that, I appreciate it.

    Martz has more regular season wins than any other head coach in the last
    four years, and has a higher winning pct. than anyone except Joe Gibbs among
    active coaches. Based on that, I'd have to put him in my top ten. There are
    quirks, to be sure, but I'd rather have Martz than Erickson, Dennis Green
    and Holmgren in our division. He's a very astute judge of talent, as this
    roster proves. And if you don't like the talent, you have to give Martz even
    more coaching credit.


    He also coaches a brand of football that I prefer. I'm not a big advocate of
    the Wannstedt/Parcells/Schottenheimer approach of playing it safe to be
    close until the fourth quarter. I like an agressive, passing approach.

    The Warner-Rams relationship ended in divorce. There's blame to be cast on
    both sides. Ultimately, when Martz benched Warner after the Giants game last
    year, he ended Warner's stay in St. Louis. But Kurt didn't help things with
    his interviews in Houston or Indy. So yes, I'd have to say Martz is
    responsible for Warner not being a Ram. I'd say John St. Clair had more to
    do with his ineffectiveness than Martz did, though...and as it turns out,
    the Rams needed that Warner cap space to sign Holsey and the extra offensive
    linemen in camp.



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



    dmoff206:

    Running Back Questions......

    Hey Randy,

    A couple of questions on the Running Backs

    1.) Will the Rams keep all four and if so what will be the roles of Gordon,
    Jackson and Harris ?

    2.) With this many RBs on the team, what exactly will be the role of the FB
    and will the starter be Joey Goodspeed ?

    Thanks for stopping by and please don't be a stranger. You are welcome here
    24/7!!

    Again, Thanks


    RK:

    Jackson is going to be number two right now, until Gordon is healthy again.
    Harris is number three. I think they'll keep five, just like last year, with
    Jackson filling Nead's roster spot. Faulk, Jackson, Gordon, Harris and
    Goodspeed.



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



    whowadat:

    question for Randy Karraker

    Hello from the blue grass state! My question is how is the relationship
    between the front office and Mike Martz, and is there any talk of this being
    a make or break year for Mad Mike? Thanks for your time.

    RK:

    It's only training camp, but everything I understand is that the front
    office is running smoothly right now.

    I think it would take a complete collapse for Martz not to be back in '05. A
    bad year for the team and Bulger, and a great year for Warner MIGHT have an
    effect...but the loss of Turley gives Mike a mulligan, as does his previous
    record.


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


    LMU93:

    young surprises?

    Randy,

    Which rookies and or 2nd year players do you think are making the most
    progress and will make the greatest contributions this season?

    Many thanks,


    RK:

    Among rookies, Hargrove and Shivers.

    Second year guys, Garrett and Groce (as a CB and PR), Kevin Curtis, Shaun
    McDonald (also as a PR) and Scott Tercero. Last year's draft, after Kennedy,
    may wind up being pretty good.

Related Topics

Collapse

  • RamWraith
    Inside Slant
    by RamWraith
    When training camp opened, the biggest question facing the Rams was how they would get through training camp with an unsettled situation on the offensive line, given the unknown status of tackles Kyle Turley and Orlando Pace and center Dave Wohlabaugh.

    Turley was recovering from offseason back surgery, while Wohlabaugh had surgery on his hip in the offseason. The Rams knew Pace would likely not be in camp as the team's unsigned franchise player, so how the line would be deployed because of the Turley and Wohlabaugh injuries was an issue.

    It turned out to be even bigger than expected when Wohlabaugh never made it onto the field and was released and Turley aggravated his back during the first few days of camp. Turley was placed on injured reserve in the cutdown to 65 players.

    Those factors resulted in frequent shuffling on the line in camp. Andy King began as the left guard, but lost that job after the first exhibition game and was replaced by Chris Dishman. Dishman had decided to retire before coach Mike Martz convinced him to sign, and he reported at 375 pounds.

    Grant Williams, who would be the right tackle as Turley's replacement, was forced to play on the left side throughout most of camp because of Pace's absence. Scott Tercero got a lot of work at tackle, even though most in the organization believe his best position is guard. Greg Randall, who was with the Texans last season, was signed when it became apparent Turley wouldn't be available.

    Guard Tom Nutten, who played for the Rams during their Super Bowl seasons, but left for the Jets last year and then retired, was brought back a few days before the third exhibition game against Washington and injured his toe on his second play.

    That's the type of summer it's been for a team that has deep offensive talent, but knows it could go for naught if the line doesn't come together.

    Complicating things even more was Pace's decision to stay away for the entire preseason. Last year, as the franchise player, he reported and signed 12 days before the season opener and was able to play in the exhibition finale.

    Not this time. Pace remained unsigned when the Rams played the Raiders Sept. 2, and for the first time, Martz voiced frustration with the situation.

    Asked about Pace not being with the team, Martz said, "To be honest with you I don't think about it. This is our football team right now, I would just assume he's not coming in. That's his decision, and we're moving on.

    "You can't let one player, no matter how good he is, or how good of a person he is, hold a team hostage waiting for him to come in. We have to move on, and get ready for Sept. 12th."

    For line coach John Matsko, he has to get this group ready.

    "Each year's different," Matsko said. "The challenge this year was to bring a bunch of guys...
    -09-02-2004, 12:34 PM
  • AvengerRam_old
    Warner's absence not on Rams' list of problems
    by AvengerRam_old
    The Rams have a lot of problems that will need to be quickly addressed:

    1. The offensive line must be solidified. Pace needs to be signed and the team needs to decide who is going to start at LG and RT from the group of Dishman, King, Tercero and Williams. Even with Wohlobaugh and Turley out, once Pace returns there will be enough talented individuals on the roster. But none of that will matter until a UNIT is selected and allowed to come together.

    2. The defensive line needs to play better. From what I saw last night, Flowers will not make it as an every down DE. He just can't hold up on the run against OTs. Fisher was a little better, as was Hargrove. Toyoka Jackson should get more playing time, and possibly even start.

    3. Fisher's injury must be addressed. In all likelihood, that will mean Garrett starting at CB. He has great speed and had some good plays last night. But he'll need help, and Groce needs to get healthy and contribute.

    4. Martz needs to make a decision on the WRs. From what I've seen, McDonald and Curtis are ready to contribute, and should get some playing time over Furrey and Looker.

    5. Bulger needs to be more decisive. There's no doubt he can carve up a defense when he has time to throw, but when he doesn't, he must do a better job of improvising, even if that simply means launching the ball out of bounds.

    Kurt Warner does not appear on this list and never will. Kurt would not help with problems 1 through 4, and from what I've seen in the Giants preseason games, there's no reason to presume that he would solve problem #5 if he were still here.

    If Warner fanatics want to blame every problem the Rams have on Warner's absence, that's their choice. That choice has nothing whatsoever to do with reality, though.
    -08-24-2004, 07:00 AM
  • AvengerRam_old
    In hindsight, the top and bottom 5 moves of last offseason.
    by AvengerRam_old
    Now that we have the ability to look back and evaluate, here are my top and bottom 5 offseason moves of 2004.

    Top 5 Moves

    1. Drafting Steven Jackson: While he has been underused and hindered by a minor knee injury, he has demonstrated the promise of being an extremely effective every down back. With Faulk on the decline, this was a big move for the long term.

    2. Matching Jeremetrius Butler's Offer Sheet: JB may not be a first-tier shutdown corner, but he is a solid starter who has played well this year, leading the team in interceptions. By matching the Redskins offer sheet, the Rams have secured his services for a very reasonable price, and don't have to break in a new starting CB as a primary aspect of their defensive rebuilding project.

    3. Drafting Anthony Hargrove: On draft day, his selection drew many cries of "what?" and "who?" but Hargrove has demonstrated some real potential as a DE, and plays with a fire that the Rams' D sorely needs. He may never be a superstar, but he should be an important contributer and potential starter for the next several years.

    4. "Handling" Orlando Pace: There is a bit of speculation on my part here, but I believe that the Rams, in not giving in to the Postons' absurd contract demands and, ultimately, driving a wedge between Pace and the Postons, could produce long term dividends if Pace is signed to a long-term, cap friendly contract this offseason. Here's hoping.

    5. Letting Grant Wistrom Go: I like Grant Wistrom. He was a very good player, and an even better influence, during his tenure with the Rams. He has done similar things when he's been able to play this year for the Seahawks. But he simply is not worth the money that it would have taken to keep him. If the Rams had broken the bank for him, it would have been salary cap suicide. And with the productivity of Bryce Fisher and Anthony Hargrove, the loss of Wistrom could hardly be considered the primary reason for the Rams' defensive troubles.

    Bottom 5 Moves

    1. Resigning Manumaleuna/Cleeland: This is a simple equation. The Rams have had trouble in the Red Zone in the past two years. The TE position is essential to Red Zone success, both from a blocking and receiving standpoint. Manumaleuna and Cleeland have been uneffective in these regards since they joined the Rams. And yet, the Rams matched on Manumaleuna (giving up a comp pick) and resigned Cleeland. Let's hope the Rams find an upgrade at TE this offseason. With the success of Antonio Gates, maybe they should start interviewing college power forwards?

    2. Selecting Larry Marmie as DC: Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that I know enough about the ins and outs of NFL teams to be able to say that Marmie is definitely to blame for the Rams defensive woes. However, I do see an inherent problem with Martz hiring such a close friend...
    -12-31-2004, 09:33 AM
  • Guest's Avatar
    2 Questions for every Rams fan. (Yes this means you)
    by Guest
    Are you satisfied? Moreover is what the Rams accomplished this season enough for you to feel good about this season and the future of the franchise? When answering I think it is important that you block out the past failures and under achievements of the Rams under this regime otherwise your view of the Rams present and future may be clouded. Only you can decipher this.

    I am one that has trouble letting go of the past waste however what is done can not be changed and right now I think I would be a fool if I wanted a change at head coach. I think it would be a reaction to the past while ignoring the present. Furthermore Mike Martz was right when he said this team would come around. An article in the post dispatch alluded to Martz standing in disbelief because the press and the fans could not see this. Well I sure as hell didnít see what Martz saw and I think I can say he was right and I was wrong. Sure the score is still RamTime plenty and Martz 1 however that 1 right now is all that matters. I have always maintained that you have to hold Martzís feet to the fire to achieve success but that has also changed. Just as I have lambasted Martz for his past decisions, I have to give props where they are due.

    In sum: If the Rams fail in Atlanta then all we have proven is we can beat up on the teams in our division which as you know is considered the embarrassment of the league however I will feel good about our teams future and just slightly less then satisfied about the present which is a far cry from how I have felt over the past 4 years.

    So I would really like to hear your thoughts regarding these two questions. Please make them your own thoughts and do not be persuaded by others or popular opinion. Remember the fans are usually right.

    Question 1. Are you satisfied with the present?
    Question 2. Do you feel confident about the near future?
    -01-09-2005, 07:39 PM
  • Nick
    What is the single most important factor to the Rams' success this season?
    by Nick
    I believe it's the running game. The Rams had one of the worst running offenses in the league last year, and I think it hindered what this offense was able to do. I believe that if the Rams reestablish themselves as a team that can not only dominate through the air but also run the ball effectively with both Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson, then this team will go deep into the playoffs.

    What are your thoughts?
    -08-23-2004, 01:44 AM
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