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Nick's Mailbag - Sept. 15

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  • Nick's Mailbag - Sept. 15

    Nick's Mailbag - September 15


    Jacob DeWilde

    Hey Nick, got a few questions regarding the reactions to Sunday's game against the Seahawks.
    1. I saw Steven Jackson get very defensive when asked a question by a reporter in the locker room after the game. I really liked how he defended his teammates. Do you have any idea what he was asked to help me understand the reaction?
    2. What was the mindset of the players and coaches after the loss? Were they dejected by their performance enough to put extra fire in them leading into the rest of the season?

    NW: I was standing there when Jackson was doing his interviews. I donít think defensive is the right word. He was asked about the ďchippinessĒ of the game. In acknowledging that it was chippy, he was simply trying to make the point that football is a chippy game and thereís a lot that goes on in every play. He was happy with how his teammates stuck up for themselves and each other.

    I think the players were upset with the loss but in all honesty, I donít think they were dejected. It seemed they knew exactly where they went wrong and they were all extremely confident that the issues could be corrected this week.

    Eugene Bard

    Is Incognito still gonna be the starting right guard after the two fouls he made Sunday?

    NW: According to Spagnuolo, the answer is yes.

    Robert Straley

    Nick:

    I was not able to see a replay of one particular play at Seattle. It was the play in which Fells catches a second down pass; to me his forward momentum went past (at least 2 feet) the first down marker. But the official put the ball a good yard behind the marker. With the spot it made third down and one, then the rams got a penalty, then did not make the conversion so that's when Josh misses the field goal. My question is simple could you please look at the reply to see if I was correct! If I was correct I think this was very much the turning point for the rams, if the coaches up stairs would have seen this, then possibly there would have been a different out come. Just like Seattle's coaches seeing 12 men on the field!!! If I am wrong then I apologize for seeing something that was not there!

    NW: Not to make any excuses, but there were a number of curious spots in Sundayís game, including the one you mention. I remember that play live thinking he was well past the marker and didnít get the spot. Granted, I was sitting at an angle in the press box but thatís how it looked. The most egregious one I saw came late in the game when a Seattle defender jumped offsides and clearly made contact with right guard Richie Incognito. That should have been an encroachment penalty but the defender jumped back onsides and the flag never came. Again, none of it was really major stuff but just some little things that were a bit curious.

    Bob Meyer

    Saw some really disappointing things, but also some good things Sunday against the Seahawks. The early takeaways, had they been turned into points, could have quieted the crowd, given the Rams some confidence and the game could have been totally different. But I also did not see a team rolling over and playing dead like last season. I saw a team that has some growing to do, but has potential. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and watching this team grow!

    NW: Thatís probably the best approach to take. Itís important for everyone to remember this is going to be a process. Itís not going to happen overnight and thereís a lot that still needs to happen. And you hit the nail on the head. If not for penalties in the first half, the Rams probably at least get some points, quiet the crowd and settle in. It could have been a different game but those mistakes were killers.

    Anthony Ortega

    Hey Nick, thanks for all the updates.

    After Laurinaitis performance in Week 1 do you think the rams finally found that good middle linebacker?

    I mean he was a tackling machine; he looked like a young version of Brian Urlacher!

    NW: He certainly made a strong first impression. On the coachís review of tape, he had 14 tackles (nine solo), a fumble forced and a fumble recovery. Thatís a nice first day but he was the first to admit also that he has some work to do in coverage. Like the rest of the team, heíll improve as the weeks go by but definitely a lot to be happy about in terms of his first outing.

    Don Riley

    Hi Nick, I still believe in Spags, one game is nothing in my opinion. There were many bright spots in the game. I'm looking for marked improvement in this team by season's end. The Schedule if you look at it is very tough.

    My question is what do you think we should realistically be looking for in the next two or three games that would show marked improvement? I for "one"... am with this coach, I believe in him and thing absolutely the Rams will be a winning team before he's done.

    NW: Nice to hear a voice of reason in the wilderness, Don. To answer your question, itís really about getting back to basics. The most obvious thing is cutting back on the penalties. Offensively, the Rams were in some very difficult spots because of those and had trouble converting third downs. Some areas to monitor to see progress: less penalties, a better third down conversion rate (and more manageable third down situations), more rushing attempts (Jackson didnít get as many touches as the Rams would like because they fell behind so far and had to pass) and an improved pass rush. If the turnovers continue to come for the defense and the offense continues to take care of the ball, the Rams will be in plenty of games this year.

    Frank Jabido

    Hi Nick,
    The killer "Too many men on the field" penalty was the game changer! What happened there? Who was the extra man? Did someone line up and they weren't supposed to?? How could that happen?

    NW: Well, what happened is the Rams had an extra man on the field. Defensive end C.J. Ah You, who blocked the kick, took the blame in the locker room after the game saying he was not supposed to be out there. The crazy thing is that nobody noticed. Not the officials, not the Rams, not the Seahawks. Thereís one person in the review booth who in the final two minutes has the sole responsibility of counting the players on the field. He was the first to notice on the replay.

    Ji Cottrill

    Hi Nick! Ji from Australia again.

    Just wanted to say I am quite excited to see David Vobora has been picked as a starter. Since he got picked last year I have made him a favorite (besides Little, my favorite since he was drafted!) and believed once he added size he would be a perfect fit for Outside linebacker, he has brains (I hear he scored quite high on the IQ testing they do for the draft), and probably best of all, he has that up the guts and full of smoke attitude that he carried in college, a born tackling machine! Unfortunately they aren't broadcasting the game down here, but I will be looking forward to hearing a report that he has exceeded some people's expectations. Kudos go to Spagnuolo for allowing the young ones to have a shot. Go Rams!

    NW: Vobora had a nice opening week, coming up with eight tackles. Much like Laurinaitis, he admits he has some work to do in coverage but he acquitted himself pretty well overall.

    Roger Schutt

    Nick, you recently stated you don't feel 2010 will be an uncapped year in the NFL. I sure hope you're correct! I'm guessing MOST NFL Fans love the parity derived from the salary cap. What's your thinking, please?

    NW: Simply put, I just canít imagine a scenario in which the owners would allow it to happen. Think about the repercussions of that. Once the players and their agents got a taste of the money available in an uncapped situation, itís hard to imagine they would ever want to go back. Beyond that, the owners also know that the beauty of the NFL is the parity. It would water down the product if there were teams (like Dallas, Washington, etc) who could spend as much as they want and smaller market teams coming nowhere close. Then you get into a baseball like situation where you have a few teams running the show and others with little chance to compete. I just donít see it happening.

    Jamir Jenkins

    Nick thanks for keeping us fans sane with all the insightful information you provide us with. My question is sort of in the form of questions I've seen you answer maybe 100 times. My question involves Bobby Wade. In the past week or so rumors have been speculating that the rams would pick up Hank Baskett or Reggie Brown if either of the two were released from Philadelphia. I can understand the reasons why, being that Pat Shurmur is an Andy Reid disciple. What I want to know though is, by Brad Childress also being a Reid disciple, would Wade make sense to pursue? If so, what do you see or know about him that would be an upgrade or POSITIVE addition to what we already have. And of the three, who makes the most sense signing.

    NW: Wade signed with Kansas City.

    Alan Gibson

    First off, with the release of Chris Draft, I just wanted to wish him the best of luck and hope he can catch on somewhere to finish his career with the same class he has had throughout it. A true class act in times when the NFL has a lot of players creating high-profile black eyes, it's too bad the classier guys don't generate the same media attention.
    My question regards Jason Smith. Is there any concern about his switch to Right Tackle affecting his future as a franchise left tackle? I recall the Rams originally brought in Barron under the same pretense, and the conversion didn't take well for him. I would hate to see Smith's development hindered by switching sides and techniques, when the clear long term goal is for him to protect the QB's blind side for the next decade. Is Smith taking any practice reps on the left side?

    NW: Indeed, Smith is regularly working reps on both sides. Spagnuolo values versatility and thereís no doubt that Smith is developing that. I wouldnít worry much about Smithís development. The kid gets it and he knows how to work. Heíll be fine wherever he plays for the next decade or so.

    Tyler Duff

    Is there any chance of the rams picking up WR Marvin Harrison? I know he is old and canít really play anymore but I think he can be used as a good teacher for our young WR's. What do you Think Nick?

    NW: One last time, all together now, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. If the Rams wanted a teacher for their receivers as Billy Devaney says, theyíd hire Art Monk.

    Anthony Natarelli

    What kind of relationship do you see Avery and Robinson making on the field, do you think they will work as well together as the young Holt and Bruce did?

    NW: Thatís lofty territory youíre talking about with those two. Robinson and Avery are trying to create their own thing and they have plenty of work to do to get on that level. The pair is extremely talented, though.

    Thatís all for this week. Thanks for the questions.


    ---

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Nick's Mailbag: May 27
    by r8rh8rmike
    Nick's Mailbag: May 27
    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Reason Warehime

    Nick,

    Ya Know I respect and value your opinion youíre the best at what you do but look, we understand the point of view of how Pisa didn't go with Spags system. What bothers a lot of fans is that why even not a late round trade even if not a 2010 6-7th rounder. Look at what K.C. was able to do last year. It's not like both Torry and Pisa won't be on a roster next year. Pisa had value, please for the sake of the fans weíre owed an explanation for giving away a talent like Pisa can you at least clear this up for us? PLEASE!

    NW: Take heart, my friend, anytime a move like this is made; it is done with careful consideration. That means anytime a player is released, especially one of note such as Pisa, there is always an attempt made to get something of value for him. Itís important to remember, though, that it takes two teams to make a trade. Itís easy to think you should have received a draft pick or a player in exchange for a released guy but itís not as simple to make it happen. The other thing to remember is that when you make a guy available for trade in a situation such as Pisaís, itís then known that you probably will release him if you canít find a deal. The key in Tinoisamoaís situation is simply this: he made a lot of money for a guy that not many teams consider a starter anymore. When he does sign with his next team, he wonít get as much money as he would have made here or as much as if a team had traded for him.

    Brian H.

    Hey Nick Hope you can help. Two of us Nor Cal rams fan are planning on buying tickets to the Jan. 3rd home game vs. the Niners. Any seating preferences or hotel advice would be greatly appreciated. I know youíre not the visitor center but you always have the best and up to date info. You can give my email out if you have any advice givers. Thank you, were looking forward to our first home game since Anaheim. Brian

    NW: I donít have any specific seating recommendations (because I sit in the upper reaches in the press box for game) but you can call the ticket office at (314) 425-8830 or (800) 246-7267 and discuss ticketing options and one of the excellent ticket reps down there can help you out. Also, right here on the site, you can scan and view the seating chart and pricing to have an idea of what you might want to do when the time comes to buy single game tickets. As for hotels, there are plenty in the area but I'm a fan of the Hilton downtown, just a few blocks from the Edward Jones Dome.

    Lloyd Porter

    Hey Nick, I love the way you answer questions on here even though you essentially answer the same questions over and over. My question is, I know the team needs a young DE but is the team interested in Jarvis Moss from Denver or Tamba Hali from KC since they were on the trading block and in danger of being cut? Spags would...
    -05-28-2009, 05:31 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Nick's Mailbag - October 13
    by r8rh8rmike
    Nick's Mailbag - October 13
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009


    Lyndell Holmes

    Nick, thanks for all the info. My question this week is kind of disheartening. With the team as bad it is how do we expect to get better? We can draft high and get the best young players available but do we expect them to stay when they become free agents. I don't. The Rams can't expect to get the top free agents because players may want a big payday but they also want to win.
    One last question, why not start the rookie at QB? Neither vet can get the offense moving and he could use the work. What are your thoughts?

    NW: The Rams have already showed a more willing approach to keep accomplished young players and I would expect that to continue.

    As GM Billy Devaney said his chat last week, the Rams like Nullís potential but heís nowhere close to being ready to contribute at this point.

    Jimmy Christensen

    Do you think it would be worth while trying to get Vince Young from the Titans seeing as he is not playing for them? Or would they not want to trade him?

    NW: Young is likely to be back in the starting lineup for the Titans this week and I donít think thereíd be much interest anyway. He has to re-prove himself to Tennessee.

    Jonathan Joseph

    John Clayton of ESPN fame is reporting that the Rams are in preliminary talks with three teams concerning the possibility of trading Steven Jackson. The three teams are Dallas, San Francisco, and Miami. Billy is asking for two #1's, a #2, #3 and a second round quality WR or two #1's, a #2, and two #3's for Jackson. Clayton reported that San Francisco has offered Michael Crabtree, #2 and #3 in the 2010 draft and a #1 in the 2011 draft but Billy is holding out to entertain Dallas and Miami offers because he does not want the Rams to have to face Steven Jackson twice a year. There was no mention of what Dallas or Miami are offering but John stated that the packages would be something similar in mostly draft picks. How true is this Nick? Is it just a rumor?

    NW: To my knowledge, that is completely false and ridiculous. Salary cap issues alone make it implausible and remind me again where the need for a high-salaried running back is on teams that already have the running backs those teams have? I have my doubts that was ever reported by someone as plugged in as Clayton. Sounds like an internet rumor to me.

    Tyler Byers

    Hey Nick,

    I understand all the frustration surrounding the Rams season so far, and the pains that come with a franchise rebuilding. I just wanted to say I have faith in the Rams and the staff they have in place to turn things around for the future. I do have a quick question:

    Marshall Faulk was one of the most intelligent football players on the field, and knew the responsibility of every person on the field....
    -10-15-2009, 11:44 AM
  • larams1980
    Nickís Mailbag Ė June 24, 2009
    by larams1980
    Mike Dembow
    Dear Nick, Thank you for all your hard work and dedication you put in every day to bring us DIEHARD ram fans up to date. My question will be asked a lot I am sure. How interested do you think the rams will be in Brandon Marshall? He is very young, but also had some off the field problems. I know coach Spags is high on character, but adding a young budding superstar at receiver can't hurt. Thank you.
    NW: Answered this last week but itís almost certainly not going to happen. The Broncos probably wonít trade Marshall, first of all. After what happened with Cutler, theyíd be insane to continue to just cave to the demands of any player that gets his feelings hurt or wants a trade on a whim. Thatís just from their standpoint. For the Rams, it isnít likely for a lot of reasons, including what theyíd have to give up to get him both financially and in trade and the many, many characters issues that he has.
    As an aside, let me just point something out in regard to the numerous questions I get all the time about trading for that weekís flavor of the week at wide receiver. The names that are presented here are names like Marshall, Braylon Edwards, Anquan Boldin, etc. Well, I donít know if anyone has noticed, but those guys havenít been traded at all and they really havenít even been that close to being traded. So the Rams arenít the only ones not going after these guys so hard. The reasons in each case might be a little different but hereís one that applies across the board: Roy Williams. The Cowboys gave up a ton in terms of compensation and cash to get him from Detroit. The guys mentioned above are as good or better players than Williams so why would their current teams part with them for less than the Lions got for Williams?
    Gary Schneider
    First, thanks a lot, your mailbag is really a cool part of this website. Two simple questions, whatís going on with our 2006 1st round draft choice, Tye Hill? I've heard nothing about how he's been doing in the mini-camps and OTAs. Also, same question about James Hall?
    NW: Iíve written quite a bit about Hill this offseason but hereís what weíve got at this point. He has pretty much recovered from his knee injury. He had a cyst on his knee he had removed and moved around much better after that. He looked pretty good on the practice field and got almost all of the repetitions with the first team defense. That said and heíd be the first to tell you this if you asked him, he knows he needs to prove himself when the lights come on. This is an important training camp and season for him. Steve Spagnuolo has pulled a lot out of some defensive backs with potential in the past, though. Look what he did for Corey Webster in New York last season.
    James Hall looks the same as always. Heís a consistent player that is going to give you maximum effort every play. He might not be an every down guy but he was maybe the teamís most consistent pass rusher in 2008 and I would think in...
    -06-25-2009, 10:15 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Nick's Mailbag - June 10
    by r8rh8rmike
    Nick's Mailbag: June 10
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Pedro Canjura

    How does ďAnimal Jr.Ē look to you? Will he be ready to start from day 1? If you had to compare him to another MLB in the NFL today, who would it be? Tatupu?

    NW: Havenít had a chance to see him with the pads on but best I can tell so far, heís everything heís been advertised. He has outstanding instincts and seems to be around the ball a lot. Thereís a good chance he will be the opening day starter in the middle. Interesting question on the comparison but if forced to compare him; Iíd say heís a bigger version of Zach Thomas. He has those type of read and react skills but heís not a terrific athlete or a huge hitter. He just finds the ball and makes the tackle.

    Mark Mercurio

    Is there any chance the Rams have interest in linebacker Brock Christopher from Mizzou who just got dropped by the Falcons.

    NW: Suppose itís a possibility as the Rams are always looking to add to the roster but I havenít heard his name mentioned. He had a nice career for the Tigers; just not sure heíd be an upgrade over what is already on the roster.

    Marvin Williams

    Hi nick, Iíve been a ram fan for over 30 years. I am wondering do you think the ram defense will be aggressive and get after the QBs or will they play conservative style of defense?

    NW: I can answer this with absolute certainty. This defense will be nowhere close to conservative unless the situation absolutely dictates it (preseason, big lead, etc.). Steve Spagnuoloís defenses in New York were always extremely aggressive and he believes in getting after the quarterback and putting the press on with his corners on the outside. This defense has other parts to it but thereís little doubt that it will be an aggressive scheme.

    JM Black

    Hey Nick, I have seen the plan of Spag's and BD come into play in our free agent pick up's and our draft! Get bigger, stronger, faster, younger and more athletic on both sides of the ball! Use the running game to keep the defense off the field and the defense can attack with a purpose to help keep the offense churning the ball! I think there is plenty of potential to turn the losses of the past into wins for the future!

    We have probably the best punter/kicker combo in all of football! How do we turn around the poor play we have received from our special teams over the last five or more years? How does the new wedge rule help or hurt our return or coverage units? There is no way we can keep giving up the huge returns we have in the past and expect to compete! We need to also be able to establish great field position from the return teams to take pressure off the offense. Who are some of the players you see as special teams standouts? ~JMB

    NW: The special teams showed signs of improvement last year and were consistently better in...
    -06-11-2009, 12:34 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Nick's Mailbag - July 8
    by r8rh8rmike
    Nickís Mailbag Ė July 8, 2009

    B.K.

    Nick, one simple question for ya, what are the chances of Ian Campbell making the team, and if so, any possible playing time and Special teams or D-Line??

    NW: It would seem there is an opportunity for a defensive lineman to potentially squeeze his way on to the roster. Havenít seen enough of these guys to know who could emerge but if you figure the team keeps eight defensive linemen, you have Leonard Little, Chris Long, Victor Adeyanju, James Hall, Adam Carriker, Clifton Ryan and Darrell Scott seemingly in the best position to land on the roster. That would leave an opening for another end like Campbell or possibly a tackle like Gary Gibson or Orien Harris. Regardless, Spagnuolo likes his players to be versatile so the guy that emerges there will likely need to be able to contribute inside and out as well as on special teams.

    Miguel Iniguez

    Hopefully you can answer one of my questions Nick. I read a story on the internet that stated the Rams are looking into playing some games with throwback jerseys. Is that true? And if so when? Also which colors will they be the blue and white? Or the Blue and yellow?

    NW: Indeed, the Rams will be wearing the blue and gold throwbacks to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Super Bowl championship team. The games have not yet been determined but apparently, it will happen on three occasions this year. Iíll be sure to get the information out there when that determination is made.

    Dennis Quijadas

    Hey Nick. First off I want to thank you for the great insight for all us RAMS Fans. I see that Billy D. has finally brought over Renardo Foster from Atlanta. How does he pan out for the Rams? Is he just a big back up or a possible replacement if they can't sign Alex Barron at the end of the year? Saying that, would Alex Barron most likely be tagged after the season?

    NW: I havenít seen Foster play in person but I met him when he was here recently and I do know heís a large man. Because he has some experience and has been in the league, one would think he has a legitimate shot to stick on the roster and provide some depth at tackle but without having seen him, itís hard to make that determination right now. If nothing else, heíll provide some depth and competition at the spot. As for Barron, the approach is to wait and see how he performs when the lights come on this year before anything is decided on his future. This is a big year for him.

    Jeff Jordan

    I recently discovered "Nick's Mailbag" and really appreciate the info. Thanks. I am a transplanted Rams fan living in the Bay Area of California and all I hear is ***** this and ***** that. And no, nobody here really cares about the Raiders. Or at least believes in them. What in your opinion is the area of improvement most needed that will put the Rams back above the *****...
    -07-09-2009, 02:06 PM
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