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  • Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

    Veterans need not apply at Rams Park

    Columnist Jeff Gordon
    09/23/2009


    The Derek Stanley Project was well into its third year at Rams Park, offering great promise but generally thin results.

    That ended abruptly Tuesday. First-year coach Steve Spagnuolo’s patience with the Division III speedster officially expired.

    The 0-2 Rams have gotten nothing from their return game. Their depth at wide receiver is underwhelming, too.

    So Stanley got clipped and former Texas Tech star Danny Amendola came aboard, arriving from the Eagles practice squad. During his days with the Red Raiders, he earned All-Big 12 honors as a return specialist and had a 103-catch season.

    Starting Sunday, Amendola, 23, will get an opportunity to earn the kickoff and punt return job here.

    Such is life in a rebuilding program. The Rams have lost 29 of their last 34 games, so change will remain constant and thorough until the losing stops and the winning begins.

    Stanley did nothing with his opportunity to return kicks. Samkon Gado and Kenneth Darby weren’t great on kickoff returns. Poor offensive field position has been just one more problem keeping the Rams down this season.

    Fans see these shortcomings and clamor for veteran additions. For instance, one persistent participant in the STLtoday.com chats practically begged the Rams to trade for Bills receiver/return specialist Roscoe Parrish.

    Others have campaigned for Marvin Harrison. (So far, anyway, your cyber-correspondent hasn’t heard from anybody backing yesteryear NFL quarterback Jeff George. But that could come.)

    Hiring stopgap veterans does not fit the M.O. that Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney are using to mill the lower half of the Rams roster. They are looking for young, hungry and talented players capable of adding new life and the ability to grow with the organization.

    Defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey is a classic candidate. The newcomer didn’t play a whole lot at Washington, but blew up a couple of Redskins plays and got himself noticed on the game video.

    He recorded a tackle and an assist. In his previous 19 NFL games, he had 10 tackles and two assists. The Rams are offering Ramsey a chance to play his way off the fringe.

    If he keeps progressing, he will keep playing. If not . . .

    Meanwhile, young veteran Victor Adeyanju has been inactive for the first two games. He is battling to get back into the defensive line rotation -– and, realistically, to keep his spot on this team.

    Adeyanju has been a hard worker since coming to the Rams, but now he has to become a difference-maker -– or he will join the alumni club.

    Like we said, change is constant. Everybody currently employed at Rams Park must be dedicated to turning this football team around. Everybody still on board must find ways to make a difference.

    Those not making a difference may be contacting Jim Haslett and the UFL (see Tipsheet for details) to discuss employment opportunities with that fledgling outfit.

    The Rams played with more urgency at Washington. This performance did not resemble a beach party, as their “effort” at Seattle did. They cut down on their penalties and mental mistakes. They pushed back in the trenches and fought to the finish.

    Their 9-7 loss represented a step in the right direction. But it was just one step and the Rams have a long, long way to travel to regain their respectability.

    Expect more casualties along the way. Players not making a positive difference might have to make way for the next candidate.

    Spagnuolo and Devaney will keep looking for ways to improve this team. If they don’t like what they see on their game video, perhaps they will see something they like on the waiver wire or another team’s practice squad.

    As you read this, time is running out on other Rams players. For their sake, let’s hope they hear that clock ticking.

  • #2
    Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

    If people would loan me money to buy the Rams, I can fix all of this.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

      Originally posted by AlphaRam View Post
      If people would loan me money to buy the Rams, I can fix all of this.
      I think we should take up a collection so the Clan can buy the Rams.

      But, now that I think about it, Dez might want them to wear kilts on the field or something, and that could get really awkward for the center and QB...
      temp_4394_1467243487543_20
      RAMS!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

        WHo else is on the watch list? I think mcmichael has to be on it. Not sure on goldberg, we will see how he does as a replacement at starter. Also, he doesnt make a lot of money and i dont think he is on a long term deal.

        ramming speed to all

        general counsel

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

          Originally posted by general counsel View Post
          WHo else is on the watch list? I think mcmichael has to be on it. Not sure on goldberg, we will see how he does as a replacement at starter. Also, he doesnt make a lot of money and i dont think he is on a long term deal.

          ramming speed to all

          general counsel

          I'd say darby should be on that list, I can't stand that guy as a player. He goes down if the wind blows too hard or from a referee giving him a nudge and I dont think he is NFL calibur at all. He should be the next to go.
          Aim high Willis, Aim High!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

            Pretty much anyone who is 25 and over and doesn't play up to standards. I've gotta say i like the aggressive approach if your incompetent get out

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

              I am all for sending the message that to stay on this team, you have to earn your keep. Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo are absolutely doing the right thing in this regard. When you're a poor team and haven't won, EVERYONE is on the hook.

              I also agree with the youth movement over aging veterans with a couple of good years left. That said, that DOES NOT MEAN we shouldn't consider a guy like Roscoe Parrish if he became available and the price wasn't too steep.

              On another note, the Rams special teams coverage and return game have been terrible for years- and there's no excuse for it. For years,this used to be a relative area of strength, with guys like LeRoy Irvin and Henry Ellard returning punts, Ron Brown running back kickoffs for touchdowns and little known special teams wizards like Norwood Vann busting up wedges. What the hell happened?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                I agree with this approach, but makes me wonder about the draft. If impact was what was critical then I think the Rams should have drafted Curry then a RT/LT.. or taken Rey M. over JL. Now before everyone gets in a huff, I'm not downing JL, just that if you are consistent with the impact philosophy then you go with the players that were projected to have the highest upside.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                  Originally posted by ramhard View Post
                  I agree with this approach, but makes me wonder about the draft. If impact was what was critical then I think the Rams should have drafted Curry then a RT/LT.. or taken Rey M. over JL. Now before everyone gets in a huff, I'm not downing JL, just that if you are consistent with the impact philosophy then you go with the players that were projected to have the highest upside.
                  Are you arguing that Curry and Malquagulauquaguafoofalooagua have more upside than Jason Smith and J. Lau?

                  Jason Smith will be a two-tool tackle, able to play both the left and right. He's athletic, strong, and nimble, and will ultimately prove to be one of the more versatile tackles in the league ...

                  Malquagulauquaguafoofalooagua will never be a third down backer, he's far too concerned about making "impact" than making the play. J. Lau will always be the more complete linebacker, one that you could easily trust with the entire defense. I doubt Malquagulauquaguafoofalooagua ever projects as a true NFL MLB ....

                  Hard to tell what Curry will become. Good athlete, nice intensity, but he's got to learn to play the NFL game at variable speeds, or he'll be a typical, over intense, over pursuing, tackle missing machine ....

                  J. Lau is seemingly light years ahead of both in terms of understanding how the NFL game is played. I doubt either Seattle or Cincy would trust either linebacker with serious delegatory duty at this point. They may never be able to handle such. J. Lau already handles it with grace ...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                    Harrison on a 1 year deal would be SWEET! Man could we use a clutch reciever for 3rd and longs. It'd be like Ike part deux.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                      Harrison? Maybe we should see if Jim Everett will come out of retirement?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                        Defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey is a classic candidate. The newcomer didn’t play a whole lot at Washington, but blew up a couple of Redskins plays and got himself noticed on the game video.

                        He recorded a tackle and an assist. In his previous 19 NFL games, he had 10 tackles and two assists. The Rams are offering Ramsey a chance to play his way off the fringe.
                        Im liking the sound of Ramsey, he seemed to be getting a lot of push and was pressuring the QB well
                        @EssexRam_

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                          Originally posted by ramhard View Post
                          I agree with this approach, but makes me wonder about the draft. If impact was what was critical then I think the Rams should have drafted Curry then a RT/LT.. or taken Rey M. over JL. Now before everyone gets in a huff, I'm not downing JL, just that if you are consistent with the impact philosophy then you go with the players that were projected to have the highest upside.
                          Highest upside? I dont think a guy who was considered unable to play all three downs has a higher upside than a guy who can be a complete MLB

                          And you want impact? How long as it been since we have seen a Rams player in the top 5 in the league for tackles? Laurinaitis is currently 4th in the league with 22 tackles. Conversely, Maualaga has 12 and Curry has 8
                          @EssexRam_

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                            I like the youth movement, trying to get young and "talented" players. But, that can only go so far. I bet we're not the only team scouting for young players that have a lot of talent. Once the supply starts to thin out, what can we do? We have to look at the players that have been here a while. I'm not saying go get guys that are over 30. I'm saying that if there's a players thats like 26-27 years old, and brings talent and big impact to our team, we should be all over them.


                            What I'm trying to say: youth is good, but talent should be the main concern. All followed with Spag's four pillars of course....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Veterans Need Not Apply At Rams Park

                              Meanwhile, young veteran Victor Adeyanju has been inactive for the first two games. He is battling to get back into the defensive line rotation -– and, realistically, to keep his spot on this team.

                              Adeyanju has been a hard worker since coming to the Rams, but now he has to become a difference-maker -– or he will join the alumni club.
                              This one still has me scratching my head. It looked like he had a strong preseason and was set to climb the ladder this year.
                              The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • r8rh8rmike
                                It Ain't Pretty, But There Are Reasons To Keep Watching Rams
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                It ain't pretty, but there are reasons to keep watching Rams
                                By Jeff Gordon
                                STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                                10/14/2009



                                The Rams have been outscored 146-34 this season. They have lost 32 of 37 games and 15 in a row.

                                These are mind-blowing numbers. We are witnessing sustained failure of historic proportions.

                                It is difficult to be THIS BAD in a league dedicated to maintaining parity, but the Rams have become exceptional losers. Week after week, they discover new ways to succumb.

                                Believe it or not, though, the football operation appears to be adding potential building blocks, one by one.

                                Second-round draft pick James Laurinaitis appears to be a worthy foundation on which to rebuild the defense. He is piling up tackles week after week and his pass coverage is improving, as he proved Sunday by picking off Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

                                Just five weeks into his NFL career, Laurinaitis is emerging as a leader too.

                                “As long as the guys keep the heart that they have, we’re going to be all right,” he told reporters after the Rams lost to the Vikings 38-10 Sunday. “When we’re out there on the goal line stand, you have a lot of guys out there with a lot of heart, who just truly love playing this game and really want to get things corrected and win.”

                                General manager Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo keep milling the practice squad and the bottom half of the roster, auditioning new players on a weekly basis.

                                Wide receiver/kick returner Danny Amendola appears to be a nice addition. He has produced one home-run return (which, of course, was negated by penalty) and nearly popped several other big gains.

                                More impressively, he has emerged as a viable third receiver within a few weeks of his in-season arrival. His quick feet add some life to a generally moribund unit.

                                If the pint-sized Amendola can improve his ball security and avoid getting squashed, he will earn a place in this group moving forward.

                                The same can be said for tight end Daniel Fells. Sunday’s red zone fumble was a shame, since it overshadowed his emergence as a viable offensive option.

                                Fells and Kyle Boller developed a love connection. It will be interesting to see if Marc Bulger bonds with him Sunday at Jacksonville.

                                The Rams accumulated some interesting depth on the defensive line, with 25-year-old LaJuan Ramsey making a mark at defensive tackle.

                                While it is a shame that journeyman run-stuffer Gary Gibson suffered a season-ending injury, the team was overloaded at that position. Perhaps rookie Darell Scott can step in the breach and build on his solid preseason showing.

                                Rookie cornerback Bradley Fletcher has gotten burned here and there, but he is showing some potential to play the “press” coverage favored by this coaching staff....
                                -10-14-2009, 01:47 PM
                              • eldfan
                                Are the Rams really making progress?
                                by eldfan
                                Are the Rams really making progress?

                                Columnist Jeff Gordon

                                STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                                11/04/2009

                                Steve Spagnuolo stood on the Rams practice field on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, two days removed from his first NFL head coaching victory.

                                He allowed himself to reflect -– for just a brief moment -– on the first half of this 1-7 season and see progress.

                                “There were some struggles, there were some good things, but we have built something,” Spagnuolo told reporters. “We talked this morning on the foundation we wanted to build. There is some trust, there is mutual respect, there is unity in the team. I think more than anything, we take that away.

                                “It was a rough road, let’s face it, we had seven losses. But to see what the guys did -– I’m not talking about on the field -– what they did as people and what they did together, that probably sticks in my head more than anything.”

                                Fans can’t see this sort of progress. Neither can prospective buyers of the franchise, analyzing the situation from afar.

                                The players can feel it and insist that it is real. They can point to their collective effort and their unity.

                                They can cite the team spirit that spilled out after the team FINALLY won a game, outlasting the Lions on Sunday in Detroit.

                                The Rams note that they don’t feature the locker room drama seen in other struggling teams, like the cross-state Chiefs. Their star player, Steven Jackson, has matured into the ultimate team player when the franchise needed him the most.

                                But those of us on the outside can only accept this premise of progress on faith, if at all.

                                Is this team really making progress? Are Spagnuolo, his assistant coaches, general manager Billy Devaney and the rest of the football operatives really setting the foundation for future success?

                                Are these the right men to lead the attempted turnaround? Are they really up to this enormous task?

                                This is the great mystery as the Rams scatter to enjoy their bye weekend. We can’t answer these questions until much later, after the football operation fills in the new framework with more playmakers and sturdier depth.

                                This team has lost a lot of talent since the end of last season, including Torry Holt, Orlando Pace, Pisa Tinoisamoa and Will Witherspoon -– leaders who went on to play big roles on other teams.

                                This team has run off a bunch of mid- and low-level players, too, like Drew Bennett, Trent Green, Corey Chavous, La’Roi Glover, Tye Hill, Chris Draft, Quinton Culberson, Nick Leckey, Claude Wroten, Todd Johnson, Antonio Pittman, Joe Klopfenstein, Dominique Byrd, Brian Leonard, Derek Stanley, Dane Looker, Anthony Becht, Jason Craft, Fakhir Brown . . . the roll call goes on and on.

                                This team has taken some serious injuries hits, losing potential building...
                                -11-04-2009, 08:59 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                How Did The Rams Get This Bad?
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                How did the Rams get this bad?

                                Columnist Jeff Gordon
                                By Jeff Gordon
                                STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                                11/30/2009

                                The Rams are 1-10 and racing toward 1-15, with little hope of actually winning another football game.

                                If this team couldn’t beat the reeling Seahawks at home, then you can't expect it to beat anybody left on its schedule.

                                The thoroughness of their futility is stunning. How did the Rams get THIS bad?

                                Four predominant factors are to blame:

                                1. To speed up the rebuilding process, the Rams football operation unloaded much of the remaining big-money veteran talent.

                                From the end of last season into the middle of this season, the Rams cashiered tackle Orlando Pace, receiver Torry Holt, receiver Dane Looker, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, defensive tackle La’Roi Glover, linebacker Chris Draft, cornerback Tye Hill, safety Corey Chavous, linebacker Will Witherspoon and others.

                                True, many of those guys played their way off the team. But that is a LOT of veteran talent to lose in such a short period of time.

                                2. Once again, the Rams suffered an inordinate number of costly injuries.

                                The offensive line was coming together nicely this season, but tackle Jason Smith, guard Richie Incognito and center Jason Brown all went down. Once again, the Rams are forced to use a patchwork approach up front.

                                Rookie cornerback Fletcher Bradley was emerging as a solid “press” coverage player, but he suffered a catastrophic knee injury. Quarterback Marc Bulger, receiver Keenan Burton, receiver Laurent Robinson, defensive tackle Adam Carriker, receiver Brooks Foster, defensive end C.J. Ah You . . . the list of casualties goes on and on, with new victims appearing on the injured list every week.

                                3. The Rams lacked the depth to withstand all these losses.

                                For a variety of reasons, this franchise failed to build and maintain a critical mass of talent in recent years. As the Greatest Show on Turf aged, the Rams failed to develop viable replacements.

                                The Rams became stunningly deficient in almost every area. They didn’t have worthy prospects ready to replace all the departing veterans. And when injuries hit, general manager Billy Devaney was forced to fetch fill-ins off practice squads and off the street.

                                As a result, this season has turned into an extended training camp with youngsters and fringe veterans coming and going at a dizzying rate.

                                4. The Rams embarked on this massive rebuilding project with inexperienced leadership.

                                From the top of the organization on down, the key leaders are learning on the job. Devaney, president Kevin Demoff, head coach Steve Spagnulo, offensive coordinator Pat Shumur and defensive coordinator Ken Flajole all possess more responsibility than they have ever had before.
                                ...
                                -12-02-2009, 12:45 AM
                              • eldfan
                                Improving vision in Rams’ eye for talent
                                by eldfan
                                12.31.2009 7:45 am
                                Improving vision in Rams’ eye for talent
                                By Andy Dapron

                                Hello again to everyone out there in Rams Nation! I hope everyone is finding time and opportunity to enjoy this holiday season.

                                The world can now join the Rams, as we are all now setting our sights on 2010. I don’t want to get too down on the Rams. We all know that General Manager Billy Devaney, Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, and all the players and staffers on this Rams team are in the midst of a daunting climb from the bowels of the NFL. It was always going to take time and a massive infusion of talent to return the Rams to respectability, and eventually, glory.

                                We just hoped it wouldn’t take this long, and that the Rams didn’t have this far to go, but they do. So, I am more than willing to be patient with Devaney, Spagnuolo, and the Rams braintrust as they try to rebuild the Rams’ engine one agonizing part at a time.

                                But, that doesn’t make these games any easier to watch. I view these Rams with a “no pain, no gain” sort of outlook — I believe there is a lot to be gained from all the hardships the Rams are enduring now, but if ever there was a “pain” part of a rebuilding process, the Rams are mired in it. Make no mistake, it is painful to watch week after week as the Rams are buried beneath a mountain of injuries, a glaringly shallow depth chart, and poor execution.

                                And, it’s difficult to even know who exactly to fault for the short-circuited play, or whether anybody should really be faulted at all (aside from the previous regime that dug the whole from which the Rams must now dig themselves out). After all, the Rams are playing the biggest bunch of newbies I’ve ever seen assembled on one field at the same time. I lost count of the number of times Sunday that one of the announcers used the word “rookie” in reference to a Rams player that was seeing significant action — a quarterback, a running back, a wide receiver, a corner… the list goes on. That’s without counting guys like WR/KR Danny Amendola and DE James Wyche who, even though they aren’t true rookies, are getting their first true taste of the NFL. With so many fresh faces, mistakes are bound to happen.

                                But therein lies the beauty of this season for the Rams, and the thing that keeps us watching, even as the IR list, and the loss column, become more and more crowded. We are getting a good, long look at the young guys, and we’re seeing them in the context of the “real” NFL, too, not against another team’s third string running a watered-down, scaled-back playbook. That’s intriguing. Sure, we’re always hoping that we’ll be witness to that rare and long-awaited victory (I think… The whole “race for the top pick” thing sort of tempers the desire for the team to win…), but the most exciting aspect of Rams games these days is getting an extended look on some of the men on whose shoulders the franchise’s long-term future ultimately...
                                -01-07-2010, 07:03 AM
                              • Nick
                                Burwell: Dose of reality for Rams
                                by Nick
                                Burwell: Dose of reality for Rams
                                BY BRYAN BURWELL, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist | Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:30 am

                                Because they have gone from zero to respectable faster than we expected, the Rams now find themselves in a rather enviable but slightly unfair circumstance.

                                Fans of every stripe, from the unreasonable meatheads to the savvy cognoscenti, have decided to readjust their expectations. In September when considering the potential evolution of this franchise, who wouldn't have been satisfied if the young Rams had just shown us that they were simply capable of walking upright again?

                                But now that they have shown us a glimpse of their true potential — a tantalizing little accelerated peek at what could be for a franchise that had been in the dumps for far too long — it's easy to forget what we're actually looking at.

                                The 4-5 Rams are exactly what their record says they are. So it hurts to see this young team stumble on the winless road (0-4) the way it continues to do. But it helps because we're reminded why the road seems to be so difficult for them. (Simple answer: because they're still not quite good enough to take that next step on their evolutionary trek.)

                                But it hurts to see these oh-so-close defeats because of the way they keep getting oh, so close. Yet it's time to understand exactly what these games mean. It doesn't mean the Rams stink or their coaches are idiots or that everyone should be fired as some Internet deep thinkers would suggest. Just because they flirt with moving up to that next tier does not mean they are ready to move up a notch or that it is a complete failure.

                                Perspective, people, perspective.

                                Stumbling like this is part of the frustrating but ultimately fruitful process of growing. It's not a guarantee that the Rams will take these hard lessons from the road and turn them into a fine championship blend by next season. But history does show us that while worst-to-first rapid ascents do happen in the NFL, the most common road to the Super Bowl is a slower journey paved by harsh lessons along the way.

                                So as Sunday's latest maddening road show in San Francisco showed us, at 4-5, the Rams have improved so much from a year ago that we can see how much better things have gotten. This is the season of The Big Breakthrough.

                                But the down side to The Big Breakthrough is that it also exposes the even bigger tease. Good enough to show you where they're going but flawed enough to remind you where they've just come from.

                                On Monday afternoon at Rams Park, Steve Spagnuolo showed up at his normal day-after-game press briefing to rehash the frustrating aftermath of a 23-20 overtime loss in San Francisco. And if you listened to him talk, you could tell that he has not lost sight or perspective, even if too many people around this team have. "I'll hit you real quick...
                                -11-16-2010, 08:42 AM
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