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  • Philadelphia wondered why Gibson what on the field.

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/21/2009

    After watching wide receiver Brandon Gibson make one eye-catching grab after another in practice, observers in Philadelphia wondered: Why can't this guy get on the field?

    Well, Gibson will get his chance. Just not with the Eagles. In a trade-deadline surprise Tuesday, the Rams acquired Gibson and a fifth-round draft choice in 2010 in exchange for starting linebacker Will Witherspoon.

    Although the Rams are optimistic that Donnie Avery will play this Sunday against Indianapolis despite a sore hip, they are hardly swimming in wide receivers. Since Gibson comes from a very similar offense in Philadelphia, with terminology that's almost identical, the Rams hope he's on the field against the Colts.

    "Our pro scouts had been following him since preseason," Rams general manager Billy

    Devaney said. "Philadelphia's done a great job of assembling really good wide receivers. So for a young guy to make the team, a sixth-round pick, that shows that the guy does have ability."

    Eagles coach Andy Reid said as much in comments to Philadelphia reporters after the trade.

    "Listen, I normally don't keep that many wide receivers," Reid said, referring to the fact that he kept seven wideouts entering the season. "But I kept him here. So that I think speaks for itself. I think he's going to have a great career in the National Football League, and that doesn't make it an easy situation."

    A rookie sixth-round draft pick from Washington State, Gibson (6-0, 210) was the school's career leader in receiving yards. With Philly, he had been unable to crack one of the league's deepest receiver corps, appearing in only one game with no catches.

    "He's got really good hands. Good size. He's a tough guy," Devaney said. "The (Eagles) offense is very similar to what we're doing here. It won't take him long to get up to speed. We'll throw him in the mix and see what he does."

    All indications are that the trade wouldn't have materialized had not Eagles middle linebacker Omar Gaither suffered a foot injury Sunday. He won't play Sunday and could miss several weeks.

    "We started off the season thinking we were in pretty good shape at the 'Mike' linebacker spot," Reid said. "We've been banged up here a little bit, so we needed to make this move.

    "That's the only reason that I would've done something like this."

    According to league sources, the Rams weren't approached until Monday by Philadelphia about Witherspoon. Unlike baseball, trade deadline moves are rarely made in the NFL.

    Reports about possible trades involving tight end Randy McMichael and left tackle Alex Barron were unfounded. Nothing came remotely close to materializing with either player.

    Speculation about a possible move involving running back Steven Jackson was even more off-base. But as rumor persisted the Rams front office decided to speak to Jackson on Saturday after the team arrived in Jacksonville. They wanted to assure him that they never considered moving him and that he was a big part of their plans for the season and for the future.

    The Rams had no players in for visits Tuesday, but that didn't prevent them from making other roster moves:

    — Offensive tackle Phil Trautwein, who was with the team during training camp and the preseason, was signed to the 53-man roster off Cleveland's practice squad. To make room for Trautwein, wide receiver Nate Jones was released.

    — Linebacker K.C. Asiodu was promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. Linebacker Dominic Douglas was cut to make room for Asiodu.

    Sunday against Indianapolis, the Rams plan to start Paris Lenon at weakside linebacker in Witherspoon's place. Larry Grant will start at strongside linebacker. Next week, linebacker David Vobora returns from a four-game suspension for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

    As for Witherspoon, he was a popular, high-character player. But his play declined last season, and he had a quiet season despite a switch back to his natural weakside position. He had no interceptions, no sacks, no forced fumbles (or recoveries), no pass breakups, and one quarterback pressure.

    "Will's a good guy — on the field; off the field," Devaney said. "Consummate professional. It's like anything. You make the decisions that you think are the best for the St. Louis Rams. At the end of the day, that's what we did."

    Financially, trading Witherspoon results in a net salary cap loss of only about $180,000 this season. But he would've counted $6.8 million against the cap next season, and there was no guarantee he would have survived the offseason as a Ram.

    "You're taken a little off guard when you get the call," Witherspoon said Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the trade.

    At least Witherspoon is going from an 0-6 Rams team to a 3-2 Philadelphia squad that's considered an NFC title contender despite last Sunday's upset loss to Oakland.

    "It means a lot to go to a team that has the opportunity to be a contender," Witherspoon said. "That's the way you have to look at it. ... I know I'm leaving kind of a comfort zone here (in St. Louis) being that I've been here for almost the last four years."

    Bruised tailbone and all, Witherspoon will be the Eagles' starting middle linebacker for their next game, a Monday night contest against Washington. He was injured on the second play of overtime against Jacksonville, and was very sore after the game
    :ramlogo:

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  • tomahawk247
    Looking back at the Witherspoon/Gibson trade
    by tomahawk247
    As you know, just before the trade deadline the Rams traded LB Will Witherspoon to the Eagles for a fifth round draft pick in 2010 and rookie WR Brandon Gibson.

    Witherspoon had played well after joining the Rams prior to the 2006 season, leading the team in tackles in 2006 with 113, and recording 100+ tackles and 7 sacks in 2007. However, his play in 2008 trailed off, with Witherspoon making only 72 tackles and recording just one sack, and one interception. It was thought that this drop off in production was due to niggling groin and shoulder injuries suffered during the year, but it seems that Witherspoon's play was just in decline. During the first 6 weeks of the 2009 year, Witherspoon had recorded just 33 tackles and no "impact plays" (impact plays being sacks, intcerceptions, forced fumbles etc).

    The Rams realised that Spoon was set to earn $5 million over the two years after the 2009 year, and it seemed obvious that the team intended to cut him to save that money after the season was over. Instead, the linebacker desperate Philadelphia Eagles jumped in with a trade offer, and Witherspoon was shipped to Philly.

    At first, the trade looked terrible for the Rams. A rookie WR and a fifth round pick for a player perceived to be one of the best on the Rams D did not seem like a good return. What was even worse was that Witherspoon, in his first game for the Eagles against the Washington Redskins, racked up 6 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception which he returned nine yards for a TD. Fans were desperate for Gibson to show something to justify the trade, but in his first appearance for the Rams against Detroit, he failed to make a reception in limited duty.

    However, after Witherspoon's "wonder" game against Washington, he failed to make the same impact during the rest of the season. In his remaining ten regular season games for the Eagles he made 53 tackles and no impact plays. Even during the playoff game against the Cowboys he made 5 tackles and one assist, with no impact plays. Outside of that game against Washington, Witherspoon's 2009 season was averaging just 5-6 tackles a game and no impact plays. Not the kind of production you would want from a guy on his contract.

    Gibson, on the other hand, came on strong after the Detroit game and the bye week. His first game for the Rams where he saw significant playing time was against the Saints, he put up 7 receptions for 93 yards. In fact, for the last 8 games of the season, no rookie had more receptions than Gibson. He made 34 catches, the same as ***** WR Michael Crabtree, and the next best rookie was Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin with 30. Gibson also started 4 games once Keenan Burton went down with an injury.

    In a move that the Rams would have made should Witherspoon have been in St. Louis, the Eagles released Witherspoon to avoid paying his contract over the next two years....
    -03-09-2010, 04:42 AM
  • Ramblin` Ram
    Devaney & Spoon speak about the Trade..
    by Ramblin` Ram
    from NFL.com

    The Philadelphia Eagles addressed their need for linebacker depth Tuesday by acquiring Will Witherspoon from the St. Louis Rams in exchange for rookie wide receiver Brandon Gibson and a 2010 fifth-round draft pick.


    While appearing on "The Fast Lane" on 101 ESPN in St. Louis, Rams executive vice president/player personnel Billy Devaney said the Eagles first called about Witherspoon late last week. However, the sides didn't strike an agreement until about 30 minutes before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, according to Devaney, because the Rams initially were hesitant to trade Witherspoon and insisted on a player and a draft pick in the deal.

    "Everything is based on what's best for the St. Louis Rams," Devaney said. "We hate to lose Will Witherspoon -- football player and the person -- he's a credit to any organization, on and off the field. But at the end of the day when we looked at what we were getting in return, we thought, again, this is what's best for the Rams, and we made the decision to go forward."

    Witherspoon also appeared on the radio show and shared his view of the trade.

    "It was a surprise, but it's understandable," Witherspoon said. "It's a game, but it's a business, too. It's not just a game of your ideals, it's a game about what's better for the whole. I think that both teams came to an agreement that was beneficial situation for the two of them. For me, it's the (opportunity) to go perform again, at a high level with another team."

    Witherspoon, an eight-year NFL veteran who spent his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers, was the Rams' starter on the weakside and has 33 tackles and one forced fumble this season. He has recorded more than 100 tackles in a season three times in his career (2004, 2006, 2007) and has missed just two games because of injury.



    Gibson, a sixth-round draft pick in April, didn't have a catch this season for the Eagles.

    The Eagles were seeking linebacker help in light of Omar Gaither's foot injury, which he suffered during Sunday’s 13-9 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Gaither started the first three games of the season in the middle before being replaced by veteran Jeremiah Trotter, who signed with the Eagles during their bye week. However, Trotter has received mixed reviews in two starts since returning to Philadelphia.

    The Eagles’ original starter, Stewart Bradley, was lost to a season-ending knee injury during the preseason.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report
    -10-20-2009, 05:07 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams' Trade For Wide Receiver Much-Needed Step In Team's Extreme Makeover
    by r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams' trade for wide receiver much-needed step in team's extreme makeover
    By Jeff Gordon
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH ONLINE SPORTS COLUMNIST
    10/21/2009

    Maybe rookie receiver Brandon Gibson will help the Rams win some games this season, maybe he won’t.

    But he is exactly the sort of player this organization needs to add at as many positions as possible as its extreme makeover continues.

    Gibson and a fifth-round pick came to the Rams from the Philadelphia Eagles right before the NFL trade deadline, in exchange for linebacker Will Witherspoon.

    Fans hate to see classy veterans like Witherspoon leave town. But when an NFL team craters as the Rams have – losing 33 of 38 games and counting – extensive change is needed.

    A mere renovation of this roster won’t cut it. Owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez realized that after last season’s disastrous 2-14 finish.

    The extensive change began after last season with the front office overhaul, the hiring of coach Steve Spagnuolo and the removal of franchise cornerstones like Torry Holt and Orlando Pace.

    That process continued this summer with the exit of players like Tye Hill, Joe Klopfenstein and Chris Draft. The departure of Witherspoon was just another step in the rebuilding program.

    This wasn’t an easy decision to make. The Rams’ defensive front seven developed nicely this season, becoming the strength of the team.

    Witherspoon moved to weakside linebacker this season, a position he seemed well-suited for. This shift allowed James Laurinaitis to settle in at middle linebacker.

    For an otherwise inexperienced linebacker corps (Laurinaitis, David Vobora, Chris Chamberlain, Larry Grant), he provided valuable leadership. But the midseason addition of veteran linebacker Paris Lenon changed the dynamics.

    The injury-riddled Eagles desperately needed a middle linebacker. The injury-riddled Rams desperately needed help at wide receiver.

    So Rams GM Billy Devaney made the move.

    Gibson fits the profile of what the Rams need right now. He played well for the Eagles during the preseason and turned heads in practice. But Philly has lots of receivers, even with ex-Ram Kevin Curtis injured, so Gibson got stuck on the lower rungs of the depth chart.

    "I feel like I learned a lot in my time in Philly," Gibson told the Burlington County Times. "Just spending time with DeSean (Jackson) and Donovan (McNabb) and everybody. I think I got a lot better. I had a great time and learned a lot, and now it's time to go to St. Louis and put it to use."

    Even with Donnie Avery recovering nicely from his bruised hip, the Rams are woefully thin at receiver. Newcomer Danny Amendola has helped immensely as a kick return and slot receiver, but this team still must develop more...
    -10-21-2009, 07:16 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Witherspoon "Caught Off-Guard" By Trade; Will Start At MLB In Philly
    by r8rh8rmike
    10.20.2009 6:15 pm
    Witherspoon “caught off-guard” by trade; will start at MLB in Philly
    By Jim Thomas
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    Will Witherspoon, bruised tailbone and all, will be the starting middle linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles, his new team thanks to Tuesday’s trade-deadline deal that ended his 3 years-plus stay with the St. Louis Rams.

    “You’re taken a little off guard when you get the call,” Witherspoon said late Tuesday afternoon. ”I know decisions are made. I know we’re kind of in the 25th hour on the trade deadline. So it’s not surprising sometimes things like that happen.”

    The Rams traded Witherspoon, who was third on the team in tackles this season (with 36) to Philadelphia for wide receiver Brandon Gibson and a fifth-round draft pick in 2010. As such, Witherspoon will be going from an 0-6 team to a 3-2 Philadelphia squad that’s still considered one of the top teams in the NFL despite last Sunday’s upset loss to Oakland.

    “It means a lot to go to a team that has the opportunity to be a contender,” Witherspoon said. “That’s the way you have to look at it. . . .Yeah, I know I’m leaving kind of a comfort zone here (in St. Louis) being that I’ve been here for almost the last four years.”

    Witherspoon suffered what was described as a hip injury on the second play of overtime Sunday against Jacksonville, and was very sore after the game and on Monday as well.

    “I just hurt my butt cheek,” Witherspoon quipped. “I’ll be all right.”

    Witherspoon indicated he would be in the lineup Monday when the Eagles play Washington. In St. Louis, Paris Lenon will move into Witherspoon’s starting spot at weakside linebacker, with Larry Grant starting at strongside linebacker this Sunday against Indianapolis.

    Next week, the Rams also get linebacker David Vobora back from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performancing enhancing drugs.

    Financially, trading Witherspoon was basically a wash. Philadelphia inherits nearly two-thirds of his 2009 base salary of $2.5 million _ about $1.62 million _ representing the remaining 11 weeks of the regular season. So that goes off the Rams’ books. But the Rams inherit a cap hit of $1.8 million, representing the remaining (2010) proration of Witherspoon’s original $9 million signing bonus. So it’s a net cap loss of about $180,000 for the Rams.

    Witherspoon has two years remaining on his contract beyond this season, with his base salary bumped to $5 million in 2010 and ‘11. With a $6.8 million scheduled cap count next season had he stayed in St. Louis, there was no guarantee that he would have survived the offseason with the Rams.

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo’s defense seems to favor bigger, collision-type linebackers, and that’s really not Witherspoon’s style. Moved back to the weakside this season after three seasons...
    -10-20-2009, 07:34 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season
    by r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams decide not to bail on season

    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/21/2009


    As Tuesday began to unfold and the clock kept ticking toward the NFL's 3 p.m. trading deadline, the surprise of all surprises was that the winless Rams were still deep in the swirl of all the best rumors.

    And as the gossip ensued, the biggest intrigue was whether or not the team would play the role of buyer or seller. Or in more cold and concise language, would they pull out the white flag of surrender, admitting that after an 0-6 start — and with a losing streak that has grown to a hideous 16 consecutive defeats — that this season was already beyond redemption?

    The most obvious sign of capitulation would be a desperate fire sale; a wholesale sell-off of anyone of value, hocked for a pittance.

    All weekend, we heard the preposterous gossip that Steven Jackson was on the block, and just as soon as that silliness was quelled, two more intriguing names came up — offensive tackle Alex Barron and tight end Randy McMichael. And if either of those rumors proved to be true, it would have been the surest sign of all that the Rams had run the white flag up over Rams Park.

    But by the end of the afternoon, general manager Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo sent out another signal entirely. They decided to dig their heels firmly into the ground and declare that they were still in a fighting mood.

    "We weren't just interested in draft picks," Devaney said in an interview on WXOS (101.1 FM). "We said we are still trying to win football games this year."

    So no crazy Jackson trade, and no deal on Barron or McMichael either. The shopping list is long for what the Rams need if they are going to ever edge closer to ending this losing streak. But for the time being, item No. 1 on the list was simple:

    They needed a wide receiver in the worst way.

    Because of injuries — and a mind-boggling offseason failure to foresee that they hadn't fortified the roster adequately with more proven receiving talent — the Rams' offense has found it a struggle to generate any consistency. The offense was restricted by a group of backups who have yet to prove that they can get open against even the most basic defensive coverage on a regular basis.

    That's why the organization had no choice but to deal veteran linebacker Will Witherspoon to Philadelphia for rookie wideout Brandon Gibson (plus a fifth-round pick) in hope that he can be even a modest improvement on what's already here with its kiddie corps of receivers.

    Is Gibson the answer to what ails this lethargic offense?

    Let's hope he is, because this team needs a receiver who knows how to get open. It needs someone who can line up at wide receiver and defeat a cornerback. It needs someone...
    -10-21-2009, 10:27 AM
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