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  • Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

    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 who can physically beat press coverage off the line, and I repeat ... just ... get ... open.

    Gibson couldn't get on the field in Philly because the Eagles are loaded at his position. There was no way he could get any time with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Kevin Curtis and Jason Avant gobbling up all the playing time.

    But he made enough of an impression in preseason (eight receptions for 78 yards and a TD) that the Rams' pro personnel department gave Gibson a strong endorsement. It's just seems a shame that Devaney didn't see this coming sooner. I understand why Torry Holt was released (he wanted out, the Rams also wanted to make some cap room). But they never found a sufficient replacement for Holt to provide young Donnie Avery and the other kids on the roster with some schooling on the fine art of NFL pass catching.

    Thankfully, Devaney didn't make matters even worse. The trouble with engineering trades when you are 0-6 is that it's like plugging a hole in a leaking dam. The minute you plug up one leak, you spring another one. So adding Gibson helps the offense, but losing Witherspoon will weaken the defense.

    But of all the veterans who could have gone, Witherspoon's absence will hurt the least. I can't begin to tell you how dumb it would have been to trade Jackson. Devaney has repeatedly said publicly that the notion of trading away his star running back was too asinine to even dignify with a comment. But when Jackson's name began circulating on Saturday on national TV reports in the trade gossip, several team sources confirmed that team officials met with Jackson to assure him that the rumors were bogus.

    McMichael wasn't going anywhere either. When you're already struggling to find people who can get open and catch the ball, why would you even consider trading away one of the few men who can?

    Trading away Barron wouldn't make much sense either, unless some team was willing to part with a second-round pick. Regardless of what you may think of his knuckleheaded lapses, you don't give away offensive tackles who can go toe-to-toe with defensive beasts like Minnesota's Jared Allen. He might be a knucklehead, but ever since that benching in San Francisco, Barron has played some of the best football on that offensive line (only 1˝ sacks surrendered in six games).

    The Rams might be 0-6, but they are in no mood to raise the white flag on this season. Even if the losing continues, the players and the management have at least let us know that as ugly as it might look, at least they are still trying to put up a fight.

  • #2
    Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide NOt To Bail On Season

    A fight aye.... Nice

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide NOt To Bail On Season

      Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
      McMichael wasn't going anywhere either. When you're already struggling to find people who can get open and catch the ball, why would you even consider trading away one of the few men who can?
      because he cant

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide NOt To Bail On Season

        I can't begin to tell you how dumb it would have been to trade Jackson. Devaney has repeatedly said publicly that the notion of trading away his star running back was too asinine to even dignify with a comment.
        Amen brother!
        :ramlogo:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

          I defy anyone to tell me with a straight face that the difference between mcmichael and fells is greater than the difference between spoon and whoever replaces him. McMichael wasnt traded because no one would give us anything for him. Wide receiver need or not, the rams traded spoon in material part to save money. The idea that a rookie wide receiver with no game experience to date and joining a new offense is going to provide immediate help is massively speculative at best.

          ramming speed to all

          general counsel

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

            I'm proud to see that no one on this team had screamed trade me to this point. It gives me hope that the players really do believe and really do want to win games and turn it around for this green coach.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

              I disagree with the whole premise of this article. First of all, I can't remember any NFL team in the last ten years that actually managed to move a large number of high priced veterans right before the trade deadline. It just doesn't happen like that.

              Second, if we were able to get some kind of value for Alex Barron, that wouldn't say anything about this season. It would just say that management was shrewd enough to get some other team to pay for a player who will be a free agent in the off-season anyway. IMO, trading Witherspoon makes a bigger statement than if we had unloaded Barron or McMichael.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

                Originally posted by Goldenfleece View Post
                I disagree with the whole premise of this article. First of all, I can't remember any NFL team in the last ten years that actually managed to move a large number of high priced veterans right before the trade deadline. It just doesn't happen like that.

                Second, if we were able to get some kind of value for Alex Barron, that wouldn't say anything about this season. It would just say that management was shrewd enough to get some other team to pay for a player who will be a free agent in the off-season anyway. IMO, trading Witherspoon makes a bigger statement than if we had unloaded Barron or McMichael.
                we'll still have the ability to trade barron in the offseason, and will probably do so. spoon was expendable - he is clearly getting old, his production is slipping, he's paid more than he's worth at this point, and we have enough solid linebackers that we won't take too much of a step back. we would take a huge step back trading barron at this point, and the o-line would become the biggest problem on the team again. i still don't necessarily support the move 100%, but at least we got something out of the guy instead of cutting him. as i said, we will still have the oppurtunity to trade barron in the offseason so nothing was lost there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

                  Baron is a free agent. He is not going to be tradeable in the off season.

                  ramming speed to all

                  general counsel

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    NO Cost savings for trading Spoon

                    Just have to clear things up... there was no cost savings for trading
                    Spoon.. in fact I think it cost them $180,000. They could cut him in the offseason and it would have had the SAME financial impact. So this was not about money (at least compared to the option of cutting him after the season).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide NOt To Bail On Season

                      Originally posted by Bryan Burwell
                      McMichael wasn't going anywhere either. When you're already struggling to find people who can get open and catch the ball, why would you even consider trading away one of the few men who can?
                      Originally posted by 01d 0rd3r View Post
                      because he cant
                      Yeah, I don't know which Randy McMichael Burwell has been watching, but it's not the same one I've seen fumble, stumble and bumble his way through the 2009 season. He's a 30 year old disappointment.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: NO Cost savings for trading Spoon

                        Originally posted by ramhard View Post
                        Just have to clear things up... there was no cost savings for trading
                        Spoon.. in fact I think it cost them $180,000. They could cut him in the offseason and it would have had the SAME financial impact. So this was not about money (at least compared to the option of cutting him after the season).
                        It cost us 180,000 this year, but saves us 6.8 mil next year

                        Anyways you aren't getting anything for McMichael. Even if someone was stupid enough to give us something, It would be promising considering we would go with Fells instead. Who has outplayed him IMO and is a younger better option.

                        If we could have gotten something for Barron I don't think that is giving up on the season either because you are putting the number 2 overall pick at LT. Goldberg has played well at RT(0 sacks given up in the last 2 games) so you get a draft pick and keep chugging. He is an FA we are most likely not going to resign so if we could have gotten value i think we would have since we have Smith and Goldberg. Would it hurt depth? yes, but we are just trying to win with younger guys with much more upside.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

                          Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
                          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 who can physically beat press coverage off the line, and I repeat ... just ... get ... open.

                          Gibson couldn't get on the field in Philly because the Eagles are loaded at his position. There was no way he could get any time with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Kevin Curtis and Jason Avant gobbling up all the playing time.

                          But he made enough of an impression in preseason (eight receptions for 78 yards and a TD) that the Rams' pro personnel department gave Gibson a strong endorsement. It's just seems a shame that Devaney didn't see this coming sooner. I understand why Torry Holt was released (he wanted out, the Rams also wanted to make some cap room). But they never found a sufficient replacement for Holt to provide young Donnie Avery and the other kids on the roster with some schooling on the fine art of NFL pass catching.
                          The inexperience of the Rams' receiving corps is what I've been hearing about since Holt was released. It's even mentioned in this article, yet Devaney goes after a rookie wideout to help shore up what is being described as a weak, inexperienced "kiddie corps" of receivers. If experience is what the Rams need at receiver, then how did this trade help? Gibson may have played well in preseason, but this is the regular NFL season, where rookies look more like rookies once defenses begin playing for keeps.

                          I'm not saying this trade is necessarily bad. Time will tell. I simply question the premise of losing big on defense to shore up a struggling offense that has many more needs than an unproven rookie receiver added to an acknowleged inexperienced group.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

                            Originally posted by laramsfan73 View Post
                            The inexperience of the Rams' receiving corps is what I've been hearing about since Holt was released. It's even mentioned in this article, yet Devaney goes after a rookie wideout to help shore up what is being described as a weak, inexperienced "kiddie corps" of receivers. If experience is what the Rams need at receiver, then how did this trade help? Gibson may have played well in preseason, but this is the regular NFL season, where rookies look more like rookies once defenses begin playing for keeps.

                            I'm not saying this trade is necessarily bad. Time will tell. I simply question the premise of losing big on defense to shore up a struggling offense that has many more needs than an unproven rookie receiver added to an acknowleged inexperienced group.
                            Exactly! Joey Gallaway is out there at the moment, I know he's not worth much but at least he has some experience. I say bring him in for the rest of the season.
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Decide Not To Bail On Season

                              I don't know who thinks it would be asinine to trade Steven Jackson or at least listen to offers for him, but every player in this league has a price. Steven Jackson included.

                              What would be asinine IMO, would be for Mr. Devaney to ignore prospective offers for Jackson. Of course it's all moot now since the trade deadline has come and gone.

                              But as far as I can tell, we are 0-6 this year, and 0 for our last 16 overall, with Jackson doing all he can do.

                              So why would it be asinine to listen to offers for him? He obviously can't win games by himself. If he could, we wouldn't be 5-33 over the last 2 years plus, would we?

                              The way I look at it is, it is the GM's job to consider all things that may improve the team. At least that's my understanding. And that is assuming the organization's main objective is winning.

                              If a team offered a good replacement RB, a top 10 pick as well as a 2nd round pick next year or another 1st in 2011, I would think you'd have to at least consider that wouldn't you?

                              I believe that if you drafted correctly, the production of those 3 men would far outweigh the contribution 1 RB can make, no matter who he is, in the long run.

                              So what is more asinine? Trading Jax, or not listening to offers if you're a GM trying to improve a 5-33 team.
                              Last edited by Fortuninerhater; -10-21-2009, 06:07 PM.

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

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                                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.

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                              • eldfan
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                                -09-30-2009, 11:26 AM
                              • RamDez
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                                -04-19-2009, 12:06 AM
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