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  • Rumors Continue To Swirl Around Rams

    Rumors continue to swirl around Rams

    Columnist Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    02/23/2010


    This Rams offseason has been waaay more entertaining than the past few regular seasons.

    Developments on multiple fronts have fans jamming the STLtoday.com live chats and forums with Rams questions and comments.

    This is a fascinating time in franchise history. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Illinois businessman Shahid Khan will buy the team this season and will begin working to secure its prosperous longterm future in St. Louis.

    This looming regime change has put the football operation on the clock. It’s safe to assume than Khan isn’t buying this team so he can suffer on Sundays.

    Billy Devaney, Steve Spagnuolo and Co. will have to convince the new owner that dramatic progress is forthcoming ASAP.

    Khan understands that reduced ticket prices alone won’t revive local interest in this team. Fans will need to see major change before reinvesting money and emotion in this team.

    The Rams have the first overall pick in the draft, first dibs on players that hit the waiver wire, lots of budget money to spend and glaring needs at almost every position.

    As a result, about every other good NFL rumor involves the Rams. Around the league, everybody is talking about this team.

    Will the Rams swap their first overall pick to Tampa Bay?

    A popular rumor has the Rams getting quarterback Josh Johnson and a third-round pick (or a second-round pick, or second- and third-round picks) to move down to the No. 3 in the first round. Devaney has denied discussing this with Tampa Bay, but such a deal could make sense.

    The Rams would probably make that trade to get extra draft picks. But Johnson doesn’t look like much of a trade chip. He flopped as a starter last season in Tampa Bay and would enter next season as the No. 3 guy behind Josh Freeman and a veteran TBA. Johnson would be an interesting guy to throw into a four-man competition here, but that’s about it.

    Will the Rams try to pry Michael Vick out of Philadelphia?

    That rumor really heated up during the Super Bowl. Trouble is, the Eagles could pay Vick his looming roster bonus, take all three of their quarterbacks to training camp and try to drive up potential trade pricing. Incumbent Donovan McNabb could head to Minnesota if Brett Favre retires again. Kolb would like assurances of playing time before agreeing to a new deal with the Eagles. Vick just wants to play, in Philly or anywhere else. Talk about intrigue!

    What will become of quarterback Marc Bulger?

    Technically he is still on this team, despite cleaning out his locker at Rams Park. He is not going to retire. Several teams would covet him as a back-up next season, including Tampa Bay -– where Greg Olson is offensive coordinator. You will recall that Olson worked with Bulger as Scott Linehan’s nominal offensive coordinator. Bulger could regroup from his beatings in St. Louis, help tutor Freeman and offer insurance if the kid needs to sit for a spell.

    Will the Rams sign veteran linebacker Antonio Pierce?

    Spagnuolo had him in New York and did big things with him. But . . . Pierce is on the mend from a disc injury. He seems past his athletic prime. The Rams have their middle linebacker. Pierce was the emotional leader of the Giants defense, but that unit collapsed last year. Pierce seems interested in the Rams, but why should that interest be mutual? This team needs to add players on their way up, not on their way down. The recent addition of tight end Derek Fine seemed to fit that bill.

    Would the Rams make a play for back-up Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington?

    Maybe. Quarterback coach Dick Curl worked with Pennington in New York, so there is a connection. Pennington is coming back from a shoulder injury and presumably eager to land a starting gig elsewhere. He can still manage a run-based offense, as he proved with the Dolphins. But does he have any arm left? Your cyber-correspondent isn’t in the pro-Vick camp, but Michael would offer way more than the battered Pennington at this point in his career.

    Might the Rams front office fall in love with Oklahoma star Sam Bradford?

    Spagnuolo seems inclined to use the top pick to bolster the interior of the defensive line. Free agency doesn’t appear to offer much on that front. But the Rams are still formulating draft plans, so there is time for the coaching staff to become smitten with a potential cornerstone-type quarterback. Our view is that drafting a quarterback at the top of this draft is way too risky for the Rams, but we’re guessing that Billy and Spags won’t come here for advice.

    Could the Rams take a flyer on Tim Tebow?

    Sure -– and it appears Tebow is working hard to improve his draft stock. Today’s Tipsheet has more on that. Unless he works his way into the first round, Tebow could definitely move into play for the Rams. Tim is a tough guy and a born leader. In a couple of years, he could become something. If the Rams put a veteran stopgap guy in place, taking Tim somewhere after the first round could be a worthwhile adventure.

    All this issues and more fascinate Rams fans. After watching their team march to oblivion the past three years, fans crave change.

    Move by move, week by week, the NFL’s worst team will take a new form. It will be interesting to see what the operation looks like when Khan finally gains full control -– and it will be REALLY interesting to see what happens after the owner controls the franchise.

  • #2
    Re: Rumors Continue To Swirl Around Rams

    What i dont get with all the analysts talking about that Rams/Bucs trade, is that they dont seem to mention that the only reason the Rams would have for trading down to the no.3 spot would be to get a QB, so why would they bother picking up Josh Johnson as part of that trade?

    This is the first i have heard about the Dick Curl/Chad Pennington connection, so if we do let Bulger go its definitely something that could happen
    @EssexRam_

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rumors Continue To Swirl Around Rams

      This article is depressing because it outlines the most likely scenarios for the Rams at this point in time and NONE of them are exciting. Point by point:

      1. As stated on another thread, the Josh Johnson thing does nothing for me. If he's that great, he should be able to break into the starting lineup of a crappy Tampa Bay team- and why would they give up a guy like that??

      2. Of all the QB scenarios out there not involving the draft, Vick makes the most sense because of his track record- although again, his character issues would make it very difficult for me to root for the guy.

      3. Bulger isn't sticking around if it involves not starting or taking a pay cut.

      4. Antonio Pierce makes no sense. we have a middle linebacker. Pierce is past his prime and coming off an unproductive, injury riddled season. Spags and Devaney have resisted the temptation to bring in veteran cast offs- they are rebuilding.

      5. Haven't heard anything about the Rams being possibly interested in Chad Pennington. Again, another guy coming off an injury whose arm strength was below average BEFORE the injury.

      6. I'm tired of hearing about Tim Tebow. Most believe his greatness at the college level doesn't translate into pro excellence- he's a guy who needs TREMENDOUS work JUST TO HAVE A SHOT at being a successful starting QB. Bad teams like the Rams can't "take a flyer" on guys like Tebow. He'll wind up with a good team somewhere that already has an established guy and be used sparingly.

      Bottom line: Is there a QB in the draft who the Rams feel can lead you for the next 10 years? If so, grab him. If not, get one of the DT's.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rumors Continue To Swirl Around Rams

        I like the "Taking a flyer" on Tebow. I hope he is available after the 1st round.
        sigpic :ram::helmet:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rumors Continue To Swirl Around Rams

          What will become of quarterback Marc Bulger?

          Technically he is still on this team, despite cleaning out his locker at Rams Park. He is not going to retire. Several teams would covet him as a back-up next season, including Tampa Bay -– where Greg Olson is offensive coordinator. You will recall that Olson worked with Bulger as Scott Linehan’s nominal offensive coordinator. Bulger could regroup from his beatings in St. Louis, help tutor Freeman and offer insurance if the kid needs to sit for a spell.
          So has the rest of the team Jimbo. Does that mean we're completely changing the roster? I don't care what John Shaw told you. John Shaw is not involved in a decision-making capacity anymore, and is completely out of the loop.

          Comment

          Related Topics

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          • MauiRam
            Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon
            by MauiRam
            By Jeff Gordon
            STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
            02/08/2010

            Had Jake Locker entered the 2010 NFL Draft, Rams general manager Billy Devaney would have had an easy decision to make.

            He could have traded out of the first overall slot, banking at least one extra pick in this deep draft, then drafted Locker later in the first round.


            But Locker stayed in school, so Devaney is still weighing his options. He needs to make a sensible move at quarterback rather than aim for something sexier.

            He faces quite a dilemma. The free-agent marketplace seems devoid of real talent at that position.

            The trade mart offers more intrigue, particularly with the Eagles mulling the immediate futures of Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick.

            The NFL Draft has a couple of high-end prospects -– Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen -- and many developmental quarterbacks for the later rounds.

            Watching this play out will be great fun for the good citizens of Rams Nation. There are many ways Devaney can go.

            Keeping Marc Bulger (at a reduced rate) is an option. Former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner reminds us not to write him off.

            “I think Marc is extremely talented,” Warner said last week. “I think he brings a lot to the table. But the thing you always realize as a quarterback is that you're never going to have great success if you don't have great players around you. They've obviously been going through a rebuilding process. A lot of changes have taken place over the last few years. Although Marc can still play, he hasn't had the opportunity to really do what he is capable of doing. That has been the frustrating part.

            “You get labeled a lot of times based on the big picture, especially when you've had success. They expect, regardless of what goes on around you, you are supposed to throw for 30 touchdowns and 4,000 yards every year. I know I got caught in that mix when I went to New York and didn't have the gaudy stats, they are like, well, this guy is not the same guy, he can't bring much to the table, but so much is based on the team and what's around you and what opportunities you get.”

            Acquiring Vick from the Eagles is another option, one that is quite popular with many STLtoday.com users. Former Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon, now an Eagle, offered this character reference for his teammate:

            “(Vick) had to learn a life lesson the tough way. I think he's moved beyond it. He's just trying to get back into the game, just understanding what kind of player he can be and make sure he gets himself back into that role, understand how to get himself back to the level of player he was before. I think he is doing a great job.

            “He paid a price that was tenfold more than most anybody else out there would get. He lived up to what he did. He did prison time for what most people get...
            -02-08-2010, 10:17 AM
          • eldfan
            Breaking Down the Draft Needs For the St. Louis Rams
            by eldfan
            by Ron Clements Ron Clements
            Featured Columnist



            Written on January 30, 2010


            The St. Louis Rams have a lot of holes to fill.

            They need about as much help as a blind quadriplegic calling a suicide hotline.

            They can address some of their needs via free agency—a big new wide receiver here, an offensive lineman there, maybe even a veteran quarterback to groom the star of the future.

            Aah, the future.

            The Rams were the third youngest team in the NFL last season, and look to remain young in 2010 because the majority of their needs will be met during April’s draft.

            Marc Bulger has probably played his final game as a Ram. It’s undeniable the team needs a franchise quarterback, but anyone thinking there is a quarterback worthy of the top overall pick come April 22 is simply delusional.

            While Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford each have their upsides, both are too risky to gamble the future of a franchise that won the Super Bowl just 10 years ago.

            There is really only one sure-fire player to go with for the No. 1 selection, and that is Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

            The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Cornhusker is regarded by nearly every draft guru as the best player in the draft. When you’re trying to build from the ground up, like the Rams are, you need to take the best players.

            While defensive tackle isn’t St. Louis’ biggest need, an impact player like Suh can upgrade the entire unit.

            Suh is the best-case scenario for the Rams with the No. 1 pick.

            The worst-case scenario would be drafting Clausen. If Rams general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo are wowed by Clausen's physical abilities and ignore his questionable leadership ability, they could both be looking for jobs within two years.

            At the top of Round 2, St. Louis has a couple of options—either grab that quarterback of the future or select a game-breaking wide receiver.

            I choose option A. While this year's quarterback class lacks that true No. 1 guy, it is a pretty deep class of good quarterbacks, which is why the Rams do not need to gamble with a signal caller to begin the draft.

            There are a handful of quarterbacks who should be available with the 33rd pick on Friday, April 23 when the Rams begin Day 2 of the draft in the NFL's new three-day format.

            Three guys I'd focus on are Texas' Colt McCoy , Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour and Florida's Tim Tebow . All three were highly productive, winning quarterbacks in college, and all three were four-year players with proven leadership abilities.

            None more so than Tebow. There is a knock on Tebow's delivery, but nobody can dispute his productivity, tenacity and versatility on the football field. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Tebow...
            -02-04-2010, 01:28 PM
          • eldfan
            QB factor complicates draft picture
            by eldfan
            QB factor complicates draft picture

            Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
            [More columns]By Bryan Burwell
            ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
            03/02/2010

            With only 43 more shopping days remaining before the NFL draft, Rams general manager Billy Devaney and the rest of his personnel entourage have descended on Indianapolis the past few days for the NFL combine with only one purpose in mind: find a way to fix this wretched mess of a franchise in record time.

            When you have been looking up from the bottom of the NFL barrel for as long as the Rams have — and when the entire football world is just waiting to see exactly what you will do with the No. 1 overall pick — that puts an extraordinary amount of expectation on a GM's shoulders. Devaney, a little guy with an oversized competitive streak, privately simmers when he detects even the slightest hint that people look down their noses at his football team and how much disrespect — whether real or imagined — seems to have piled up on this franchise since he arrived here three years ago.

            So now the best way to fix all those slights is to nail this draft. From start to finish, this offseason could be his championship season, a make-or-break shopping spree that could transform the pitiful Rams from embarrassing to competitive almost overnight.

            "Obviously, everybody knows we have the first pick in the draft coming up," Devaney said a few days ago when he met the media in Indianapolis. "And I certainly hope this time next year when we get together, we're not talking about the first pick in the draft. Otherwise (dramatic pause) ... well, I really hope we're not talking about the first pick in the draft next year."

            The dramatic pause with no words told a story as much as the words Devaney spoke. When his voice trailed off after that "otherwise," it sounded like a man who understood that the clock is ticking on his football life. "Otherwise" means that who knows what a prospective new owner might think after he has just invested upwards of $700 million on a team only to see it end up as the worst team in the NFL two years running.

            In talking to plenty of people around NFL circles in Indy last weekend, everyone agreed on one thing:

            Devaney has a huge challenge in front of him — some say it's the equivalent of stocking an expansion franchise — and he shouldn't be even remotely close to knowing for sure what the Rams will do with that No. 1 pick.

            "If they've already made up their minds at this stage of the process, they're crazy," said one longtime NFL executive. "It would be like buying a house and not going inside to see what it's like. You need an inspector to check the pipes, the roof, the electricity."

            Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo have a lot of work to do before they begin to sort out all the...
            -03-02-2010, 12:01 PM
          • THOLTFAN81
            Yay or Nay?
            by THOLTFAN81
            My first post in a while...

            Now that we have an owner who is used to winning in place, I am hoping the whole boy-scout thing is thrown out the window. Let's be honest people a professional sports team filled with boy scouts has never won a championship, it just doesn't happen.

            Now, I think we can win at the very least 6 games this season. But I pose the question to you... at the end of this season depending on the outlandish chance that we make the postseason, do you foresee Spagnuolo and Devaney getting the ax?

            I personally do. I love Spags don't get me wrong, but I just don't think he has what it takes to be a head coach. I also personally feel that Devaney is too passive in terms of willing to make a big move to be a GM in the NFL. I would personally love to see Stan next season bring in a winner and excellent head coach in Jon Gruden.

            Thoughts?
            Yay
            12.50%
            4
            Nay
            87.50%
            28
            -08-25-2010, 11:17 PM
          • AvengerRam_old
            Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
            by AvengerRam_old
            Here are a few Rams related things that I'm happy about...

            1. A nice side benefit of having the first pick overall is that the Rams are getting more national coverage than they have in a long time. Certainly more coverage than the past two years when the Rams had the second pick.

            2. Given the new draft format, pick #33 is very valuable. There will be approximately 20 hours between picks 32 and 33. This will give the Rams time to field trade offers, which should be plentiful. Given the depth of this year's draft, the Rams may be able to turn pick #33 into a later Round 2 pick plus and extra Round 3 pick without losing the ability to take the player they want.

            3. Who isn't looking forward to an end of all discussions regarding ownership and the city where the Rams will play? Stability, Thy name is Khan.

            4. While I guess it is possible that the Eagles might still trade Vick after paying him his roster bonus, the greater likelihood is that the Vick issue will be resolved in the next week. Certainly, if the Rams do want Vick, they should trade for him now when the pressure is on the Eagles to get a deal done before March 5.

            5. Two months from now, we'll all be looking forward to watching Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy (no, I'm not buying that the Rams might take Clausen No. 1 overall) wearing the horns. Whoever it is, that will be something to really look forward to.

            6. Say what you will about the negative side of the uncapped season, but the Rams do benefit to the extent there is no chance that they will lose O.J. Atogwe and Clifton Ryan (unless they decide to trade them) and they can keep Alex Barron without giving him a long-term deal.

            7. Who knew Billy Devaney had so much personality?

            8. It really is a great thing that Bernie writes such insightful articles for this website.
            -02-28-2010, 12:06 PM
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