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  • Rams Report

    USA Today


    —In the press release sent out by the Rams after the signing of Hank Fraley, it mentioned that offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was Fraley's position coach for two seasons with the Eagles. The chart in Shurmur's bio says he was the tight ends/offensive line coach for Philadelphia from 1999-2001, but the bio refers to him only coaching the tight ends. Juan Castillo has been the Eagles' line coach since 1998.

    When asked in a conference call about Shurmur being his line coach, Fraley said, "He wasn't really the line coach. He was the QB coach. We had a good relationship with me being the center in Philly and always working with the quarterbacks all the time, we just had that relationship and it was really good. We were friends on and off the field. We kind of remain that it seems like.

    "He was the QB's coach, but don't worry. You're a coach somewhere ... you can get yelled at by any of the coaches. It didn't matter what he was coaching, he could be on you."

    So, what did Shurmur actually coach those three years with the Eagles?

    A check with the Eagles' public relations office brought this response: "It (offensive line) was a part of his title for a short time, but he never coached the linemen. It was all Juan."

    —The Rams started their offseason conditioning program March 15, and quarterback Marc Bulger attended. Most believe Bulger won't return this season, but the team has continually said he remains on the roster.

    As for the attitude of the team, defensive end Chris Long said, "Every day has got to be a new day, no matter what. Coach Spags talks about erasing the past so that's what we as players kind of have to do whether it was good or bad we have to erase it and go forward. Certainly we can reflect on some of the things we learned but as far as we are concerned we are 0-0 just like every other team."

    Said Spagnuolo, "Getting up this morning was a little bit easier. I am ready to get up every morning when the alarm goes off anyway but I had the Christmas Day feel to see all those faces again. I like it when the players are around. That's when you feel like a football team. There is no team without the players. They need their time away but it's great to have them around."

    Said second-year linebacker James Laurinaitis, "I think you're anxious, excited to get going. It's exciting to see what these guys are going to do. I think we have a lot of good players on our team and I think that we are a young squad overall so the most important thing for us is that the young guys we have get better. That's the thing. Each individual has to make himself that much better. It's fun to be back in a team setting working with them, challenging and competing. That's what it's all about."

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I had this same interest a long time ago. I was a draftnik when I don't even (think) draftniks existed. I could talk about this stuff every day of the week, and these guys that follow it, they've got a passion about it. You can tell they're up on this stuff." — GM Billy Devaney after his second get-together with fans at a St. Louis restaurant to talk football and the draft.



    The Rams spent the first two weeks of the new league year adding veterans for depth with shorter contracts because of the absence of younger impact players in the unrestricted free-agent market.

    In an odd irony, the three players they signed are all 32 years old, and each turns 33 in the next few months. It wasn't coincidence that each player has a past connection with coach Steve Spagnuolo and two were on offense in Philadelphia when offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was the Eagles' quarterbacks coach.

    Quarterback A.J. Feeley (33 in May, two-year contract) played six seasons in Philadelphia and knows the West Coast offense well. He would be instrumental in mentoring a potential rookie quarterback.

    Center Hank Fraley (33 in September, three-year contract) was also with the Eagles for six seasons, and was the starting center for five. The Rams didn't have a true backup for center Jason Brown last season, but Fraley could be in the mix to start at right guard where the Rams had four different starters last season. Fraley has started 123 games in the NFL, but three were at right guard last season with the Cleveland Browns.

    Defensive tackle Fred Robbins (33 this Thursday, March 25, three-year contract) was a starter on the Giants' 2007 Super Bowl team and 2008 playoff team when Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo was with the Giants for just those two seasons before becoming the Rams' head coach last year.

    Said Sapgnuolo, "It does help that those players are familiar with our systems. Adding veteran leadership, knowing how we do things; that will be helpful."


    1. Wide receiver: The returning group has a bunch of complementary receivers, but no proven standout. The Rams have to find a way to score points and take the defensive pressure away from running back Steven Jackson.

    2. Quarterback: Will Marc Bulger return? Will the first few rounds bring another young quarterback to develop? Those questions will dominate the next few weeks leading up to the draft.

    3. Defensive lineman: There is a need for both a presence inside and on the edge where the futures of ends Leonard Little and James Hall are unknown. Both Little and Hall were making free-agent visits, but the Rams are hoping to re-sign one or both. A consistent pass rush from both spots is needed.

    MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.




    —QB Kyle Boller was inconsistent when he played in 2009 and had injury issues. After the signing of A.J. Feeley, he won't be back.

    —DE James Hall was a leader in the locker room and a solid contributor. His age works against him, but there's not a lot of depth at the position. Hall visited New Orleans, but left without signing a contract.

    —S Clinton Hart was with the team in the last half of the season and didn't play much. A one-year deal would be a possibility.

    —DE Leonard Little ended the season with a knee injury, but remains the team's best pass rusher when healthy. He canceled a scheduled visit to New Orleans.

    —TE Randy McMichael was a huge disappointment as a receiver because of drops and is unlikely to be offered a new contract.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

    —S Eric Bassey (not tendered as RFA) missed the 2009 season because of a knee injury.

    —*RB Samkon Gado (not tendered as RFA) is versatile and solid on special teams.

    —*DT Gary Gibson (not tendered as RFA) was solid in the rotation, but ended the season on injured reserve with a broken ankle. Could be back for league minimum.

    —LS Ryan Neill (not tendered as RFA) did a good job as Chris Massey's replacement, but now looking elsewhere after Massey was re-signed.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)

    —*DE Victor Adeyanju (tendered at $1.176M with fourth-round pick as compensation was inactive for a large part of the first half of the season, then played because of injuries.

    —*S Oshiomogho Atogwe (tendered at $1.226M with no compensation) was the franchise player last season, but the low tender gives him the chance to test the market. He did notr report for the start of the team's offseason conditioning program.

    —*OT Alex Barron (tendered at $2.73M with second-round pick as compensation) has had penalty issues, but is durable and has never missed a start because of injury.

    —NT Clifton Ryan (tendered at $1.684M with second-round pick as compensation) isn't outstanding, but is a consistent hard worker whose ability is needed at a position lacking depth.


    —DE C.J. Ah You (tendered at $395,000) missed the second half of the season with a knee injury, but prior to that he was contributing in the line rotation and on special teams.

    —CB Quincy Butler (tendered at $470,000) made some plays in the preseason, but not as many in the games that counted. He did start some games before suffering a knee injury late in the season.

    —LB Larry Grant (tendered at $470,000) didn't progress as coaches hoped, but he did contribute on special teams.

    —WR Jordan Kent (tendered at $470,000) quickly became one of the team's best special-teams players in coverage.

    —OT Ryan McKee (tendered at $395,000) joined the team late in the season, but could compete at right tackle.

    —S David Roach (tendered at $395,000) was decent on special teams, but not much else. Will at least compete for a roster spot again.

    —LB David Vobora (tendered at $470,000) started on the strong side except for the four games he missed for a suspension regarding performance-enhancing drugs. He still has a lot to learn, but was solid in the first year of a new system.


    —S Craig Dahl: RFA (had been tendered at $1.01M with no compensation); $3.6M/3 yrs, $755,000 RB 2010.

    —RB Kenneth Darby: ERFA; $470,000/1 yr.

    —TE Daniel Fells: Not tendered as RFA; $770,000/1 yr.

    —LS Chris Massey: UFA; $4.4M/4 yrs.

    —*OG Mark Setterstrom: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.


    —QB A.J. Feeley: UFA Panthers; $6M/2 yrs, $2.25M RB 2010/$500,000 RB 2011.

    —C Hank Fraley: FA Browns; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

    —DT Fred Robbins: UFA Giants; $11.25M/3 yrs, $3.395M RB 2010.


    —LB Paris Lenon: UFA Cardinals; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

    —*WR Ruvell Martin: Not tendered as RFA/Seahawks; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —DT LaJuan Ramsey (released).

    —CB Jonathan Wade: Not tendered as RFA/Lions; terms unknown.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Report

    Rams need to have a great draft for them to get back on track or to at least to compete.


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    • eldfan
      St. Louis Rams Team Report
      by eldfan
      USA Today
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      —There will likely be some experimenting going on when the Rams begin their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on May 18.
      With the Rams negotiating a contract with linebacker Na'il Diggs for the last several weeks, most of the speculation had him playing on the weak side (WILL) if he ended up joining the Rams.

      However, after officially signing with the Rams Wednesday, Diggs said the plan at the beginning will have him on the strong side (SAM), where he has mostly played during his four seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

      "I'm comfortable at either one," Diggs said. "I think starting out, the SAM is probably where I'll be. Where we go from there, we're not really sure. I've played both. I'm really comfortable at both, so either way really works for me. I think right now SAM is kind of where we talked about on the visit. We'll see once we get rolling."

      With a reputation as being solid in run defense and coupled with his size, the strong side makes sense.

      He said, "I'm 6-4, 240 pounds and I guess handling the big linemen, these big backs have just become part of my forte because of my size. I've been able to stay in there and hold off blocks and hold on the blocks more than maybe a smaller linebacker would or should even do."

      Of course, he comes to St. Louis after having a relationship with defensive coordinator Ken Flajole, who was his linebackers coach in Carolina until Flajole was hired by head coach Steve Spagnuolo last year.

      Diggs said Flajole helped him in his continued development as a player.

      "He was my linebackers coach for three years and he really kind of emphasized a lot of football, just learning the game itself," Diggs said. "He knew the skills were there. As with any other professional player, the skills are usually there; it's a lot of the football sense that with different teams and different schemes that kind of change.

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      Despite the Rams having won just six games over the last three seasons, Diggs believes things will improve under Spagnuolo. Asked what attracted him to the Rams, he said, "I think just the staff and the organization itself is first class. I was pretty impressed by that when I first got there and I think it's a great opportunity to make a difference for this team and get things rolling back on track. I want to be part of that."

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    • r8rh8rmike
      Rams Team Report June 25
      by r8rh8rmike

      After suffering a shoulder injury last season and then reportedly undergoing hernia surgery, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe proclaimed himself, "very healthy." Asked if he is 100 percent, he would only say, "There will definitely be an acclimation period getting back to playing football. I haven't played football since December 6, 2009. Though I've been doing drills and running around, there's definitely going to be an acclimation period. But there's no doubt in my mind that come opening game (I will) be on the field and helping this team be successful."

      While not admitting to the hernia surgery, he said, "I had some other complications that needed to get corrected and through the offseason I was able to restore health and become whole. Going forward, I think I'm in the best shape that I can be to play this upcoming season."

      Coach Steve Spagnuolo likes what he sees from rookie cornerback Jerome Murphy. "I think he's come a long way," Spagnuolo said. "I think he's vastly improved since when he first got here, (and) now he's playing some nickel, plays a little bit of dime, he's out there at corner. I can see him over there getting some extra work—I think he's working real hard at it. It's going to take him a little while, but I do think he's gotten better."

      Another rookie, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, has opened some eyes with soft hands and the ability to get down the field. General manager Billy Devaney said Hoomanawanui showed his ability at the Senior Bowl after not being utilized consistently in the University of Illinois offense. Said Spagnuolo, "Mike's done a nice job. Even in the personnel meeting the other day, there were a lot of good comments about him, so I think he's coming along."

      Quote To Note:

      "We're hopeful that he'll be able to do something in training camp. That's the hope and that would put him ahead of schedule because that was a pretty good injury that he had. Now, I don't know, it may be wishful thinking on my part, but he's been doing a great job in rehab. He's really excelled in the rehab."

      —Coach Steve Spagnuolo on CB Bradley Fletcher.


      When the Rams announced last week the promotion of Mike Williams from director of pro personnel to vice president/player personnel, it was notable that his new title is the same as the one held by Tony Softli, who came to the Rams in July 2006.

      Previously, there were reports that Softli had been given permission by the Rams to look for other work. He has not been successful yet, but sources told the Globe-Democrat that he won't be offered another contract and is leaving the organization.

      Meanwhile, in his new role, Williams will oversee pro personnel. At the same time, the Rams have ended their long-time association with...
      -06-25-2010, 07:48 PM
    • eldfan
      Rams Report
      by eldfan

      —Coach Steve Spagnuolo filled the team's vacant job of receivers coach by hiring Nolan Cromwell, who played 11 seasons as a safety for the Rams from 1977-87 and first coached with the Rams as special-teams and defensive assistant in 1991.

      Cromwell was an assistant with the Packers and Seahawks from 1992-2007, and was a receivers coach from 1998-2007. He was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M the last two years.

      The opening on the Rams' staff occurred when Charlie Baggett left to become assistant head coach and receivers coach at the University of Tennessee.

      —Starting Feb. 11, teams have until Feb. 25 to decide whether to place franchise and/or transition tags on their free agents. In an uncapped year, a team can use one of each.

      Last season, free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe played under the $6.342 million franchise tag. As a player with five accrued seasons, he will be a restricted free agent but can still be franchised.

      To franchise him again would mean a 20 percent increase in his salary to $7.61 million with two first-round picks as compensation. If restricted, it would be a 10 percent increase for a salary of $6.976 million with compensation of first- and third-round picks.

      —Defensive end/linebacker Ricky Foley, who had 12 sacks last season in the Canadian Football League with the British Columbia Lions, recently had a tryout with the Rams.

      The New York Jets and Philadelphia also have interest in Foley, who is 6-2, 256. He was briefly with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2006 offseason.

      QUOTE TO NOTE: "Way too early. And free agency could impact that. We're not close to that point yet." — General manager Billy Devaney on talks of trading the first overall pick in the draft.



      With the first overall selection in the draft, the Rams will be looking closely at several options as the offseason progresses.

      Paramount in their decision-making will be the quarterback situation. Marc Bulger is scheduled to be paid $8.5 million in 2010, and 2009 rookies Keith Null and Mike Reilly are the only other quarterbacks under contract.


      1. Wide receiver: The returning group has a bunch of complementary receivers, but no proven standout. The Rams have to find a way to score points and take the defensive pressure away from running back Steven Jackson.

      2. Quarterback: Will Bulger return? Will the first few rounds bring another young quarterback to develop? Those questions will dominate the offseason leading up to the draft.

      3. Defensive lineman: There is a need for both a presence inside and on the edge where the futures of Leonard Little and James Hall are unknown. A consistent pass rush from both spots is needed.

      -02-12-2010, 05:01 PM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Rams Team Report - 5/21
      by r8rh8rmike
      Rams Team Report
      Yahoo! Sports
      10 hours, 17 minutes ago

      Inside Slant

      Marc Bulger(notes) loves to play golf. He also obviously loves football. So it was that Bulger joked after the Rams completed their first week of organized team activities (OTAs), “I can’t wait for us to win some games and not change coaches.”

      That comment came after he was asked whether there has been time for much golf this offseason. Clearly, there has not as Bulger has been busy learning another new offense, this one being implemented by new coordinator Pat Shurmur.

      It has been a whirlwind for Bulger since the 2005 season, when head coach Mike Martz became ill and Steve Fairchild took over as offensive coordinator. Since then, the coordinating and play-calling has gone from Scott Linehan to Greg Olson, back to Linehan, and then Al Saunders.

      For those counting, including this year, that’s seven changes in five seasons.

      Contrast that to Peyton Manning(notes), for example, who has had the same coordinator during his entire 11-year career with the Colts.

      Said Bulger, “I think when you look at teams that are successful there’s some sort of stability. Obviously, New England had some changeover. Yet, when you’re successful guys leave, but at the same time the ground work is set. That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re building a foundation. We can go through the whole thing that he (coach Steve Spagnuolo) is preaching right now, but it’s true. Once we have that foundation set we can lose myself, we can lose a coach, we can lose a player here and there. It’s a culture you form and I think that the Patriots showed how in the NFL you can win if you just get the right culture.”

      For now, Bulger is simply concentrating on the new offense, and being prepared, knowing training camp is just a little over two months away.

      Asked if progress was being made, he said, “Getting there. This week we put a lot in. We’re not as crisp as we need to be. I think the base things are in, but now we’re adding a lot of formations and different looks which can be confusing when you’re shuffling guys and finding out what they can do, but we’re making good progress.”

      Despite knowing Bulger had two difficult seasons, Spagnuolo has been his No. 1 supporter since being hired in January.

      Asked if he made it a point to boost the psyche or confidence of Bulger at the start, Spagnuolo said, “Well, it wasn’t anything psyche or confidence-wise, it was honesty. I told him those exact words. Myself, Pat, (quarterbacks coach) Dick (Curl), and the rest of this team have all the confidence in the world in him. And you have to have that in a quarterback. Again, I’ve said this before about Marc, the guy’s been to the Pro Bowl. I’ve tried to defend him before as a (defensive) coordinator or defensive coach in a number of different games and I...
      -05-22-2009, 10:49 AM
    • eldfan
      Rams Team Report
      by eldfan
      USA Today
      Posted 12h 35m ago E-mail | Save | Print |

      Aside from trying to win games, coach Steve Spagnuolo had one thing he stressed from the first day he was hired last January: Concentrate on "team first" and building an atmosphere that had that as the main goal.
      The Rams won only one game during the season, but Spagnuolo insists the team goal was met. Now he knows what has to be done to create wins for an organization that has won just six games in three seasons.

      Rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis likes what was accomplished and says the young talent will only get better.

      "I think we have a lot of talent on this team," Laurinaitis said. "If you look at a lot of the games this year, they could've gone other ways. I think we have great coaches. Another year together, it's going to be something good. There's definitely a lot of competitiveness in this group."

      It was also a unique year for Laurinaitis, who didn't lose many games during his entire college career at Ohio State, much less 15 in one season.

      "It's very easy to play 100 percent when you're winning and things are rolling and the crowd's into it, and stuff like that," he said. "But when you're down and things get out of control, that's when it's very easy to pack it in. I think I learned a lot about myself this year. I've never been put in that (losing) situation except for a few times in college. You can tell who really cares by who really keeps trying in those moments."

      Cornerback Ron Bartell was an unrestricted free agent last March and was being wooed by the Saints. After meeting Spagnuolo, Bartell elected to re-sign with the Rams. Does he regret it, considering New Orleans was 13-3 this past season and earned the top seed in the NFC playoffs?

      He said, "When I re-signed, I knew it wasn't going to be an overnight thing. I got into it for the long haul. So I knew it was going to take time. We still have the right people in place. I totally, firmly believe that. I think I made the best decision for me. I still think we can get this thing turned around."

      Of course, he acknowledged how tough the season was.

      "It was extremely difficult," Bartell said. "With all the changes we made, you definitely didn't see that coming. But it is what it is. We put ourselves in this position. The only thing we can do now is move forward."

      Bartell also likes the talent on the roster.

      "We have a good mix of young guys that are willing to learn, and veterans that are willing to lead," he said. "Not a lot of egos. Everybody's playing for the same goal. We didn't accomplish that, of course, but I think in the end we all just stuck together."

      Said veteran James Hall, who has played 10 seasons in the NFL...
      -01-14-2010, 01:33 PM