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Av's 20 End of the Season Random Thoughts

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  • Av's 20 End of the Season Random Thoughts

    1. I'm not going to focus on the specifics of the Atlanta game. The Rams played poorly and lost. Time to look ahead.

    2. Well, before I look ahead, I think we all must exhale and allow ourselves to appreciate what was a very good season after so many years of utter disappointment.

    3. If I was Sean McVay, I'd put the following on the chalk board at the final team meeting... Oakland Raiders: 2015 7-9, 2016 12-4, 2017 6-10. Nothing is guaranteed for 2018. The front office must make the right moves. The coaching staff must continue to develop the team. The players must come back in great shape and with a hungry attitude. The good news is, we have a core now that CAN win.

    4. The position group that has the biggest question marks going into the offseason is CB. Trumaine Johnson and Nickel Robey-Coleman (who I'd like to have back) are question marks for financial reasons. Kayvon Webster is a question mark for health reasons (he may not be 100% until preseason). Even if all three return and are healthy, I'd still like to add another starter-quality guy to the mix.

    5. As I mentioned in another thread, one non-CB I'd strongly consider in the first round is NT Vita Vea of Washington. I think he's a Haloti Ngata/Dontarie Poe type player who could make a big difference in our run defense. Truth is, if you're going to go with smaller faster LBs on the inside (Ogletree, Barron), you need a big guy (Vea is 344 lbs) clogging up the middle.

    6. I was thrilled to read today that Michael Brockers' injury won't require surgery. He is among the Rams' most underrated players.

    7. Pharoh Cooper really emerged this year as a KR/PR. I just hope his horrible end to the season won't hurt his confidence in the long run.

    8. Tavon Austin won't be a Ram next year. That seems pretty clear. I'll wish him well, but he has been a big disappointment.

    9. As we look to the draft, another position I'll be looking at is OLB/edge rusher. Robert Quinn improved as the year went on (finishing with 9 1/2 sacks), and I'd like him back, though I'm hoping to see him restructure his contract to give some cap relief. Connor Barwin is probably worth another 1 year deal, and Samson Ebukam has some decent moments. All that said, if the BPA when the Rams' pick comes around is an edge rusher, I'd strongly consider adding a potential playmaker.

    10. The offensive line played very well this year, but the depth is not great (even if the Rams re-sign John Sullivan). I don't know that the Rams need to be looking at the OL in round 1 of the draft, but I'd be open to it.

    11. The Sammy Watkins decision, in my mind, is all about the money. I believe that, with a healthy season in the Rams' system under his belt, and a full offseason with the Rams, his production could go up significantly. The question is, how much will the Rams' bet on that proposition? If he'd take the same deal we gave Robert Woods, I'd sign him today. If he wants a Davante Adams/Alshon Jeffrey type deal... I'm on the fence. If we do let him go, one guy who could be worth considering for the "field-stretcher" role is Paul Richardson.

    12. The Rams should immediately send a long-term contract offer to Aaron Donald at his permanent address: opposing teams' backfields.

    13. Lamarcus Joyner has earned a new contract at FS.

    14. It was nice to see a large pro-Rams crowd, but the field condition was just awful.

    15. I think we'll see the Rams invest in a change-of-pace RB to give Gurley a few more breaks. Lance Dunbar was supposed to be that guy, but I'm not sure his knee can be relied upon. I have my eye on Ito Smith from Southern Mississippi.

    16. As well as Jared Goff played this year, I don't think he has reached his peak. Remember, he's only 23. By the time he's 25-26, I'm betting he'll be universally regarded as one of the Top QBs in the NFL.

    17. If I had to bet now as to who will be the "most improved Ram" in 2018, I'd go with Gerald Everett.

    18. I think free agents, including veterans looking for a final shot at the Super Bowl, will regard the Rams as an attractive destination.

    19. Les Snead is going to be very busy for the next 6 months.

    20. Hope has returned. Glory comes next.

  • #2
    A very good list.

    #3 Yes. nothing is guaranteed for next year. Complacency is an athlete's worst enemy. It's McVay's task to safeguard against it.
    #4 Agree. We could have a full boat of corners from our current squad or be completely depleted. This will dictate our draft priority.
    #8 Goodbye, Tavon. Not being able to produce with a progressive offensive coach like McVay is the death knell for him.
    #9 I'd like to see another OLB who along with Quinn and Ogletree would make a formidable 2nd line behind our DL
    #11 Watkins is a gamble. I agree another year with Goff could work wonders. No proof on which to base it, but I never got the impression Watkins was always rowing in the same direction with everyone else.
    #12 Pay the man, for chrissakes. He's a transcendent player
    #13 Agreed. I like Joyner
    #14 The field was a travesty. Totally unacceptable for any game, much less a home playoff game.
    #15 ABSO-FREAKIN'-LUTELY. We need to spell this guy once in awhile, or he'll be the next Earl Campbell
    #17 I'd say Watkins could be a candidate, if of course we re-sign him.
    #18 Yes, and with the possible opportunity to play in the Taj Mahal of all stadiums in two years.
    #20 Great Statement


    • #3
      I posted this yesterday, and it got kicked back as potential spam. No clue what happened. Here goes again:

      #3 Agreed. Nothing is guaranteed, and I hope the Rams have the type of character we all feel they have and stay hungry. Complacency is an athlete's worst enemy.
      #4 Cornerback is a position where we could get all our guys back or have the cupboard left nearly bare. I have to think we'll be active here in the draft.
      #8 Goodbye, Tavon. Talent never translated but for the occasional electrifying return. Even if he goes elsewhere and miraculously flourishes, I'd never second guess it.
      #9 Yes, I think OLB is a position we need to look at very seriously. A good insert next to Ogletree and Quinn with Barwin back makes this unit very solid.
      #12 Aaron Donald: Pay the Man. He's a transcendent player.
      #14 The field conditions were a disgrace Sat. night, especially for LA's first playoff game in 20 years. Terrible.
      #15 YES!!!!! I am a huge believer in the two back system. We absolutely have to have a guy to spell Gurley and keep him fresh.
      #17 Everett is possible, but I think it could be Sammy Watkins if we re-sign him. 39 catches for 500+ yards are beneath his ability IMO.
      #18 And because of the possible opportunity to play in the Taj Mahal of all stadiums in two years
      #20 Great Statement


      • #4
        18. I donít think this factor can be underestimated. The Rams are all upside no matter how you look at them.
        “Oh, 100 percent,” Donald said. “I feel like the words, ‘Thank you,’ ain’t enough. You’ve got to show it... Instead of saying thank you — show it.”


        Related Topics


        • AvengerRam
          20 Random "Man, the Front Office has been active" Random Thoughts
          by AvengerRam
          1. This offseason certainly has not been boring.

          2. Perhaps the greatest "master strokes" pulled off by Les Snead were the trades that eliminated the big contracts of Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn, and the restructuring of Tavon Austin's contract. Those moves have allowed us to obtain several Pro Bowl players, while putting us in great shape under the salary cap in 2019-2020. As I termed it elsewhere, they've paid the Piper in advance.

          3. Brandin Cooks strikes me as a better fit than Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham, Jr., to the extent that the Rams want a WR Corps., not a front-man with a backup band.

          4. I think we have some untapped potential in the 2017 draft class. Gerald Everett showed some flashes and could emerge as a match-up nightmare on occasion. Even more significant, however, is the potential impact of Samson Ebukam. Playing behind Donald, Suh and Brockers, I would not be shocked to see a 10+ sack season from him.

          5. I also still have hope that Ejuan Price could contribute as a situational pass rusher.

          6. I'm still concerned about the run defense, and really hope we add a thumper in FA (Navorro Bowman?) or the draft (Micah Kiser?).

          7. Our best run defense, though, may be getting out to early leads and forcing teams to throw the ball (which could be tough against our CBs!).

          8. We MUST sign Aaron Donald. Duh.

          9. We also MUST sign Brandin Cooks. Again... duh.

          10. I think Jared Goff will be a better QB in 2018 than he was in 2017.

          11. I really hope we get a RB in the draft who can give Todd Gurley some rest during the season.

          12. Random prediction: we will package two of our three 4th round picks to get an additional 3rd round selection.

          13. Random prediction #2: we will select at least 3 OL in the draft.

          14. We could really use some more depth at the safety position.

          15. If we can get any significant contributions from Kayvon Webster, Dominique Easley and Sam Shields, it would be a real plus.

          16. I won't be shocked if Connor Barwin is re-signed.

          17. I'm still a bit surprised that, with all the changes made, Mark Barron is still a Ram. I guess Wade Phillips sees him as a fit. Who am I to question him?

          18. With all the press we're getting, I have to believe the Rams will get several national TV night games. That's a good thing for a Florida Ram fan like me!

          19. Fun fact: Brandin Cooks is younger than Cooper Kupp.

          20. Its been over 24 hours since a major Rams story broke. What's up with that!?!?!
          -04-05-2018, 12:37 PM
        • AvengerRam
          Av's Midseason Awards and Assorted Random Thoughts
          by AvengerRam
          Rather than a traditional list of 20, I'm going to go with some awards and then some thoughts....

          Offensive MVP: Todd Gurley
          There were many candidates, but Gurley, with 1,000+ yards from scrimmage and 10 TDs, gets the nod. It is clear that the OL/scheme was the problem for Gurley last year, and he is, as we believed after his rookie year, an elite talent. Jared Goff was a close second on this list, and Andrew Whitworth definitely deserves an honorable mention.

          Defensive MVP: Aaron Donald
          No big surprise here. His holdout has been forgiven, as he reminds us each week why a huge payday is in his future. Michael Brockers and Mark Barron are my honorable mentions.

          Special Teams MVP: Greg Zuerlein
          This is a four man race. Johnny Hekker continues to be an elite player at his position. Pharoh Cooper has provided a big spark as a kickoff returner and, more recently, a punt returner. Cory Littleton has blocked two punts and is one of our best coverage men. But Greg the Leg has been outstanding. He leads the NFL with 99 points, and has missed only one kick all year.

          Top Rookie: Cooper Kupp
          The rookie class is providing contributions in many spots, but Kupp is the clearly the most productive of the bunch. He has a very bright future.

          Best Play: Goff to Gurley vs. Dallas
          So many to choose from, but the 53 yard go-ahead TD pass against the Cowboys gets my nod, both for its excellence and its significance.

          And now, some random thoughts...

          1. I'm really enjoying this ride. Its been too long since we've had a team like this, and I'm going to savor it!

          2. I really feel like this team is built to last. Apart from Whitworth and John Sullivan, the core of this team is very young, and several key guys are already signed for the next 2-3 seasons. Clearly, there are some contracts that will need to be addressed this offseason, but there is no reason the Rams can't achieve continuity with this roster.

          3. At the start of the season, I felt like Tavon Austin was the most obvious future cap cut. Now, I'm not so sure. He really does add an element - even when he's only being used as a decoy - that opens up the offense. If he is cut this offseason, the savings would be $3M, while the dead cap # would be $5M. I think he may very well be back.

          4. On the flip side, Robert Quinn, sadly, seems like just "a guy" right now. Perhaps, given his age, that could change, but its hard to be optimistic. If he is released this offseason, the cap savings is over $10M, and the dead cap is less than $1M. Absent a renegotiation, I think he's gone, and the Rams will be looking for his replacement in the draft.

          5. Speaking of the draft, right now I'd rank the Rams' anticipated needs as follows: (1) OLB/edge rusher, (2) CB, (3) OT (future replacement when Whitworth retires), (4) C/OG future...
          -11-06-2017, 08:56 AM
        • AvengerRam
          Preview of the Rams' Top 5 FA/Veteran Decisions for 2018
          by AvengerRam
          First, let me address the elephant in the room - why address this now (11 games into the 2017 season in the middle of a playoff hunt)?

          My reason is that I think it could be interesting to see how my views on November 28 compare to those I'll hold when the season ends.

          So, here's the list (in no particular order):

          1. Aaron Donald
          The desire to re-sign Donald is a no-brainer, as is his worth (he's going to get a top $ contract). The only question is timing. The Rams control Donald's fate for two more seasons, but he's already shown the willingness to hold out. I have to believe that he returned because the Rams signaled that they'd take care of him this offseason. Just do it. He's a future Hall of Fame player. You just can't let guys like that go. CONCLUSION: Give him a new contract!

          2. Sammy Watkins
          If you look at his numbers, you might not think he's worth re-signing. My advice: don't look at the numbers. He is drawing top CBs every week, and opens things up for other players. I'd really like to see how he does after a full offseason with the Rams. My biggest concern is, if his contract dwarfs Robert Woods' (5 years, $34M), how will that play given Woods' success this year? CONCLUSION: Re-sign him, but don't break the bank.

          3. Trumaine Johnson
          The problem with TruJo is that he's a B+ CB looking for A CB money. That said, B+ CBs (particularly with his size) are difficult to find. I really would like to see the Rams retain him. If they don't, they may need to spend their first pick to replace him. I'd rather use that pick on an impact pass rusher or, perhaps, a young OT to compete with Rob Havenstein/groom to replace Greg Whitworth when he retires. I think TruJo really wants to be a Ram, so I'm hoping it can be worked out. CONCLUSION: Negotiate with TruJo and hope for the best.

          4. Robert Quinn
          Under Quinn's current contract, the Rams can pay another $12M+ to keep him in 2018, or release him at a dead cap hit of less than $1M. Though I think he's been showing signs of life in recent weeks, Quinn is not playing like a $12M+ player. That said, he's only 27, and he's managed to stay healthy this year. Perhaps a comeback year is in his future? In my mind, the obvious/best choice with Quinn is to restructure his contract. If you can get his number down to $7-8M (maybe adding a year to his deal) or less, I'd keep him for 2018. If not, I think he'll be playing elsewhere. CONCLUSION: Restructure contract, if possible.

          5. Tavon Austin
          Those who called for Austin's release last offseason were kidding themselves. That would have resulted in a dead cap hit of $19M+. This offseason, that number goes to $5M. If the Rams keep Austin on his current contract, his salary for 2018 would be $8M, which is WAY too much for a gimmick/decoy/change-of-pace player (particularly when the Rams need $ for Sammy Watkins). I think...
          -11-28-2017, 08:38 AM
        • AvengerRam
          20 Random "Hey! We have 10 wins!" Random Thoughts
          by AvengerRam
          1. The Rams will clinch the NFC West by the end of the day on Sunday. Of that, I am confident. Whether it will come via a Rams win over the Titans, a Seahawks loss to the Cowboys, or both is a lesser concern.

          2. Over the last 5 games, these are Robert Quinn's numbers: 16 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles. His re-emergence has been, and can continue to be, a huge boost to the defense. Whether its the product of acclimating to the 3-4, getting fully healthy, or a little of both, its great to see him producing again. He still might not be worth his huge 2018 salary, but I'm thinking that retaining him with a re-worked contract may be the best option going forward.

          3. Pharoh Cooper has become a real asset. He is arguably the best return specialist in football. He is the silver lining of Tavon Austin's demise.

          4. Todd Gurley is currently 3rd in the NFL in rushing, 2nd in yards from scrimmage, and 1st in touchdowns. I wouldn't trade him for any RB in football.

          5. Aaron Donald is scary good. Defensive MVP in my book. He's going to get paid... big time.

          6. Rodger Saffold is having a Pro Bowl season.

          7. I don't post on Seahawks forums, but if I did, I think I'd ask them this....deep down, didn't you always know that the team that would end your run would be the Rams?

          8. After all, the Rams have won 4 of the last 6, and 5 of the last 8 games against Seattle.

          9. I've read comments from some Hawks fans suggesting that they could let Cam Chancellor go. If there's any truth to that (and if he's healthy), I'd take that guy in a heartbeat.

          10. Gerald Everett has not produced all that much this year, but I'm not worried. In flashes, he has shown some real talent. I believe that next year, after a full offseason, he could emerge in a big way.

          11. Jared Goff could end up with 4,000 passing yards without a single 1,000 yard receiver. Instead, he'll likely have two with 900+ yards (Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp) and two with 700+ yards (Todd Gurley, Sammy Watkins). That balance is a big reason for the Rams' success, in my opinion.

          12. I hate to say it, but the Niners look like a team that could take a significant step forward next year. I think Jimmy Garoppolo has franchise QB potential.

          13. Michael Brockers has 50 tackles/37 solo tackles. That puts him in the Top 5 among NFL DL.

          14. John Johnson is 8th among rookies in tackles (and also has 11 passes defended and an interception).

          15. If the Rams do clinch the West this weekend, they may have little to play for in Week 17. If Minnesota beats the Packers on Sunday, then the Rams will no longer be in a position to get a Top 2 seed and a bye. They may still in a battle with the Saints or Panthers for the #3 vs. #4 spot, but that is not a very big issue, as both seeds get a home game in the Wild Card round and,...
          -12-19-2017, 09:22 AM
        • AvengerRam
          Av's 20 Random Quarter-Mark Thoughts
          by AvengerRam
          1. Not all 3-1 starts are created equal.

          2. Unlike the 2016 team, the Rams are winning games despite performances that are less than perfect. We have not seen the Rams' best game yet.

          3. That said, its still early. While the motto in 1999 was "gotta go to work," I'd say this year's motto should be "there's more work to do."

          4. This week against Seattle is huge. If the Rams can win this one, they'll gain a big advantage in the division and increase their momentum substantially.

          5. First Quarter Offensive MVP: Todd Gurley/Jared Goff. How can you leave either out? The two players with the greatest number of doubters a month ago are both playing great. Its amazing what an innovative play caller and stronger supporting cast can do.

          6. First Quarter Defensive MVP: Michael Brockers. On a defense that has struggled, Brockers has been the most consistent and the most disruptive player on the Rams' defense. Once Aaron Donald fully hits his stride (he's not far off now), they will be a terrible twosome.

          7. First Quarter Special Teams MVP: Greg Zuerlein. Thankfully, the Rams have not had to rely on Johnny Hekker as much this year. Meanwhile, Zuerlein has been perfect.

          8. First Quarter Top Rookie: Cooper Kupp. While Gerald Everett has shown flashes, Kupp has been a reliable target for Goff out of the slot.

          9. Best Addition: Andrew Whitworth. The Rams have had many new players who have contributed, including Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, John Sullivan and Conner Barwin. Whitworth's impact on the OL and, by extension, the entire offense, cannot be overstated. Great signing.

          10. Needs to step it up: I think its fair to temper the enthusiasm with some critical comments, so I'd say the two players who need to step up their game are Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree. Quinn, to my surprise, has not found his footing in the 3-4. Hopefully, he can get to a point where he can just pin his ears back and get after the QB. Ogletree frustrates me with his penchant for going for the big hit or strip, rather than the tackle. Again, though, I'm not without hope as he is an elite athlete.

          11. As great as Goff's play has been, you can see where he can still improve. There have been a few plays in which he went to a safe outlet and missed the potential for a bigger play. As the game continues to slow down for him, I think we're going to see a really special passer wearing the horns.

          12. Tavon Austin is not without his value, but he's nowhere close to being worth his price tag. I suspect the Rams will let him go this offseason and find a player to run the jet sweep/fakes in next year's draft. Players like that are often available on day 3.

          13. The fickle media suddenly likes our team! Go figure.

          14. Gurley's development as a receiver is a huge reason for the Rams'...
          -10-02-2017, 09:00 AM