Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Rams are the best pick among a weak west

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rams are the best pick among a weak west

    By BARRY WILNER
    AP Football Writer


    The fashionable pick in the NFC West these days seems to be Arizona.
    We're not going to be fashionable, although the Cardinals are improved
    and should reach the .500 mark for the first time since 1998, when
    they were 9-7.

    And an 8-8 record could sneak off with this weak division, where only
    the ***** aren't good enough to contend.

    Still, the Rams should have plenty of offense and just enough defense
    to overcome any challenges - and overcome coach Mike Martz's sometimes
    strange sideline decisions.

    Seattle seems too fragile and must prove it can beat the Rams, who
    swept three meetings with the Seahawks last year.

    These are not quite the Rams who dominated the early decade with a
    scintillating passing attack and the magical Marshall Faulk. Steven
    Jackson has usurped Faulk as the starting running back, and Marc
    Bulger long ago took over for Kurt Warner, who is now with the
    Cardinals.

    "When he has that adrenaline going, he's tough to bring down," Bulger
    says of Jackson, in his second pro season. "You give him a little bit
    of a crease, his legs are so big and he's so strong that he's tough to
    bring down."

    The receiving corps remains dynamic as long as Torry Holt and Isaac
    Bruce are around, and Rams fans are excited about Kevin Curtis and
    Shaun McDonald. Bulger could have more options than Warner did -if
    Jackson is as good as advertised and Faulk still has some of his touch
    - and the line is one of the NFL's best.

    For St. Louis to do better than the 8-8 that got it into the playoffs
    as a wild card, it needs a less-charitable defense. The Rams yielded
    an ugly 392 points last season, 12th in the NFC.

    That prompted a bunch of moves, particularly at linebacker (Dexter
    Coakley and Chris Claiborne) and in the secondary, where starting CB
    Jerametrius Butler already is gone with a wrecked knee. If the Rams
    can cover people and get the usual pass rush from end Leonard Little,
    plus improved performances from the LBs, they should be the class of
    the division.

    Watch for DT Jimmy Kennedy and end Anthony Hargrove to support Little,
    which should help the so-so secondary.

    "We played pretty well on the defensive line last year and I felt like
    our linebacker play wasn't what it needed to be," Martz said. "We've
    made the personnel changes, and it was significant. This is as excited
    as I've been about a defense here."

    They're excited about defense in the desert, too. Indeed, the
    Cardinals are showing more signs of life in all areas than at any time
    recently, and if the Rams remain a .500 team, Arizona could steal the
    division.

    Only the Eagles and Redskins in the NFC gave up fewer points than the
    Cardinals last year, and Arizona's unit is young and growing quickly.
    Top draftee Antrel Rolle is the best cover cornerback on the team, and
    he hasn't even played a real game yet, which says something about the
    secondary. But the rest of the aggressive D is very promising, led by
    tackle Darnell Dockett, ends Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor and
    linebacker Karlos Dansby.

    There may even be contributions from Calvin Pace, the 18th overall
    pick in the 2003 draft who has been a bust in two seasons, but has had
    a strong summer.

    "When you're a first-round pick, and you get sat down for two games,
    you start evaluating a lot of things," Pace says. "It's embarrassing
    to have to tell your family `I'm not playing this week because I'm not
    getting it done.'"

    If the offense gets it done with Warner and a potentially overwhelming
    receiving crew of Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Bryant Johnson,
    Arizona should challenge St. Louis. But the offensive line is sketchy
    and the running game might be in the hands and on the feet of a
    rookie, J.J. Arrington.

    Seattle need not worry about its running game, unless Shaun Alexander
    gets hurt - or is still stung by losing the rushing title to Curtis
    Martin by a yard. Alexander not only is a prime rusher, but he gets
    into the end zone (20 TDs).

    He'll work behind two Pro Bowl blockers, Walter Jones and Steve
    Hutchinson, and with streaky quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. If
    Hasselbeck gets back to the level of his 2003 performance, the passing
    game might be noteworthy. But the receivers are so-so, unless
    newcomers Joe Jurevicius and Jerome Pathon provide a boost.

    Coach Mike Holmgren has had longtime cohort Ray Rhodes running his
    defense in Seattle, to unsatisfactory results. Indeed, this is not a
    fundamentally sound team on either side of the ball.

    For the Seahawks to contend, they must improve the pass rush - a
    healthy Grant Wistrom might do that - and their tackling. The special
    teams have been weak, too.

    There's weakness all over the place for the rebuilding *****, who won
    only two times last year and could be hard-pressed to surpass that in
    2005.

    Already, top overall draftee Alex Smith has lost the quarterbacking
    spot to Tim Rattay, which says a lot about Smith's development so far.
    The Niners, for the first time in memory, have no standout receivers,
    though Brandon Lloyd shows promise, and an unreliable running game if
    Kevan Barlow can't stay interested.

    The defense under new coach Mike Nolan and with star linebacker Julian
    Peterson returning to anchor a 3-4 setup, seems slightly more
    promising. The Niners actually might have one of the conference's
    better units, but it could be under siege with such a struggling
    offense.

  • #2
    Re: Rams are the best pick among a weak west

    We get some love!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams are the best pick among a weak west

      why is san fransisco's name always censored?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams are the best pick among a weak west

        Originally posted by Rams Guy 31
        why is san fransisco's name always censored?
        Because it is an Evil utterance that invokes thoughts of that most Un-Holy of schemes, the West-Coast Offense.

        Oh, and they suck and they're our eternal division rivals, too.

        Comment

        Related Topics

        Collapse

        • RamWraith
          It's a two-horse race
          by RamWraith
          By Ira Miller
          Special to NFL.com

          (With the NFL regular season set to kick off on Thursday, Sept. 9, NFL.com has put together an eight-part series previewing each team division by division. Here is the NFC West.)

          Overview

          Realignment has not been kind to the NFC West. The division produced eight Super Bowl teams in 21 seasons prior to realignment, but in two years since the league went to its eight-division format, the NFC West has failed to even advance a team to the NFC Championship Game.

          St. Louis finished in first place last season with a 12-4 record, and Seattle also reached the playoffs as a wild-card team at 10-6. The Seahawks had a better record within the division -- 5-1 compared to the Rams' 4-2 -- but their poor record outside the division (5-5) and their poor record on the road (2-6) kept them from finishing first. Neither team advanced after their first playoff game.

          The Seahawks lost an overtime thriller at Green Bay, and the Rams, who had won 14 consecutive home games, lost a double-overtime game at home against Carolina.

          Once more, these appear to be the only true playoff contenders in the division. The ***** are in a total rebuilding mode, tearing apart their offense after a 7-9 season. And the Cardinals are starting over with new coach Dennis Green after going 4-12.

          Seattle, which has built a strong offense and is showing signs of improvement on defense, is considered the division favorite. History also favors the Seahawks. No team has repeated as NFC West champion since the ***** won the last of four consecutive titles in 1995.

          Arizona is the only team with a new coach. The ***** will have a new starting quarterback -- Tim Rattay if he is healthy, Ken Dorsey if Rattay is not. The Cards also have a quasi-new starter because Josh McCown started only three games last season.

          Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Rams running back Steven Jackson appear to be the two most eagerly anticipated rookies in the division. Fitzgerald was the third overall pick in the draft and Jackson was 24th. The *****, having dispatched Terrell Owens in the purge of their offense, are hoping that first-round pick Rashaun Woods can pick up the slack. Seattle expects its top two draft picks -- defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs and strong safety Michael Boulware -- to play significant roles in improving its defense.

          Movers and shakers

          Green took his Minnesota teams to the playoffs eight times in 10 years with seven different starting quarterbacks. It would be hard to find a coach more qualified to wade into a long-time chaotic situation. With a new stadium under construction, the Cards are perfectly positioned to begin the kind of turnaround that Tampa Bay made under Tony Dungy about a decade ago.

          There are new defensive coordinators in St. Louis and San Francisco, both of whom...
          -08-27-2004, 12:08 PM
        • Richbert88
          Dan Pompei - Prognosticators beware
          by Richbert88
          PART #1

          Prognosticators beware
          Don't even try to figure out the final ending to what could be NFL's most competitive division

          Dan Pompei
          August 22, 2007

          ST. LOUIS - If there is one division in football that is almost certain to spring a surprise or four on us, one division whose teams are as unpredictable as sparks from a bonfire, it is the NFC West.

          Just last season the last-place Cardinals went 4-2 against division opponents. The third-place ***** beat the first-place Seahawks twice. Although the Rams started the season by winning four of five and ended by winning three straight, they lost seven of eight in between.

          And thanks to an influx of men like ***** cornerback Nate Clements, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, Rams defensive tackle Adam Carriker and Seahawks safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell, the NFC West has become less predictable than ever.



          "I think our division would be the most fun in football if you look at it from a fan's perspective," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "Anybody can beat anybody. I think we all improved our teams. I'm not sure you can say that everywhere. In our division there were high-quality free agents signed by all four teams, and all four teams drafted guys who will help them this year, not just three or four years away."

          Whisenhunt has a similar perspective:

          "There are a lot of positive things going on with each team in the division, so it's an unpredictable division."

          Many fans believe a "surprise team" will emerge from the NFC West. But many disagree on who it will be.

          The Seahawks would be a surprise team only if they failed to play well. Expectations remain high for the team that has won three straight division titles and has the best record in the NFC over the last four years. The Seahawks won the division last season even though quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shaun Alexander missed 10 starts between them because of injuries. With both players healthy this season, Seattle looks better than a nine-win team.

          The Cardinals could surprise if the team takes to Whisenhunt's program and second-year quarterback Matt Leinart starts to fulfill the potential that allowed him to achieve the second-highest winning percentage in NCAA history. Whisenhunt has reason to believe Leinart will be a different player this season.

          Whisenhunt said Leinart has improved his footwork on drops, which is critical because Leinart's footwork was sloppy last season. He also said Leinart has become better at throwing with anticipation.

          "For him to get to the next level where he can be a really top quarterback, he has to make more throws in which he anticipates the holes, he trusts his receivers even if they aren't out of the break and he puts the ball...
          -08-23-2007, 01:31 PM
        • RamWraith
          NFL 2004: This could be the year the Rams start to fade
          by RamWraith
          DAVE GOLDBERG, AP Football Writer

          In the last five seasons, the St. Louis Rams have won three NFC West titles, two NFC championships and one Super Bowl, and their 56-24 regular-season record is tied with Tennessee for best in the NFL over that span.

          The emergence of the Seattle Seahawks and some pressing problems in St. Louis threaten to make the Rams just another team this season.

          The problem is not the departure of Kurt Warner. The Rams didn't win a game he started the past two seasons and Marc Bulger is more than a capable successor, although he'll probably never reach the MVP level Warner did in his prime. It's more injuries and the erosion of talent that's so prevalent in the salary-cap era.

          "It gets more difficult as you win to keep your free agents because it seems like you win, everybody wants your guys," says guard Adam Timmerman. "We've kept a core group of guys and we've kept the guys we need."

          Except that this year, the core is smaller than ever and injuries could cause a chain reaction.

          The Rams enter the season with serious questions on the offensive line. Andy McCollum, newly switched back to center, and Timmerman are the only sure things. Left tackle Orlando Pace has been staging his annual holdout; right tackle Kyle Turley is lost for the year with back problems; and center Dave Wohlabaugh was released after flunking a physical.

          Those woes are compounded by the fact Warner no longer is around as a security blanket for Bulger. Warner was released for salary cap reasons and landed with the Giants. So the backup quarterback is 38-year-old Chris Chandler, who could rarely stay healthy when he was young.

          The line problems also could cause trouble for star RB Marshall Faulk, who is 31 and hasn't played a full season in any of the past four years. First-round pick Steven Jackson has been very good in preseason.

          So the Rams are in the unusual position of underdogs in their division to Seattle, which last season finally exhibited the explosive offense expected when Mike Holmgren took over in 1999.

          St. Louis remains at least a wild-card contender because the other two teams in the division -- San Francisco and Arizona -- are rebuilding. The ***** are on the way down, the Cardinals, perhaps, finally on the way up under new coach Dennis Green, who got the Vikings to the playoffs in eight of his 10 seasons in Minnesota.

          But injuries to Anquan Boldin and Marcel Shipp, two of their offensive stars, could hinder Arizona.

          The Rams will still be fun to watch.

          Torry Holt has emerged as the star of "the greatest show on turf" -- his 117 catches led the league last season and were 48 more than fellow receiver Isaac Bruce had. Not only did Bruce slip a little but so did Faulk, who had his second consecutive season with...
          -09-02-2004, 06:21 AM
        • r8rh8rmike
          NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West
          by r8rh8rmike
          NFL Nation: 4 Downs -- NFC West

          May, 29, 2014
          By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com

          By almost everyone’s estimation, the rough and rugged NFC West was the best division in the NFL in 2013. It had the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, two teams in the NFC Championship Game (Seattle and the San Francisco *****) and another 10-game winner in the Arizona Cardinals. The St. Louis Rams were 7-9 but likely would have had a winning season in any other division.

          And now? Other than adding Godzilla and three superheroes to the four teams, they could not get much better. It looks like the big boys on the NFC block will remain out west.

          Most experts believe the Rams had one of the best drafts in the NFL, adding Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, giving St. Louis four first-round picks on what is arguably the best defensive line in football.

          The ***** had 12 draft picks, including seven in the first four rounds, and made a trade during the draft for talented Buffalo receiver Stevie Johnson.

          The Cardinals signed gigantic left tackle Jared Veldheer and blazing kick returner Ted Ginn in free agency. They also added a vicious hitter, Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, with their first draft pick.

          As always happens with Super Bowl champs, the Seahawks lost a few key players to free agency, but they kept the man they really wanted to keep in defensive end Michael Bennett and locked up "Legion of Boom" stars Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman to long-term deals.

          Believe it or not, the best division in the NFL just got better.

          First Down

          As usual, the Seahawks drafted some players other teams would have taken later, if at all. Should people question their choices, or have they earned the benefit of the doubt?

          Terry Blount: Have we learned nothing from the past? Questioning Seattle's draft strategy, along with undrafted signees, now seems a little foolish. Shall I name a few who stand out that other teams passed up or the experts questioned? Sherman, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and Malcolm Smith, for starters. The Seahawks bring in players with specific traits -- unusual athleticism, driving competitiveness and obvious intelligence. Where those players rank on another team's draft board means nothing to them. And at first glance from rookie camp, they found some winners in receivers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood, along with defensive end Cassius Marsh.

          Nick Wagoner: At this point, it's hard to argue with the results the Seahawks are getting from the players they draft. It is interesting that it seems like the first-round picks (such as James Carpenter and Bruce Irvin) are the ones who seem to struggle most relative to draft position. But the thing Seattle does so well is find players who fit the confines of who they want to be on both...
          -05-30-2014, 01:30 PM
        • RamDez
          The ‘Hawks? In 2004, It’s a Lock!
          by RamDez
          The ‘Hawks? In 2004, It’s a Lock!
          By Seahawks.net Doug Farrar

          However, before the Seahawks can take their “rightful place” at the top of the NFC West, there’s a bit of knocking off to do…the 2003 Division Champion St. Louis Rams are still a serious threat, they’re the established winners, and they’ll be a headache all year. So, in the spirit of competition (and to hopefully establish a friendly rivalry between Seahawks.NET and GridironGateway), I thought it was high time that a fan of each team state their case. You’ll read the take of my esteemed adversary David Spalter (also known as "AvengerRam" on the ClanRam forums) not to mention my rebuttal…and here’s why I believe that the NFC West crown in 2004 can only go to our Seahawks.

          Let’s get the obvious out of the way first…the Seahawks and the Rams are the only two teams with a real shot at the division, a fact to which even the most ardent ***** and Cardinals fans would have to bend. The Cardinals might be a team to look out for down the road (hiring Denny Green and drafting Larry Fitzgerald and Darnell Dockett will do that…they might even play spoiler this year), but the Niners are smack-dab in the middle of what they want their fanbase to believe is an intelligent, reasoned “rebuilding program”. Uhhh…sure. According to .NET salary cap guru “The Hawkstorian”, SF has around $20 million in total 2004 cap hit reserved for players that aren’t even on their ROSTER…what else are they going to say? All I know is that the next time I’m playing poker, I want at least one ***** executive at the table. It’s clean-up time!

          The Draft/Free Agency: The Rams’ first-round pick of RB Steven Jackson may have been a good choice in theory, but in practice, this is a case where going “Best Player Available” may hurt them in the end. By taking Jackson and passing over several notable (and desperately needed) defensive players, St. Louis, in the words of Little Richard, “got what they wanted and lost what they had”. With Grant Wistrom off to Seattle and Leonard Little’s future in serious doubt (a situation which had availed itself at the time of the draft), the Rams come into 2004 with major potential deficiencies on the line. The Rams pulled off what could be their best reach pick in the sixth round with QB Jeff Smoker, who could be great and only dropped so far due to personal issues that Smoker himself sorted out. Don’t know why, but there’s a little part of me that’s rooting for him to make it work.

          The Seahawks, in passing up Jackson and selecting Texas DT Marcus Tubbs, addressed need first. Seattle also drafted for potential (FSU linebacker Michael Boulware, who will be converted to safety), and depth in the offensive line (T/G Sean Locklear). They may have a steal of their own with fifth-round pick WR D.J. Hackett, a tough, smart potential possession receiver.

          While it’s difficult to grade drafts at the time they happen...
          -05-28-2004, 12:47 AM
        Working...
        X