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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ram Remodeling

Unless any future trades take place, the St. Louis roster is pretty much set to be built through the draft. The NFL free agency player shuffling is fully underway and the Rams have been pretty quiet thus far. Only backup quarterback A.J. Feeley has been brought in. Special teams player Craig Dahl was also recently given a new deal.

A quick glance at the Rams current roster reveals a ton of question marks. Many of the players listed are probably not even known by the casual football fan. I am all for having a few diamond-in-the-rough type players on the roster, but this team seems to rely on too many of these type of players to have significant roles.

The obvious conversation about the Rams regards the top pick in the draft. This team has a ton of needs. They are in need of talent at virtually every position.

I like head coach Steve Spagnuolo. I do not know however if he is best suited as a position coach or not. He has not had enough time to be fairly judged. He walked into a very difficult situation. In all honesty, with new ownership, he might not get a full chance to improve the team.

The new ownership topic definitely correlates to what player the Rams select in the first round. I have heard the ownership expects the team to win now or coaching changes will occur. Thus taking DT Ndamukong Suh makes more sense because a quarterback will take more time to develop. This situation negates the luxury that drafting a quarterback provides. Usually selecting a QB allows a coaching staff at least two or three years to develop the guy at the all-important position.

This team is quite interesting. Their roster building strategy of acquiring talent in the trenches is really what I favor. Oddly though, these players have not panned out as a whole. Some potential is still there.

On the defensive line, tackle Adam Carriker is coming into his third year as a pro. I think he can still come on strong but think he could be more of a physical specimen than an impact player. Defensive end Chris Long, their top pick from two years ago has a total of nine sacks in two years. He would definitely improve with help along the line. Veteran d ends James Hall and Leonard Little were released but I could see one returning possibly. In all actuality they simply need to be replaced by some young guys. Suh would be a great addition inside but the team has far too many needs to make him the obvious choice.

The linebacker core has a solid leader for the future. James Laurinaitis continued to do what he did at Ohio State, make a ton of tackles. He also had a couple sacks, and was involved in some turnovers which was a plus. Two outside linebackers with potential are needed. Actually some veteran linebacker additions would be helpful as well, to make a few plays and provide some leadership.

The secondary needs major changes, especially at cornerback. Simply put, they need a ton of new players back there. A few sleepers could emerge from this group but they cannot just expect these guys to all pan out.

On offense, Jason Brown got a ton of money to come in and play center. They need to build around him. The top pick from a year ago, Jason Smith, only started five games because of injury and needs to make major progress this year. Tackle Alex Barron is basically okay. The rest of the group has just a little bit of potential. John Greco could be a solid guard.

The WR core is full of average players. Donnie Avery has shown flashes but must get off press coverage better. He receives so much attention from defenses it is hard for him to make plays consistently. The other guys are sleepers at best. Keenan Burton is running out of time but could maybe get it together. Laurent Robinson is also in this category. Brooks Foster failed to make an impact as a rookie on a team that had no depth. Maybe this year he will make strides. The tight end depth chart is almost non-existent at this point. Randy McMichael and recently signed Derek Fine were both released.

The running back position became cloudy as well when Steven Jackson got himself in trouble. He is an elite talent but who knows what the future holds. A third-down back is needed as well.

The QB position needs major changes. They should really invest in a QB now, whether it be by trade or draft. The only negative will be the amount of money it will take to get one, but it must be done to compete. Feeley and Kyle Boller if he returns are short-term answers at best. Bulger is a back-up at this point. If they happen to like either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen, I think they should go ahead and go for it. They have the chance to select the best QB available so they might as well take one. Though these two might not rate as high as other QBs in previous years.

Overall this team has more holes than maybe any team in the league. They must add tons of depth and talent to compete. Sadly this coaching staff might not have the time to do so. Hey the kicker Josh Brown is solid!
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