Thursday, August 30, 2007

NFL personal conduct policy?

I do not want to defend anyone but…Tank Johnson’s home was raided and they found guns there that were no licensed. In addition he also had drugs, etc and has been in trouble many times. However if the house is not raided he is probably not arrested and released by the Bears. Travis Henry on the other hand has 9 children from 9 different women. This is a public fact and no raid is needed. I know we don’t want to keep moving the invisible line but if the NFL is so worried about its image how does Henry not violate this policy. There isn’t anything much more personal than having a child. Isn’t this somewhat like 9 separate violations which would make him a repeat defender? He had to go to court several times for not paying child support yet he received a 25$ million dollar contract from the Broncos. What does all of this say about the Broncos? They are always so great at having anyone run for 1000 yards so couldn’t they find anyone out of the whole NFL with a little better character to carry the rock? I am not stating there should be a background check on every NFL player but sometimes enough is just enough. Your thoughts?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Raiders blow by Rams 20-10

Wow what can you say about that effort from the Rams on Friday night. Where to start? Marc Bulger was once again off after an opening 40 yard pass to Bruce he was 7 for 20 for only 69 yards and led the Rams to only 3 first half points. Sure it is only preseason and Jackson and Holt once again sat out but how about a little something for the effort, or our full price tickets for that matter. This Thursday the dome will be filled with 54-90 level players that will battle for the Governors’ cup. We are fortune it enough to pay full price to see Fitzpatrick battle God knows who on the Chiefs. To make matters worse against the Raiders the Rams were unable to run the ball as well. Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Rams leading rusher with 1 carry! Should I even mention that at the end of that carry he fumbled the ball through the end zone? YIKES!
I am continually puzzled over a couple of things. It is preseason and we should be trying new things since it is basically a practice. Linehan is Mr. 2 TE sets, we go out and spend money on McMichael, etc. Once again we went the whole first half without throwing a ball to the TE. The only catches for the game were 2 more for Aaron Walker? Chris Draft did not get to play with the starters and it seems odd that we would not at least try him at starting MBL with Spoon and Pisa. Also doesn’t Jon Alston seem to be the better of the two Pac 10 LBs, instead of Chiller?
The Rams once again made several mistakes with 10 penalties for 157 and the one fumble along with more missed tackles. The starting secondary with Tye Hill and Ron Bartell has got to be a big worry for any Rams fans. Tye was called for 3 pass interference penalties and also missed an open field tackle that cost the Rams a touchdown. Who will cover Steve Smith in 14 days? On the bright side I would say Claude Wroten continues to impress and looks to me much quicker in 07. Did anyone see him 50+ yards down field on one play? He is a much better looking player in 07 and I would love to see him play more Glover who would be a better player if he only had to play 20 plays a game. Other than Wroten I really did not see anything I liked on Friday night even Carriker was blown off the ball the entire first half often 5+ yards down the field. He will still have to grow into a starter in the NFL.
Until next week. Go Rams!!!

Where is Chris Draft?

Chris Draft had 109 tackles for the Carolina Panthers in 2006 and has played with Witherspoon before. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Rams to play him at MLB and move Witherspoon to the outside were he has been very successful and does not have to fight off huge offensive linemen on every play? Does Brandon Chiller seem like an NFL linebacker to anyone other than the Rams coaching staff? Brandon is not able to cover TEs and Running backs out of the back field on a consistent basis and does not support well on the run. I also do not believe he has NFL speed to be a starter. There is something to be said about players jelling in the NFL so wouldn’t it make sense to get Witherspoon and Draft back out on the field together again? I thought the Preseason was for trying new things out. Just a thought…

Is Marc Bulger a Winner?

Marc Bulger has a QB rating of over 93 for the last 3 years combined. Marc also has 59 touchdowns and only 31 interceptions over that time frame. So based on that why do I always seem to be upset with him in the 1st quarter of every game? Every game over the last year and a half seems to start the same way. We struggle in the 1st quarter, typically Bulger is awful during that time, we commit a turnover and the other team gets a ton of rushing yards and goes up early. Once again this week Bulger was 2 for 7 in the 1st Q and was unable to lead the Rams to any points against the worst team in the NFL. Why can’t Marc take that first drive and go get us some points? Under Martz or Linehan the results seem to be the same. We need Marc to be our leader for the entire game. He must produce on the first drive and last drives of every game, that is the leader we need, and that is the type of player that gets a 10 million dollar a year contract. Is Marc that player?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Phillips Sproles and Chargers down Rams 30-13

The St. Louis Rams lost 30-13 Saturday night at the Edwards Jones Dome. The Rams opening drive ended in a Madison Hedgecock fumble on the Chargers 19 after Shaun Phillips pulled the ball free a split second before he was down. The Rams challenged the call but it was not overturned. From there the Chargers drove 81 yards in 10 plays with the final play being a Rivers to Vincent Jackson 5 yard pass. Jackson was ruled pushed out by Chavous who was late getting to the corner on the play.
That was pretty much it for the Rams on this night. The Rams looked sluggish from the outset. I believe and hope that most of the reason for their play was due to the two-a-day work outs in the intense heat up through Thursday including a scrimmage on Wednesday night.
On this night Shaun Phillips and Darren Sproles were the story for the Chargers. Shaun Phillips forced two fumbles and also recorded a sack and outplayed Orlando Pace to boot. Darren Sproles ran a punt back 81 yards to give the Chargers an 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Sproles ran straight up the middle through the heart of the Rams coverage that was once again porous on this night.
Marc Bulger had a rough night going 8 of 12 for 79 yards and one interception. Marc also through another ball that should have been intercepted and was also rocked a few times by the Chargers front 7 that was coming hard all night. It seems to me that Marc rarely start off a game well in the first quarter. We seem to be behind 7-0 every game with the same plot playing out. The Rams will have some mistakes and misplays in the fist quarter and the other team will run the ball hard up the middle at will and take a lead early. The Chargers ran for 111 yards on only 21 carries and LT did not play.
Steven Jackson played the very first play of the game and then came out of the action. Brian Leonard had 19 touches which I thought was a bit much since we know he will make the squad and also has hurt ribs from the games against the Vikings. The Chargers are one of the best defenses against the run and did not give Brian much room. He earned 49 tough yards up inside. The Rams then turned to Rich Alexis in the second half who carried 7 times for 24 yards.
The choices made by Linehan on this night seemed a little weird to me. Leonard had way too many attempts with hurt ribs. I don’t think there is a clear cut #3 back on the team yet, but Minor and Kay Jay Harris did not play at all. On offense I thought playing Holt and Bruce the entire first half was too much. In addition Bennett played most of the second half until he was hurt late in the 4th quarter. Bennett has a 30 million dollar contract we must believe he knows how to play. Let Hagans and Stanley get all of the balls.
Mistakes were many in this game. The Rams had two turnovers, 5 penalties, poor tackling, and terrible special teams play. Overall it was a poor effort. Before you despair look around the NFL many teams have played 1 great game and one poor game. Look for the Rams to play much better next week against the worst team in the NFL the Oakland Raiders.
Until then go Rams!!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Special St. louis Rams Scrimmage

The following post is from my neighbor who had ticket to the special St. louis Rams Scrimmage on Wed. August 15th.

The practice was closed to public. However, the Rams (the and NFL) are big supporters of the United Way. Thus, they had a special VIP sections set up for United Way Board members and their families for this practice session only. I am a United Way Board Member so I was able to get tickets. There were actually 3 VIP tents. One for players families, one for their sales staff and one for United Way. Each tent had a large cooling fan and tables and chairs plus a small bleacher section. The practice facility has three adjacent football fields. The tents were located between the main office building and the football fields. There was only about 50 feet between the building and the end zones. That is where the tents were set up. The viewing area was separated from the end zone by a railing. Most people just stood at the railing to watch practice.

They had snacks and beverages available for all visitors plus some basic souvenirs - magnets with the schedule and stuff like that. It was hot but, in the shade, it was not too bad. By 7:30 PM the 3-story office complex blocked the sun from the viewing area and about half of the practice area.

There were about 50 - 60 visitors there.

They have 99 players on their roster. So with players, coaches, trainers, etc., there were about 130 people on the field. After some basic streaching excercises, the first hour was spend on drills. There were about 6 or 7 groups working on different phases of the game. Defensive backs were doing footwork and coverage drills, kickers and holders were working on their snaps, punters and kickers were punting and kicking to each other, offensive linemen were going through half-speed blocking assignments, receivers were going through route drills with the QBs, etc. They spent some time working on punt and kick-off coverage. So there was a lot of activities ongoing on simultaneously on all three fields.

The practice was fairly well scripted. A buzzer went off about every 15 minutes and each groups went on to a different drill. Some of the drills included full offense line and back field against a defensive line - they were working on timing and assignments. However, I assume becasue of the heat, they were not in pads so their was no contact.

We did not stay until the end do to the heat.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

St. Louis Rams Media Coverage

I can't believe we are a mid major market and can't seem to get good announcers. The Fox 2 coverage on Friday night was terrible. First we have Martin Kilcoyne and D’Marco Farr on the TV side. Kilcoyne never seems to know what is going on or interested in telling us the current information we need to know. Farr seems to be laughing at all times even when not saying anything. The very first play of the game the Rams were off-sides on the kickoff. We never knew who was off-sides and Kilcoyne never seemed to really figure out what happened? Punt return by Stanley of 12 yards and Kilcoyne said 7-8 yards on the return is he even watching? The graphics were just as bad on 3rd and 3 twice once it said 3rd and 5 another time 3rd and 6 I don’t know what there doing. Farr tells you people don’t need to make plays or the tackle just get in the way. What? Maybe that is why the D could not tackle last year. Also don’t forget he was coaching in NFL Europe because he will tell you all about it. My favorite was playing the going to commercial music prior to a kick. Terrible just terrible, they are not qualified to announce Mizzou games.

Steve Savard and Jim Hanifan are on the KLOU broadcast and I love Hannie but English is really not his first language. You can’t tell half the things he says, he is yelling or mumbling in the background. He is on the radio you need to be able to understand the announcer if you can’t watch the action at the same time. Savard use to play football so that makes him Mr. Know-it-all while telling you about the action. He also has the Al Hrobosky disease of being the biggest homer on the planet for the Rams. If someone sucks tell us don’t say wow that was a great tackle 20 yards down field.

Just sad indeed, all I can say is go to the dome to watch 8 games and hope the coverage of the 8 road games is better on Direct TV.

Bullet Points From Game One

The Rams scored a 13-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night. As usual the most important fact from a preseason game is that nobody gets hurt. Aside from that I have gathered my thoughts, in no particular order on things you should take away from game one.

Brian Leonard with 66 total yards and a touchdown was as advertised. He is a tough inside runner and very shifty in space. Brian is the type of runner that always seems to get that extra 1 or 2 yards at the end of every carry.
Special teams should be better in 07. The depth on the 07 Rams will simply just be better than before. Hopefully the days of having no fast players on the field are over. Donnie Jones can boom some punts and Hall is an experienced high speed returner. We will also have players like Wade and Leonard available on special teams, things are looking up.
Jerome Carter needs to shine now. The Rams left him out there for most of the game and he came through some with 5 tackles and a sack. However he still misses a lot of tackles and Todd Johnson was a great pickup and could take Carters job if he does not continue to improve.
Carriker “The Beast” looked solid. He held up very well against the inside beef of the Vikings starting interior line. Carriker played most of the first half and I show him playing Left Tackle on 11 plays and Right Tackle on 10 plays. I believe the Rams will continue to move him around. Carriker looked very strong throwing the center to the ground on one play and hog tying Adrian Peterson for a stuff on a running play. Look for even better play as we gets in NFL shape.
Lenny Walls does not impress me at CB and I would like to see more of Jonathan Wade. If we can get Wade and Hill on the field at the same time we can get aggressive and hopefully get more take-aways in 07.
Bennett continues to show great hands and is a great addition to the Rams offense.
We will miss Fakir Brown. Watching Ron Bartell play starting CB is scary indeed. I am not a fan of his play. He gives way too much cushion on pass plays and misses a ton of tackles during games. Walls or Wade may have a chance to move up quickly if he continues to struggle. As a nickel corner you can hide him but as a starter he is going to get picked on a lot to start the season. With Steve Smith in week one that may be a problem.
Quinton Culberson, FA LB from North Carolina keeps making plays in camp and in the game against the Vikings. He seems to tackle well, play with a high motor, and could be a great addition to the special teams as well. He could be a surprise keeper.
With the lack of balls going to the TE it is surprising that we have Klopper, McMichael, and Byrd but continue to throw almost every ball in a camp and against the Vikings to Aaron Walker. Will we keep 4 TEs?
Drew Strojny can start to pack.
Trevor Johnson DE looked good as a backup end.
I would like to see the Rams give Derek Stanley a shot. He can be a burner on special teams and a backup to Dante Hall when he needs a break or if he gets hurt. He showed great hands in the game and is extremely fast. I say go with the young blood.
Wroten played a ton and they say he is in much better shape to start the season. With Wroten and Carriker inside Witherspoon may start to smile.
Brock Berlin has a great arm and a lot more experience then Fitzpatrick and has also known Linehan for quite a while. In addition Fitz was terrible on Saturday night so he should start looking over his shoulder.
Fox 2 coverage was terrible and as a major market you would think we could get more talent on the radio and TV.

Next week the Rams play at the dome against the San Diego Chargers. See you there!

Brian Leonard stars in first Pre Season Game

Brian Leonard scored the only St. Louis Rams touchdown Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings leading to a 13-10 victory. Brian who has showed a great ability to run in traffic in camp, again showed a lot of that ability Friday against the Vikings. Brian led the Rams in rushing with 36 yards in 9 attempts including a 11 yard touchdown run on 3rd and one. Brian played the first half after Steven Jackson came out in the 1st quarter. Brian also led the Rams with 5 receptions for 30 yards. He looked just as versital as he appeared at Rutgers and could be a huge addition to the Rams in 07. I think he will be a vast improvement over Steven Davis coming in on 3rd and short. Brian's blocking ability at Rutgers should be a great help if the Rams want him to block on 3rd down pass plays or run on 3rd or 4th and short situations. Do not worry about Jackson's carries in 07 he will get plenty and we now have the ability to still move the ball when he is taking a breather and we use Brian. With 66 total yards and the Rams only TD I give Brian the game ball for week one.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Props to Carriker on ESPN Radio

John Clayton this morning on ESPN radio said that Adam Carriker moving from DE to the inside is one of his biggest (2nd) surprises of the summer camp so far in the NFL! He said that he is a beast inside just throwing guys around. This again goes along with the fact that I named him THE BEAST a couple of weeks ago. Believe the hype Carriker is the real deal and will vastly improve our D-line. If we can get anything from the Wroten/Glover combo on the other side the Rams could be on their way to a great season.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rams close Practices to the Public

Due to the upcoming heat it St. Louis, the St. Louis Rams have closed practices to the public. The below information is from the St. Louis Rams offical website:

Practices Closed to Public Indefinitely

Sunday, August 5, 2007

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Rams have closed training camp practice to the public until further notice, the team announced today.
“There is uncertainty as to whether we will practice outside or go indoors because of expected high temperatures and heat indexes this week,” said coach Scott Linehan.
“We are going to proceed cautiously, taking into consideration possible health issues for players and fans.”
A decision will be made daily as to whether the Rams work outdoors on their Russell Training Center practice fields or in the team’s temperature-controlled indoor facility.
Fans were allowed to attend an indoor practice last week but a crowded environment indoors presents safety issues for players and spectators.

Rams Scrimmage News and Notes

The Rams had a short 90 minute or so open to the public scrimmage on Saturday. Other than the fight between Steven Jackson and Atogwe it was pretty uneventful. The starters did not really get to finish the scrimmage since they were ushered off after the fight. During the scrimmage Bulger looked very accurate and you can see that Bennett will be able to make some great catches. I would have liked to see more of Carriker so I don’t have much to report on there. Brian Leonard looked great running between the tackles and making players miss. He appears to be powerful but also very shifty in traffic. Hopefully he will be an upgrade over Davis and the other Rams they have tried to use as short yardage backs or to just spell Jackson. The Rams currently have so many free agents in camp you really can’t get a read on many guys. Jonathan Wade did get quite a lot of time in at RCB and appeared to cover well and made some sure tackles, however like many of the rookies out there he seemed to hit the wall in the St. Louis humidity. Clifton Ryan, Keith Jackson and Jonathan all played a lot and all seemed to get very tired early on. Hopefully some more two-a-days will get these guys in better game shape. Aaron Walker is getting almost all of the work at TE during camp with Klopper and McMichael out. Walker looks to be very sure handed and at 6’6” and 270 pounds he is quite a force out there. I wish we would have seen more of him in 06’. I believe Byrd may get cut because I don’t see the Rams going into the season with 4 TEs on the roster.

S-Jack Fights in Scrimmage

I should probably not add any fuel to the fire since this is getting blown up by the St. Louis media so I want to get the truth out of there. First, fights within training camp use to be a daily thing when the practices were not soft like they are nowadays. During the scrimmage this Saturday with the first team on the field, after finishing a run up the middle Jackson was hit by Chavous and then Atogwe swatted the ball out of Jackson’s hand. Many of the players were trying to strip balls during practice, you could even hear the coaches yelling at the players to do it. So Jackson took offense and shoved Atogwe back. Atogwe then pushed Jackson hard backwards. After gaining since balance Jackson charged towards Atogwe and threw a hard right hand punch which went around the left side of Atogwe and hit him in the back. After that the two got in tight and fell to the ground with many other players trying to pull everyone apart. All seemed calm until everyone was back up and Incognito and Atogwe were yelling at each other. At this point Atogwe unstrapped his helmet and flung it towards Incognito. This infuriated Incognito who then picked it up ala Kyle Turley and threw it by the face mask as hard as he could back in Atogwe’s direction. This again resulted in a bear hug of these two players. Prior to falling to the ground Tinoisamoa tackled Incognito to the ground and a large pile appeared on the ground. From here the players pulled everyone apart and the coaches finally stopped blowing their whistles. This was the end for the first team O and D. The players were then taken to the back practice field were they ran some sprints to finish off their day. You don’t want to see Jackson break a hand in a fight but it was nice to see a little fire from the O and D early in camp.

Autographs at Rams Park

This is for those that like to get football autographs and want to know what is going on at Rams camp. The Rams are probably some of the easier autographs to get in the NFL. The main reason is 300-500 people a day are showing up for open practices. Compare this to the 13,000 that were in Philly the other day to watch the Eagles or the full stadium that the Packers played a scrimmage in front of the other night. That is correct a full stadium to watch their own team scrimmage against their own team! For some reason St. Louis only cares about the Cardinals so that is very good news for the autograph hounds. The Rams end their practice and then this year there will be one position that seems to sign that day like the O-line, or D-line, or the secondary etc. When the practice ends you will see a couple of guys set up some tables and chairs. This will be the area you will want to walk to and try to get close to. The big names players will sit at those tables, such as Bulger, Pace, and Witherspoon. Make sure you bring your item and a sharpie it is amazing the amount of people that want things signed that think a player just walks around with a sharpie. The other players signing will be walking around the rail fence just get as close as possible be polite and be ready with the sharpie and item. You should be able to get 5-10 autographs at any of the Rams practices. That’s all there is to it good luck.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Frank Gore Breaks Hand

Maybe for once some other teams will have worse luck than the Rams. Let's cross our fingers Steven Jackson does not get in much contact at camp.

From Yahoo Sports

49ers RB Gore has broken hand July 31, 2007
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA (TICKER) -- Frank Gore's preseason certainly got off to a rough start.
The San Francisco 49ers star running back suffered a fractured bone in his right hand during a practice Monday.
A Pro Bowler last season, Gore was injured during Monday's morning practice session, the first practice of training camp with pads.
San Francisco coach Mike Nolan said that Gore will sit out the rest of this week. But the back is expected to return to practice next week after being outfitted with a cast that will protect his hand during contact.
Gore set a franchise single-season record with an NFC-leading 1,695 rushing yards last season. In just his second campaign.