Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Christmas

As the Rams season winds down, Rams fans can start thinking of other happier things than this past season. We can reflect that this is the time to celebrate more meaningful things than a football game.

True to form, the Rams lost another one on Sunday. The Houston Texans beat the Rams in St. Louis 16-13. The Rams played it close though, and the Rams defense kept them in this game. The Rams defense held Houston to only 52 yards rushing for the game. One of their best performances of the year.

Texans QB Matt Shaub had his eighth straight 300+ passing game. The Rams allowed him to throw 367 yards. Wide receiver Andre Johnson ended up with 9 catches for 196 yards. Andre Johnson is one of the most underrated wide receivers in the league. This stat didn't surprise me at all. Again it was big plays that did the Rams in, but the Rams defense did show a 'bend but don't break" effort.

Houston had to rely on three field goals to beat the Rams. As strange as this may sound, Christmas came early for me. As this game unfolded, I reflected on how this really isn't as important compared to everything else going on in the world. Sure it's disheartening watching the Rams lose every week, but I believe in the Rams.

This time of year is all about belief and faith. I do believe the Rams got better as the year progressed. I do believe that the Rams management and coaching staff have them headed in the right direction. I do believe that the Rams will be better next year. I have to believe these things, because, after all, it's Christmas.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So Close Again

The Rams had another one slip away on Sunday. The Rams lost 17-9 in Chicago. I thought the Rams had a good chance to win this game, but again they fell short. it's not often that the Rams can hold any running back under 100 yards in a game.

On Sunday they held Matt Forte to 91 yards on 24 carries with just one touchdown. Good performance by the Rams defense against the run. What the Rams did defensively against the pass was even more impressive. The Bears quarterback Jay Cutler came to Chicago in the off season and was supposed to solve all their problems at that position. Cutler has not had a good year. He is one of the reasons I thought the Rams had a good shot at beating them.

The Rams defense almost proved me right. Cutler came out strong throwing for 131 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He has been turnover prone all year, so I wasn't worried about the second half. Even though he threw for 131 yards in the first half, he finished with 143 yards for the game. That is called shutting it down. Anytime you can hold a quarterback to 12 yards passing in a half, you've done a fantastic job.

With Steven Jackson hurting and the Rams offense still sputtering, they couldn't get in the end zone.

This was a great effort for the Rams to build on. The Rams play at the Tennessee Titans this Sunday. The only problem is that they will face the Titans running back Chris Johnson. He is on pace right now to break Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record. With Vince Young as their quarterback, they have played well lately. I don't think that game will be so close again.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Monday, November 30, 2009

Same Story, Same Ending

I actually had high hopes of the Rams winning a game this weekend.

The Seattle Seahawks came to St. Louis on Sunday. The Seahawks were a little banged up, and had lost 5 straight road games.

The Rams gave another one away and lost 27-17.

I try to understand the philosophy of the Rams new coaching staff, and I have patience with them. Marc Bulger was hurt and the start went to Kyle Boller. Boller threw a touchdown pass, but was intercepted twice, with one of the picks going 65 yards for a Seattle touchdown. Again it was a big play like the pick six that ruins the Rams chances to win.

Here's a novel idea, give the third stringer and rookie Keith Null a shot at quarterback. How do you really know what you have unless you play him? Who knows, you could have another Kurt Warner waiting in the wings. It's not like the Rams have a shot at the playoffs, so go ahead and play him.

As for the Rams defense, same old thing, they can make anyone look good against them. Justin Forsett ran for a career high 130 yards and had two touchdowns. The Rams defense made him look like an all pro.

Leonard Little had the best quote of the day describing the Rams defensive effort. He said "Yeah, that was a step backward." I agree with you Leonard.

Some interesting facts from Sunday's game. The Seattle Seahawks have beaten the Rams 10 times in a row. The loss was the Rams 11th straight at home. Yesterday's attendance was 47,475, the worst attendance ever in the 15 years since the Rams moved to St. Louis. Even the 47,475 fans that were there knew they were going to be watching the same story with the same ending.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Close Again

As I said last week, I hate when the Rams lose. I know it sounds like a broken record, but again the Rams lost another close game. On the scoreboard anyway.

Yesterday Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals came to St. Louis and beat the Rams 21-13. It looks like it was a close game. The NFL is funny that way.

Kurt Warner went out with a shot to the head and the Cardinals were up 21-3 at that point. All they did from there was kick back, put their offense on cruise control, and coast to victory. The Cardinals ended up rushing for 183 yards and Tim Hightower was the first Cardinal to end up with over a hundred yards rushing in a game this season.

If Warner had been in the game it would have been much worse. Between Warner and his replacement Matt Leinart, they finished 25-33 passing for 261 yards 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Rams defense played a mediocre game. Nothing to write home about on this one. The Rams defense did get two fumbles and did turn one of those into points. No interceptions and no pressure on the Qb's. The Rams only had two sacks, and with Arizona's receiving corps you need to get more pressure on them than that.

Arizona also had the ball more, which keeps the Rams defense on the field and (as inept as it is) the Rams offense HAS to be able to find chances to score points.

Steven Jackson did his best again on Sunday and had over 100 yards for the fourth straight game. Here is an interesting stat I read, he is the first Ram to have 5 straight 1000+ yard seasons in a row. Even with him doing a great job the Rams fell short trying for a fourth and four to end the game.

Next week I'll try not to say that the game was close again. I think we can take the Seahawks.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Respectable Loss"

I hate when the Rams lose. I hate writing about how terrible they played. I try to keep being optimistic, reminding myself that this is a young team with a new coaching staff.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints high powered offense came to St. Louis on Sunday. I was very nervous about this game. The Saints offense can put up points and I was expecting a game similar to the Colts 42-6 pounding of the Rams earlier this year. This was (pleasantly surprised) not the case. The Rams played well on both sides of the ball.

Yes, the special teams hurt us again. The Saints took the second half kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown. But I'm trying to be positive about this. The Rams actually had more total yards for the game 434-420. The Rams had the ball longer than the Saints in minutes 32:02-27:58. That will keep your defense fresh, and it showed.

I always talk about stopping the run, but in the Saints case, you have to stop Drew Brees and their aerial assault. The Rams picked Drew Brees off twice and also recovered a fumble. The Rams only gave them one turnover. Even though the Rams gave up 203 yards rushing, it was the pass defense that kept them in the game. When you can hold Brees to just 223 yards passing with only two touchdowns and two picks, you've done your job.

Even though I hate when the Rams lose, this loss wasn't as hard to take as most of them have been this year. For a young team and new coaching staff, it was a respectable loss.

"see you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Win

It's been a long time since I have been able to say that about the St. Louis Rams. The St. Louis Rams beat the Detroit Lions Sunday 17-10. The last Rams win was 17 games ago when the Rams beat the Cowboys in St. Louis on Oct. 8th of last year. I was at that game and was shocked we were able to beat them. I have to admit, I never thought I would have to wait 17 more games to say it again.

Steven Jackson had an interesting quote. He once said he got chewed out as a rookie by saying (about a Rams win), "that was an ugly win". In the NFL and especially the Rams, you take any win you can, ugly or not.

The Rams defense played a solid game. The Rams only allowed 289 total yards. Before I start to proclaim we have turned the corner, I have to take a step back and realize the win was against Detroit. Never the less, they did play well. No big plays against the defense, not a lot of penalties either. The Rams only allowed 127 yards rushing on 33 carries. The Rams didn't take the ball away except for one interception by James Butler. Even that took a turn for the worse, when he picked off Stafford in the end zone and decided to bring the ball out. He avoided a tackle, but ran back into the end zone and was tackled for a safety. He admits it was a dumb mistake, but I'll give them 2 points instead of six anytime. That was the biggest mistake the Rams made all day. They didn't shoot themselves in the foot, and finally gave coach Spagnuolo his first head coaching win.

The Rams have a bye week this week, so I can't start thinking about another win just yet. The next week after the bye, the Rams play New Orleans in St. Louis. I can't see the Rams winning that game, New Orleans is on fire right now. I guess I'll look back on this game for awhile and be happy it was a win.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Monday, October 26, 2009

Knew It Was Coming

All right Rams fans, we are at 17 straight losses.

The Rams lost yesterday 42-6 at home against the Indianapolis Colts. The 17 losses in a row ties the record for 6th longest losing streak in the history of the NFL.

We knew the Rams didn't have a chance. Peyton Manning (in my opinion) is the best quarterback in the NFL. With their high powered offense and the Rams nonexistent offense, Rams fans knew the outcome before the kickoff.

Peyton didn't need all of his weapons yesterday. The Colts had a balanced attack with Peyton throwing for 3 Td's and they racked up 156 yards on the ground while averaging 6 yards a carry. What can you say?

The Rams tried to stay in the game until their first drive fizzled and they had to settle for a Josh Brown field goal. It was 21-6 Indy at the half, with no chance for the Rams to come back.

The Rams gave up 391 total yards. Actually that's not bad considering the Colts have shown they can score at will this season. It was like watching your two best friends play each other. You wanted it to be closer than it was, but were thankful it wasn't worse.

The Colts took their foot off the throttle, they could have scored 75 points. As sad as that is, the Rams have another concern on the defensive side. Here is an interesting stat. In the three home games this year the Rams have been outscored 116-33. No defense, no offense.

I actually was supposed to go to the game (I had tickets), but something came up and I couldn't go. I am thankful that I didn't drive the eleven hours and spend all that money for a hotel, beers and food. Even though I am a die hard Rams fan, I knew what was coming, and I am glad I wasn't there in person to witness that game.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Closer

Well, it was a close game by the score. On Sunday the Rams took the Jacksonville Jaguars to overtime before losing 23-20. It was the closest the Rams have been to a victory in over a year. Even though the score was close, the stats show the same trend for the Rams.

Yesterday Maurice Jones-Drew ran the ball well against the Rams defense. In the first half, he had 8 carries for only 11 yards. Our defense played well. The second half told the true story. He had 122 yards on 25 carries. He had a career high in attempts with 33 carries. David Garrard also threw for a career-high 335 yards on 43 tries.

The Jaguars had a good offensive game and should have won by a lot more than they did. The Jaguars had 492 total yards to the Rams 262. The Jags time of possession was 42:12 to the Rams 24:48. Again, the Rams defense was on the field too long and was winded. It is a pattern that Rams fans are getting tired of.

Steven Jackson can't do it all. He is a hard worker and if you saw the screen pass that set up the final score to tie the game, all you could say was "wow". He has the heart of a lion. If only the rest of the Rams had the same passion and conviction, they would be more competitive.

With Peyton Manning and the Colts coming to town this weekend, I don't see a Rams 'W' coming soon. The Rams are looking right in the face of their 17th loss in a row.

The Rams are getting a little closer, but they are still very far away.

"See you on the hit side"#21

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Goose Egg

When was the last time you can remember when the Rams were shut out twice in the same season? I can't remember, I couldn't find that stat anywhere, and I am glad I couldn't find it.

Every game you hope that the Rams will turn it around and get a victory.

On Sunday the Rams found new ways to lose to the 49er's and got shut out 35-0.

Looking at the final score, you would think that it was the defense that gave the game away. Actually the Rams found new ways to lose a game. A fumble recovery in the end zone, a pick for six, another fumble scooped up and taken for a touchdown. 21 points on three turnovers. That will kill any team in the NFL, but it has a devastating effect on a team psychologically.

The Rams defense only gave up 228 total yards. That is a good day in the NFL. I can't fault them at all in their performance. Once again it was the Rams anemic offense that did it. 82 yards passing for the game? Really??!? I can't remember ANY NFL team to end up with under 100 yards passing. Add 10 penalties and the 3 turnovers and what you have is a sloppy attempt to play a football game.

If I was Steven Jackson, I would be screaming right now. He is the best player on the team and he ran for almost as much as the Rams threw for.

Next week the Rams play the Vikings, Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson. Personally I have more respect for the Vikings defense than I do for the 49er's defense. I just hope the third time is not a charm. I would like to see them play a respectable game. I don't want to see the Rams get another goose egg.

"See you on the hit side"#21

Monday, September 28, 2009

Big Plays

It is a continuing problem for the St. Louis Rams, giving up the big plays on defense.

Sunday's home game against Green Bay was another of the long plays hurting the Rams chances to win a game. The Rams lost the game 36-17 to the Packers.

The Rams defense gave up pass plays of 46, 50 & 53 yards. They held an opponents running back to under 100 yards for the first time since…. since I can remember. Ryan Grant had 99 yards on 26 carries. It was the passing game of Green Bay that took it's toll this time on the Rams.

Aaron Rodgers threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 38 yards and scored on a 4 yard run.

The Rams defense has not gotten any help from their offense this year, and on Sunday they found themselves down 16-0 early in the second quarter.

The Rams defense didn't win the turnover battle either. The Rams didn't have one takeaway the whole game. With a lackluster offense, it makes it a long day on the defensive side of the ball.

Next up is the San Francisco 49'rs. With Frank Gore as their number one weapon, I see another day of big plays coming the defenses way. Maybe the Rams can adjust the defense and find a way to beat San Fran.

On a good note, the Rams retired Deacon Jones #75 at halftime yesterday. He is well deserving of the honor.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Monday, September 21, 2009

Strange Game

The St. Louis Rams played their second game of the season yesterday against the Washington Redskins. Last year the Rams beat the Redskins for one of their only two victories of the year.

The Rams have lost 12 straight games since then. Was it going to repeat? Not on this Sunday. Again the Rams found ways of giving the game away.

The Rams lost 9-7. This time it was not the defenses fault. The defense only gave up three field goals, but the offense only managed 7 points. That's now 7 points in TWO games.

The Rams defense held Clinton Portis of the Redskins to only 79 yards on the ground. Steven Jackson had 104 yards on the ground. Anytime you have more rushing yards than your opponent, you should win the game. But this is the Rams we're talking about.

Marc Bulger is starting to get on my bad side. He passed Jim Everett in Rams history with the most completions. The problem was he threw 4 incomplete passes when it was supposed to count late in the game. He was 0-4 on the Rams last possession and 1-6 in the fourth quarter. This year in the two games that he's played, he's 6-17 in the fourth quarter. Brutal to say the least.

This was a snooze fest of a game from the get go. Even on the last drive, the 4 and out made it just another Rams loss. No excitement. Next week the Green Bay Packers come to St. Louis. Somebody better wake up the offense. I'm not ready for another strange game.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Monday, September 14, 2009

Game On

The Rams traveled to Seattle yesterday to play the first game of the 2009 season. Who showed up? Not the Rams we expected, or was it the Rams we expected? The Rams were in their uniforms, but weren't there mentally.

Big plays again killed the Rams. Julius Jones had 117 yards rushing against the Rams defense, which included a 62 yard TD run. Another 100 yard game against them, sounds familiar doesn't it? The Rams defense got torched for 446 total yards, 167 on the ground.

This was not the real story of this game. The Rams got shut out 28-0. It was the Rams first shut out since 1998.

I saw some interesting facts on the Rams I'd like to share. The Rams have lost 11 straight games now. The Rams have scored 16 or less points in the last 13 of 17 games. I preach about defense all the time, but this is a two sided coin. You have to put up points to win games! It is so difficult to get shut out in the NFL nowadays. Even the Lions put up 27 in their defeat yesterday. The Rams are in for a very long season if they can't score. The defense will wear down from being on the field all the time. It is a spiral that only goes downwards.

The Rams players need to get a gut check and suck it up. This isn't preseason any longer, this is for real. Game on, these games count.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Friday, September 4, 2009

What Did We Learn?

Well the preseason is finally over. The NFL could cut it in half if you ask me. The Rams finished 3-1 for the 2009 preseason. Is that any indication of what will transpire during the regular season? I don't think so.

The Rams have improved from their embarrassing 2-14 season of a year ago. They still have glaring problems to overcome. The defense still can't stop anyone from running on them. They also have a bad tendency to give up the big play. This would be acceptable, if it didn't happen more than once a game.

Even though the Rams beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-9 on Thursday night, they had 4 plays of 40+ yards against the defense. The defense allowed 406 yards, with 170 of those coming on the ground. I realize most of the starters had limited play, but it's still the scheme that's put to the test. We also have to face that it was the Chiefs offense that put up those numbers. The Chiefs have been picked by many NFL experts to be one of the worst teams this year.

What happens when the Rams play the Vikings, Colts and New Orleans this year? Adrian Peterson will have fun against the Rams rushing defense. Peyton Manning and Drew Breese will have monster numbers. This might sound negative, but I'm being honest.

Do you want some positive notes? The Rams defense had +12 in turnovers for the preseason. If that trend carries into the regular season, that will keep the Rams in the games.

Also, the Rams are a young team. As they continue forward they should get better as the season goes along.

So what did we learn from the preseason? We learned that the Rams won't be as bad as last year. I have them going 6-10 this year. So…… GO RAMS!

'See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Be Redundant

What a difference a week will make. Living in Augusta Ga., I had the opportunity to see the Rams game at my house on Friday night. The Atlanta Falcons visited the Rams in St. Louis and did they make an impression.

During last weeks game against the N.Y. Jets, the Rams defense played a good game. This week against the Falcons, the first team defense didn't even show up. On the Falcons first possession, they ran the ball right down the Rams throats. Michael Turner of the Falcons had 65 yards on seven carries and a touchdown that drive.

After the Rams gave the ball back to them, the Falcons tested their passing game. Their second series consisted of Matt Ryan throwing for 5 of 6 for 69 yards and a touchdown. Two series and the Rams were down 14-0.

The Rams line backing corp was getting caught on the inside. They were shooting gaps that were the wrong ones and enabled Turner to cut off of it and burn them. The secondary wasn't covering well, and Ty Hill got completely turned around on the touchdown pass to Gonzales.

There was a great quote from the Rams head coach last week after the Jets game. "I think it's always the same thing, it goes right back to all the things I've been saying-still be able to run the football, protect the quarterback. I don't want to sound redundant, but stop the run, pressure the passer, special teams".

Go ahead Spags and be redundant, I don't think the Rams defense heard you the first time.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ESPN Again

On Friday night the Rams played the Jets in the first preseason game of the year. Due to family commitments, I was unable to see the game. This is where I, like most of you rely on ESPN for highlights and coverage of our favorite teams to give us insight on what happened.

What did I see? A freakin Mark Sanchez highlight film. I am so tired of the "east coast" and "west coast" mentality that pours from ESPN. It was terrible. Not one highlight of the Rams. No respect again. Do you think you'd see Gado's 77 yard touchdown run, or the rookie Null's winning touchdown? Nada.

I've said before that as a Rams fan, I am used to it. But this was ridiculous. What I read about the game, oh and by the way the Rams WON the game, was the Rams had a decent game. As a team they ran the ball well, get used to that. The Rams had 193 yards on 29 carries for a 6.7 yard per carry, and Steven Jackson only touched the ball twice.

The line did give up four sacks, this will be addressed by the coaching staff for sure. The one statistic that stood out to me, and I know I sound like a broken record, was the Rams defense against the run. The Rams gave up only 102 yards on 28 carries for the Jets. This equals a 3.6 yard per carry average, but two of those rushes equaled 62 yards combined. Take that out of the equation and the Rams defense had a great day against the run.

I wish that I could have seen some of those stats and highlight's on ESPN. But it was ESPN again, giving no respect to the Rams.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reality vs Fantasy

Well, it's here. The Rams of 2009.

This Friday the St. Louis Rams open there season with a preseason game against the New York Jets. I am not a big fan of preseason football. I would like to see 2 games max.

The "real" season starts September 13th when the Rams travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks.

The Rams have an interesting schedule this year. Besides the interdivisional play, the NFC opponents include the Redskins, Packers, Vikings , Lions, Saints and Bears.

The Rams AFC opponents this year are the Jaguars, Colts, Titans and Texans.

At the beginning of any sports season, fans are optimistic on the chances of their favorite team. Rams fans are no different. I am more of a "the glass is half empty" kind of guy. I have heard predictions for the Rams of 8-8 and 9-7 (making the playoffs as a wild card). I can't see it. With a new coaching staff, new offense and defensive strategies, this year will be a learning year for the Rams.

I think in terms of reality. The 8-8 and 9-7 fans are living in a fantasy world. My prediction is 6-10 and another year of not making the playoffs. reality vs. fantasy?

I hope ALL the Rams fans living in the fantasy world prove me wrong.


"See you on the hit side" #21

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A New Era

A new era has begun for the St. Louis Rams. When the Rams hired new head coach Steve Spagnuolo, many Rams fans thought that was the beginning, but actually the beginning was Thursday.

Last Thursday Rams players started to play. The rookies and QB'S reported with the rest of the team showing up for their first full practice on Friday. All the Rams players showed up, no holdouts.

The whole team along with coach Spagnuolo can focus on one thing, playing football. Coach Spagnuolo has not had time to breathe, let alone look at his players since being hired. I had heard his training camp was going to be much harder than any the veteran Rams players had seen in previous years. He didn't disappoint. He is running two a day's from the get go and full contact practices.

Most players on the Rams (let alone in the NFL), haven't had those since high school. I love it. Some people will argue that it increases the chances of injuries, but so do four preseason games. If you prepare yourself and stay in shape over the off season, you should be ready.

Working this hard, this early in camp, can only pay off in the fourth quarter of games late in the season. The Rams have been coddled too long. The past is now behind them, it's time for a new era, and I'm applauding it.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?

I love the Clash. This was probably their biggest hit that got the most air play. Unfortunately, this phrase has recently come up with connection to the Rams. I usually talk defensive football, but I am going to go "defensive" in a different way today.

There are a lot of rumors regarding the sale of the Rams by current owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez. With the price of NFL franchises (the Rams are estimated at $929 million), greed is a huge factor. As an old L.A. Rams fan, I have heard they want to move back there. I can think of many reasons why they shouldn't. Here are my top 10 (excuse me David Letterman):

10. Georgia Frontiere moved them to St. Louis for a reason. Respect your mothers wishes.

9. Rams fans show up on time. Unlike Dodger fans that show up during the fourth inning, St. Louis fans know how to tell time.

8. Rams fans are loyal. People state that Rams fans don't show up, put a winning or exciting product on the field and they will.

7. Rams fans are friendly. I have met some great people in St. Louis and have new friends there.

6. Edward Jones Dome is not that bad. The lease is through 2014, honor it and then build a new stadium.

5. Budweiser. Who wants to go to a game and drink Pina Coladas or a Seabreeze?

4. Lacledes Landing. How cool is this place!?! Where else can you WALK to after the game, hit some bars and maybe dance with some Rams cheerleaders? Don't laugh, it happened to me a few years ago. It was a blast.

3. Good food and restaurants close by. Too many good ones to mention here.

2. Casinos. If the Rams lose, you can always hit the casinos and have a chance to win some cash. That would make the Rams loss easier to swallow.

1. If the Rams move, I wouldn't be able to go to a game every year. Call it selfish, it is.

So if you ask "should I stay or should I go?", I say stay!

"See you on the hit side!" #21

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Draft of 2009 Part #2

After the Rams drafted Jason Smith and James Laurinatis with the first two picks, I was interested to see what direction they would take.

Most drafts are 'made' with lower picks and this is no different for the Rams this year. Draft experts like Mel Kiper Jr. talk all the time about "need picks" and "best available player". I lean towards the "need pick" philosophy.

The needs for the Rams are numerous, but more so on the defensive side of the ball. With their third pick, the Rams picked Bradley Fletcher, cornerback from Iowa. I was happy with the position pick of cornerback, the Rams need help in the secondary.

With their fourth pick, the Rams drafted defensive tackle Darell Scott from Clemson. Again I was happy with the position drafted. The Rams have had a bad record at this position with a lot of "busts" in the last few years.

At this point in the draft, I was very pleased with the direction the Rams were going. With the 3 picks I started to scratch my head. With the 5th pick the Rams took Brooks Foster wide receiver from North Carolina. His biggest attributes were his size and arm length. Is he fast?

With the sixth pick, the Rams took Keith Null, QB from West Texas A&M. Who? Where? I understand that the Rams got a small school gem in Kurt Warner, and that the Patriots got Tom Brady in the sixth round of their draft, but seriously. Did the Rams "need" a QB in this spot?

With the final pick in their draft, the Rams took Chris Ogbonnaya running back from Texas. At least I've heard of him and saw him play a few times. He will work well on special teams and in third down situations.

I give the Rams a C- on their draft part two. Time will tell on the true grade of their draft.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Draft of 2009 Part #1

The Rams have always been ignored, and even though they do get some great players, it seems they never have great drafts.

What about this year? The Rams first draft pick was a no brainer. The Rams drafted Jason Smith, offensive tackle from Baylor with the second overall pick. With the departure of Orlando Pace, this was definitely the number one "need" pick for the Rams. At 6'5" and 310 lbs. he has the size, strength and quickness for the NFL.

After taking the obvious, I was curious to see the direction the Rams would take. I was hoping for a stud at middle linebacker. The Rams haven't had a decent one since Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds. I'm sure I'd hear the argument on London Fletcher being great, he did a decent job, but he wasn't that big for a middle linebacker. The Rams picked James Laurinatis middle linebacker from THE Ohio State University with their second round pick. As I have said before, I am an Ohio State homer. I LOVED this pick. I saw almost every game he played at Ohio State. He is a beast. He was the Big Ten's defensive player of the year for two straight years. He won many awards, too many to name here. His motor runs on full throttle all the time. He was projected to go in the first round if he came out his Junior year, but decided to stay in school. As a buckeye fan, I was happy he did. As a Rams fan I am ecstatic he did and got to slip to the second round.

I have a feeling that Rams fans will be talking about Jason Smith and James Laurinatis for years to come. For the Rams draft of 2009 part #1, I gave them an A+. Next I'll look at the rest of the draft and see how the "whole" draft turned out for the Rams.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rodney Dangerfield

Growing up, there were certain comedians that crossed generations. Rodney Dangerfield was one of them. His "I don't get no respect" line is still famous to this day. Being a Rams fan for forty years I have come to realize that the Rams are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. I love watching the NFL draft. I was excited this year, new couch new attitude, same old ESPN.

Living in Georgia, I don't get to see a lot of live interviews with Rams personnel. I was anxiously awaiting trips to the Rams "war room" during the draft. Nothing, nada. ESPN covered the Rams first pick of offensive tackle Jason Smith, because they had to. Detroit had already agreed to terms with their pick, Matthew Stafford, Friday. The Rams had been on the clock for a day. How did the Rams staff feel about that pick? Don't ask ESPN, crickets.

The Rams second pick was James Laurinatis, linebacker from Ohio State (I'm a die hard Bucks fan, I'II have more to say about this) and again, nothing from the Rams camp.

I got SO tired of looking at Jerry Jones all weekend.

Every time a team from the NFC East drafted or made any moves, ESPN was right in Jerry Jones face looking for his reaction. The S.F. 49'rs got Michael Crabtree WR from Texas Tech, and the Cardinals got Beanie Wells RB from Ohio State and ESPN didn't ask the Rams opinion about any of it.

Two of the biggest offensive weapons in the draft went in to the Rams division. Did I hear a pin drop? The coverage of the Rams draft this year was terrible. Welcome to the Rams, Steve Spagnuolo, get used to the alias of Rodney Dangerfield.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

This has been an interesting couple of days. I wasn't sure what I would write about this week, the draft or the Rams schedule for next year.

Last week the Rams publicly came out and dangled their #2 pick in this years NFL draft. As Rams fans we all know we need a lot of help everywhere. So do you drop from the #2 spot and get quantity instead of quality? It seems the Rams new management and coaching staff appear to think that.

Prior to the draft the Rams as all of the other teams in the NFL like to throw out smoke screens. They try to keep other teams guessing on what they are planning to do. Is there anyone in this years draft that is worth the money the Rams would have to pay in the number two spot? I don't think so.

Linebacker Will Whitherspoon has already been told he will be moving from the middle linebacker position. So do the Rams pay $40 million plus for Aaron Curry from Wake Forest? The Rams could also use Michael Crabtree the WR from Texas Tech. The question is, is that too early to pick him at that spot? I am tending to side with the current Rams staff and would trade down.

Just like me, the Rams are facing questions.

Decisions, decisions. We will have plenty of time to talk about the schedule, the draft is upon us.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Farewell & Good Luck

This last week has been heart wrenching for Rams fans. On March 10th, the Rams released offensive tackle Orlando Pace. On March 13th, the Rams released wide receiver Torry Holt.

These two players have been mainstays for the Rams over the last 12 and 10 years respectfully. In this day and age of salary caps, it didn't surprise me that these moves were made.

As one Rams official stated, the release of Pace freed up enough money for their entire April draft. Pure economics. Growing up in Ohio, I am still to this day a die hard Ohio State Buckeye fan. I had the pleasure of watching a lot of Orlando play in college and was absolutely thrilled when the Rams drafted him.

Torry Holt was one of the best weapons for the "greatest show on turf". Henry Ellard has always been my all time favorite wide receiver, with Isaac Bruce running a close second and Torry sitting in the third spot.

I'm sure he will be missed in the clubhouse. Both were leaders on and off the field. I wish to say thanks to both of them, farewell and good luck.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's a Start

Well the free agency window is officially open. At midnight on last Thursday, the NFL opened the free agency season and teams went shopping.

Prior to that, the Rams released some veteran players to free up some dollars under the salary cap. The Rams released QB Trent Green and WR Drew Bennett. Trent was one sneeze away from a career ending concussion, and Bennett was an injury riddled bust from the get go. With a few extra dollars in hand, the Rams offered Guard Rich Incognito and defensive lineman Victor Adeyanju one year deals. If another team tries to get them, the Rams would have a chance to match the offer, or they get draft pick compensation, if they sign with another team. Some people think Incognito is a head case, but ask what Steven Jackson thinks about him and I could care less.

The Rams have made two moves in rebuilding their team. This past weekend the Rams signed center Jason Brown from the Baltimore Ravens. At 6'3" and 320 lbs. he is a presence that will have an immediate impact on the Rams running game. Just like with Incognito, ask Steven Jackson what he thinks of this acquisition.

The Rams also locked up their cornerback Ron Bartell to a four year deal. Bartell had a decent year last year, we will see if he can build upon what he learned. The Rams are still shopping for other players. It's a start what they have done so far, let's see how they finish.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where to Look

In the last few weeks the Rams have made additions to their coaching staff and front office. The pieces are in place, so it's time to start looking elsewhere for improving the team.

Free agency opens on Feb. 27th.

Rams have players of their own to try and sign, but they need so much help on defense, they need to set their sights on a few players and go after them. There are a few linebackers that are out there that would be good additions.

Eric Barton (Jets), Jonathan Vilma (Saints), and Michael Boley (Falcons) are young with a lot of upside. Ray Lewis is on the market, but he is in the twilight of his career.

On the defensive line, Julius Peppers (Carolina) is the stud that everybody wants. I don't think the Rams are interested for financial reasons. Albert Haynesworth (Titans) and Rocky Bernard (Seattle) along with Bertrand Berry (Arizona) are the best of the bunch.

The Rams secondary has not been deep for years. At this point I'd like to see them get anyone under 30 years of age, over 6 ft. tall and can run a 4.3 or 4.4 forty. I'll take anyone that can fit that criteria.

Spags and his new coaching staff will be very busy in the next week. As long is they can figure out what to look for, maybe they can find out where to look.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Staff is Coming Together

The Rams are tweaking and adding to the new coaching staff. Since naming Pat Shurmer offensive coordinator and Ken Flajole defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo has added a few more pieces to the coaching puzzle.

Head coaches and coordinators always get more press than other coaches. It's like any other business, the ones at the top get the headlines, good or bad.

The Rams have hired Paul Ferraro from the Minnesota Vikings as their new special teams coach. This area needs just as much attention as the defensive side of the ball. The Rams have also hired Dick Curl as asst. offensive and quarterbacks coach. Hopefully he can calm Bulger down.

They have also added Frank Leonard as their tight end coach. Spagnuolo said "all three are exactly what we are looking for. All are of high character and all about team. We feel very fortunate to add to our staff great teachers with tremendous experience." The Rams have also Charlie Baggett as their receivers coach. He has 10 years of NFL experience & has had a 1000 yard receiver in 9 of those ten years. The down side is that he took the place of one of my all time favorite Rams, Henry Ellard. Ellard has moved on and joined the Jets staff.

Steve Loney has been retained as offensive line coach. I don't envy his job at all. last year he worked with a banged up group, & (I have a feeling) he will be working with a lot of new faces very soon.

Most Rams fans might not care about all of these new faces. I take an interest in it because it starts to mold the new attitude of the Rams and I believe the staff is coming together.

"See you on the hit side" #21

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Well Rams fans here we go again. New coaches, new outlook, new expectations.

The Rams have hired head coach Steve Spagnuolo as their head coach. Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator for the N.Y. Giants the last two years. In 2007 the year the Giants won the Superbowl, they were ranked 7th overall in the NFL in total defense. This past year they were ranked 5th in total defense.

It's about time the Rams looked to someone to help the defensive side of the ball. The Rams haven't hired a defensive minded head coach since Ray Malavasi. Yes, it's been that long.

If you read this column on a regular basis, you know how I preach defense. I'm not saying that my prayers have been answered, but it is a step in the right direction. Rams fans have to realize that this is no longer "the greatest show on turf". It hasn't been that way for 5 years. Get over it and move on please!

Spagnuolo has hired Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator and Pat Shurmer as offensive coordinator. Flajole came from the Carolina Panthers as a linebackers coach. Linebackers? What are those? The Rams haven't had a good corp. of linebackers for years. I expect a lot of focus on this area from Flajole.

Pat Shurmer's offense will be a shock to Rams fans that still live in 1999. Get ready for a vanilla offense with a heavy dose of Steven Jackson.

As Spagnuolo settles in as head coach, he will be putting the remaining touches on his coaching staff. It will be interesting to see who he targets in the free agent area. Whatever he decides, I think it will be a huge change from their offensive mentality, and I think that change will be what the Rams need.

"See you on the hit side" #21