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Old 08-03-2011, 06:14 PM    (permalink
holt_bruce81
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Cadillac has officially signed with the rams.

We couldn't ask for more this offseason.

Got a future stud defensive end in the draft, and a top 5 talent in the entire draft. Got Sam some good weapons to work with. Hired an offensive genius. Filled all the holes that needed to be filled. Got Harvey Dahl an absolute monster at guard. Finally filled the backup running back role with two quality players. Got the two most overlayed players on the team to restructure their contracts..:...

Bill Devaney has done a marvelous job this offseason and gets an A+ from me. I don't think I've been this excited for a season since 2001.
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Old 08-03-2011, 06:14 PM    (permalink
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Queue Stevie Wonder redux: Cadillac is SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED, HE'S OURS!!!!

Great job by Billy and the FO. I'm ready for some...FOOTBALL!!!!
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Old 08-03-2011, 06:19 PM    (permalink
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Cadillac Williams is one of those guys I feel so sorry for, those injuries have turned what looked an incredibly exciting player into pretty much a shell of that player. I think at best he's average as a runner now. That's one scarily brittle backfield though. My fear is we end up running #39 even further into the ground.

As for Bulger, good luck to the guy. He got David Carr syndrome so bad after that very good, but brutal '06 season.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:52 AM    (permalink
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I am very pleased with this offseason as well.

I think we brought in starters in Dahl, Mikell, and Bannan.

Sims-Walker has a chance to start and be a huge factor.

While I am not enamored with either Diles or Poppinga, they both have experience and have one thing in common...both played poorly in the 3-4 system they came from. Neither one cost an arm or a leg, and I think the idea is that they were misplaced in a 3-4 system and may thrive in the 4-3. If that is the case then we may be pleased with the move in the long run.

I really like the Al Harris signing, even if he is at the end of his career. I think we have a lot of talent in our secondary, but what we could really use in a heavy infusion of swagger back there. He will definitely bring that to the table!

Between Norwood and Cadillac, I think we should get through the season. Neither is electrifying, but they should carry us for one more year. You can only add so many pieces so quickly. I like the fashion in which this team has been built, and I think we are going to see a lot of fruition from what appear to be uninteresting moves.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:04 AM    (permalink
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I think FA has gone pretty well, started really well, but some since then I just think won't work out at all. Mikkel and Dahl are great pick ups. Bannan's decent, Sims Walker could work but I think his past performances have been massively over hyped. Diles was mince last year, but was apparently pretty decent the year before, so maybe I was a little harsh on him. Poppinga is OK as well, just has general health concerns, Al Harris is 37 coming off an injury plagued year, if he is an upgrade why not spend some time going after Carlos Rogers who's perfect for the nickel position anyway? Muir is a terrible pick up imo, both Williams and Norwood have serious health issues, and Williams I think just looks a shell of the player he was.

I'm closer to B than A if I were to grade FA alone. I think generally in the Spags/Devaney era the positions they target are generally spot on, I just think sometimes they could do with trying a bit harder to bring some genuine proven talent in. Rather than taking flyers on low risk, low reward guys.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:49 PM    (permalink
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I agree with your assessment in general.

One thing that I think Spags understands is that you can overhaul a team too fast and the results will be worse if you have too much youth. While Tampa Bay is making huge strides with their youth movement, I don't think anyone really believes they are going to win the Super Bowl with a bunch of 24-year olds.

The Rams have increased their talent level steadily over the course of the last three offseasons, building a strong core of key players at key positions. Are they still missing pieces? Yes. I think next offseason they will address the defense with a stud OLB and the offense with an explosive weapon. They will continue to add talent and the systems will become more comfortable for everyone. I look at this season as a year for the team to really gel and come together. The outlook is definitely a positive one.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:19 AM    (permalink
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I think FA has gone pretty well, started really well, but some since then I just think won't work out at all. Mikkel and Dahl are great pick ups. Bannan's decent, Sims Walker could work but I think his past performances have been massively over hyped. Diles was mince last year, but was apparently pretty decent the year before, so maybe I was a little harsh on him. Poppinga is OK as well, just has general health concerns, Al Harris is 37 coming off an injury plagued year, if he is an upgrade why not spend some time going after Carlos Rogers who's perfect for the nickel position anyway? Muir is a terrible pick up imo, both Williams and Norwood have serious health issues, and Williams I think just looks a shell of the player he was.

I'm closer to B than A if I were to grade FA alone. I think generally in the Spags/Devaney era the positions they target are generally spot on, I just think sometimes they could do with trying a bit harder to bring some genuine proven talent in. Rather than taking flyers on low risk, low reward guys.
1. Al Harris was brought in more as a mentor to the younger defensive backs like Justin King, Jerome Murphy, Mikail Baker. Because he knows this defense so well, he's like having a coach on the field. I bet the contract is for the minimum and wouldn't even be surprised if he didn't make the final 53-man roster. Just nice to have someone in there right now who knows the scheme and can help prepare the young guys, especially in a situation like this where the team is trying to throw so much at these players because they have less time to prepare for the season than they did in years past.

2. I don't know what's not to like about Bannan or Muir. Both have starting experience, they add much needed depth to the defensive line. Heck we were rolling last year with Gary Gibson and jermelle Cudjo.

3. Caddy and Norwood may come with injuries but I would rather have that than see Keith ****** Toston or Kenneth Darby carry the ball for this team again. At least the two guys we got are still young and have had some kind of success in this league.

4. In Spags' defense the outside linebackers are probably "least" important. He went to two super bowls with below average linebackers on the outside.
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:04 AM    (permalink
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1. Al Harris was brought in more as a mentor to the younger defensive backs like Justin King, Jerome Murphy, Mikail Baker. Because he knows this defense so well, he's like having a coach on the field. I bet the contract is for the minimum and wouldn't even be surprised if he didn't make the final 53-man roster. Just nice to have someone in there right now who knows the scheme and can help prepare the young guys, especially in a situation like this where the team is trying to throw so much at these players because they have less time to prepare for the season than they did in years past.
Surely Ron Bartell or Mikkel could be that mentor? I personally wanted another CB brought in, because our nickel play last year was pretty poor, hence my Carlos Rogers point. Plus I think this off season has shown that Bartell is a leader on this football team. I think the combination of both Bartell and Mikkel means the need for more leadership or a mentor isn't there at all.

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2. I don't know what's not to like about Bannan or Muir. Both have starting experience, they add much needed depth to the defensive line. Heck we were rolling last year with Gary Gibson and jermelle Cudjo.
Bannan is a 2 down stuffer, which I said is decent. Muir by the accounts I've read, is just flat out terrible, regardless of how much he started.

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3. Caddy and Norwood may come with injuries but I would rather have that than see Keith ****** Toston or Kenneth Darby carry the ball for this team again. At least the two guys we got are still young and have had some kind of success in this league.
If they work out, then I agree they're both upgrades. The problem I have with it is it's yet another if, and it should be a genuine concern that we're bringing in a 29 year old guy with a history of some terrible, terrible knee injuries and a guy who's had issues staying on the field pretty much every year he's been in the NFL. You wouldn't find many people happier if Williams found even some of the spark he had when he burst onto the scene, because he became one of my favourite players in the NFL in that period.

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4. In Spags' defense the outside linebackers are probably "least" important. He went to two super bowls with below average linebackers on the outside.
We've been set for a while then. ;)

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Old 08-05-2011, 06:36 AM    (permalink
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For what it's worth Caddy was impressive last season and exceptional in pass protection.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:55 AM    (permalink
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For what it's worth Caddy was impressive last season and exceptional in pass protection.
A friend of mine mentioned the same thing about his pass blocking, although he wasn't as complimentary on his running. Although to be fair, he did say he improved a lot once Blount took over the majority of the touches. Which is all good to know. If we allow Norwood to spell Jackson on 1st/2nd down if needed and allow Williams to just take the 3rd down duties or split them with Jackson it could work well.

But I'm still concerned we'll end up leaning too much on #39, if ever a back in the NFL needs some competent help, it's him.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:02 AM    (permalink
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I'd give the Rams a solid B+ for their free agency, though it's probably inaccurate to try and grade any personnel acquisition until we have a couple of seasons to look back and evaluate how those acquisitions translated onto the field.

That being said, the Rams added outstanding talent at key need positions at safety (Mikell) and right guard (Dahl). They've added solid starters at linebacker (Diles) and defensive tackle (Bannan). They've also added more depth on the defensive line (Muir) and a contender at wide receiver (Sims-Walker). And they've improved the depth at both the #2 (Williams) and #3 (Norwood) RB positions.

They haven't gone on a spending spree to get the biggest names, but they've added some solid guys who will fill holes. Only time will tell how well they've actually done, though.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:08 AM    (permalink
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If they work out, then I agree they're both upgrades. The problem I have with it is it's yet another if, and it should be a genuine concern that we're bringing in a 29 year old guy with a history of some terrible, terrible knee injuries and a guy who's had issues staying on the field pretty much every year he's been in the NFL. You wouldn't find many people happier if Williams found even some of the spark he had when he burst onto the scene, because he became one of my favourite players in the NFL in that period.
To spring-board off this point, it is interesting that the Rams are taking chances on a number of guys with injury histories. Diles, Norwood, Poppinga, Sims-Walker, and Harris all either missed significant time last year with injuries or played through them. Williams has a documented injury history.

It's as if the Rams were wheeling their cart through the grocery, picking up the damaged items because they thought they'd get a discount. ;)
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:15 PM    (permalink
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Rams have added Ben Leber at linebacker. Between him, Diles, Diggs, Poppinga, and Vobora, two solid starters at OLB should emerge.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:01 PM    (permalink
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Rams have added Ben Leber at linebacker. Between him, Diles, Diggs, Poppinga, and Vobora, two solid starters at OLB should emerge.
I'm predicting Laurinitus, Diles, and Leber as starters with Poppinga and Vobora as quality depth.

We've really done a fabulous job this year in Free Agency.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:06 AM    (permalink
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Yes I also feel much better about the LB position now that we brought in another guy. I don't know much about Leber, but from what I gather he should compete for a starting position here.

Did I read correctly the other day that Jerome Murphy is out for the season with a broken ankle? If that's the case I would really like to see us dig around and see if we can't come up with another corner. Suddenly we may be leaning a lot more heavily on Al Harris. To be quite honest, though, he seems to be the kind of guy who could step up and give us a hell of a year.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:28 AM    (permalink
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Reports of the Leber signing were premature, but he will be in St. Louis today so maybe something happens.

And yes, Murphy broke his ankle and will have surgery today I believe. Rams are deciding whether or not to put him on IR.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:31 PM    (permalink
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Reports of the Leber signing were premature, but he will be in St. Louis today so maybe something happens.

And yes, Murphy broke his ankle and will have surgery today I believe. Rams are deciding whether or not to put him on IR.
Cornerback depth is very very thin right now, kind of scares me especially knowing Bartell and Fletcher have dealt with injuries in their past. Wouldn't mind them bringing in one or two guys. Doubt we have the money for it though, unless we do something drastic like cut Donnie Avery.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:10 PM    (permalink
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Cornerback depth is very very thin right now, kind of scares me especially knowing Bartell and Fletcher have dealt with injuries in their past. Wouldn't mind them bringing in one or two guys. Doubt we have the money for it though, unless we do something drastic like cut Donnie Avery.
Yeah, a little. Al Harris and Justin King are back there, but that's about it. Maybe one of the young newcomers emerge, but I wouldn't be surprised if Quincy Butler or Kevin Dockery are on speed dial.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:13 AM    (permalink
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Health and pressure could be the key.

I really like 3/4 of our starting DB's (Bartell, Fletcher and Mikkel). Hopefully whoever plays alongside Mikkel will be better than Dahl was last year, even if that just means Dahl playing better. But the depth at CB has concerned me, and it was why I wasn't that happy with the Harris pick up. I did and even more so now, believed we needed some decent depth at nickel. I'm not sure we have the answer on the roster right now, I did have a bit of a hope Murphy (thought he got better as the year went on) might make a bit of a step up, but that injury isn't great for that hope.

The front 4 could be the saving grace though, if Quinn can contribute straight away, Robbins, Long and Hall play at a similar level to last year, they could mask any issues we have at nickel/OLB coverage, which might be the biggest weakness on this defense right now.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:41 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Beano View Post
Health and pressure could be the key.

I really like 3/4 of our starting DB's (Bartell, Fletcher and Mikkel). Hopefully whoever plays alongside Mikkel will be better than Dahl was last year, even if that just means Dahl playing better. But the depth at CB has concerned me, and it was why I wasn't that happy with the Harris pick up. I did and even more so now, believed we needed some decent depth at nickel. I'm not sure we have the answer on the roster right now, I did have a bit of a hope Murphy (thought he got better as the year went on) might make a bit of a step up, but that injury isn't great for that hope.

The front 4 could be the saving grace though, if Quinn can contribute straight away, Robbins, Long and Hall play at a similar level to last year, they could mask any issues we have at nickel/OLB coverage, which might be the biggest weakness on this defense right now.
I think your front 4 will be good this year, just remembering how SPAGS used all sorts of weird fronts with his d-linemen in NY should be a good indicator that they plan on generating turn overs and pressure with the front four and not rely on coverage as much. I really like what the Rams did this offseason, they did not make the splashy signings but they addressed the weaknesses while keeping the core team together.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:57 PM    (permalink
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So Leber in, Vobora out.

Little gutted about Vobora, always thought he played well enough to be given more of a chance to make that SLB position his own, I thought the way him and #55 played in '08 would have meant we'd be set for 2/3 LB for the foreseeable future, but alas it wasn't meant to be. Good luck to the guy, hope he gets the chance to play somewhere.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:22 PM    (permalink
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So Leber in, Vobora out.

Little gutted about Vobora, always thought he played well enough to be given more of a chance to make that SLB position his own, I thought the way him and #55 played in '08 would have meant we'd be set for 2/3 LB for the foreseeable future, but alas it wasn't meant to be. Good luck to the guy, hope he gets the chance to play somewhere.
Well said, my man, well said...
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:50 PM    (permalink
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Between Norwood and Cadillac, I think we should get through the season. Neither is electrifying.
Jerious Norwood is the most electrifying man alive. You guys should be very ecstatic to have him. He will impress the hell out of all of you and you'll be begging for him to get more reps.

I only hope he stays healthy for you guys to witness his awesomeness. Oh and he's also the most laid back and nicest person on the planet.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:49 PM    (permalink
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The Rams just finished mopping the turf with the Colts, so letís talk about some of the things we saw from the team!

-Sam Bradford looked solid, but doesn't yet seem to be as comfortable in this offense as he may say he is. He was staring down his receivers at times, and opted for safe underneath throws and checkdowns rather than throwing downfield. His 3.75 yards per attempt average is not going to get it done, but as he gets more comfortable with the offense, thatíll likely change and things will open up. It's easy to forget he's a second year player entering his first year in this system. He showed a good rapport with rookie tight end Lance Kendricks, who looked very good in his debut and converted on a number of third downs and scored a touchdown. He looks like heíll be a nice weapon this season for Sam, and will help open things up in the intermediate passing game.

-The receivers did not get much of an opportunity to separate themselves from one another today. Gibson and Amendola had three combined catches with the first unit, which were all on short routes. Austin Pettis had some balls thrown his way, but was generally well covered on the night, making it tough to complete the reception. Danario Alexander had some good and bad moments; the biggest play he may have stood out for was his failure to pull in a perfectly delivered TD pass in the back of the end zone. Mardy Gilyard looked elusive in the open field, both as a receiver and on punt returns. Mike Sims-Walker was noticeably absent from the box score, and I canít recall seeing him on the field. Itís possible he ran with the first unit and Sam just didn't look his way or he was well covered.

-The back-up running backs looked great tonight, and thatís partially because of the good work the Ramsí offensive line did to open holes for them. Cadillac Williams churned through defenders tonight (11 carries for 40 yards and a TD), and Jerious Norwood showed the turbo boost that made him an appealing signing. But the surprise among all of them was Keith Toston, who was still fighting hard for a roster spot. Toston ran hard and gained tough yards, leading the Rams with 64 yards and a touchdown of his own.

-The offensive line overall had a good night. To be balanced, it should be noted that the Colts were without Dwight Freeney and have been traditionally poor against the run. But having said that, Bradford was very well protected while he was on the field, and the line Ė first and second unit Ė opened up a number of holes tonight.

-Defensively, the Rams played very well. The rushing numbers are skewed a bit by the late-game heroics of Darren Evans (and the Ramsí failure to tackle him), but early in the game, there was not much running room for Colts runners. Defensive tackle Justin Bannan made his presence felt in the middle of the line, and Robert Quinn had a solid debut with some nice pressures and a great unblocked run stop. George Selvie flashed a little bit as well, but itís a bit odd that the Rams failed to register a sack against the Coltsí back-up quarterbacks. Perhaps Spags didnít completely unleash the hounds tonight, as heís saving their release for a more important contest.

-I didnít notice who got the start at WLB for the Rams; it looked like Diggs was starting at SLB. However, Poppinga made some plays later in the game that indicate he may be pushing for that job. Looked pretty solid against the run, at one point denying the Colts a first down conversion on a third down attempt. Diles saw time at OLB well into the game, so either heís down on the depth chart or is just getting all the work he can.

-One of the concerns on the team was at defensive back, where a number of cornerbacks were injured. Justin King looked like a liability on the outside at cornerback. He missed an open field tackle to allow a first down catch and run, and was beat deep down the sideline by what was admittedly an outstanding throw to Pierre Garcon. Atchison had some nice moments, but also bit on a QB scramble and allowed a receiver to get behind him for a touchdown. Dinkins made some plays but also got dinged up twice. Both starting safeties (Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl) were in the right place at the right time and came down with some great interceptions; Jermale Hines climbed the ladder and got one of his own as well.

-Special teams looked very strong tonight. The Rams consistently covered well on both kicks and punts, and Mardy Gilyard did a nice job weaving through traffic on returns. He had a bobble in the endzone and fell once while fielding a punt, but otherwise showed some flashes that could go a long way towards keeping him around in 2011.


Overall, I think itís hard to ask for more in a first pre-season game coming off of a lockout. The Rams found the endzone, created turnovers, and were generally efficient. They did not make many mistakes, had some nice debuts from new players, and most importantly, came out of the game pretty healthy from the looks of it. This is obviously still a work in progress, but you have to like what you saw tonight. The line protected well, Bradford minimized mistakes while taking advantage of good field position, the depth at running back looks outstanding, the defensive line was active, and the defensive backfield made plays.

Great way to start the 2011 football year, Rams!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:56 AM    (permalink
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I only watched until it was 10-3, as the first pre season game is about as much use as tits on a boar, but if you'd have told me Pat Shurmur was still our offensive coordinator I'd have believed you.

Kehl started at WLB fwiw and I still have no faith in Dahl, apart from grabbing a fairly fortuitous Int, he still consistently finds himself chasing runners and making terrible angles to ball carriers. I agree with you about the CB's but then I expected it.

Bring on week 1, or at least pre season week 3 so we can see some extended time for the the starters and really get a handle on where we are.
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