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Rams Roster Preview: TJ McDonald

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. Prime Time RODerator

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    Rams Roster Preview: TJ McDonald
    By Papa_Lurch on Jul 19 2014

    [​IMG]
    Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Does TJ Mac have what it takes to become the next safety to thrive in Gregg Williams' defensive scheme?

    Before the 2013 NFL Draft, everyone knew that the Rams were ooking to draft Safety help within the first few rounds. All of us were looking at Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid, and Matt Elamas likely targets for the Rams. TJ McDonald largely flew under the radar here at TST. Most of us were surprised when they didn't fill arguably their biggest need until they drafted TJ Mac the 3rd round.

    I'll admit that I was a little skeptical of this approach as well, but I put my faith in the new regime. TJ Mac has certainly filled what was a gaping whole in our secondary, and he has also become a fan favorite.

    Roster Battle

    For all intents and purposes, battle at Strong Safety will be nonexistent. TJ will be THE MAN at Safety this year for the Rams.

    Expectations

    This is where it gets interesting. TJ has an impressive pedigree and all the requisite skills desired by new Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams. He will be a major contributor in a new defensive scheme that fits his style of play very well. If he can wrap his head around that new scheme, we will be seeing him in Pro Bowls. Maybe not this year, but very soon.

    Will He Make the Team?

    Without a doubt. No Question. Take it to the bank. [insert favorite cliché here]

    TJ Mac will be on the team, and he will be a difference maker in our secondary.
     
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  2. Angry Ram aka Captain RAmerica aka the OG Rammer

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    I have high hopes for this guy. I thought he played well last season considering he came back from a BROKEN FREAKIN LEG.
     
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  3. SierraRam Recreational User

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    IMO, TJ's performance is the biggest key to our D's success. We know what we have up front. When Mac shines, we'll have the best D in the league
     
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  4. LACHAMP46 Well-Known Member

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    TJ & Mo...with Greg Williams....Huge this year...All the db's really.
     
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  5. TheDYVKX THE D

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    Exactly. Our DBs got much improved once Fisher took over the defense, and Gregg Williams is a better DC than Fisher. I remember reading an article from PFF a couple days ago that said
    https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/07/17/qb-sos-part-1-the-defenses/

    Now I don't like PFF's grades, but they were right that Jenkins (and the whole unit) improved around that time. Even McLeod got better. This matches up pretty well with when Fisher allegedly took over the defense, and posters noticed that Fisher started holding play cards.

    Gregg Williams likely should have an even bigger effect on the secondary and especially the safeties. Hopefully he can fix McLeod's problems, because he is instinctive and a smart player, and use McDonald in the roles that he excels in. And the players are only going to get better with experience as well. And of course, our additions, like Lamarcus Joyner who's an amazing player, will also make the secondary better. Until it does get better though, it's still a concern, but I'm starting to have faith and believe that this secondary will be really good as well.
     
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  6. DaveFan'51 Well-Known Member

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    Just for the record " In my 63+ years of watching the Rams I have NEVER been more excited about seeing our D Take the Field" We are in for something SPECIAL this year!:D
     
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  7. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Excellent post right there man. I can feel it too.
     
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  8. LACHAMP46 Well-Known Member

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    At this time, and I could change my mind, I have no faith in McLeod as an every-down player. He was excellent in special teams. But he was exposed as a weak tackler...He just couldn't bring down RB's in the open field consistently, nor WRs & TEs. The final straw for me was when I realized he had weak coverage skills as well...Not sure what he ran the 40 in. Some say 4.4, I've seen lately 4.6, but he's rarely in position to make a play on the ball. It's as if we played 10 on 11 with him on the field. Until he shows me something different, I'll doubt his ability to become a playmaker w/ any DC.
     
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  9. TheDYVKX THE D

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    I agree with you. He had a lot on his plate and was making his first career starts, so I can forgive the mental mistakes and I expect those to dwindle. But I have the same concerns as you when it comes to him physically. Not sure he's big enough or fast enough to be an effective player. He's really the trifecta of small, weak, and slow. He doesn't make up for it by playing with physicality either. He's missing tackles, always late because he's slow, and gets overwhelmed by bigger players in coverage. At this point, best we can do is hope he gets better. He has the intelligence and brainpower to be a good player. He's pencilled in as a starter right now, and the FO didn't do too much to replace him, so they obviously like him for something.

    Personally, I think best case scenario is that somebody really shines at slot corner so Joyner can play FS and roam full time. Whether it's McGee, Reid, Gaines, Roberson, whoever, if we can get a great nickel corner and allow Joyner to play FS, we got ourselves a hell of a defense. This would allow McLeod to be a very good backup and allow him to do work on ST too, and upgrade both slot and FS.
     
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  10. SanAnRam New Member

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    Bucketlist: Meet an Ol' time Rams fans and be able to sit around a bottle of Jack and get an education on the Rams of the 50's and 60's. Talk about how the game has changed. How the fan experience at the games was back then?
    Here's to you Dave.....Ride on
     
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  11. DaveFan'51 Well-Known Member

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    I don't drink, but stick around I tend to share stories every once in a while!!:D
     
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  12. SanAnRam New Member

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    That'll do Dave, that'll do..
     
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  13. Tron Fights for the User

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    I will admit, that I did not like the pick when it happened. Leading up to the draft I thought Rams would grab a safety in the 1st or 2nd rounds. And as a prospect, I did not like T-Mac much. Did not like how stiff he played and didnt think he would transition well to the NFL.

    I am happy to say that I was wrong. He isn't there yet, but he played well above how I thought he would. He is a great safety for us and will only get better.

    Now if we can have a surefire starter at the other safety position I will be even happier. I dont care if its McCleod, Alexander, Joyner or a combination of them depending on the down and yardage and if its a pass or run play. The 2nd safety position has been a worry for a few years now and needs to be fixed. I am just glad that we have TJ and I dont have to worry about that safety spot anymore.
     
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