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Offensive Line ???'s

Discussion in 'Q & A WITH KEVIN DEMOFF' started by DR RAM, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. DR RAM

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    Aug 7, 2010
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    Farthest West and Very South
    OK, it's me again, DR RAM, and I am obsessed with the offensive line. I break down film frame by frame on my 10' HD screen. The Dr's microscope if you will. I see EVERYTHING, well, almost anyway. I have some comments and questions:

    Jason Smith struggled with technique, injuries, conditioning, and decision making, and that scares me. In pass pro, his technique suffered worse once he got fatigued. His feet just don't seem natural from the right side.
    [hil]#1 What is the back up plan if Jason Smith continues to struggle?[/hil]

    Jason Smith is pretty good in the run game. He is a willing and aggressive blocker.
    [hil]#2 Has there ever been any discussion on whether Jason may be a better fit at guard? He seems like a good fit there.[/hil]

    Obviously there will be a big camp battle to see who the left guard will be. Mattison, Rok, Quinn and others.
    [hil]#3 In your opinion, who do you think will win that spot?[/hil]

    I like that you brought Quinn Ojinnaka back, he's versatile, I just wish he had a little more size, but he plays hard. I was shocked that he was let go before the season started. I had him ahead of a few of the lineman on the roster that were not cut.
    [hil]#4 Were you surprised at some of the cuts that were made before the season started last year?[/hil]

    Rodger Saffold is a player that I really like, but he had a bad year last year. He was exposed and abused when teams ran the wide 9 on him. His hesitation on who to block when they flashed a player on his inside shade killed him. Rodger has excellent feet, and he needs to trust them, because he gives up the inside go when he gets back too fast and doesn't keep his shoulders parallel. IMO, he took bad angles.
    [hil]#5 Do you think many of Saffold's problems last year related to confidence issues once things started going bad? It seemed like that was a big issue to me.[/hil]

    Rodger also gave up too much leverage, which he can't do with his arm length and weight. I heard he put on some good weight in the offseason, which should help him.
    [hil]#6 Will coach Boudreau be able to fix these technical issues and turn Rodger into the player that we all think he should be?[/hil]

    Kevin Hughes is a player that I really enjoyed watching in camp last year. He's a small school guy that really flashed when I was doing reports/grades on the offensive lineman before the season started. Unfortunately, he was put in a game in a no win situation forced by an injury.
    [hil]#7 What do you think of Hughes future?[/hil]

    I don't think Kevin is a left tackle in the NFL, which is where the coaching staff had him last year. I think he projects very nicely to the guard position.
    [hil]#8 Will Hughes get a chance to play any snaps at guard and compete for that position, or do the Rams think he is a tackle only?[/hil]

    I do a roster guesstimate before final cuts every year. I cut Adam Goldberg two years in a row, for instance. It appears to me that there is a lot more talent/pieces to work with to put together a better group of offensive lineman than in the last few previous years.
    [hil]#9 What do you think of the offensive lineman as a group so far, compared to last years group based on talent alone?[/hil]

    We all know how important this group is to the team's success, Sam's success, but the Rams only drafted one o-lineman in a later round, guard, Rokevious Watkins.
    [hil]#10 Do you think that Boudreau was, in essence, a first round pick for the offensive line?[/hil]

    [hil]#11 The offensive line seems extremely light compared to the Falcons o-line. How does this fit in with coach Boudreau's scheme?[/hil]

    [hil]#12 How does the Rokevious Watkins fit into that scheme, he is the biggest Ram's offensive lineman?[/hil]
    Thanks Kevin. I appreciate your time and input.

    DR RAM
  2. kdemoff

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    Jul 29, 2012
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    Impressive to sneak in a TWELVE PART QUESTION disguised as one question!

    First and foremost, as Les Snead said in his stlouisrams.com chat earlier this week, we feel like the addition of Paul Boudreau as offensive line coach is the most important addition to our unit up front. The best offensive lines are always the most talented lines but the ones that play best together. The sum of the parts has to be greater than the whole. The other way to improve the sum of the parts is to get strong veteran leadership, and with Scott Wells making the line calls at center and Harvey Dahl to his right, we feel we have the vet leadership up front.

    I think Rodger Saffold has quietly had one of the best offseasons of any of our returning players. He's in great shape and has gotten stronger in the upper body. Our coaches are excited about his ability to return to or improve upon his 2010 form when he was a standout rookie. I can't wait to see him in pads. As for Jason Smith, the focus this offseason has been to clean up his fundamentals. He has the physical tools to be a good tackle in the NFL and that is what we have emphasized. In 2010 when he had a full year in the lineup he was making great strides and we need to build on that. The most important aspect is keeping the group healthy and playing together so they work in harmony. Barry Richardson provides a lot of starting experience (started the last 32 games) should anything happen to our tackles and Kevin Hughes, Jose Valdez and Joe Long are all promising young players. I think Hughes is primarily a Tackle and that is where we will use him. He played well in the preseason last year but I think asking an undrafted kid from SE Louisiana to play LT in his first year in the NFL was a tall order, but we were forced to do that because of injuries.

    As for LG, no need to handicap it, the best player will play. Mattison, Watkins, Ojinnaka, they are all in the mix and provide different looks. It will be a great competition to watch and evaluate and we are confident that one of them will take advantage of the opportunity and become a fixture at LG.