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Rams Team Report: Inside Slant

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. RamBill

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    Jul 31, 2010
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    Team Report - ST. LOUIS RAMS
    June 19, 2014 6:01 PM The SportsXchange



    Rams' Stacy looks to pick up where he left off after rookie season


    --As the Rams broke for the offseason Thursday after head coach Jeff Fisher canceled the final scheduled day for OTAs, quarterback Sam Bradford was a happy man. Happy that he will have five weeks off before reporting to training camp on July 24, but mostly happy at the work he was able to accomplish coming back from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.

    "I was really happy with everything that went on during the OTAs," Bradford said. "A big part of it for me was, obviously, physically getting back onto the field, seeing how my knee reacted. It's been fantastic. We were actually able to do a little more than we anticipated. So, that's very positive and then this week to actually practice twice, get a little more comfortable out there. It's tough kind of going once a week. Out there today it probably felt the best its felt all OTAs and I'm just really looking to build on that."

    It's only been eight months since the injury occurred, but Bradford said of his knee, "I feel really good. Obviously, I think part of it is building up the endurance in my legs. I can kind of feel a little bit of fatigue today, but I think that's normal just not having been out here practicing like that. That's really what I'm going to work on during this five-week break."

    But, he will also be doing some relaxing, saying, "I'm just excited to go home and kind of enjoy a little bit of down time before we really get going."

    Shortly after the 2013 season ended, the Rams were unsure whether Bradford would be available for OTAs. Coach Jeff Fisher said, "We had a plan throughout. We allowed him to do some things in the skill development and he did. We got him on the field in the first couple OTAs. Just in the passing fashion he was good. Then today and obviously on Tuesday, he participated in team periods - that was encouraging. He's got a plan for the summer. He's going to get away for a little bit. He needs to get away. He's been here every day, and he'll come back ready to go."

    Finally, Bradford emphasized the importance of having these OTAs and being able to participate in about half, rather than be thrown into things when training camp opens.

    He said, "It was huge to be out here, especially at the beginning of OTAs. I really expected to just be doing 7-on7, but to be able to get out there - and obviously 'Fish' slowed the pass rush down a little bit - to be out there and get some of the team reps in the different periods, that's huge. We talked about it yesterday in the team meeting, but the way that the new CBA is, I think we've only got like 19 practices before game week starts and that's not a lot of time to get back onto the field. So, to actually be out here and get to rep some of the new things that we've put in, I think that was really big."

    --Running back Isaiah Pead has been almost a forgotten man since being drafted by the Rams in the second round of the 2012 draft.

    In that rookie season, he was beaten out by Daryl Richardson, who got most of the carries when Steven Jackson was injured or needed a breather. Last year, with Jackson gone to Atlanta, Richardson opened the season as the starter, but when he suffered a toe injury, it was Zac Stacy that took over the No. 1 role.

    Pead missed the first game of the season under league suspension, and then had virtually no role in the offense, as Benny Cunningham became the backup to Stacy. That's when Pead got tired of standing around and about halfway through the season approached special teams coordinator John Fassel about contributing on special teams.

    "My mindset was simply wanting to get on the field," Pead said after this year's OTAs wrapped up Thursday. "I had no role. I was just standing on the sideline doing nothing. I'm a football player. I take it to heart when I have a role."

    Not only did Pead begin playing on special teams, but he embraced the opportunity.

    When asked about Pead, Fassel said, "I'm really glad you asked me that. When you think about him a lot and his development last year, how he really committed to special teams. Not only was he a contributor, he was a high-impact guy for us. I think a lot of people are going to see a lot of growth out of that guy, not only on teams, and I can't speak for offense, but I just imagine with his maturity, his work ethic, his ability I would imagine he's going to have a fantastic preseason and really been a good guy. I could speak on him a lot on how proud I am of him and his work ethic and his contributions last year, especially on special teams."

    Even with the selection of running back Tre Mason in this year's draft, Pead has been getting a chance on offense in OTAs. He has been solid in pass protection, and had a big play on a long pass reception in the Tuesday OTA this week.

    Said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, "He's doing good. He ran with the ones some today (Tuesday); did a nice job. Obviously again, took a big step up for coach Fassel on special teams. When a guy does that, he's obviously going to be dressed every day on game day, which is big thing for us because you don't get everybody dressed for game day. He's really getting better. I think getting comfort in the system helps. Terrific match-up problem for the defense coming out of the backfield and he's made some big plays for us. Had a nice touchdown down in the boundary today."

    Pead is fine helping on special teams, but his goal this year is to get himself back in the mix on offense.

    "Last year was last year," he said. "This year, I'm focused on changing my role to being a running back."

    --This season is an important one for wide receiver Brian Quick, the first pick in the second round of the 2012 draft. Quick has struggled with consistency, and the Rams hope he will make a quantum leap in his third season.

    Schottenheimer believes this might be the year. He said, "Probably the most improved player I've seen is Brian Quick. He's doing a great job. Another guy that we're giving an opportunity to. He's competing for playing time. He's made the most of his opportunities. He started today (Tuesday). Again, just moving guys around, in and out of the lineup, trying to create competition and he's stepped up and made a lot of big plays for us."

    --Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is glad to be calling the shots again for an NFL defense and his passion for the game is evident.

    "I'm excited," he said as OTAs came to a close. "I'm happiest on the field. I'm happiest out here. I'm happiest competing. In the meeting room, it's good too, when the players are around. In the offseason when the players aren't around and the coaches have to suffer through me ... they were so happy when the players got here because they got a break too because now I can start stressing the players instead of stressing the coaches.

    "But it is fun. This is where I'm happiest. Again, in the state of Missouri, back in my home state, here in St. Louis, I can't tell you how happy I am. This is a good group of guys to be with."

    As for getting across what he wants, Williams said it's a two-way street. He said, "This has been a learning curve for them and really been a learning curve for me because I've got to try to learn each and every one of them - the veterans, too. It's a good group. They've responded well and I'm excited about taking the next step into training camp."

    One player that helps having around is linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who was with the Saints when Williams was the defensive coordinator there.

    "I think it's good to have him going along behind the scenes, in the locker room and saying I'm not as crazy as everybody thinks I am," Williams said. "You know, it's funny because you take a look at the intern coaches that are here, two of the three intern coaches played for me in Mike Peterson (at Jacksonville) and Pierson Prioleau. Pierson Prioleau was that guy for me when I took him at Buffalo, I took him with the Redskins, I took him to Jacksonville and I took him to the Saints. His question was, 'How come it took you four teams to win a Super Bowl?' So all of the sudden finding the right spot. He was always around in that locker room to answer questions that really coaches hadn't come up with yet and really like, 'Is he serious? Is he really serious?' Jo-Lonn can do that. He does a great job with that, so it's important."


    A closer look at the Rams' picks:

    Round 1/2 -- Greg Robinson, T, 6-5, 332, Auburn

    --He will likely begin as a guard as he gets comfortable with pass blocking and learning the angles, but the Rams expect him to be a long-time left tackle. Robinson is a crushing blocker in the running game, and the Rams love his passion for football. He blocked for running back Tre Mason, who was selected by the Rams in the third round.

    Round 1/13 -- Aaron Donald, DT, 6-1, 285, Pittsburgh

    --Donald is a fierce penetrator and had 28.5 tackles for loss last season. He doesn't have great size, but his quickness allows him to make plays. The Rams will likely use him to start out on passing downs. Some have compared him to standout Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

    Round 2/41 -- Lamarcus Joyner, CB, 5-8, 184, Florida State

    --Joyner plays bigger than his size, not much different than former Louisiana State defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who is now with the division rival Arizona Cardinals. He should strengthen the Rams' defense as a nickel defender in the slot. He has been durable in college, but will have to show he can do the same at the NFL level.

    Round 3/75 -- Tre Mason, RB, 5-8, 207, Auburn

    --He ran largely behind Robinson at Auburn, gaining 1,816 yards last season and scoring 23 touchdowns. The Rams see him as a change-of-pace back who will team with Zac Stacy. The Rams also have Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead on the roster. Mason gained 304 yards on 46 carries and scored four touchdowns in Auburn's SEC championship game win over Missouri.

    Round 4/110 -- Maurice Alexander, S, 6-1, 220, Utah State

    --Big hitter who will be playing in his hometown. Good size, and physical; is considered a good fit for coordinator Gregg Williams' defense. Should be a big contributor on special teams.

    Round 6/188 -- E.J. Gaines, CB, 5-10, 190, Missouri

    --An undersized playmaker, Gaines shut down Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Adams last season, holding him to four catches for eight yards. He is good against the run, and plays a physical game with aggressiveness. Good zone corner that loves to compete. Versatile, he believes he can help at corner, in the slot or even safety.

    Round 6/214 -- Garrett Gilbert, QB, 6-4, 223, Southern Methodist

    --Started his career at Texas before transferring to SMU and passed for 3,528 yards last season with 21 touchdowns. He had 635 yards of total offense in a game against Temple. Gilbert has good size and a strong arm, but hasn't played well in games against top opponents. Coaches believe he can compete and possible develop.

    Round 7/226 -- Mitchell Van Dyk, T, 6-7, 313, Portland State

    --Mostly a right tackle, but Rams believe he also could work on the left side. Van Dyk has good size and strength, but also has room to get stronger.

    Round 7/241 -- Christian Bryant, S, 5-10, 193, Ohio State

    --Was a three-starter at safety and a team captain last season. However, he suffered a broken ankle against Wisconsin in the fifth game of the season and didn't play again. The Buckeyes defense struggled without his leadership and production. He applied for a medical redshirt, but it was rejected by the NCAA. Bryant is somewhat undersized, but plays aggressively and is very physical.

    Round 7/249 -- Michael Sam, DE, 6-2, 261, Missouri

    --Sam doesn't have outstanding measureables, but all he does is produce. The co-Defensive Player of the Year last season in the SEC, he had 11.5 sacks, nine pressures and 19 tackles for loss. The Rams intend to use him as a designated pass rusher in the varied packages employed by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. He has become a trailblazer for being the first openly gay player in the NFL, but he knows the ultimate judgment will be on his football prowess.

    Round 7/250 -- Demetrius Rhaney, C, 6-2, 300, Tennessee State

    --The Rams like him as a potentially versatile inside player. Transferred to Tennessee State from Ellsworth CC where he played right tackle and guard, and started at right guard at Tennessee State as a junior. Was switched to center for his final year and started the entire season. He caught NFL eyes at his Pro Day, and has an inherent passion for the game.


    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

    --S Matt Giordano (not tendered as UFA).

    --QB Brady Quinn (not tendered as UFA).

    --LB Will Witherspoon (not tendered as UFA).



    --T/G Greg Robinson (1/2): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --DT Aaron Donald (1/13): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --CB Lamarcus Joyner (2/41): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --RB Tre Mason (3/75): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --S Maurice Alexander (4/110): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --CB E.J. Gaines (6/188): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --QB Garrett Gilbert (6/214): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --T Mitchell Van Dyk (7/226): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --S Christian Bryant (7/241): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --DE Michael Sam (7/249): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    --C Demetrius Rhaney (7/250): 4 yrs, terms unknown.


    --C Tim Barnes: ERFA; $570,000/1 yr.

    --QB Austin Davis: ERFA; $570,000/1 yr.

    --LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar: UFA; $2.006M/2 yrs, $128,821 guaranteed.

    --G Rodger Saffold: UFA; $31.347M/5 yrs, $5M SB/$19.5M partially guaranteed/$11M fully guaranteed.

    --WR Justin Veltung: ERFA; $495,000/1 yr.


    --WR Kenny Britt: UFA Titans; $1.4M/1 yr, $550,000 guaranteed.

    --DL Alex Carrington: UFA Bills; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    --QB Shaun Hill: UFA Lions; $1.75M/1 yr, $500,000 guaranteed.

    --G Davin Joseph: FA Buccaneers; terms unknown.


    --QB Kellen Clemens: UFA Chargers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

    --DT Jermelle Cudjo (released).

    --G Harvey Dahl (released).

    --CB Cortland Finnegan (released).

    --TE Mike McNeill: Not tendered as RFA/Panthers; $1.52M/2 yr, $100,000 SB.

    --CB Quinton Pointer: Not tendered as ERFA/Buccaneers; terms unknown.

    --RB Daryl Richardson (released).

    --G Shelley Smith: UFA Dolphins; $5.5M/2yrs, $500,000/SB/$1.5M guaranteed.

    --S Darian Stewart: UFA Ravens; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    --G Chris Williams: UFA Bills; $13.5M/4 yrs, $5.5M guaranteed.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. SierraRam

    Recreational User
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    Mar 17, 2014
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    Grass Valley, CA

    --QB Kellen Clemens: UFA Chargers; 2 yrs, terms unknown. Shaun Hill

    --DT Jermelle Cudjo (released). Aaron Donald / Alex Carrington

    --G Harvey Dahl (released). Greg Robinson

    --CB Cortland Finnegan (released). LaMarcus Joyner

    --CB Quinton Pointer: Not tendered as ERFA/Buccaneers; terms unknown. E.J. Gaines

    --RB Daryl Richardson (released). Tre Mason

    --S Darian Stewart: UFA Ravens; 1 yr, terms unknown. Maurice Alexander / Christian Bryant

    --G Chris Williams: UFA Bills; $13.5M/4 yrs, $5.5M guaranteed. Davin Joseph

    Thown in: Kenny Britt

    This draft and off-season may become historic!
    • Like Like x 5
  3. Greg Stone

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    Jun 20, 2014
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    Sequim, WA
    This is why you pay the big money for this finely crafted Insider reporting. No one else reported that Gaines held Mike Adams to the exact same totals as he did Mike Evans:

    "Gaines shut down Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Adams last season, holding him to four catches for eight yards."
    • Like Like x 3
  4. LoyalRam

    Rams On Demand Sponsor
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    Jul 27, 2010
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    Olpe, KS
    I am very cautious in my hopes for both Quick and Pead....espe ially Brian Quick, as it seemed like a light came on in last years OTA's/Camps.....Then agonizingly inconsistent, if not missing altogether in real games in 2013.

    Pead? I was pleased that he was able to do good things with Special Teams, but he is still a huge disappointment from where he was drafted. I don't know if he has the instincts to understand what to do, when. Stacy hits a
    hole with violence, and then submarines the pile. So we have a 2nd round Special Teamer..man...:mad:
    • Like Like x 1
  5. CGI_Ram

    Hamburger Connoisseur
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    Jun 28, 2010
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    NB, Canada
    Yeah, EJ Gaines not nearly as impressive shutting down this guy.

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  6. theramsruleUK

    Pro Bowler
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    Oct 21, 2013
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    Near London, UK
    What it doesn't say is that he's 6'5 and runs a 4.22
  7. wolfdogg

    Pro Bowler
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    Jun 19, 2014
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    I'd like to see if Gaines could work as FS.
  8. RamsAndEwe

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    Apr 2, 2014
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    #8 RamsAndEwe, Jun 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
    I don't mean to throw cold water on Gaines. I've seen the A&M - Tigers game three times and I twice focused on Mike Evans.

    - Johnny Manziel hurt the thumb on his throwing hand the week before. Remember Evans specialty was longer throws, and on the only long pass Manziel threw Evan's direction against Gaines ...Evans was wide open and Manziel missed Evans by 3 yards.

    - Evans lines up exclusively on A&M's right side, and the rest of the receivers line up left. Throughout the Tiger game Manziel looked mainly left first and very rarely right. Every pass Manziel threw Evan's way, ( but one) Mike Evans caught, but they were all ( except for two) very short passes, or behind the line of scrimmage. The Tigers were so afraid of Evans that they had multiple DB's and outside linebackers rotating all game against Evans. So every time Evans caught a pass he was surrounded by a piranha attack of defensive backs.

    - Because of Manziel's thumb injury and sore knee ( he twisted his knee early in the Missouri game) the Aggies ran the ball often and early.

    - Manziel did throw a pass to Evans in the Endzone that Evans should have caught, but alas it was one of the few drops of Evans 2013 season.

    I'm not saying Gaines did a poor job against Mike Evans. I am saying they're were multiple extenuating circumstances lining up like planets in an astrologer's wet dream to produce the illusion of a shut down cornerback. If EJ Gaines had truly shut Evans down single handily Gaines would have been drafted earlier. Pro scouts saw what I saw, so in the balance of the NF draft seesaw we all saw Evans go early in the first round and EJ Gaines drafted in the sixth round.

    That being said, I think EJ Gaines was a solid sixth round draft pick and possibly a steal.
  9. den-the-coach

    Fifty-four Forty or Fight
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    Jan 16, 2013
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    Upstate New York
    Or this guy