Tag:St. Louis Rams
Posted on: June 10, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: August 22, 2011 10:02 am

L.A. group has talked to five teams (POLL)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

All along, it’s been assumed that if AEG in Los Angeles – desperately trying to entice a team to L.A. – succeeded, it’d come at the expense of the Chargers

But in this Orange County Register report, AEG president Tim Leiweke says the group actually has been in talks with five teams in order to convince them to move to downtown Los Angeles. AEG is short for Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns or controls sports and entertainment properties around the world.

Those teams include the Chargers, the Jaguars, the Raiders, the Vikings and the Rams.

Most of those potential franchise moves wouldn’t be a huge surprise (especially San Diego and Minnesota, which most likely will keep the Vikings in a Minneapolis suburb but has talked to AEG within the past week – Jacksonville, meanwhile, seems to have stymied much of that relocation talk), but a potential move by the St. Louis franchise is something that hasn’t been discussed much lately (if at all).

More from the Register:

“St. Louis, Jacksonville, not extensively, certainly Oakland, San Diego, Minnesota are still in the mix," Leiweke said listing the teams AEG has met with before adding: "We're not packing any (moving) vans right now."

Leiweke also said AEG is prepared to pay the cost of for an NFL franchise to get out of a current lease so as to relocate to Los Angeles.

"Just as an example, if it's San Diego, they would have to pay $24 million under their agreement to get out of the lease," Leiweke said. "We would pay that."

AEG has been aggressive in trying to track down a team, and eventually, it probably will succeed. A couple weeks ago, I spoke with long-time Chargers beat writer Jerry Magee (now retired from the San Diego Union Tribune), and he said fans in San Diego were worried about the team moving a few hours up the coast.

I can’t say I blame them. They’re right to be worried. Because AEG means business. And eventually, the group will find somebody willing to relocate.

UPDATE (3:21 p.m. ET): If you have an opinion (or a guess) about which of those five squads could end up in L.A., take the CBSSports.com poll on our Facebook page.

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Posted on: June 6, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:13 am

Where will Plaxico Burress end up playing?

Posted by Will Brinson

So, Plaxico Burress was released on Monday morning after serving a lengthy prison sentence for shooting himself in the leg at a nightclub. The stupidity of taking a gun into a nightclub notwithstanding, it warrants mentioning that it's kind of a shame that Plax had to spend 20 months in jail for shooting himself.

But, hey, he's free now and that means it's time for us to speculate on where he might end up once we get this silly little lockout resolved and teams can start signing free agents. My man Mike Freeman says -- in the video above -- that "the minute the lockout ends" Plax will get inked with a team. And I agree wholeheartedly with him. But the question is where? Let's check out five candidates.

1. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are the trendiest and most obvious selection for most people. We've broken down exactly why this makes sense several times over, but there are some conflicting reports about Philly's interest. One thing that really warrants watching is whether or not Burress' potential signing is affected by DeSean Jackson's imminent signing. Drew Rosenhaus, who represents both players, could decide to make Jackson's signing "easier" if the Eagles can help out Plax, or he could realize that Jackson loses out in terms of money if Plax lands in Philly. It'll be interesting to watch it unfold.

2. St. Louis Rams: Plax worked with Steve Spagnuolo when they were both with the Giants and no team in the NFL needs wide receiver help more than St. Louis. The Rams had Danny Amendola moonlighting as a No. 1 receiver during much of 2010. The problem with Burress is there's likely to be a bit of a re-learning curve when he returns to the NFL, and if the Rams are expecting top-line production from Burress, they may be disappointed. That being said, mixing a veteran, (now) possession receiver like Plax with the speed of someone like Mardy Gilyard and the short-yardage catching skills of Amendola would be an interesting set of weapons for quarterback Sam Bradford. If I've got to guess one team to put Plax on, it's the Rams.

3. New York Jets: It might seem like the Jets will sign anyone, but remember that their ability to get the most out of big-name veterans like LaDainian Tomlinson led to their success last year. Also, if they signed Plax, Randy Moss and then re-upped Santonio Holmes, they will have the most combustible and talented wide receiving corps in the history of the NFL. However, that may be why Plax doesn't end up playing for Rex Ryan's crew -- some folks believe that if the Jets land Moss, they won't bother pursuing Burress.

4. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have an interesting situation on their hands, because in one respect, it would make sense to chase Plax, if they believe that they can make a run right now. Which, by the way, they likely do. Or if they believe that Burress can come into town and help develop Christian Ponder into a franchise quarterback. On the other hand, they might feel like Plax doesn't represent someone who can help them right now, or they might believe that they don't need wide receiver help. The latter is likely dependent on how the labor situation shakes out. Sidney Rice's status as either a restricted or an unrestricted free agent will drastically alter things. Don't forget that the Vikings already had a failed Moss experiment, and perhaps that will scare them off of trying to bring in Burress.

5. Oakland Raiders: I'm not entirely convinced that the Raiders will really be in the mix for Burress, but as long as Al Davis is still doing his best Bernie Lomax impersonation, I'm not willing to rule anything out either. The Raiders have a ridiculous amount of speed at wide receiver with Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Burress would be a nice compliment to that, although you'd have to think that Rosenhaus would only point his client in the direction of the Bay Area if some of the other above options don't pan out.

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Posted on: May 28, 2011 10:22 am

Donnie Avery is running well again

Posted by Andy Benoit
D. Avery (US Presswire)
Good news for Rams fans: wide receiver Donnie Avery seems to have recovered well from last year’s major knee injury. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Avery ran a 4.34 forty last week.

Avery tore his ACL in an August 26 preseason game. He says he is “a good 92-93 percent” recovered. For what it’s worth, Avery’s all-time personal best forty-yard-dash is 4.27.

The diminutive wideout has been rehabbing in his hometown of Houston. "Just trying to get back up to speed," he said. "Because you know with injuries like this, a lot of guys, they lose their quick-twitch muscles."

The Rams are banking heavily on the fourth-year pro. They drafted receivers Austin Pettis and Greg Salas in the middle rounds this past April, but neither possesses the downfield speed that Avery has. Josh McDaniels’ new system often features three, if not four, wideouts.

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Posted on: May 25, 2011 8:53 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 9:07 pm

Hot Routes 5.25.11: Mike Kafka's 'next step'

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Mike Kafka told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he's ready to "take that next step" and become the Eagles' official backup. Of course, that presumes that Kevin Kolb is traded. Fortunately, Andy Reid's got his back too. I know that Reid's really good at developing quarterbacks and all, but going from Kolb backing up Vick to Kafka backing up Vick is a significantly different proposition.
  • Is it legal for the younger brother of an NFL offensive coordinator to teach that OC's new quarterback the offense? I mean, it's not, right?

Posted on: May 20, 2011 4:59 pm

Hot Routes 5.20.11: Welker disappointed in owners

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Wes Welker said something recently about enjoying the lockout. He recently clarified it, stating that he was saying it as a joke. (If you've ever met or interviewed Welker, this makes much more sense than him saying it in a really serious fashion.) He seemed especially cheesed that the owners decided to use it against him in court. 
Posted on: May 4, 2011 9:31 am

NFC West draft truths revealed

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the best things about the draft is that from it we can find out what teams really think about their current players. Excluding examples of teams filling obvious needs, here are some of the more revealing draft picks from 2011, with a quick blurb of what the team was really saying by making this pick.

Arizona Cardinals

2nd round, Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
We’re not sure Beanie Wells can stay healthy. Or that Tim Hightower is really all that good.

San Francisco 49ers
C. Kaepernick (US Presswire)
2nd round, Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada

Remember when we said that Alex Smith is still our guy? Yeah – that was a lie.

4th round, Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
Glen Coffee screwed us last year.

Seattle Seahawks

1st round, James Carpenter, OT, Alabama
Sean Locklear is lazy and not worth signing.

St. Louis Rams

1st round, Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Do you believe James Hall is as good as his 10.5 sacks last season suggest? Neither do we. Also, let’s face it, when we say Chris Long has a great motor (which he does), we’re also saying he’s not an elite athlete.

2nd round, Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin
When the offensive starters are announced over the loudspeaker during pregame, we get a little squeamish hearing the name “Billy Bajema” called. For one, the guy should never start for any team. Ever. And for two, the name Bajema just sounds, you know, sorta dirty.

3rd round, Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State
We’re worried about Danario Alexander’s knees.

Check back throughout the week for other division’s Draft Truths Revealed. To see all Draft Truths Revealed, click the “Draft Truths” tag.

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:11 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:57 am

Ranking the NFL's 32 final draft decision makers

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are many ways a person could rank the top draft decision makers for each NFL team. Among those criteria: team history of success; number of first-rounders who have panned out; the number of late-round gems discovered; consistency of the players developed within the organization.

But without a scientific formula, sometimes the best rankings can derive from a standard eyeball/smell/gut test. Thus, here is a ranking of all 32 “final draft decision makers” in the NFL.

Lists like these tend to attract criticism and rebuttals. Have at it -- this is meant to be a discussion starter.

1. Bill Polian, ColtsB. Polian (US Presswire0
Sticks unwaverlingly to his formula: invest in a small handful of elite skill position players on offense and playmakers on defense, and then surround them with low cost youngsters who fit your scheme. In the 2000s he led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl win and annual division titles. In the '90s he ushered in the most successful expansion franchise in NFL history (Carolina Panthers) and oversaw the four-time AFC Champion Buffalo Bills.

2. Kevin Colbert, Steelers
Doesn't get much attention because A) he rarely does interviews; B) the Steelers are often drafting late in the first round and C) he's almost always looking two or three years ahead when drafting players, which minimizes the hype of Pittsburgh's rookie class. These methods have brought in guys like LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons, Mike Wallace and Maurkice Pouncey to name five.

3. Ted Thompson, Packers
It took major intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger on Aaron Rodgers when Brett Favre was still on the roster and many believed the 2005 Packers were in position to "win now." Virtually the entire Packers Super Bowl roster this past year was comprised of players who were drafted by the organization and in their prime. That's perfect planning paying off.

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4. Bill Belichick, Patriots
The best trader of picks the NFL has seen since Jimmy Johnson. Like an alchemist, he regularly turns one late first-round selection into two or three solid contributors who fit the Patriots' ever-changing system.

5. Mickey Loomis, Saints
Is batting about .750 with his high-round draft picks, and has managed to snag several small-school gems in middle to late rounds (See: Jahri Evans, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, who was primarily a basketball player at Miami).

6. Ozzie Newsome, Ravens
Simply has a knack for connecting on stars. His latest include Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Ray Rice and (maybe) Michael Oher and Joe Flacco. Because of good mid-round drafting, depth is generally a plus for this club. The only true black eye on Newsome’s resume is the Kyle Boller pick, for which Brian Billick shares equal blame.

7. A.J. Smith, Chargers
Supposedly not the most likeable guy in the room, but that's in part because he has a gift for ruthlessly getting the most out of his resources. Part of that is replacing players a year too soon rather than a year too late.

8. Andy Reid, Eagles
Aside from Green Bay, Philadelphia is the only NFC team that has consistently drafted for the future first and the present second. Because of that, the Eagles are able to stay afloat when they do miss on a high-round pick.

9. Mike Holmgren, Browns
Jury is still out in Cleveland, obviously. But a person's track record has to count for something, right? And Holmgren's is pretty good.

10. Mike Tannenbaum, Jets
Home runs (D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis -- who was a grand slam -- and possibly Mark Sanchez) outnumber strikeouts (Kellen Clemens, Vernon Gholston). Willing to be aggressive and trade up to get his guy. So far, it's worked well.

11. Jerry Reese, Giants
Has done a superb job building off the foundation that Ernie Accorsi put in place.

12. Thomas Dimitroff, FalconsT. Dimitroff (US Presswire)
Ex-New England front office executive instantly turned the rudderless post-Vick Falcons around by nailing the Matt Ryan pick. Has since retooled the offense with solid role players and upgraded the speed on defense.

13. Mark Dominik, Buccaneers
Made the bold commitment for the Bucs to get younger on both sides of the ball. Already, those young players have turned out a 10-6 record, putting the team a year or two ahead of schedule. The decision to draft Josh Freeman one day could lead to a Lombardi Trophy.

14. Marty Hurney, Panthers
For the most part, Panthers have been consistently competitive for 10 years despite the absence of a star quarterback. How? Solid offensive line (Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil were successful high draft picks), good running game (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were two more successful high picks) and a staunch defense (Jon Beason has more than lived up to first-round billing).

15. Scott Pioli, Chiefs
Was an integral part of the Patriots dynasty and is showing a knack for finding players who fit the Chiefs’ scheme.

16. Billy Devaney, Rams
Has not been at the helm long; will soar up this list if his 2011 draft class turns out to be anything like his 2010 class.

17. Mike Shanahan, Redskins
A nod to experience more than anything. Shanahan The GM has never been as good as Shanahan The Coach. But Shanahan The GM has still been around the block a time or two and knows exactly what he wants. Having Bruce Allen handle some of the technical GM duties is helpful.

18. Ken Whisenhunt/Rod Graves, Cardinals
Only one player they've taken in the first three rounds has not contributed (Cody Brown). The rest all have been part of a club that has won postseason games two of the past three seasons.

19. Jerry Angelo, Bears
Seems to have a slightly better feel for the veteran market than the rookie market, but we're nitpicking. Has done a fine job finding players who fit Lovie Smith’s Cover 2 defense. Offensively, he’s building around Jay Cutler (for whom he traded significant picks to get).

20. Mike Reinfeldt, Titans
The assumption is he occasionally has to cater to the demands of Bud Adams, which could be a challenging wrinkle to his job. Overall, has constructed a deep roster and seen a few gambles pay off (notably Chris Johnson in 2007).M. Reinfeldt (US Presswire)

21. Rick Spielman, Vikings
Too many busts early in his tenure, though some of that was beyond Minnesota's control (Kenechi Udeze's health issues, Erasmus James' injuries). While forcing a few picks into the lineup, the Vikings also have gotten their money's worth from top picks Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Adrian Peterson (considered a risk because of injury problems at Oklahoma).

22. Jerry Jones, Cowboys
Yes, the Cowboys have a talented group. But a bulk of that talent was acquired when Bill Parcells was around.

23. Martin Mayhew, Lions
Still waiting to see what becomes of the major investments on offense (outlook appears good but still not certain).

24. Jeff Ireland, Dolphins
Brand new in his role as top decision maker. It wouldn't be fair to judge him based on what his former boss (Parcells) did.

25. Gene Smith, Jaguars
In two years has shown willingness to rebuild in bunches by using back-to-back draft picks on the same position. In that time, not a lot has changed in Jacksonville's bottom line, though there is legitimate optimism about this franchise's direction.

26. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
It's way too early to judge. His first draft class looks like it could turn out to be spectacular at the top (Russell Okung has star traits, Earl Thomas has shown flashes and many like Walter Thurmond) but very few men have successfully worn the GM hat while coaching.

27. Trent Baalke, 49ers
The Niners' draft record during his two years as VP of Player Personnel was iffy, but he wasn't the final decision-maker then. His first draft class will likely prove to have produced long-term starters with the first four picks (Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Taylor Mays and NaVorro Bowman). Iupati, in fact, seems destined to be a perennial Pro Bowler.T. Baalke (US Presswire)

28. Buddy Nix, Bills
Bills are full of overachievers, but part of overachieving is not being very talented. The Aaron Maybin air ball in 2009 puts a damper on what was otherwise a solid draft class. But Nix, a national scout at the time, wasn't fully responsible for that draft class. His 2010 draft class is off to a slow start but its still in the judgment phase.

29. Rick Smith, Texans
Houston is overhauling its defensive scheme after spending five years investing first-round picks on players who were supposed to fit that scheme.

30. Mike Brown, Bengals
He would be a great fantasy drafter because he always takes the best player. Problem is, in the real draft, team chemistry needs to factor into your decisions. Those "best players" Brown takes are often available because of character red flags.

31. John Elway, Broncos
No track record to evaluate.

32. Al Davis, Raiders
One apparently solid draft (2010) does not erase years of atrocious ones.

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 10:18 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 10:20 pm

Steven Jackson doesn't think Rams need a RB

Posted by Andy Benoit
S. Jackson
There are some who believe the Rams need a running back to complement Steven Jackson. The 27-year-old Jackson is not one of them.

"I think right now, while I'm still young and jubilant, that I still have the ability to carry this team and carry the load," Jackson told 101 ESPN St. Louis. "Basically, I know we would like to spread the responsibility of that to help lengthen my career, but right now, I think we have so many other needs that finding someone to spell me for five or six plays a game, I would rather let's go get some more help on the outside, some more skill players and some more guys on defense to help this team come along while I am still able to youthfully do my job at a high level."

Jackson’s bravado is understandable, but the reality is he’s a true power back who is already showing signs of wear and tear. In studying the film, it’s apparent that if Jackson is forced to handle a three-down load in 2011, he’s all but guaranteed to hit a wall in 2012.

But it’s possible Jackson’s workload could decrease without the Rams finding a No. 2 back. Josh McDaniels’ new system is shotgun heavy and might require fewer touches from Jackson. In the very least, the system will feed Jackson the ball in space more often, thus decreasing the number of body blows he endures.

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Category: NFL
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