Tag:St. Louis Rams
Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 2:52 pm

Hot Routes 4.14.11 good Fitz, bad Fitz

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

  • Larry Fitzgerald stinks – STINKS! – at baseball. And he knows it.
  • In other Larry Fitzgerald news, he organized team offseason workouts at Arizona State. Kent Somers, a highly respected Cardinals beat reporter, says that five years ago, the idea of Fitz (an admitted loner early in his career) exerting this kind of leadership would have been almost laughable.
  • Because they’re playing in the Hall of Fame game, the Bears and Rams will both get an early start on training camp.
  • Jerome Simpson, wide receiver of the Bengals, is training hard this offseason. There’s a chance the underachieving second-round pick could be in contention for a starting job in 2011.
  • Jamal Lewis is offering $3 million to purchase the shuttered Maui Sands waterpark in Erie County, Ohio.
  • Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker held a film session for 500 Jags fans. Koetter took the fans through four offensive plays. Just how revealing was the film? Well, one of the plays Koetter showed was the Hail Mary against Houston – not exactly the most complex X’s and O’s the sport has to offer.
  • Good headline from the Miami Herald: “The joke that is the pre-draft press conference”.
  • Matt Light and his fellow New England resident Peter King hosted a lockout breakfast to raise money for charity. (And no, the charity did not benefit players who can’t handle their money.)
  • Here’s a great glimpse into some of the offseason workouts of Texans Connor Barwin and Owen Daniels.
  • Ray Lewis talks about regularly visiting the hood.
  • Could the Steelers be looking at Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor?

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Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:46 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 11:07 pm

Laurinaitis could follow in dad's footsteps

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Rams LB James Laurinaitis is pretty sure football will be played next year in the NFL – at least a 95 percent chance, he told the Lantern (Ohio State’s student newspaper).

But if he’s wrong and the NFL and NFLPA don’t come to terms on a new CBA, Laurinaitis will have to figure out a way to make some extra money. That’s why he said he might turn to the profession which made his father a famous (painted) face.

His father, of course, is professional wrestler Joe Laurinaitis, and you know him better as Animal of Road Warriors/Legion of Doom fame, and like his father, Laurinaitis thinks he could make an impact in the world of scripted sports entertainment*.

*I realize Laurinaitis is almost certainly saying this with his tongue in his cheek, but if pro wrestling is going to stay serious with its storylines, I should stay serious while writing about it, yes?

"I should take up pro wrestling. It'd be a natural transition," Laurinaitis said. "I might have to try to get in the ring a little bit, take on John Cena or Randy Orton."

Later in the story, he says he’d actually consider stepping in the ring, though it’s hard to imagine he’s really, really serious. That’s because he says he’s saved his money (he’s in the middle of a four-year, $5.09 million contract of which $3.29 million was guaranteed) and doesn’t need to risk injury for a payday.

"I don't spend my money on anything stupid. I get all my clothes usually from Nike, or I wear the stuff I've worn through college," he said. "The only thing I've got to worry about is taking care of myself and my dogs and paying a mortgage on a house that I can easily afford and buy off if I want to.

"Usually, we wouldn't have checks come in until about this time anyway. Guys will start hurting when you don't get those game checks, but I think we'll get them."

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 1:37 pm

Offseason Checkup: St. Louis Rams

Posted by Josh Katzowitz


Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups

The Rams were one of the most surprisingly successful squads in the NFL last season. Coming off a dreadful 1-15 season in 2009 – which netted St. Louis the 2010 No. 1 pick and, naturally, QB Sam Bradford – St. Louis won six more games than it had in 2009 and were a game away from taking home the NFC West division title and a postseason berth, falling instead to the Seahawks in the season finale.

But the biggest news since their loss to Seattle was the hiring of former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He’ll work closely with Bradfo

Quarterback, new offensive coordinator

While McDaniels helped current Chiefs QB Matt Cassel to a surprisingly good season the year he had to replace Tom Brady – who also got a little bit of McDaniels when he was in New England – and comes to St. Louis with a strong reputation as an offensive coordinator, Bradford will have plenty of work to do. The Rams will forgo the West Coast offense they ran last year and run more of a shotgun, spread-based scheme. This is where an offseason workout schedule would be helpful.

1. Wide Reciever
One of the most impressive accomplishments by Bradford last season was to throw for 3,512 yards to a corps of WRs that screams unknown and unproven (Danny Amendola, you’re our breakout star!!). The team lost Mark Clayton (patellar tendon) and Donnie Avery (ACL) while Danario Alexander missed eight games while undergoing a fifth (!) knee surgery. The acquisition of Randy Moss – if he would have let it happen – would have helped last year, but overall, the Rams really need help in this area.

2. Defensive Line
Surprisingly, the Rams weren’t terrible there last season, and much of that had to do with Fred Robbins and James Hall – who registered double-digit sacks for only the second time in his career at the age of 33. Overall, St. Louis ranked 19th in pass defense and 17th in run defense, and as you probably know, there’s a plethora of defensive linemen in the draft that could get a call from St. Louis (although drafting a WR in the first round makes more sense).

3. Defensive Backs
The Rams released standout SS Oshiomogho Atogwe, a defensive captain last year, because he was due an $8 million roster bonus Feb. 21. As a result, he left for Washington and left a huge hole in the St. Louis secondary. And while the Rams had high hopes in James Butler, he’s been plagued by injury and lost his starting spot. St. Louis probably won’t want to count on him.

The Rams still have plenty of holes to fill, but they also have young standouts on each side of the ball, particularly Bradford and MLB James Laurinaitis. In any other division, you’d say the Rams might struggle a bit and could feel good about themselves if they finish at .500.

But in the weak NFC West, they’ll be one of the favorites to win the division and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 11:45 am

Hot Routes 4.4.11: Rams interested in Rice?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • In this Pro Football Weekly report, sources tell the publication that the Rams could have some interest in Vikings WR Sidney Rice. Considering how lackluster the current crop of St. Louis receivers are, the move would make sense. But the Rams organization apparently also is leery of Rice’s hip injury that cost him much of last season.
  • The Boston Herald wonders how Tom Brady’s image will be affected by the upcoming Brady v NFL case. Apparently, he can expect a hit to his short-term marketability.
  • The creator of the Madden NFL video game is suing EA Sports for many, many millions of dollars. It could even reach into the b illions. And get this: Robin Antonick’s original game was released in 1988, and it was for Commodore 64, MS Dos and Apple II.
  • Further cementing the idea that Da’Quan Bowers could fall out of the top-10 is Peter King of Sports Illustrated reporting that only one head coach (Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt) and two GMs (Atlanta’s Thomas Dimitroff and Buffalo’s Buddy Nix) were in attendance at his Pro Day last week.

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Posted on: March 31, 2011 11:25 pm

Fired equipment manager talks about Spagnuolo

Posted by Andy Benoit

Remember the story about the Rams longtime equipment manager getting fired? The guy’s name was (and still is) Todd Hewitt. Todd Hewitt was (and, apparently, still is) not happy about the way new head coach Steve Spagnuolo treated him.

Hewitt, who in January was canned after 43 years with the Rams, recently visited with Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. After three months, Hewitt’s still looking for a new job (he has a couple of prospects but nothing firm). He spoke very transparently about his firing from the Rams.

"There's two reasons equipment managers lose their jobs," he said. "They want to retire or they really screw up. I didn't want to retire and I didn't screw up. Even the head coach told me when he fired me, ‘Well, you didn't screw up. We're just going to go in a different direction.' "

After the ’09 season Spagnuolo told Hewitt he was on the fence about him. He kept him around in ’10 but fired him shortly after the season.

"(Spagnuolo) is a hard person to deal with," Hewitt said. "He's just very hands-on. Controlling. It's an ‘everything has to go through him’ kind of deal."

Hewitt says the head coach took issue with him sitting on the bench late in the fourth quarter of the team’s 18-17 loss to the Bucs (Steven Jackson had asked Hewitt to sit beside him for a minute). Spagnuolo also required Hewitt to get approval before assigning jersey numbers.

Since his firing, Hewitt has heard from several current and former Rams players. Jacob Bell, James Laurinaitis and David Vobora even invited him to come along on a trip to Mexico. (Hewitt graciously declined.)

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:35 pm

McDaniels will double as Rams QB coach

Posted by Andy Benoit

No surprise here: the St. Louis Rams will not employ a quarterbacks coach in 2011. Instead, new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will handle the job.

“We're going to head that way, at least this year,” Rams head coach Steve Spagnulo said, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And I think it's a good thing. Josh has done it that way before. I think it's terrific that Sam (Bradford) will get the direct how-to-do-it, everything Josh is thinking.

"Now, you can put a quarterback coach in there and it works fine, but for the first year of absorbing it...I feel real comfortable because Josh has done it this way. Josh is really efficient with his time and his work. And when they finally get together, I just think it'll be good."

McDaniels has pulled this double duty for most of his NFL career. He held onto the quarterbacks coach title in New England even when acting as the team’s de facto offensive coordinator. In Denver, his brother Ben was quarterbacks coach.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 17, 2011 3:38 pm

Hot Routes 3.17.11: Panthers paying employees

Posted by Will Brinson

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  • According to GQ, the Philadelphia Eagles have the second-worst fans in the country. First? The Phillies!
Posted on: March 8, 2011 6:18 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 6:30 pm

Teams tampering with Mike Sims-Walker?

Posted by Andy Benoit
M. Sims-Walker (US Presswire)
The best veteran wide receiver available on the open market this offseason will likely be Mike Sims-Walker. But the soon-to-be former Jaguar is not on the open market just yet. Which is why eyebrows are raised by the tweet from Charlie Bernstein of FOX Sports saying Sims-Walker has been contacted by the St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans.

If true, this contact would classify as tampering. Tampering is like underage drinking: against the rules, but very difficult to police. With players sharing agents and everyone in the NFL knowing everyone else, it’s nearly impossible to not violate the letter of the tampering rule.

That said, like underage drinking, there are repercussions when a known violation has occurred.

NFL Offseason
From a football perspective, the Rams’ interest in Sims-Walker makes sense. Even if Donnie Avery can fully recover from his ’10 knee injury and free agent Mark Clayton re-signs (Clayton is also recovering from a serious knee injury), Sims-Walkers’ possession type skills could still be of great service. In new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system, three-and four-receiver sets are standard.

Sims-Walker would offer to McDaniels the same kind of skill set that Brandon Marshall did in Denver.

As for the Texans, they have a reliable compliment to Andre Johnson in Kevin Walter, but it’s time to replace the gifted but wildly inconsistent Jacoby Jones.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com