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Tag:St. Louis Rams
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:45 am
 

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

Whatever you say, Mr. Ryan. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Forgive us for not primarily focusing on draft-related players in this edition of knee-jerk judgments. But on the first day of the NFL combine, there were relatively few players of note to talk to; none of the interior linemen made appearances with the media, there were some lonely kickers and punters present, and not all of the tight ends showed up.

Most of the media sessions were spent chatting up various general manages and coaches, every single one of whom was asked about Peyton Manning and/or Andrew Luck. Or their own quarterback.

Winners

Andrew Luck: Luck isn't even in Indianapolis yet (that we know of) and he's already getting swooned over, as Mike Freeman wrote earlier on Thursday. The only flaw that people can find is his arm strength, and even that's a stretch. More good news is that his former coach, Jim Harbaugh, thinks he'll handle the pressure of all the expectations surrounding him just fine. Don't expect the hypemobile to drop speed between now and late April.

St. Louis Rams
: On Thursday night, we told a St. Louis radio station that Jeff Fisher would be sitting back and smoking a cigar by the time Robert Griffin III finished running his 40-yard dash. That's because Fisher and the Rams will be holding an auction for Griffin, the clear-cut, second-best (if second ...) quarterback in the draft. Everyone in Indy's glowing about the kid and he hasn't arrived yet either. And everyone interested should get involved. If the Browns, Dolphins and Redskins don't get involved, they're doing themselves a disservice, because RG3 is going to good in the NFL. Make the move, pay the picks and reap the benefits. Fisher's willing to do just that.

Green Bay Packers: There seems to be a lot of speculation about teams wanting Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn around Indy right now. (The Browns, Dolphins and Seahawks could all be interested parties.) Now that Green Bay's locked up Jermichael Finley for two more years, they can, if they want, apply the franchise tag to Flynn and then trade him for the best offer they get from one of the interested teams. As long as they get more than whatever the compensatory pick would be, they win in this deal.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Shortly after Kevin Colbert stated that he wanted wide receiver Mike Wallace to retire as a Steeler, Pittsburgh managed to restructure Ben Roethlisberger's contract. Making Ben more expensive in the future might not help in the future, but it means right now the Steelers can keep Mike Wallace. The No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh's gotten flak as the heat's cranked up on the possibility of him leaving, but the fact remains that he's the team's best wideout. Antonio Brown is a stud -- the only guy who we know that loves Brown more than we do is fantasy expert Dave Richard -- and he'll keep improving. But Brown doesn't become team MVP without Wallace keeping top cornerbacks away from his side of the field.

LaRon Landry: Holy muscles, Batman. Did he hijack Ryan Braun's FedEx package or something? We kid, we kid. (But no, seriously: we're joking.) On the first day of young football playing fellas flexing their muscles for the public, Landry stole the show with his ripped Twitter pics.

Losers

Jonathan Martin: Forgive us for not loving everyone out of Stanford, or for not giving Martin credit for having confidence. But the athletic offensive tackle won't be participating in most of the drills at the combine, because of food poisoning. (We asked him what he ate, and he didn't remember, but said it was in Arizona. Fear not, consumers of spicy shrimp cocktails.) Martin also repeatedly said he's the best tackle available in the draft, and said "without a doubt" he's better than Matt Kalil. Competition is fun, and confidence is good, but we're not sure why he's talking a big game if he's not participating in the drills.

Mark Sanchez: As Clark Judge noted, "Sanchez should be worried." That's because Rex Ryan came out and made no bold guarantees (a staple of the combine for Ryan) regarding the job security of his starting quarterback. It's OK for Rex to downplay the interest the Jets could have in Peyton Manning; Manning's not a free agent yet, and there are roughly 25 NFL teams that will at least discuss what Manning could do to their franchise. But the lack of guarantees for Sanchez during a tumultuous offseason should be concerning for the Jets current starting quarterback.

Kevin Kolb: Like Sanchez, Kolb didn't exactly get ringing endorsements from the guys who cut his checks. Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves didn't explicitly say they'd think about dumping Kolb (due a roster bonus on March 17) if Manning became available, but they sure didn't slam the door on the idea. 

Tight Ends: This is the new position that's redefining the NFL, right? Well, um, here's the problem (as also noted by CBSSports.com's own Pete Prisco): where were these guys during their big combine day? Rob Gronkowski was the story during the Super Bowl, and for a week after. Jimmy Graham shattered records. Vernon Davis was the guy who made Alex Smith great. And Orson Charles, the third-rated tight end by NFLDraftScout.com, said he's happy to sit and learn behind someone like Tony Gonzalez?Love the attitude. Love it, and Gonzo's the man. But if you're a coming into college and someone tries to steer you away from playing tight end in college, don't listen to them. Or listen to them and stop playing basketball?

Stevie Johnson: We've thought he'd get the franchise tag from Buffalo at minimum. But in listening to Bills head coach Chan Gailey, that's just not happening. Or it might; but Gailey's description of Johnson was quintessential "we're sorry to lose Stevie." He said he wouldn't miss Stevie until Stevie was gone and then cited the "business" of the game. Those aren't the words of a coach who's pumped to be celebrating a new contract for his franchise wideout.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:59 am
 

St. Louis will allow Rams to play overseas

Wembley By Josh Katzowitz

When the NFL announced that the Rams would spend at least one game in the next three seasons playing a home game in London, the league might not have realized the headaches that were to follow.

The City of St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission pointed out that the overseas trips violated the terms of the lease with the Edward Jones Dome. Which led the NFL to suspend ticket sales for the 2012 game between the Rams and the Patriots (though they eventually resumed).

Now, it appears the Rams WILL play in Wembley Stadium next year, as the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. In exchange for allowing the Rams to play one home game away from St. Louis in 2012, the team will allow the Dome to increase the number of weekends during the season that the facility can be used for non-Rams activities*.

The team will also pay the game-day employees the wages they would have earned during the game they will miss.

*In the original lease, the Dome could be used one weekend a month to book conventions or concerts. But now, for the next three years, the Dome can use the facility for those non-Rams activities for two weekends a month.

But this issue between the city and the team probably won’t go away. The lease was amended only for 2012, and as the paper writes, “The future games allow the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to retain a bargaining chip over a separate, larger issue: negotiations about renovating the Dome.”

"This agreement gives the CVC more powerful tools to help entice major events to St. Louis, which parallels our strategy of elevating St. Louis on a global stage," Kevin Demoff, the Rams executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement.

And for now, gives a temporary agreement that will allow everybody involved (the city, the team and the league) to get what they want.

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Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:38 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 9:53 pm
 

Broncos traded Lloyd to avoid locker room issues?

Lloyd talks with us in Indy. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Ryan Wilson

Tim Tebow was officially named the Broncos' starting quarterback during the team's Week 6 bye. Five days before their Week 7 game against the Dolphins, they traded their best offensive weapon, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, to the Rams. It was a confusing move at the time since Denver was 1-4 and the offense was a mess.

But whatever Lloyd provided in terms of big-play abilities (he had 77 receptions for 1,448 and 11 touchdowns in 2010 playing with Kyle Orton and for Josh McDaniels) didn't make up for possible issues that might arise from playing in a run-first, option offense.

The Denver Post's Jeff Legwold explains:

"…[T]he Lloyd deal, which ended up being a fifth-round pick in this coming April's draft in exchange for a player who went to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season, was made because the Broncos believed the veteran, in a contract year, was going to bristle and potentially become a problem as the offense leaned more and more on the running game.

"Lloyd had not been a problem before the trade, but it was a pre-emptive strike to avoid it. Also, the Rams had several injuries at the position, and the Broncos were able to get a conditional pick — it went from a sixth-round pick to a fifth-round pick because of Lloyd's reception totals — for a player that wasn't going to stay at season's end."

Side note: CBSSports.com's Will Brinson interviewed Lloyd at the Playboy party in Indianapolis during Super Bowl week and he couldn't' have been nicer. And, yeah, Brinson asked him about Tebow.



Still, we understand the Broncos' apprehension with keeping Lloyd around. He was something of an enigma in San Francisco and his two years in Washington can kindly be described as forgettable. It wasn't until McDaniels brought him to Denver that his career took off. And that explains why Lloyd would love to be reunited with McDaniels, now the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

In late December, Lloyd told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I can’t even lie about that. I’m tied to McDaniels. He uses me differently than other offensive coordinators used me in my entire career. He uses me as an every-play receiver. The short game, mid-range game, gimmick passes, deep balls."

New England is in desperate need of a downfield threat but there is one tiny issue. Lloyd is represented by Tom Condon, who hasn't dealt with the Patriots since 2006, when the two sides were negotiating Ben Watson's rookie contract.

“We pretend there are 31 franchises in the NFL now and they pretend we don’t exist,” Condon once said.

Apparently, that hatchet has been buried.

“I may never like them and they may never like me, but I appreciate that they’re smart guys who usually get what they want," Condon told the Boston Herald last week." I usually get what I want, too, and what I want is what my client wants. … [Lloyd would] like to be with Josh. He’d also like to get paid. I think he’ll be a player teams will be interested in.”

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 3:43 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Fisher, Murphy, Whiz now on Competition Committee

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The NFL's Competition Commitee is responsible for studying "all aspects of the game and recommends rules and policy changes to NFL clubs." And on Tuesday, Roger Goodell and the NFL announced that Rams coach Jeff Fisher, Packers CEO Mark Murphy and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt were added to the Competition Committee.

Fisher served on the committee from 2002-2010 before taking a year off after the end of his run with the Titans. During that time, he was co-chair of the committee along with current chairman, Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons.

Whisenhunt has previously served as a member of the Coaches Subcommittee, which makes recommendations to the Competition Committee. Murphy played for the Washington Redskins for eight years, reaching two Super Bowls and being named to the Pro Bowl in 1983.

The three additions for 2012 join McKay, Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals, John Mara of the New York Giants, Ozzie Newsome of the Baltimore Ravens and Rick Smith of the Houston Texans on the committee.

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 4:37 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 6:29 pm
 

Report: Les Snead to be named Rams GM

By Josh Katzowitz

With Vikings player personnel director George Paton’s decision to forgo the Rams general manager position, which earned him a promotion to assistant general manager in Minnesota, St. Louis instead has picked  Falcons personnel man Les Snead instead to be the next St. Louis GM.

As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, the Rams are expected to officially announce Snead on Monday.

Rams' latest news
Snead has spent the past 13 years in Atlanta and the last three as the director of player personnel, where he oversaw Atlanta’s pro and college scouting. Snead first interviewed with Rams owner Stan Kroenke in January, and then again this month after coach Jeff Fisher was hired.

The two finalists were expected to meet again with Kroenke this weekend, but Paton decided to return to Minnesota.

"George has been an integral part of our personnel department since he arrived in 2007," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said, via the team's website, Saturday. "His work ethic, leadership, professionalism and keen eye for identifying talented football players will continue to be a major asset for our organization as we take on the challenges of competing in the NFC North and winning the Super Bowl."

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco likes the Rams move, calling Snead a grinder and writing that Fisher “will lean heavily on Snead” because Fisher is “smart that way.”

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 9:05 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 9:09 pm
 

Rams ticket sales for London game to resume

It looks like St. Louis is headed to London after all. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

A day after ticket sales had been postponed for the Rams' regular-season game in London next season against the Patriots because it might violate their Edward Jones Dome lease, the NFL announced Sunday that ticket sales will resume Monday.

"We're going to play the London games," commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday while in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl. "We hope it will be with the Rams and the New England Patriots next year. That's what we planned. ... But there are issues that obviously are going to have to get resolved. We know there are discussions going on. We hope that will get resolved shortly."

More details of the resolution via the Associated Press: the Rams have agreed to give up a home game in each of the next three seasons to play in London. That deal apparently clashed with the team's lease on the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams play their regular home games.

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 1:22 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 10:19 am
 

Tickets for 2012 London game have been suspended

By Josh Katzowitz

When the Rams signed up to play one London home game each season from 2012-2014, team owner Stan Kroenke called it “a tremendous honor for our franchise, the city of St. Louis and our fans throughout the world” and how “this is a great platform to showcase the city of St. Louis to London and the UK.”

Then, we found out that, by playing in London, the Rams could violate their Edward Jones Dome lease with the city of St. Louis. Now, because the status of the game is unknown, the AP reports that ticket sales have been suspended for the Oct. 28 game between the Rams and Patriots.

NFL UK says it expects ticket sales to resume soon and that the Rams are working to "finalize the technical amendments to the lease required under the terms of the Rams' commitment to London."

But if the Rams can’t figure out a way around the lease issue, that won’t stop the NFL from continuing its international series next season at Wembley Stadium.

“Well, we’re going to play the London games, “commissioner Roger Goodell said at his Friday news conference. “We hope it will be with the Rams and the New England Patriots next year. That’s what we planned. I think it’s great for the community of St. Louis to be able to get that global exposure, but there are issues that obviously are going to have to get resolved.  We know there are discussions going on. We hope that they will get resolved shortly, and once that’s resolved we’ll make decisions from there, but we will be playing in London next year.”

But there’s another issue with the Rams. As the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes, the lease between the team and the city states that if the stadium isn’t considered to be a top-tier stadium -- basically, the league has to believe it’s one of the top eight stadiums in the league -- the team can leave after the 2014 season.

Goodell was asked by a St. Louis reporter if the NFL was committed to keeping a franchise in the city long-term.

“The answer is we want to keep our franchises where they are, so we’d love to have the St. Louis Rams stay in St. Louis,” Goodell said. "There are lease issues that are going through the process, as you know, they were articulated very clearly in the lease. Both parties are engaging in that, and their having that dialogue will allow that process to play out, and at that point in time (it) will be more clear about what the issues are and what we need to do to resolve them.”

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:35 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 4:58 pm
 

Luck willing to sit, hasn't spoken to Peyton

Luck is willing to sit in 2012 if he needs to. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck's made his way to the Super Bowl. No surprise here: but people are curious about his opinion on the situation involving Peyton Manning and the Colts, who hold the top pick in April's NFL Draft.

Luck, in town to train at the Gatorade Sports Science Lab leading up to the draft (you can view footage of Luck testing at Gatorade's Facebook page), said he has not spoken to Manning and also said that he would be willing to play for a team, even if he wasn't guaranteed to be the starter, "if that's what the situation called for.

"I think like any competitor you want to play," Luck told CBSSports.com. "But if that's what the situation calls for, then put your best foot forward."

Full Super Bowl Coverage

Asked about the big seasons from guys like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton and how that puts pressure on teams at the top of this year's draft (read: the Colts) to play their early picks right away, Luck pointed out that if he can play, he certainly wants to.

"Any competitor wants to play," Luck said.

There's also pressure on Luck because of expectations. He's been touted as the best quarterback prospect since Peyton, and possibly the best since John Elway. But Luck, who comes across with a perfect mix of humility and confidence, doesn't let the outside opinions crank up his expectations too high.

"It's nice when someone has a good opinion about you," Luck said. "But it's just an opinion. It doesn't mean you've done anything yet by any means. So you sort of take it for what it's worth. Not to disrespect the people who make the opinions, but you put your head down, work hard and control what you can control."

Luck is going to go early in the draft. Colts owner Jim Irsay said he's taking a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick and all signs point to the Stanford product going with the top selection. Were Indy to take Robert Griffin, III, and make Luck available to the Rams, St. Louis could hold an auction for that pick so frenzied they'd need someone from Sotheby's to moderate it.

And there's no question that whoever gets Luck will end up with affable face of the franchise that will quickly be able to compete. There's just one little dealbreaker when it comes to the team he lands with.

"I don't want to run the option," Luck said, laughing.

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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