Tag:St. Louis Rams
Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:49 am
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For now, market for STL No. 2 pick is soft

At this point, it's unclear who will draft RG3. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

Coming off his standout performance at the scouting combine last month, the stock for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III might not ever be higher than it is right now. And thus, it makes sense that the Rams would like to trade their No. 2 draft pick as soon as possible in order to get the biggest booty in exchange for the rights to select Griffin in April.

Once free agency begins on March 13 and a number of quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and Chad Henne hit the open market, the desire to trade a trove of draft picks to the Rams for RG3 might decrease significantly.

Who wants RG3
But even before free agency begins, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports, the Rams haven’t found a huge seller’s market.

According to the paper, the Browns, who already hold the No. 4 overall pick and obviously would have to give that up to move up to No. 2, aren’t willing to part with their second first-round pick this year (at No. 22). The idea of St. Louis not getting -- at the absolute bare minimum -- two first-round picks to give up their No. 2 selection is ridiculous, and if Cleveland sticks to that plan, perhaps the organization feels better about current quarterback Colt McCoy than many people might have guessed.

Adding to the Rams woes, the Redskins apparently are willing to part with their No. 6 pick this year and their first-round pick in 2013 but don’t want to give up their second-round pick this year. As the paper writes, that simply isn’t acceptable to the Rams.

The Post Dispatch also writes that trades won’t be worked out with eiter the Dolphins (the No. 8 pick) because Miami doesn’t want to deal with the coach in Jeff Fisher who spurned them for a job or the Seahawks (No. 12) because St. Louis doesn’t want to have to face RG3 twice a year for the foreseeable future.

What’s interesting about this scenario is if the Browns feel they can gamble and not trade for the No. 2 pick and still hope RG3 falls to them at No. 4, especially with the Vikings probably not looking at RG3 with Christian Ponder, a first-round pick last year, as the starting quarterback.

But as always, you have to take with a grain of salt any trade reports that occur before the NFL draft. At this point, it’s still a poker game with plenty of bluffing from all sides.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 7:59 pm
 

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

We'll let you decide what Vilma and Williams were discussing here. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Twenty-four hours ago, the biggest problem facing the Saints was that they were roughly $5 million apart per season on a new contract for franchise quarterback Drew Brees. And while that's still a huge issue, it's taken a back seat to the revelations Friday that at least one Saints coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of games for money.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
The coach: former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who served in that capacity under head coach Sean Payton for the 2009-2011 seasons, including New Orleans' Super Bowl title in February 2010. Williams left the Saints for the same job with the Rams in January after St. Louis hired Jeff Fisher (who Williams had worked with in Tennessee).

On Friday, hours after the NFL announced the Saints' "pay for performance" bounty program, Williams spoke on the matter:

“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints," Williams said in a statement released by the Rams.  "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

It's nice to own up to your problems, but this doesn't appear to be an isolated incident. Details via Mark Maske of the Washington Post:

"The Washington Redskins had a bounty system for big hits on opponents under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that was similar to the one revealed by an NFL investigation of the New Orleans Saints, four players who played under Williams said Friday," Maske wrote.

"Three of the players described a coach who doled out thousands of dollars to Redskins defenders who measured up to Williams’s scoring system for rugged play, including 'kill shots' that knocked opposing teams’stars out of a game."

“You got compensated more for a kill shot than you did other hits,” one former player said. Compensation ranged from "hundreds to thousands of dollars" with the biggest payout thought to be $8,000."

Wow.

Now that Williams has apologized, what happens next? More specifically: does owning up to it before the NFL weighs in lessen the punishment he'll face?

The short answer: who knows. We're not being glib but if commissioner Roger Goodell is anything he's unpredictable. The league has been criticized in the past for coming down hard on players but less so on coaches and front-office types. But early indications are that New Orleans' "pay for performance" bounty program is much worse than Spygate, and the sanctions could reflect that -- especially if Williams has a history of this behavior.

But it's one thing to punish the Saints; what happens if the Rams lose their defensive coordinator for any length of time?

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: March 1, 2012 10:48 am
 

Rams have begun contract talks with Lloyd

By Josh Katzowitz

It makes perfect sense that Rams receiver Brandon Lloyd would try to latch onto New England when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Lloyd, the seventh-ranked free agent in our receiver rankings, wouldn’t mind a reunion with his former coach in Denver, Josh McDaniels, now the Patriots offensive coordinator. But that doesn’t mean St. Louis isn’t trying to re-sign him. And that doesn't mean he'd necessarily mind returning to the Rams.

He’s still their best receiver -- he was traded from Denver (to avoid a locker room issue?) in the middle of the season, and in the final 11 games of the season, he caught 51 passes for 683 yards and five touchdowns, all of which led the team -- and as a result, the organization has begun contract talks with him.

That’s what Rams COO Kevin Demoff told Turf Show Times, saying, “We had initial discussions in Indianapolis. We plan to continue talking."

Lloyd, though, is still leaving open the option of playing for McDaniels in New England, telling CBSSports.com during Super Bowl week, “I’d like to consider myself Josh McDaniels' prized pupil. I would like to continue it.” He also said in that same interview that he was excited about the prospects of playing for new coach Jeff Fisher and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and playing again with quarterback Sam Bradford.

The Rams could use the franchise tag to keep Lloyd, but they’ve also recently said they won’t do it.



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Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:21 pm
 

2012 NFL Combine: Full combine winners and losers

RG3 stole the show en route to helping St. Louis. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We knocked out a slew of Winners and Losers posts while we were at the combine, and now that the combine's all wrapped-up, it only made sense to do a final one.

It also makes sense to point out that being a "winner" here doesn't mean that someone will be "a great NFL player" or that someone is "worthy of a top pick." It simply means that they separated themselves from the crowd and have boosted their momentum in the eyes of people who follow the draft.
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Winners

Stephen Hill: A bunch of folks were kind enough to have me on the radio while I was in Indy and Hill was the name I kept giving them: he played in Paul Johnson's offense at Georgia Tech, so there's limited exposure for him as a pass-catcher. But he's 6'4" and runs a 4.36 40, looked athletic in the catching drills at the combine and is already an unselfish player who's a proficient blocker. He's not in the first-round group with some other wideouts like Michael Floyd, Reuben Randle and Justin Blackmon, but he's got a shot at making that happen. At the very worst, he's probably pushed himself up into becoming a second-round pick if he performs well at GT's pro day.

Dontarie Poe: Poe was the big winner during Monday's defensive linemen and linebacker workouts, and he's one of the top gainers in terms of draft stock from the combine. There are definitely questions about his production at Memphis (30 starts, 21.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and 98 total tackles in three seasons) and whether or not he can produce against elite competition. But he dominated the combine, running the 40 in a blazing (for a 346-pound guy) 4.98 seconds, benching 225 pounds 44 times and looking surprisingly athletic for a man of his size. It's entirely possible he could end up being taken in the top half of the first round now.

St. Louis Rams: Robert Griffin III would be a worthy candidate for this spot, because he wowed everyone with his performance on the field and electric personality at the podium. He's going to be the second player taken in the draft. (The only way he's not is if he goes first.) And that's where the Rams benefit -- there's already a report that the Redskins would give St. Louis two first-round picks (2012 and 2013) and a third- and fourth-round pick in 2012 to land Griffin. Which means the Rams, who have needs at many different areas, are in a position to get one of the biggest draft-day hauls in NFL history.

Josh Robinson: Robinson, the 139th-ranked prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, really cranked up his stock during Tuesday's workouts. He led all players at the 2012 combine with a 4.33 40 time, he finished first in the three-cone drill among defensive backs with 6.55 seconds, he finished first in the broad jump among defensive backs, and he finished second among defensive backs with the vertical jump. Rob Rang's actually expected Robinson to work out well, and the underclassman was motivated by the draft advisory board saying he wouldn't be picked in the first three rounds. He's doing good work to prove them wrong.

Morris Claiborne: Claiborne is the consensus top cornerback on almost everyone's draft board. And after Tuesday's workouts, that's even more the case. Janoris Jenkins beat Claiborne in the 40 and Dre Kirkpatrick beat Claiborne in the vertical jump, but Claiborne's the better overall prospect based on Tuesday's performance. Oh yeah: and he has no significant red flags. Jenkins has a pile of them (though he talked about them honestly, which is a plus) and Kirkpatrick's answers to his recent marijuana arrest should prompt further questions from teams.

Losers

Kendall Wright: Wright came into the combine as a top-three wideout on almost every board. With Justin Blackmon not working out, Wright had a shot to potentially even leap to the top of the wideout lists, particularly if he blazed his 40. But he didn't, running a 4.61, and possibly costing himself a shot in the first round. The good news is that Wright's still gets to perform at Baylor's pro day, where he'll have a pile of scouts on hand to view RG3. But in a year with a weak wideout class, Wright really didn't take advantage of an opportunity given to him at the combine.

Vontaze Burflict: We mentioned it on Monday afternoon, but it Bears repeating, because Burflict is almost certainly the biggest loser of the entire combine. There was plenty of discussion, based on Burflict's play on the field, that he could be a first-round pick. That's laughable at this point, and it's possible that Burflict could even go undrafted. He ripped his old coaches, he ran the slowest linebacker 40 time and he didn't look like the elite talent people claim to have seen on tape.

Michael Brockers: The hype surrounding Brockers hit a fever pitch after the LSU defensive lineman weighed in at 322 pounds, 16 LBs higher than when he left college. That's also 80 pounds higher than when he enrolled at FSU. But then on Monday, Brockers looked shockingly unathletic during the various workouts, and certainly has "plenty of red flags" for teams to examine between now and the draft. If he can push his stock back up, he's still a candidate to land as high as the Panthers at No. 9 overall, but it's possible that without a strong pro day, his JPP-like boom-or-bust status could end up scaring away a lot of teams.

NFL Trends: That's a shorter way of saying "teams want big, athletic, pass-catching tight ends and also want safeties who can cover them." Because that's a major trend we saw in 2011, with the development of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. There are two problems that became clear at the combine. One, there are not a lot of really talented tight ends. (Pete Prisco blames college football.) If someone reaches for one of the top three tight ends -- Orson Charles, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen -- it could be a big-time reach. The same goes for the safety class which, as Rang wrote on Tuesday, is particularly weak. Mark Barron out of Alabama is a real talent but couldn't work out, and Notre Dame out of Harrison Smith didn't blow anyone away either.

Jonathan Martin: As previously mentioned, Martin declared himself the best tackle in the draft ... and then promptly came out flat in his workouts. In fact, it's unlikely that anyone actually considers him the second-best tackle in the draft, with both Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff. 40 times aren't really important for tackles (relative to other positions), but Martin didn't look strong and he didn't look like the upside-riddled offensive lineman who spent his career protecting Andrew Luck.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:16 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 5:35 pm
 

Report: Skins willing to deal 1sts, more for RG3

So happy together? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We already know that St. Louis "will" trade out of the No. 2 spot in April's NFL Draft. Even before reports of that, there was little debate about the Rams pulling in a haul for Robert Griffin III. That's because, as Clark Judge wrote recently, the Rams are sitting on a "gold mine."

Latest NFL News, Notes

But we haven't heard any specific potential trade options for RG3. Until Tuesday, when we heard a report about what the Redskins are willing to offer in exchange for the second-overall pick. According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, Dan Snyder's team is willing to part with two No. 1 picks "plus other selections in the middle to early rounds" in exchange for the rights to RG3.

Presumably, the Redskins would use their No.1 pick in 2012's draft (sixth overall) and package it with their No. 1 pick in 2012 (currently undetermined) and try to create a package similar to what the Giants used in 2004 when they acquired Eli Manning from the Chargers. At that time, the Giants gave up two No. 1 picks (one of which was Philip Rivers) plus a third- and fourth-round pick in that draft in exchange for Manning.

Two things on this. One (and this is something I never thought I'd say), RG3 would be a perfect fit with Mike Shanahan's offense. According to Pro Football Focus, Rex Grossman threw downfield (20 times or more) the 12th-most number of times of any quarterback in the NFL last year. He did that without starting every single game and he did it without being accurate. Rolling out of the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield before throwing a laser is what RG3 does best. It would be fun to watch and he would be quite successful.

But then there's point No. 2: I'm not sure that two first-round picks is enough to land Griffin. If the Redskins are getting their initial salvo out there publicly this soon, it's entirely possible that someone else is willing to package an additional first-round pick in order to land the coveted Baylor prospect.

However, the timing of this should be clear: the Redskins would like to get something locked down before free agency. Though they wouldn't be technically allowed to make a deal until the draft approached, the Redskins and Rams could have a handshake agreement on a deal prior to that. And Washington and Mike Shanahan can't go into 2012 without a quarterback.

If they get to free agency and don't have a sense that they can get Griffin on draft day, they absolutely need to pursue someone in free agency that can improve their play at quarterback immediately, whether that's someone like Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or just Kyle Orton.

The question then becomes whether or not Washington's potential offer of four very good picks qualifies as enough for Jeff Fisher and Les Snead to take Griffin off the trading block and come to an agreement on the terms of a draft-day trade prior to the start of free agency. That's risky as the value of the No. 2 pick could continue to skyrocket as the draft approaches.

But if teams fill their quarterback issues via free agency, it's also possible that the value of the pick could drop or remain stagnant. By striking early, it's possible the Rams could get the best-possible deal well in advance of the draft, and really begin planning out how to fill their roster with high-end talent.

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:22 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 2:10 am
 

Rams will deal No. 2 overall pick

The RG3 sweepstakes gains momentum after the combine. (Getty Images, US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The NFL Draft is two months off, but this much is certain: some team in desperate need of a franchise quarterback will trade up to the No. 2 spot and take Robert Griffin III, which was confirmed by CBSSports.com NFL Insider Pat Kirwan. This is great news for the Rams, who currently own the second pick. While St. Louis has its own franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford, they have plenty of other needs.

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On Friday, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote about Griffin's future, noting that "League sources maintain at least three teams are strongly considering moving up in a blockbuster deal with the Rams to snag Griffin. Those teams, sources say, include Washington, Miami and Seattle. Team officials also say Cleveland has interest in trading up, though not as much as other teams." 

Freeman added that "It will likely take two No. 1 picks (at least) to make that trade, and the reason is some teams view Griffin as similarly talented as Luck or such a close facsimile in terms of potential that the difference isn't a great one."

RG3 had a nice showing at the combine and in Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column he writes that "The Rams will drive a hard bargain. Cleveland (fourth overall pick), Washington (sixth) and Miami (eighth) will be in the derby to move up; Seattle (12) and a couple of mystery teams could be, too. Add the fact that the money involved (four years, about $22 million) is likely to be less than the money paid to the top (current) free agent Matt Flynn, and the market for Griffin will be hopping."

That last point can't be emphasized enough. Right or wrong, Flynn's getting paid, just like Kevin Kolb did last year. If teams truly are sold on RG3's potential, then the new CBA means that trading up, by itself, isn't cost prohibitive -- although that could change based on the Rams' asking price. (ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Monday night that the Rams could get a deal similar to what the Chargers got for Eli Manning in 2004: two first-rounders, a third-rounder, and a fifth-rounder.)

A possible monkey wrench for teams not located in DC: the Redskins have a history of overpaying for talent, although they've been much better about it in recent years. Still, we liken owner Daniel Snyder's approach to player personnel to that of a prospective homebuyer who waives the home inspection and offers $40,000 over asking. It's a no-holds barred approach that ultimately doesn't work -- in real estate or for the 'Skins.

But the heart wants what the heart wants. And if Snyder is convinced that RG3 is the answer in Washington, we wouldn't be surprised if he had a roster-building relapse. Other potential suitors would be priced out of the bidding, which is great news for the Rams. Still, even if the 'Skins show restraint in the race for RG3, St. Louis should benefit.

"The whole paradigm has changed in several ways,'' Rams COO Kevin Demoff told King Saturday night. "Griffin could be cheaper than Flynn. The fact that you can get a potential franchise quarterback for what the top picks are paid now makes it easier to justify trading a lot for it.''

And fear not, RG3 sweepstakes losers. CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco tweets an important point:

PriscoCBS
For teams that might rush to trade up to No. 2 to get Griffin, just remember Matt Barkley and other QBs will be in next year's draft.
2/27/12 5:59 PM

The problem, of course, is that there's no guarantee that those quarterback-needy teams in range of RG3 this offseason will have similar opportunities to draft Barkley a year from now. That risk has to be weighed against the cost of getting Griffin now, as well as exploring other options, like trying to sign Flynn.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:28 am
 

Matt Kalil runs unofficial 4.96 40-time Saturday

Kalil managed to elevate his status over the weekend. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Matt Kalil, the top-rate offensive line prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, has kept a low profile in Indianapolis. But that's not because he's not talented; it's because the focus here is on Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.

But Kalil stole some of that thunder on Saturday, when he stepped onto the field and looked incredibly athletic while running his 40-yard time, posting a 4.96 time, scored unofficially. (Matt added another unofficial time of five seconds even to his tally, which is also impressive.)

That time, incidentally, is the exact same time that Matt's brother, Panthers center Ryan Kalil, posted at his combine effort in 2006.

Matt's time puts him in good company: Joe Thomas, Eric Winston, Trent Williams and the elder Kalil are all among the group of linemen who've gone sub-five seconds on their 40 time at the combine since 2006.

Speed isn't everything when it comes to linemen, obviously. And Kalil's not the only speedy lineman: Georgia's Cordy Glenn also posted an unofficial 4.96 40 time on Saturday.

But when you start adding the pieces together on Kalil -- between the speed, the strength (30 reps) and the lineage -- it's hard to fathom how Kalil could end up busting as an NFL player.

And it's becoming even harder to fathom how anyone else, including Stanford's Jonathan Martin, could try to claim the title of best available offensive lineman in this draft.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:35 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Fisher: Trading Bradford 'wouldn't be an option'

Bradford won't be playing anywhere other than St. Louis. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- As we noted in Thursday's "Winners and Losers" edition from the NFL combine, the Rams are sitting pretty with the No. 2 pick in the draft and the stock of Robert Griffin III growning as quickly as his measured height (RG3's added 3/8th of an inch since college!).

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They're likely to make a move at some point, with one of the Dolphins, Redskins or Browns making sense as a trading partner.

"We have options," Jeff Fisher said Friday at the combine. "There's the option to stay there and take the best player or listen to whoever's willing to talk."

Just don't expect them to do anything too crazy. Like, say, trade quarterback Sam Bradford.

"That wouldn't be an option," Fisher said when asked specifically about moving his current quarterback.

There's an argument that dealing Bradford would actually make sense, particularly if Robert Griffin III is as good as everyone thinks. (He is.) But Fisher's sticking with the guy he knows.

And he might bring in more familiar figures as well, noting that the Rams have had talks about bringing in Albert Haynesworth, who played for Fisher when he coached the Titans.

"There's some unrestricted free agents out there, now, that are not under contract that we are talking about" Fisher said when asked about a Haynesworth reunion. "He's one of them. Whether we go ahead and do something remains to be seen."

Haynesworth isn't the only fascinating football figure currently an unrestricted free agent. USTREAM star Randy Moss is out there as well. And Fisher not only didn't close the door on possibly bringing Moss to St. Louis either.

"You guys know my familiarity with Randy," Fisher said. "I thought he was good for the locker room."

Hmm. Perhaps we shouldn't be throwing around the phrase "nothing too crazy" after all.

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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