When last we met, there was a barrage of Rams football field-related news. It appeared as though the drought may finally be nearing its end. That time is fast approaching, but, as it turns out, I fear I may have spoiled you. There are still off-season dues to be paid.
The good news is that team will again take the field tomorrow for another week of OTA's, and my fellow authors and I will again bombard you with more practice reports in coming days. It's what we do! After this week is full squad minicamp, which begins on June 12. In the meantime, how about some speculation to top off your morning?
The Rams are getting better because...well...they're not getting worse. Here is why after the jump...
Tight End competition just beginning - Very similar to the wide receiver position, the Rams have a group of TE's that are in for an all-out competition - not only for playing time, but a roster spot, as well. Though walking on thin ice after struggling in his rookie year, Lance Kendricks owns the No. 1 job. After him is where the question marks add up. Coach Jeff Fisher values versatility and consistency in a tight end, and will focus heavily on them in the offense. With proven talent as both a blocker and pass catcher, "Big Mike" Hoomanawanui would normally be a safe bet, but injury concerns could push him aside. The remaining seven who are currently on the roster include free agent veterans and rookies, most notably Matthew Mulligan from the Jets and DeAngelo Peterson from LSU, an "(Aaron) Hernandez-type" player. If you ask me, Peterson demands one of what is likely four total roster spots. He won't last on the practice squad.
Dunbar excited for opportunity - The Rams' newest starting outside linebacker is in for a very stress-free training camp. Why is that? He is in almost no danger of losing his role, and that is why he chose St. Louis for his next home. As a career backup until 2011, he was thrown into the lineup due to injuries and never looked back. While he was far from spectacular, he was certainly serviceable. Though his week one status is in no doubt, he knows that he still has a tough battle ahead of him to become a stalwart in the defense for many years.
Four Pro Bowl (safeties), but what's behind them? - In a division with little to brag about in recent history, the NFC West has at least notable trait going for it: the security blankets of the defense. Each year four safeties from each conference are invited to the Pro Bowl, and the Rams' divisional rivals boast them all from 2011. It's really more of a tribute to the stellar play of Seattle's Earl Thomas and others than it is snark at the Rams, whose safety play was one of few bright spots from last season. In this story are the position situations from around the West, including starters, depth and what to look for as the season approaches. What's interesting to note is that Mike Sando doesn't even mention James Butler, who is still under contract.
Best NFL player movie cameos - "Really, Joe Mazzi? This is what you give me," you ask? I know these NFL.com slideshow stories have been overdone and redone over again, but this one will certainly appease fans who witnessed first-hand the devastation of the "Fearsome Foursome." Coming in at No. 2 on this top-ten list is a brief performance by a former Ram in the football film classic, Heaven Can Wait. One more hint? The NFL would, terminology speaking, be "sack"-less without this player.
Sims-Walker to get a look-see in Houston - Oh, Mike, how we hardly knew ye. I was a little stunned to be reminded that he played only four games in a Rams uniform. Utter disappointment regarding his time in St. Louis or not, I am happy to learn that he will be given another chance. In a totally non-cynical manner, of course. Right? In all seriousness, he is worth at least roster spot somewhere. The Texans will be giving him a try-out.
Saints earned $1,000 for "cart-offs" - Did you really think that I would allow you to go through a Monday edition of Random Ramsdom without Bounty-gate news? Don't worry - this should just about cover it. I'm done with Gregg Williams, and will now only refer to him as "Blake Williams' dad." What makes this story imperative, though, is its sheer repulsiveness. The pay-for-pain initiative in New Orleans was always a bitter subject, but players can walk off the field after a concussion or re-aggravated strain under their own power. Broken limbs and torn ligaments are a different matter, by far.
Movie time, y'all! Unfortunately, Ram news has come in short supply, but that can be thought of as a blessing in this particular case. Jeff Fisher stands by his quarterback, which cannot be so easily said for the rest of the coaches in the NFC West.
So, here's the scenario. The Cardinals pay a handsome ransom (HA!) to Philadelphia for Kevin Kolb, and give him a hefty contract. He then struggles, gets hurt and is outdone by his backup, John Skelton. Many jobs in Arizona - outside of the QB position - could hinge on this situation.
Watch the first 15 seconds of this next video, pause, then come back. Is it me, or does Jim Harbaugh seem to be the only person that Jim Harbaugh is trying to convince with this statement? Were the many Manning rumors really "silly" and "phony?" Is Alex Smith in no danger of losing his starting job? Is Colin Kaepernick a career back-up? I say, simply, no.
This is for all of our video game addicts of Turf Show Times. We have a new gamer among us. Rams fourth round pick, Chris Givens, apparently has a dedication to his Play Station. Hopefully Madden comes second to the playbook.