In the maddening month of May in the year of our lord 2014 we lay in the lull between the draft and OTA's in the aftermath of free agency and salary cap snow capped mountain tops, looking forward across a long hot summer to Fall Football. In the net of the draft there were offensive and defensive linemen, a running back , and the defensive backs were plentiful and swiftly moving, and gold and blue in the secondary. Oprah went by the practice field, and was shunned, stunned, and put back on The View. Down the road to June and the OTA's and the reporters reports they posted were sprinkled like powdered sugar on pastries. Plentiful were the player reports and the rookies in their infancy, and the reporters munched on the powered pastries. The practice fields too were powdered and the lime lay dusty in parallel lines and we heard the coaches whistles whipping the rookies into shape and that summer we saw the coaches barking orders in the fields and wide receivers rising and flying past pylons, blurred by the heat and the sweat falling and the fans sipping soft drinks and others slurped tequila encouragement and there were collisions in the fields and afterwards on the highways, white stripped except for the DOA's.
Top Eight Rams Salary Cap Hits- 2014
Sam Bradford 17,610,000
Chris Long 14,900, 000
James Laurinaitis 10,400,000
Jake Long 9,250,000
Mr. X 8,010,000
Jared Cook 7,000,000
Scott Wells 6,500,000
Kendall Langford 6,000,000
Who the hell is Mr. X Ewe? Mr. X is our beloved wide receiver core! Mr. X's 8,010,000 salary cap hit represents the combined salary's of Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Kenny Britt, Austin Pettis, and Chris Givens.. My Grandma used to say, " You get what you pay for Cindy."
In a league where passing is emphasized and the running game is minimized, I must admit our young receivers give me pause. Chris Givens was the Rams highest rated receive last year. Givens was the 78th ranked receiver in the NFL. Considering there are 32 NFL teams you could make an argument that the Rams don't have a true #2 wide receiver, much less a true #1.
Ramdom Thought- I must applaud the 49'ers! I know...I committed blasphemy! But hear me out, before you tar and feather me. Two years running the 9'ers have trading a mid to late round draft pick for proven vet wide receiver. Anquan Boldin and Steve Johnson for a 6th and 4th round pick! Genius moves! Draft picks are like new cars. Draft picks are most valuable before they are picked. Oh sure, you have your classic Vette's, Shelby's Cobras and 1969 Z-28's. But for the most part your draft pick's value dwindles as soon as you drive him off the lot. Rookie wide receivers are iffy propositions at best and at worse bust with a prune eater's regularity. So why not trade a mid to late draft pick next offseason for a proven wide receiver?
Rear view mirror draft review- Blessed with 12 draft picks and a dearth of wide receiver talent, I winced when we didn't draft a single wide receiver. Oh we picked up Kenny Britt in the offseason. Last year Britt caught 2 more passes than his career arrest record! I'm not even counting his draft day porn video. WTF? I didn't count Stedman Bailey's 500K salary cap hit cause he's suspended.
Perhaps Sneed and Fisher are using a contrarian strategy? Maybe Fisher and Snead are ahead of the curve? What argument can you make Ewe? Well, I've noticed that linebackers come in smaller sizes these days. In a league dominated by the pass, you have to install speedy linebackers who can cover running backs, sleek tight ends, and wide receivers. Smaller linebackers have a difficult time shedding blockers like Greg Robinson. So why not bolster the offensive line and add another horse to your stable of running backs. Is that the offensive game plan? Ball control running game, play action passes, and let a mature Sam Bradford game manage wins.
Defense? Bet on Gregg Williams defense to blitz, create turnovers and sacks. Oh, we'll give up a few big plays the way Gregg gambols, yet the Rams defense should generate more 3 and outs. Aggressive strong special team play should tilt a few games in our favor.
Can we cut down on penalties? The Rams were 2nd in the NFL in penalties last year. That's coaching and maturity. It's possible we enter the 2014 season with the youngest team in the NFL for the third year in a row. The schedule makers haven't done any favors, and my Grandmother's words still haunt me. " You get what you pay for." Even adding Stedman Bailey's salary into the mix the combined six wide receiver salaries make the Rams receiving core (aka Mr. X) the fifth highest player on the team. You get what you pay for.