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Thin at the margins

Kind of ironic that starting Frerotte gave us our best hope to win and Frerotte the starter was one of several factors that conspired to cost the Rams this game. I don't want to come after Gus too much; his play was inspired and he kept didn't let the bad plays and the really bad calls take his head out of the game. However, I couldn't help but wonder if two of his INTs might not have happened if Bulger were healthy and playing at 100%.

Ifs and buts...

Obviously, the officials were watching another game. I have to give Linehan and the Rams credit tough; those calls didn't take them out of the game. Some teams and players would have dialed it down a notch with the bad calls and the mounting injuries, but the Rams kept on coming, to their credit. Sometimes you cheat the devil and sometimes vice versa; in the end, they could have pulled out a win in spite of the NBA-like officiating. I hate that old cliché about bad calls, and you'll find it's true only to a certain extent. The poor refereeing does cut down on their margin for error, making the two INTs for instance that much more costly.

The 2007 draft continues to look like a good one. First round pick Adam Carriker made his presence known with a blocked kick. Clifton Ryan continued to look like a real catch at starting NT. Brian Leonard earned himself some more playing time this season, even when Steven Jackson does come back. Jonathan Wade assumed his place in the soon to be forgotten lore of the 2007 season with the fumble recovery come touchback come touchdown late in the second half - he's been a solid player in an injury depleted Rams secondary. With the injuries on the line, I'm a little surprised Dustin Fry is still on the practice squad. He may not be able to play anything but center at this point, but with backup center McCollum pressed into duty at left guard he might be needed. I guess if you're looking for a silver lining in this season, it's that all of these guys will have significant roles going forward, cutting their teeth the hard way in the league. Think of how advanced they'll be as players in a year...

The defensive line is much improved from last season, the Cardinals rushed for only 102 yards this week. Unfortunately, the secondary is making all of that irrelevant. Of course, much of that has to do with injury. Lenny Walls makes a fine target for opposing quarterbacks looking to get the ball deep. Walls wouldn't even be playing, after his "take me out" coach move in Dallas if it weren't for all the injuries. With Tye Hill back there with Brown, the secondary would be much better. Unfortunately, Tye Hill isn't coming back for a while - November at least.

Even with Hill, the Rams didn't do enough to address depth in the secondary for this season. Yes, Jonathan Wade will be a plus guy with time, but Lenny Walls shouldn't have been an acceptable option even in June when all was well. Injuries have done a lot to hurt this team, but let's be more specific. Injuries didn't just hit here and there; they depleted very specific units: the offensive line and the secondary. This is where poor decision making regarding player acquisition in the front office gets exposed. Yes, the line is fine with Pace and Setterstrom playing and the secondary is fine with Hill and Brown playing, but when those players go down and you're left with street free agents at tackle and guys who shouldn't even be in the league anymore at starting cornerback, the problem becomes apparent. It makes you wonder about the expensive signings of Bennett and McMichael this offseason. Not that those were poor signings, but there should have been some compromise on brining in those guys with the line and backfield so in need of depth. The failure to recognize that has cost the team this season.

Another week, another depressing review of a Rams game. Start looking at draft picks...