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Rams Score in Offseason

You may have gone home from the pub empty handed (again) this weekend, great expectations unfulfilled. Unlike you, the Rams, however, scored and scored big this weekend with a late week trade and a weekend free agent signing. Both moves directly address two of the team's biggest needs and set up an interesting scenario come draft time next month.

We've analyzed the two moves here a little bit over the weekend. Drew Bennett has the size that Linehan wants in a slot receiver, and for all of our offensive fire power, the Rams were still deficient in the red zone through the first part of last season - until Steven Jackson emerged as the ultimate weapon. Bennett can get the Jump balls and take the associated pounding. With a tall guy like Bennett to catch balls in the middle, the Rams have two serious threats when they're inside the 25. This is especially true given out situation with the TEs, in that a) Linehan doesn't seem to be a big fan of throwing to the TEs and b) our TEs, especially a second year guy like Klop, are still in a learning/adjustment period. Signing Bennett to be part of the system rather than signing him to be the system was a smart, smart move that won't leave us in lurch. It also adds real depth, in the event that Bruce or, God forbid, Holt get injured.

Here's offensive coordinator Greg Olson's take on Bennett:

He gives us something we don't have in terms of his size. You can't coach that kind of size. He gives us a different dimension. We like it. I think Isaac has been very productive at his body type and Torry is kind of in between and now we have this big guy that should help us down in the red zone.

Trading a fifth round pick - one of two fifth round picks - for James Hall might have been the steal of the hot stove season. Haslett has his other pass rushing DE to complement Leonard Little, and as an every down DE, he's pretty good at playing the run as well.

Here's a scouting report from SBN's Lions site, Pride of Detroit, on Hall.

James Hall was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2000 by the Lions.  He had a great career at the University of Michigan and Detroit saw enough potential in him to make the signing.  In college, Hall racked up more than a few tackles and was apart of the 1997 national championship team.  Once in the NFL, Hall hoped to make an impact.  It wouldn't be immediate though.  

After only seeing action in 5 games during his rookie season, Hall began to improve greatly and worked his way into the starting lineup.  He played in nearly every game per season from 2001-2005 and began to rack up the stats.  In 2004, Hall had a total of 11.5 sacks, which is a career-best for the defensive end.

James Hall was more than just a very good player on the field for Detroit as he was a leader in the locker room as well.  That prompted being named a defensive captain alongside Dre' Bly, who was also just traded.  Things were looking good throughout the early part of 2006.  Hall was playing great and even had 3 sacks in the game against Buffalo.  However, a shoulder injury left Hall to be put on the injured reserve in November, and since then things have gone down hill.

The exact reason behind Hall being traded is the fact that Rod Marinelli really wants to change the atmosphere of the locker room.  On top of that, he is getting rid of players that don't fit into his style of coaching where it is expected to have a top notch work ethic.  Although I'm not sure that that was the reason as to why Hall did get traded, it seems very likely.

If Detroit wouldn't have made the trade with St. Louis, Hall would've just been cut as the Lions didn't want to pay him a roster bonus.  Detroit is already looking for someone to fill the void, but I definitely think Hall will be a good player for the Rams.  He's got great speed to get to the ball, especially when making sacks.  I'm still a little surprised that Marinelli is getting rid of so many people, but hopefully that will help things in the future for the Lions and even the Rams as they are getting a very good player.

As far as any red flags regarding Hall's work ethic/locker room atmosphere, I think that in most of these cases, a change in scenery is all a player needs, my apologies to the team that lands Randy Moss through a trade.

All in all, it was a good weekend to be a Rams fans.

Outside of an active weekend in San Fran, our division has been pretty quiet.

The Niners made a big splash by coughing up some big contracts, most notably to a bundle of defensive starters. Their signings include: CB Nate Clements (Bills); S Michael Lewis (Eagles); DT Aubrayo Franklin (Ravens); WR Ashley Lelie (Falcons). The Niners had the largest amount of cap space, over $30 million, and these signings are a clear indication that they intend to compete with the Rams for the NFC West title this season. Be sure to read more over at Niners site, Niners Nation. For what it's worth, I think they're going to be sorely disappointed in Lelie.

Seattle hasn't made move yet, and that's got to have some fans wondering, especially since the going rate on guards is $7 million for mediocrity, the same amount they lost Hutchinson to the Vikings for last season. See more of the fans disconcertment over at Field Gulls.

The Cardinals are keeping a low profile and providing potential free agents with a nice tour of the Phoenix area and little else.