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Door Jammed

I hate to get all post modern about this Claude Wroten thing, but there are just so many sarcastic bents you could run with here. I guess we'll go ahead and tie it into the holiday and make the suggestion that Wroten made a little fireworks display of his own while visiting the old alma matter this week.

Stupid, stupid move on his part, especially with the league making an overtly public effort to crack down on off-field misconduct. On the surface, it doesn't (and probably isn't) as serious as Pacman Jones' or Chris Henry's situation. However, his action was disturbingly close to domestic violence, and abuse crimes are about as low as you can go in my opinion.

Going by precedent, this shouldn't be an 8 game suspension. Wroten's crime stemmed from passion: his girlfriend dumped him, he reacted by demanding his stuff back and kicking in a door. It doesn't make it right, but it's certainly not as serious as attempted murder. (Now, if more details come out and there's domestic violence involved, it does become more serious. I can tolerate DUIs far more than I can domestic abuse.) As it is now, knowing what we know via the media, he should be punished, whether that's a fine or a short suspension can be argued as details.

Whatever punishment the league merits out, we now see an inherent problem with Goodell's new conduct policy - the seeming lack of guidelines in regards to punishment. What gets a player 8 games and what gets a player 16? I'm all for a more stringent means to deal with off-field misconduct, but it has to be done according to some set of rules rather than an arbitrary, dictatorial manner. It's easy to see the logic in punishing serial offenders such as Pacman Jones or Chris Henry, but what happens when a truly bankable star gets busted for a car full of illegal firearms? Or maybe something like, say, dog fighting?

That also brings up the point about treatment. Wroten got "labeled" early on when he failed his drug test at the combine and was arrested for intent to distribute weed (later dropped). Since then, he's stayed out of trouble (at least in the public eye). This door kicking incident makes it clear that Wroten needs treatment to learn to control those kinds of impulses, just as much as he needs to be punished for violating the law. There's another factor at play here: the elevated status players enjoy in college and in the NFL. When a young player's college girlfriend dumps him after he's been told he's superior to others for the last five years of his life, you can almost expect that kind of reaction. It's next to impossible to legislate anything that would remind professional athletes that they're no more important than the person who cleans the stadium after a game, especially in a when multi-million dollar contracts and coddling are irreversible facts of modern pro sports, but it's exactly the kind of thing that would cut down on the type of off-field play that Goodell et al are going to such pains to prevent.

Okay, that's enough morals rant for the day. Let's get into how this could impact the Rams. If Wroten does get suspended, the Rams will be without the under tackle that they were counting on a big year from. It's hard to dress it up as good news, but the Rams questionable d-line would be even further up the creek if our NT was heading to the pokey. It certainly hurts us in terms of depth, but recent draftees Keith Jackson Jr. or Clifton Ryan would seem to be capable enough to step in and handle the strong side guard as Wroten's UT replacement.

If (and this is still a big `if') Wroten does get suspended, then I'd think the Rams will pick up the search for a veteran DT. Wonder where Kris Jenkins' asking price is today?