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Rams turn to Klopfenstein at tight end

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I guess Randy McMichael has to wait another year to live up to that contract. McMichael signed a three year deal with the Rams as a free agent before the 2007 season. He'll be 30 next year.

It's a tough loss for the Rams, who had committed to making the TE position a more prominent part of the offense through fits and starts this season. McMichael was the lone bright spot in week one, catching 5 passes for 77 yards against the Eagles - his best game as a Ram in terms of total yardage and his second most receptions in one game as a Ram. He hasn't scored a TD since week 13 last season. As the offense continued struggling to breath much less move the football, McMichael numbers declined. He caught 2 passes in each game since week one.

McMichael's absence gives TE Joe Klopfenstein one last chance at redemption, as we said last week. Time to start thinking about drafting a TE again? We'll know soon.

TE Anthony Becht, employeed as a blocking specialist (I wanna see his credentials in that department again), may see more balls come his way too. As dirty as that sentence sounds, Becht does have a track record of work catching passes in the red zone. It's been awhile though. With the Jets in 2001 and 2002, Becht scored 5 TDs. In 2003, he caught 40 passes, averaging 2.5 a game, for 356 yards and 4 TDs. That was the last time he had more than 20 catches, and last season he had only 5 with Tampa Bay.

Tight end play for the Rams depends largley on how the offense responds to the recent round of changes. There's no doubt in my mind that Linehan and the losing climate around Rams park lately had a lot to do with the level of play we've seen so far this season. There's not enough gold spray paint in the world that could convince me that the Rams are suddenly a contender, but there's no reason to think they can't play better than they have. Either way, if the offense can't elevate their play, it doesn't matter who plays tight end.

This week's opponent, the Redskins, have been stingy with opposing tight ends. They have a defensive DVOA of -70.7% against tight ends, second best mark in the league. Eagles TE L.J. Smith caught 3 passes in their upset loss to the 'Skins yesterday for a total of 26 yards.