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Rams position review: special teams

By now, we've gotten used to our special teams being more of a hindrance than an asset - or even a neutral factor - for the Rams. What weight special teams carry is debatable. Consistency from year to year and even game to game is a bit more elusive too than consistency on the offense or defense. (Here's a brief discussion on special teams at Football Outsiders.)

In 2006, the Rams special teams had a DVOA of -4.4%, ranked 31st in the league. Same story the year before that. Last season, after the team made the high profile Dante Hall acquisition, improvement was negligible, a -4.3% DVOA. Hall spent much of the season dealing with injuries. He played in just 7 games, had 29 kick returns, and 19 punt returns, all the lowest season totals since his rookie year in 2000. His cap value was $1.55 million. His 2008 cap value is $1.978 million, and it's the last year of his contract.

Local product Brandon Williams had a cap value of just $534K, and proved to be equally as valuable as a return man filling in for Hall and the disappointing Marques Hagans...who may not be disappointing so much as in need of some seasoning.

So here's the question, do you part ways with Dante Hall and turn to the younger, cheaper Brandon Williams? If the Rams do that they'll save precious cap space, putting it towards filling other important team needs. I'm not advocating either position; although, I probably lean toward cutting Hall.

One last note on special teams. The Rams led the league in average yards return yards allowed, 27.2 per kick off for a DVOA of -18.4%, second worst in the leauge. Returns (-7.6 DVOA), while below average, weren't nearly as problematic.