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Random Ramsom, 6/26: Cuba Si!

Uh oh, boats headed to Cuba.

Cuban history centers around a few very prominent boat rides. First and most obvious, European explorers arrived by boat, later bringing boats filled with all kinds of trade goods and slaves. After enriching the treasuries of European royalty, colonialism turned out as you might have expected, meeting its end when a boat filled with revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro set out for the island from Mexico in 1956. Not quite ten years later, another maritime excursion ended at Playa Giron, the Bay of Pigs. 

This weekend another boat descends on Cuba, one filled the most vicious sort of head hunters, the St. Louis Rams defensive line. After training some in Florida, the unit will head to Cuba to continue their training, according to Chris Long. Like another famous boating incident in Cuban history, NFL quarterbacks have been alerted, put on DefCon 2, alarmed at the stockpiling of deadly weapons on the island just 90 miles away from American shores. 

The Seahawks' Playbook: Opening Drive in Week 17 Win over St. Louis, Part I
I hate to force you to recall memories of week 17, but this is a interesting look at the first two plays series that put the Seahawks on the board against the Rams. Besides the obvious contrast to the Rams dreadful playcalling, it's a lesson in defensive scheme. On the first play, a screen pass to Justin Forsett, SEA WR Mike Williams ties up Chris Chamberlain on the weakside. Bartell gets his hands on him; was it enough though? JL gets focused in on another WR, while Whitehurst makes the pass. The Rams linebackers get stacked up with Bartell, who breaks away after Forsett gains 13 yards. On the next play, both Bartell and Dahl bite on Golden Tate running a very similar play, leaving former Ram Ruvell Martin to make a deep catch for 61 yards. In both instances, the front four can't get to the QB in time to box him in or hurry him. I point this out because it's not so simple as one player/position failed.

Former Tate High star Fred Robbins prepares for his 12th season in NFL
Fred Robbins has been training in his home state of Florida during the lockout. Can he continue his late career surge that propelled the Rams defensive line last year? 

Selvie thrilled with reunion of Rams players
More from sunny Florida as George Selvie talks about getting together with his defensive linemates for the first time in four months. Chris Long was in Florida, but missed the first day of practice with an illness.

St. Louis Rams, most popular NFL team in LA
The LA Times looks at the most popular sports teams for the metro area, and their former (future?) NFL team makes the list.

Top 10 Inside Linebackers in N.F.L.
James Laurinaitis does not make the list, but he does get mentioned as primed for a breakout and a top ten performance in 2011. It's pretty stiff competition with names like Patrick Wilis, Ray Lewis and London Fletcher on this list.