Good morning Ram fans, and happy belated Father's Day to all the football dads of Turf Show Times. As my gift to you, I bring the latest in Monday Random Ramsdom. Consider it my version of a Hallmark Card which you may or may not hold on to for a week or so. Love, Joe Mazzi.
Training camp is now just around the corner, with only a month left to go. While the Rams have yet to release an official schedule, teams traditionally begin in mid-July. As I type this my hands are shaking with giddy anticipation. I don't care if it's practice; it's football! Still, in the meantime we're left to do exactly what we as Ram fans do best: anticipate. How do you envision the early rewards of the Jeff Fisher era and where does his new team stack up against the rest in the league?
Rams rank 31 on Juggernaut Index - Thirty-one? Really? Was St. Louis 33 out of 32 before this, the greatest of all off-seasons? I realize that the Rams still have much to prove before they once again become a respected and feared franchise, but at least some positive recognition should be warranted. Yahoo! calls Sam Bradford nearly un-draftable in most fantasy league formats - largely due to his surrounding weapons which "weren't necessarily upgraded" - however, they do expect him to improve from his 2011 injury-plagued campaign. The defense should also play much better. I expect - or hope - that we will long be done with this late-20s-to-30s nonsense by year's end, and this man will play a significant role in achieving that feat...
Chris Long learning another new defense - Now entering his fifth season, and yet another new playbook, defensive end Chris Long isn't showing any signs of wearing down, either physically or mentally. As player who seems to only improve as he ages, he feels smarter and more comfortable when it comes to grasping the new system. He's done it before and now better understands the learning process. The Rams will need Long to pick up the scheme quickly to not only continue his development, but to also be a mentor and leader on what is now the youngest team in the league.
Rams may call defense by committee - Lest we forget, the St. Louis Rams are without a lead defensive signal-caller for the 2012 season. According to Jeff Fisher, that is a nonissue. He states that winning football games is done through implementing a strong game plan, which paves the way for the play calling. Assistant coach Dave McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil and linebackers coach Blake Williams will handle these duties in a collective effort. James Laurinaitis will - obviously - quarterback the defense on the field.
McGinnis could be key to lack of coordinator - Similar to the above story, ProFootballTalk puts the spotlight on Dave McGinnis, who will oversee the majority of the defensive responsibilities. He likens Laurinaitis to Hall of Famer, Mike Singletary, and looks forward to this previously unforeseen opportunity.
Ten late-round fantasy targets - Normally the words "fantasy football" and "Rams" are scarcely used in the same context without placing "keep away from" in the beginning, but that is why we're talking about later rounds. One player to target will be making his first appearance on both the fantasy and NFL gridiron. Brian Quick, the first player taken in the second round of April's draft, could be a potential steal. He will be given every opportunity to play this season - possibly as the team's No. 1 target - and possesses all the tools needed to become a QB's best friend.
LaDainian Tomlinson to retire, as a Charger - One of history's greatest running backs has decided to hang up his cleats. Tomlinson, who turns 33 on Saturday, will sign a one-day contract to rejoin his former team and walk away from the game that he has long dominated. He ends his Hall of Fame career with 18,456 yards from scrimmage and 169 total touchdowns, including seven passing. I believe that we will see his name in Canton in no more than five years.
Spagnuolo wants to head coach again - At one time the defensive mastermind who helped win the New York Giants a Super Bowl was one of the hottest commodities on the head coaching market. Today Steve Spagnuolo again oversees only a defense, coordinating for the New Orleans Saints, after failing to return the Rams to relevance. His first stint at the helm of a franchise was a flop, but he wants to give it another try. What better opportunity to re-showcase his coaching prowess than to be employed by a presently head coach-deprived team?
What else is new, old and pertinent to the Rams? Just ask the Post Dispatch's own Jim Thomas.
That's all for today. Check back tomorrow for more randomness.