Naturally, I was just headed out the door, on my way to work, when the biggest news affecting the Rams this week broke.
Whatcha gonna do?
I hastily scanned some articles and tweets and then headed out sighing heavily to myself. Fortunately, work was mercifully slow and I had time to catch up a bit more and reflect on this bold move by the Rams front office.
Firstly, make no mistake- this is a good and potentially great move. All year long, the biggest problem the Rams Defense has had is containment on the outside (52 yards for Russell Wilson? A TD on another?). This is precisely where Barron excels. In the box, he is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Check this play from the game versus the Patriots-
That is exactly the kind of play the defense needs to be complete. Barron zeroes in on his assignment and even though he appears beat, the turbo kicks in and he is there. Vision, speed, power, focus. If he can routinely keep the edge locked down like that, he is a steal for only a 4th and 6th round draft pick. Playing him as a hybrid linebacker/strong safety should free up TJ McDonald and maybe Lemarcus Joyner to play free safety and give James Laurinaitis some help over the middle, another area of concern.
But what does this move mean in the larger context of the season?
This is not an acquisition meant to get the Rams over the hump this year. Instead this needs to be viewed as the first off season move of the 2015 season. Sure he will help and gain valuable experience with the scheme and the players while doing so, but this year is lost and everyone knows it. Even if the Rams won out, that would still be no guarantor of taking the division! Mark Barron is good...he ain't THAT good. Peyton Manning isn't that good...ok, maybe Peyton, but he is the only one. So, back on point, adding to an already talented secondary, Mark Barron is the first step in a playoff run in 2015.
Then, there is one more thing that this deal with Tampa means- Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams seats are nice and cool.
An owner planning on sacking his head coach and maybe cleaning house entirely, would not allow them to trade away any of next years picks. Doing so, would undermine any new coach he was thinking of bringing in and could even be a deal breaker with some coaches. Nope. All the talk about replacing Jeff Fisher needs to be shelved after this. Given that Les Snead and Gregg Williams were in on this deal also, the same applies to them. Shottenheimer on the other hand...well...release the speculation!
So that's how it sits Ram fans, love it or hate it?