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Random Ramsdom: August 11: St. Louis Rams - Let The Games Begin

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The Rams' first preseason game is now in the history books. In 27 days, the real action begins, with the Rams hosting the Minnesota Vikings in their season-opener.

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Twitter Talk

CB Lamarcus Joyner is the real deal:

Gotta believe in something...

Michael Sam making the 53-man roster or Sam Bradford playing all 16 games?...tough call. Wouldn't want to bet on it:

Good advice, as we move through the preseason games:

A great signing by the Rams...

The NFL's Cambrian Explosion: Sports On Earth

Mike Tanier explores how new rules and trends are reshaping NFL offenses and defenses. Tanier notes how much faster offenses are playing, and how diverse defenses have become.

Meet The Fan: The Sportsfan Journal

As part of an "NFL Countdown" project, the Journal features a fan from each NFL team. Folks, meet St. Louis Rams fan Jack Walker.

10 St. Louis Rams Players To Watch Throughout The 2014 Preseason: Rant Sports NFL

Sam Bradford, Tre Mason, T.J. McDonald, Alec Ogletree, and Brian Quick head the list of players to watch closely throughout the preseason.

Make or break year for Bradford?: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Bernie Miklasz's take on Sam Bradford's 2014 season:

"I’m sorry to go against the grain, but I don’t see 2014 as a "make or break" season for Bradford. Instead, I see Bradford as entering a new phase in his career. You see, I’ve adjusted my expectations."

Rookie Highlight Reel: Christian Bryant - Safety

Andy Dalton contract with Bengals sets middle class market for quarterbacks: Sporting News

Dalton's deal is an important one, with respect to future quarterback negotiations [Sam Bradford?]. In an interesting twist to the negotiations:

"In an effort to receive incentives to increase the base value of their contracts, the players are trading in both guarantees and player friendly contract structures for upside contract value."

Rams Training Camp Report: Tough Slate Will Mask Improvement: Sports Illustrated - MMQB

Peter King shares his observations, after a visit to the Rams' training facility in Earth City, Missouri.

Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Gregg Williams, and the Rams' hopes for a great defense: Grantland

The Rams Defense 101: How to maximize a pass defense with a great line and a flawed secondary.

Rams Preview: Defense Might Not Be Enough: Sports Illustrated - MMQB

Andy Benoit takes an in-depth look at the Rams offense, defense, and special teams. Are the Rams a team with an identity crisis?

Stat Facts Of The Week: Opponent Yards Per Pass Attempt

Rank


Team


2013


1

Seattle

5.4

2

Cincinnati

5.5

3

Buffalo

5.8

4

Cleveland

5.8

5

NY Giants

5.9

6

Arizona

6.0

7

New Orleans

6.1

8

Carolina

6.1

9

Pittsburgh

6.2

10

San Francisco

6.3

11

Houston

6.5

12

Miami

6.5

13

Tennessee

6.6

14

Denver

6.7

15

Baltimore

6.7

16

NY Jets

6.7

17

New England

6.7

18

Kansas City

6.9

19

Detroit

6.9

20

Tampa Bay

7.0

21

Philadelphia

7.0

22

Indianapolis

7.0

23

Minnesota

7.1

24

Jacksonville

7.2

25

Green Bay

7.3

26

Chicago

7.4

27

Dallas

7.4

28

San Diego

7.4

29

St Louis

7.4

30

Oakland

7.5

31

Atlanta

7.6

32

Washington

7.6

Yards Per Attempt is one of the more effective ways of gauging a team's overall passing ability, as noted in last weeks column (link). The same holds true on the defensive side of the football. Opponents Yards Per Attempt is an excellent statistic for gauging a defense's ability to limit the passing game. The Rams ranked 29th in Opponents Yards Per Attempt in 2013. Much of the blame for this ranking falls on the defensive scheme implemented by DC Tim Walton, a scheme that allowed a high percentage of completions. Expect this ranking to significantly improve in 2014 under new DC Gregg Williams. The chart is courtesy of "Team Rankings".

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Worried about Rams' preseason? Don't be: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Joe Strauss puts the preseason into its proper perspective: A time to evaluate personnel, and an opportunity to get into the rhythm of playing against "live" opponents.

There Are No More NFL Secrets: Wall Street Journal

The information age has caught up to the NFL. Keeping secrets is now more difficult than ever:

"A confluence of social media, new technology, broadcast changes and advanced statistics has made for a new NFL where, according to those inside the game, information is more transparent than ever. In short, coaches may have to abandon one of their key traits: being totally unhinged with paranoia."

The New CBA and the Youthification of NFL Rosters: Football Perspective

In the last three years, NFL teams have trended towards younger players/rosters, with the Rams leading the way. The Rams had the youngest roster in the NFL last season, and could very well be near the top of the list again in 2014.

Meet the face-tattooed man who might steal Michael Sam's roster spot: Cover 32 Rams

Westbrooks stands in Sam's way to roster: ESPN NFL Nation

The Rams carried nine defensive linemen for most of the 2013 season. If they decide to do so again in 2014, the 9th spot may come down to a decision between Michael Sam and Ethan Westbrooks. Who will win the roster battle?

On This Day In Sports History

1919 - The Green Bay Packers football club is founded by George Calhoun and Curly Lambeau, and named after their sponsor - the Indian Packing Company.

"The Green Bay Packers were founded on August 11, 1919 by former high-school football rivals Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. Lambeau solicited funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company. He was given $500 for uniforms and equipment, on the condition that the team be named for its sponsor. The Green Bay Packers have played in their original city longer than any other team in the NFL.

On August 27, 1921, the Packers were granted a franchise in the new national pro football league that had been formed the previous year. Financial troubles plagued the team and the franchise was forfeited within the year, before Lambeau found new financial backers and regained the franchise the next year. These backers, known as the "Hungry Five", formed the Green Bay Football Corporation."

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The Football Hall Of Fame Has A Receiver Problem: FiveThirtyEight

A pair of famed wide receivers from the GSOT days - Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt - become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2015. Will they be first-ballot selections?

Deep Thoughts: Grantland

Bill Barnwell dissects and analyzes the career of Rams QB Sam Bradford. Although he does make some valid points, Barnwell leans heavily on Bradford's YPA career stats, and lack of deep throwing. Yards-Per-Attempt is a tricky stat, with many moving parts, only one of which is the QB. He does mention the roles played by offensive coordinators, wide receivers, and the offensive line...but draws questionable conclusions from his analysis of them.

Jeff Fisher and 7th Rounders: Sport Simplified

Coach Fisher has had great success with 7th Round selections in the NFL Draft:

"All but six of Fisher’s 27 seventh-round draft picks saw time on the field under his coaching. Furthermore, only two never played in the NFL."

"In total, Fisher’s 25 NFL-bound draftees have played in 821 games, for an average of more than 32 games per player."

NFL 101: Breaking down the basics of 2-Man coverage: Bleacher Report

As part of an ongoing series, former NFL defensive back Matt Bowen breaks down the basics of 2-Man coverage, and its execution at the pro level.

St. Louis Rams Weekly Salary "Re-Cap"

The Rams currently have $1,678,451 in available salary cap space. I will be publishing a complete "Training Camp Edition" salary cap update within the next couple of weeks.

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Sports Illustrated - Arch Authority Rams Player Ranking Series

Ranking the Rams before the preseason: 90-70: S.I. Arch Authority

Ranking the Rams before the preseason: 70-50S.I. - Arch Authority

Ranking the Rams before the preseason: 50-30: S.I. Arch Authority

Ranking the Rams before the preseason: 30-10: S.I. Arch Authority

Ranking the Rams before the preseason: 10-1: S.I. Arch Authority

The Arch ranks Rams players on the roster heading into the preseason. Other NFL teams will be scanning the waiver-wire for Rams cast off's this year, a refreshing change from years past. This roster is young, deep, and talented.

Quick thoughts on the Rams loss to the Saints: Ramblin' Fan

RF recaps the Rams' first preseason game: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Big nickel package emerging as NFL's hottest defensive trend: NFL.com

In a big nickel package, the defense brings in a third safety - instead of a third CB - who essentially is a hybrid linebacker/CB. Do the Rams have the depth of personnel to take advantage of this package?

Rams vs. Saints Highlights: St. Louis Rams Official Website

Highlights from the Rams' first preseason game on Friday versus the New Orleans Saints.

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The Evolution Of The Slot Corner: The Sideline View

Lamarcus Joyner is one of the new breed of slot corners, exhibiting versatility and a very high football IQ.

Observation Deck: St. Louis Rams: ESPN NFL Nation

Nick Wagoner shares his thoughts on the Rams' 26-24 preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Bradford, others expected back this week: ESPN NFL Nation

"The St. Louis Rams played Friday night's preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints without nine of their 22 projected starters.
Some sat because of injuries; others sat because coach Jeff Fisher wanted to protect them in their return from previous ailments. But Fisher indicated after the game that his team would be playing with something closer to a full deck when the Green Bay Packers come to town next Saturday."

Rams Rally Falls Short: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jim Thomas shares his thoughts on the Rams' first preseason game. Shaun Hill sure looked impressive in his debut with the Rams.

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The Pressers

Jeff Fisher Press Conference - August 9: St. Louis Rams Official Website

Jeff Fisher Post-Game Press Conference: St. Louis Rams Official Website

Post-Game One-on-One With Chase Reynolds: St. Louis Rams Official Website

Post-Game One-on-One with Aaron Donald: St. Louis Rams Official Website

Shaun Hill Post-Game Interview: St. Louis Rams Official Website

Greg Robinson Post-Game Interview: St. Louis Rams Official Website

Michael Sam Post-Game Interview: Rams News Now

Will Witherspoon one-on-one with Chris Long: 101 ESPN

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher recaps preseason opener: 101 ESPN

Rams Rookie Stock Report - Preseason Week 1: Ramblin' Fan

E.J. Gaines and Lamarcus Joyner looked particularly impressive in the Rams' preseason opener. A welcome sign, for a secondary with many question marks.

Reynolds impresses in preseason opener: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Chase Reynolds had a strong performance in the Rams' first preseason game. Can he crack the 53-man roster again this year?

Talented OLine, Young RB's Key To Offensive Revival: Bleacher Report

The Rams should have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL this coming season. Along with the return of Sam Bradford, the offense will be more productive in 2014.

St. Louis Rams: The 5 Greatest Players Of All Time: Football Nation

Tom Mack, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Eric Dickerson, and Jack Youngblood are Football Nation's 5 greatest Rams players of all time.

Rams TE Mason Brodine lost for the season: ESPN NFL Nation

Brodine suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in the Rams' first preseason game.

"It’s very unfortunate," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We switched Mason over to tight end early in the offseason and [he] did just a tremendous job, working him under the offense. He had a chance to help us and be a swing player for us. It was really a perfect scenario for him, so we lost him to a fractured ankle."

Rams' miscues are nothing significant: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jim Thomas recaps the Rams' first preseason game versus New Orleans.

Rams Rewind: Preseason Opener: ESPN NFL Nation

Nick Wagoner shares his thoughts on the Rams loss to the Saints.

Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Rams New Now

Highlights from Jim Thomas' weekly question and answer period.

St. Louis Rams' Projected Roster: ESPN NFL Nation

Nick Wagoner projects the Rams' final 53-man roster. Very few surprises, although that could change in the next three weeks.

St. Louis Rams Current Roster And Depth Chart

C Scott Wells Tim Barnes Demetrius Rhaney
RG Rodger Saffold Davin Joseph Travis Bond D.J. Morrell
LG Greg Robinson Barrett Jones Brandon Washington
RT Joe Barksdale Sean Hooey R.J. Dill
LT Jake Long Mike Person Mitchell Van Dyk
TE Jared Cook Justice Cunningham Alex Bayer
TE Lance Kendricks Cory Harkey Mason Brodine
WR Tavon Austin Stedman Bailey T.J. Moe Austin Franklin
WR Brian Quick Austin Pettis Emory Blake
WR Chris Givens Kenny Britt Justin Veltung Jordan Harris
RB Tre Mason Isaiah Pead Trey Watts Kadeem Jones
RB Zac Stacy Benny Cunningham Chase Reynolds
QB Sam Bradford Shaun Hill Austin Davis Garrett Gilbert
PK Greg Zuerlein
P John Hekker Bobby Cowan
LS Jake McQuaide Jorgen Hus
DT Kendall Langford Aaron Donald Deantre Harlan
DT Michael Brockers Alex Carrington Matt Conrath
DE Chris Long Eugene Sims Michael Sam Kourtnei Brown
DE Robert Quinn William Hayes Ethan Westbrooks
MLB James Laurinaitis Phillip Steward Aaron Hill Pat Schiller
OLB Alec Ogletree Daren Bates Etienne Sabino Johnny Millard
OLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar Ray Ray Armstrong Sammy Brown Lawrence Wilson
CB Janoris Jenkins Brandon McGee Marcus Roberson
CB Trumaine Johnson Greg Reid Darren Woodard
CB Lamarcus Joyner E.J. Gaines Jarrid Bryant
S Rodney McLeod Maurice Alexander Christian Bryant Avery Cunningham
S T.J. McDonald Cody Davis Matt Daniels

I've updated the roster to include all transactions as of August 10, 2014. The Rams roster is currently at the 90-man offseason limit. Rosters must be trimmed to 75 players by August 26. The final roster cuts - to reach the 53-man regular season limit - must be completed by August 30.

Blast From The Past: Classic Rock Monday: Led Zeppelin - Heartbreaker

Please have a great Monday and a Ramtastic week!