With speculation swirling about football matters such as the impending free agency period, NFL draft, and Brian Schottenheimer’s outstanding-ness, we here at Turf Show Times look to find answers to some of the "tougher" questions surrounding the St. Louis Rams. In a recent interview, TST’s own Brandon Bate sat down with...another one of TST’s own, Douglas M...to seek answers to the unasked questions on the tip of every Rams’ fans tongue.
Assuming you can stomach it, here are 10 Tough Questions with Brandon and Doug...
Jeff Fisher says "someone not in the building" will be brought in to compete with Sam Bradford next season. Is that a rookie QB, and if so, when do you see the Rams selecting one?
What few people know, is that "In the Building" is code for: "I have no F-ing idea who you're talking about, but maybe this will make you go away..." I - like you, and a certain unexplained itch I don't like to talk about - never go away. The "Fisher Code" has been studied for years by intellectual giants like myself. I can speak perfect "Fisher-ese" at the drop of a hat... That I have to actually drop a hat to do this is somewhat troubling though? So here's a Fisher-esk thought for you on the Rams QB of the future...
(sheepish smile at Brandon Bate as he wonders how a guy in a RGIII sequined t-shirt was allowed into his press conference) "Glad to see you Brandon...(Insert cough, cough, eye roll) "That's an excellent question... "In the building" means in our development process, not a building like this one... With a roof, doors, windows, and the vending machines you were molesting earlier... Yeah, I saw you! As far as the draft, I have to look at it. But to look at it, I have to be there and there isn't here right now... (Brandon mumbles a follow-up question) Uh, yes, we'll be taking a look at everyone before the draft. I'm not sure if Yakov Bustmeister - from Barrow Alaska City College - is on our radar though... (Les Snead hands him a scouting report from just off camera)... But 4'3" quarterbacks aren't really a fit for our offen..." (Brian Schottenheimer hands him a note)... But, uh... (he raises an eyebrow as he studies Brian, who's furiously nodding his head up and down) we'll definitely study all quarterbacks available before making a decision..."
See how easy it is! It's like the Esperanto of the NFL, only different... Now as I see it, taking a quarterback early in the draft is a mistake. The "rookie train" has to end at some point, and putting the 2015 season - even as a back up/development player - in a first year signal caller's hands - if Bradford goes down - could stall this team's forward surge. I wouldn't be shocked if the Rams didn't draft a quarterback at all in 2015. As to free agent QBs, if Tennessee lets Jake Locker walk, the Rams will definitely take a look. Jay Cutler is too high priced, and Eli Manning will stay in New York (Yes, I know he isn't an FA in 2015). Both of these guys are the only high caliber quarterbacks I'd want the Rams to take a shot at in FA. Kyle Orton could "un-retire" again, but he really doesn't offer much of an improvement over who the Rams already have...
You’ve always been a fan of drafting "bad boys" with character issues. Who’s your guy in the 2015 draft, and what’s he stolen lately?
Even though I don't want the Rams to spend a first round pick on a quarterback, the sports writer in me drools at the prospect of writing - daily - about Jameis Winston. This is a guy - I'm channeling Mike Mayock here - who will be a constant train wreck off the field. He'll make Johnny Manziel and Aldon Smith look like alter-boys. He'll help people in Ferguson, MO realize things actually could be worse, and L.A. to refuse a stadium building permit if the Rams threaten to move there. Great, uh?
The guy who intrigues me is Michigan's Devin Funchess. When I look at NFC West defenses, this young tight end/wide receiver hybrid could very well be the key to cracking the division barrier for the Rams. Team him with Brian Quick, Kenny Britt, and Jared Cook in a big guy receiver set. Safeties would be forced to play outside the box, since a linebacker couldn't cover any of them. But he'll be a project of sorts, and no guarantee he'll succeed.
The player I want most is Clemson's Vic Beasley . I doubt he'll last until the Rams pick at #10 overall, but if he does he'd be the guy who sends the St. Louis defense into the stratosphere...
If the Rams invited you into their War Room, are you a BYOB/C [bring your own beer/cheetos] kind of guy, or would you assume they’d be supplied by the team?
If they remove the little matter of their restraining order, I'd love to be an integral part of the Rams war room. AND, before you ask, you can't come with me. You remember the last time we tried to crash the Rams war room? You gave Stan Kroenke a "wet willy" and told Les Snead you wanted him to save all his hair from his many styling sessions so you could weave it into a pair of underwear... The wet willy was really out of line...
Who are your top 3 Rams to be released in the off season, and who are you Top 3 free agents for the Rams to target?
I've already said I have my doubts about Joe Barksdale evolving beyond his current talent level at right tackle. He just can't handle top defensive ends, and that's a death-nell for any chance Sam Bradford could have to stay healthy. The idea the Rams could pay too much to retain his services should have Rams fans nervous at best. Salary Cap space will be a key in 2015 if they want to add any crucial players. Jo Lonn Dunbar has played his heart out at times, but he lacks the ability to bring anything exceptional to the Rams defense. At tight end, both Lance Kendrick and Cory Harkey are free agents. To me, it's a coin toss in a way. But there's something about Harkey's passion for the game? The place where the Rams need to be careful is their defensive line depth. Alex Carrington was an non-entity, but Kendall Langford is as solid a back-up as they come.
It's tough to shop when you don't know how much money you have in your wallet. So much of what the Rams can do this off season in free agency depends on what happens with Sam Bradford's contract. Other cuts will give some salary cap relief, but his contract will be the "drop dead" money Fisher and Snead need to make any big move. The available free agents - in every category - aren't anything to make someone swoon. Cleveland's Jabaal Sheard would be an interesting addition to the Rams' linebacker corp. The re-signing of Kenny Britt shouldn't be onerous, but it's a key for an improving wide receiver corp. Inside linebacker Brandon Spikes from Buffalo could add the depth lacking behind James Laurinaitis. As far as offensive linemen, the Rams have gone down this costly road in the past, and it hasn't paid big dividends. Do they want to get into a bidding war with Dallas for tackle Doug Free? The bidding will START at $8 million a year and go up from there. Greg Robinson will be at left tackle, with Jake Long's future hanging in the air. In truth, Robinson's ability to run block makes me think a great FA left tackle would allow moving the former #2 overall draft pick to the right side. It's the right side of the Rams' offensive line were the trouble exists. But repairing this flaw through free agency isn't the way to go. The draft has a bounty of talented linemen coming into the NFL for 2015. But then we get into the "learning curve", and Rams' fans have been subsisting with this "youth trend" for far too long. When all is said and done, this is going to be a tough coin toss...
I know you’re big into Postseason awards. Who would be your Rams MVP and who would earn your annual "Yugo Away” award?
Since the Rams offense was a "meh" at best all season, the team's MVP has to come from the defense. Many will favor rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald as team MVP for 2014, but I'm going with safety T.J. McDonald. Coming back from a rookie campaign injury, this former USC product is arguably the best of his draft class at safety. Solid play at a position the team struggled with for years, he's the reason why the Rams defense began to blossom at the end of 2014.
The "Yugo Away" award? Funny! I see what's going on here. You're trying to be erudite, aloof... But people will never want a car like your pink KIA Sorento. Plus, Yugo drivers get the blue parking spaces at WalMart, and a pretty nice tax break for being stupid... Wait a second?
The player who should be KIA ( see how I transitioned to the more infamous initials for "killed in action"?), I'd say anyone who played right guard this season should be in the unemployment line. Yes, I realize this is a tough position, and it's keyed on by every NFL defensive coordinator. But once again I'd like to focus your attention to the chore of keeping Sam Bradford healthy. Right guard has been a sieve, and with a marginal Scott Wells diminishing in talent, this position is going to be game, set and match for the Rams in 2015.
You’ve been a closet Seahawks’ fan for some time now. How do you like their chances of heading back to the Super Bowl?
First of all, you have it all wrong. My closet door somehow got stuck while I was hiding from - what appeared to be - an alien invasion of New Mexico. That it turned out to be five Armenians singing Christmas carols in their native tongue while carrying LED flashlights isn't something I like to talk about... A Seahawks fan DID open the door for me, but Ken Arthur from Field Gulls made me promise to say something nice about his favorite team. It's not like I haven't written something nice about them and Field Gulls before, right? But here I have to give credit where it's due. Seattle has been on a steady upswing and they're peaking at the right time. I don't see a team in the NFC getting past them to the Super Bowl. In the big game, I think we'll see the Baltimore Ravens from the AFC. Denver is sputtering and the Patriots have quite a few injury question marks on defense. Seattle wins the Super Bowl in a close one...
I’ve never seen a unicorn before...or Bigfoot. I’ve also never seen a Barrett Jones. Your take?
You're an idiot! Don't you know Barrett Jones actually IS Bigfoot? We don't see him much because it takes days to shave his body hair, and he gets five o'clock shadow in like 2 minutes after shaving.
Jeff Fisher says Brian Schottenheimer is an "outstanding play-caller." When did he get a sense of humor, and how was this missed by the media?
Many don't know Jeff Fisher spends his off season doing stand up comedy in eastern Europe. He can even make Bulgarians slightly grin... Vladimir Putin likens Fisher to Jerry Lewis in his prime...
As TST’s resident movie buff, I’m sure you’re excited about the release of "50 Shades of Grey" in February. If you had an extra ticket, which Rams’ player would you invite?
They're doing a movie about Lowes paint samples? I would've gone with Fifty Shades of Pantone Tangerine Tango...
If the Rams don’t retain Shaun Hill or Scott Wells, who will buy beer for the players next season?
Paul Boudreau will buy the beer...AND whiskey, Xanax, and medical marijuana if his linemen repeat what they did in 2014.
We realize there might’ve been an 11th, maybe even a 12th, tough question that we didn’t get around to answering. If yours weren't asked/answered above - which is highly unlikely - feel free to ask them in the comments section below. Doug will be stopping by a public library after his court-ordered community service to field any additional questions.