Tuesday, May 29, 2007

McMichael Ready for Change

Despite the fact that when Randy left Miami and the temp was around 90 degrees and when he hit St. Louis it was snowing, didn't change his mood about the bright prospect of getting a brand new start, in a brand new city with a great group of very talented offensive leaders.

In fact the difference was no big deal to him at all. The big deal though is that Miami simply let him walk, one of the better tight ends in the league. They didn't even try to keep him, just simply let him fall into the hands of an already potent offense. Thanks Miami, we appreciate it, we really do.

With all the hype about McMichael's receiving skills as a tight end everyone seems to forget just how good of a blocker he is as well. And this is something the Rams have been lacking in quite some time, especially at the tight end position.

"The thing he really doesn't get credit for is, he's a very, very good blocker in the run game and in the pass game," said Linehan

Randy on the other hand doesn't mind Linehan admiring his blocking skills but did have this to say with a laugh....

"Being a tight end, you don't want to be known as a great pass-blocker. ... You want get out and run routes."

Even though he would rather run routes he has made it a point to polish his blocking skills.

"Especially that year
Scott was there, I really concentrated more on the blocking aspect of my game," McMichael said. "I think one thing that I can bring to the table is that I can pass-block one-on-one with defensive ends and I can run-block one-on-one with defensive ends. So the offensive linemen can stay inside and worry about the inside guys."

As for Marc Bulger...he's got to be one of the happiest QB's in the league now with the likes of Bruce, Holt, Jackson, Bennett, Hall and McMichael. Lots of decisions for him on the field now on who to get the ball to.

"I'd rather have that problem than trying to find one guy; I'll make them happy," Bulger assured. "We'll definitely have the most talent on our side of the ball since I've been starting."

Needless to say, with that much fire power, if anything it should make for one exciting offensive season for the Rams.

Go Rams!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wide Eyed and Busy Tailed

All excited and ready to go was the class of 2007. Their first day was spent in awe of the fact that they were in the NFL. Many went into the Rams locker room to make sure it was real and that they were not just living in some fantasy world. Their first day was filled with childish excitement seeing some pretty impressive names on lockers like Holt, Bruce, Bulger, Pace, Little, Jackson...wow how much more fun could any young kid ask for?

Friday, May 11th was pretty much getting to know the layout of the land and picking up their first ever NFL play book and just trying to settle down all the butterflies flying around in their stomachs. But Friday had to end and rookies or not they had to throw away their childish awe and step onto the practice field for their first real taste of what it's like to be a player in the NFL.

Rookie CB Jonathan Wade took immediate notice of the tempo change his first day on an NFL practice field...

“This is the NFL,” Wade said. “Everyone is here because they were blessed enough to be skilled at their position. No one is average here. Everyone is very good at their craft. You have to perform every single snap. That play that you want to take off in college or that snap in practice, that is not going to happen, especially not at camp because if you do and you continue to you will be sent home.”
It's that fear of being sent home, that makes rookies who really want to excel work a lot harder to impress their coaches.

The biggest thing that Linehan noticed is that the kids need a lot of conditioning. Especially the big boys like tackle Ken Shackleford and defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who were huffing and puffing along and grabbing for those water bottles at every chance.

Since these guys have never played together as a team, it was to be expected for them to come out somewhat disorganized on top of being a tad overwhelmed. But overall, Linehan was impressed with his new kids first day performance.

“I think what’s amazing to me is that in a 24 hour period of time, we were able to put in 50 plays on offense and 20-30 defensive calls in and come out here and have maybe one offsides by both sides,” Linehan said. “It wasn’t too bad. I think the organization of those guys, getting in their books and coming out here today was pretty good.”
Linehan was most impressed with Adam Carriker and could barely hold back his excitement about his number one pick.

“I will reserve my optimism without sounding like I’m impressed,” Linehan said. “But I’m pretty impressed with this guy. I felt really good about our ability to draft him two weeks ago, but now that he’s here and being able to see him in a Rams uniform, confirms why we felt so strongly about him. I think he’s going to be very special.”

Carriker lined up at defensive tackle for both of the day’s workouts and pretty much did whatever he wanted to the players assigned to block him.

Despite all the kudos Linehan gave to his rookies by the end of their first couple of days, there was enough yelling and screaming along with a few choice words coming from the coaching staff during practice that made the newest members of the Rams realize that this was the real deal and that there would be no coddling.

Welcome to the NFL kids!