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Rams Gear Up for 2023 Season
With another off-season in the books, it's time to look ahead to the 2023 season and all the highs and lows it might bring. Coming off a 12-4 season where they earned the number one seed in the NFC playoffs but ultimately got blown out by the Packers in the conference championship game the Rams surely have vengeance on their mind, but with an aging roster do they have the firepower to make another run?

The Rams have been talking about their window closing for a few seasons now, and that reality hit stronger than ever this off-season. Already a full season removed from the Sam Bradford era, the team saw another group of veteran players take either their first or an additional step back entering the season. Stephon Gilmore was a shell of what he used to be and was ultimately released via amnesty. Pro-bowl FS Eric Reid was put on the trade block for relative pennies and found no strong suitors. Xavier Rhodes has taken a step back, as has star WR Stephen Hill. WR Donald Lake, a player who still had two years before regression, was sent to the Vikings in a stunning trade.

The Rams are no doubt at a bit of a crossroads right now. Even the front office couldn't decide which direction this team was going to take as, despite WR Lake being traded, CB Gilmore being released, and GM Tyler Richardson reportedly making clear to the rest of the league that everyone and anyone could be had via trade, the roster is still largely in tact, aging vets and all. In fact, the team just added a pair of players in their thirties to bolster the roster. And although QB Jimmy Clausen is gone, another QB in the twilight of his career was signed to take his place in Christian Ponder.

So is this another year where the Rams look to contend for a second Superbowl championship or is this a rebuilding year? The answer to that question is most likely still up in the air. But one thing is clear - the Rams are keeping all of their options on the table. Xavier Rhodes and Eric Reid will still start for the Rams in the secondary, and Stephen Hill will still start at WR. The 35 year old Christian Ponder enters the season as the starter over his future predecessor Aaron Corrs who is likely not quite ready for primetime. Seven out of eleven starters on defense are at or over the age of 30. But none of this means the Rams are not "rebuilding" and preparing for the future.

The team traded Donald Lake at probably his highest value they possibly could have, as it would have only decreased with every game he played this upcoming season, and in return picked up a pair of first round picks. They used those picks to draft a WR and a CB who will likely become long-time starters for them down the road in Corey Davis and Quincy Wilson. Future starter at DE? Check. Future starter at DT? Check. Meanwhile, while the offensive side of the ball doesn't have quite the aging problems as the defensive side, the Rams are still preparing for a roster overturn there as well. The front office believes they have the long-term answer at QB, and there is still plenty of youth along the offensive line, as well as at HB and WR.

For now, the Rams are entering this season hoping to compete, but realizing it could be an uphill battle. At any point in time they reserve the right to switch to a youth movement and try to unload some of their aging players for whatever value they can recuperate for them. While Christian Ponder is starting the season at QB, don't be surprised if Corrs takes over the reigns at some point. WR Corey Davis could surpass Stephen Hill as a starter, while Quincy Wilson could receive extended playing time in the secondary. It really is going to be a wait and see proposition.

So which direction will this team take? I think it's safe to say that's all very much up in the air right now. If this team wants another shot at GZL post-season glory, they're going to have to go out on the field and prove they're capable. For now, anything's possible.
Forum Discussion (by T_Richardson on 10/25/2017) Replies - 1 :: Views - 11
Rams Add Veterans Jamie Collins and Jorge Lloyd
The Rams announced earlier this week that they have added two new players with a lot of experience, and, hopefully, plenty left in the tank. MLB Jamie Collins was inked to a one year deal worth $6.29 million, while Jorge Lloyd agreed to terms on a contract that will see him make $14.13m over the next three seasons with $3m guaranteed, but only $3.79 million this year. The controversial swap of incumbent quarterback Jimmy Clausen for QB Christian Ponder opened the doors for these deals to be made.

Collins spent his first seven years with the Tennessee Titans before joining the Minnesota Vikings last year. He has posted at least 100 tackles and 14 tackles for loss in his previous three seasons. He was particularly strong in coverage for the Vikings last year, deflecting fifteen passes while only allowing seven catches. Some may wonder why the Rams invested over six million dollars in Collins considering they traded two first round picks for MLB Ricky Austin just an off-season ago. Collins will at the very least provide invaluable depth for the Rams, but also gives the team the flexibility to run a multiple defense and switch between the 4-3 and 3-4 as they please. Additionally the belief from more than one source is that Collins could make a late-career position change and replace either Nathan Bookman or Margus Hunt as a starter at either the strong or weak side position. Look for Collins to play his way onto the field in any one of these scenarios.

LLoyd is another talented player that at a minimum will provide excellent depth, but could also factor in in either gameplan-specific scenarios or simply earn his way into more playing time. Lloyd was a first round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but posted less than 1,000 yards and only 6 touchdowns across three seasons for them. He was able to find success in Chicago with the Bears, recording three seasons over 900 yards receiving and two seasons with more than seven touchdowns. He's a classic burner who would beat everyone but Odell Beckham Jr. in a foot race, and should help the Rams stretch the field this season. Despite being 30 years of age he has only played seven seasons in the GZL and should have plenty left in the tank for the Rams who appear to be replacing departed superstar Donald Lake with a committee approach. Llloyd shouldn't put up huge numbers in St. Louis this season, but should be an excellent chess piece for them to deploy on any given week.
Forum Discussion (by T_Richardson on 10/25/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 9
Rams Swap Quarterbacks Ahead of Pre-Season
In a move that's sure to come as a surprise to both fans and pundits alike, the Rams have welcomed a new starter to the roster while showing the old one the door. Jimmy Clausen, who served as a backup to Sam Bradford in 2021 and the Rams' starter in 2022, has been released, and Christian Ponder, who the Rams are quite familiar with after he spent ten seasons quarterbacking the Arizona Cardinals, has been signed to take his place, leaving many to wonder what the end game is here.

Clausen, who struggled to put up good numbers for four different teams before joining the Rams, enjoyed arguably the best two seasons of his career in blue and gold. He threw 26 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions as a member of the Rams and led the team to two straight post-season appearances. Despite his success, there's a belief in league circles that the Rams' front office simply were never won over by Clausen. Others point to the fact that their were simply cheaper quarterbacks on the market that could deliver similar results.

Clausen's cap hit entering the 2023 season was over $13 million, while the Rams were able to secure Ponder's services for almost $5 million cheaper this season. With a plethora of veteran quarterbacks on the open market, some see this as a lateral move that allowed the Rams to upgrade other positions on the team, as they used the extra cap space to sign veteran MLB Jamie Collins as well as former first round pick WR Jorge Lloyd. The argument seems to hold a fair amount of water.

And while some bill this as a lateral move, others are viewing it as a potential upgrade. While Clausen certainly did not put up bad numbers in his time with the Rams, Ponder has routinely posted better numbers than Clausen throughout their careers. Ponder has bested Clausen's 86.8 QB rating from last season five times throughout his career, and his lowest QB rating ever to close a season has been 79.8. Clausen has finished six seasons with a lower QB rating. Ponder also boasts better career numbers than Clausen almost across the board, including completion percentage, yards per attempt, TDs per attempt, INT per attempt, sacks per attempt, and, again, QB rating.

While this move is certainly a gamble for the Rams, it's easy to see why they made it. They were able to secure a QB who has consistently performed better than their previous starter while at the same time saving cap space. It has all the potential to backfire given the proximity to the regular season, but it appears that was a gamble St. Louis was willing to take.
Forum Discussion (by T_Richardson on 10/25/2017) Replies - 3 :: Views - 22
Rams Draft Recap Rounds 3-4
3.28 - OT Antonio Garcia
With the 28th pick of the 3rd round, the Rams grabbed a player they think could be a starter for them some day down the road in Antonio Garcia. Garcia is a player that has a lot of talent, but enters the league quite raw. He exhibits a rare combination of power (94 STR) and lateral quickness (67) that not many in the league can match. He couples this with adequate speed (55) and good acceleration (77). The problem with Garcia is that he has not refined his technique enough to be a consistent player yet. His AWR (49), and pass blocking (77) both need a lot of work, which is why he was still available at the end of the 3rd round. However, if he can put it together and take his game to the next level, he's going to be a tremendous value at this spot. Look for Garcia to spend a few years on the bench before getting a chance to prove his worth, and possibly work on his strength in the meantime.

3.30 - DT Dalvin Tomlinson
With the 30th pick in the 3rd round, the Rams sided with need a little bit more than BPA. There were still some talented offensive lineman on the board, but with a lot of young talent at the position the Rams felt it best to invest in Tomlinson, a player who would have a clear cut role in a season or two. Tomlinson has great size (6'3", 330 lbs) and agility (62) to go along with above average strength (92) and acceleration (77), as well as adequate speed (55). His awareness is a little on the low side at 54, but he showed good tackling technique in college (78). Tomlinson should receive work on his strength in training camp to become a more complete player, and eventually take over for Terry Bailey or Sylvester Williams.

4.17 - HB Victor Ruiz
At pick 17 in the 4th round of the draft, the Rams took a halfback. Given that Ruiz would be the 6th halfback on the team, some fans were left scratching their heads. Later, however, it was announced that he was drafted with the intention of being moved to fullback. Ruiz was available in the fourth round because he does not, by any means, have the athleticism you typically look for at the halfback position. He does, however, have good downfield speed (85) to go with solid strength (77), and he possesses exceptional blocking skills for a running back (56 PBK, 54 RBK). While none of his other attributes stand out, they are solid across the board (65 AWR, 79 AGI, 79 ACC, 66 CTH, 75 CAR, 77 BTK). It's not clear what the selection of Ruiz means for incumbent FB Darren Hixon, but it's believed both will be on the roster to start the 2023 season.

4.25 - HB Alex Almarez
While Ruiz might be switching to fullback, the Rams did truly draft a sixth running back eight picks later. As has been the theme throughout their draft, Almarez's best attribute is his speed (94). He also boasts solid strength (67) and break tackle ability (82). Almarez probably won't ever be a starter for the Rams, but they still felt he brought good value as a background in the 4th round. He's very similar to Royce Felton in his abilities and running style and could easily fill his role if he were to go down.

4.29 - CB Harlan Autry
Once again, speed is the key here. Autry's best attribute is his speed (93), although he also has very good strength for the position (67). The rest of his attributes are either average or subpar, but Autry could have some potential with the right skew.
Forum Discussion (by T_Richardson on 09/29/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 10
Rams Draft Recap Rounds 1 & 2
1.24 - WR Corey Davis
With the first pick in the draft the Rams drafted wide receiver Corey Davis out of Western Michigan. The Rams were quite surprised when Davis fell all the way to the 24th pick after they had tried to trade up with him as a potential target. Standing 6'2" with 95 SPD, only 20 other WRs can match his speed and height combo. But Davis has several other strengths to complement those numbers. Only 5 out of those 20 WRs have 60+ STR, 95+ AGI, and 90+ACC. Davis clocks in at 66 STR, 97 AGI, and 92 ACC. Yes, the one knock one Davis is that he doesn't have an elite first step, but with some work it should be more than adequate. Davis also enters the league with good but not great route running (60 AWR), and a good set of hands (79 CTH). When it's all said and done look for Davis to reach 98 SPD at 6'2", an attribute combo no current WR can match, along with 97 AGI, and 95 ACC. He'll start right away alongside Odell Beckham Jr., and will hopefully be able to fill a portion of the production of Stephen Hill and Donald Lake.

1.29 - CB Quincy Wilson
5 picks later, with the second pick the Rams received from the Vikings in the Donald Lake trade, the team selected Quincy Wilson out of Florida. According to sources they were all set to take LB Takkarist Mckinley to fill a need they've had at linebacker for a while before the Buccaneers grabbed him just one pick prior. With McKinley off the board the team decided on Wilson, another player tall player with good length and athleticism. Right off the bat, Wilson's combination of speed (92), agility (92), and height (6'2") put him among a group of only ten players who share those attributes. Of course, most of those players have higher speed and acceleration which is something that Wilson will have to improve to be a great player in this league. Like Davis, Wilson is going to need to work on his acceleration, which is by far the weakest part of his game. In fact, he'll need a few years just to get it to a respectable level. But, when all is said and done, Wilson should max out at 95 SPD, 65 STR, 92 AGI, and 91 ACC. And while it will take some time, Wilson's long-term potential is what the team is banking on. For now, he'll probably play sparingly on defense.

2.29 - Tanoh Kpassagnon
For the second pick in a row the Rams had a player sniped the very pick before them. This time it was Ajax Glazer, a player who the Rams had considered taking at pick 1.29, and had their eye on ever since. Instead, the Saints took him at 2.28, and the Rams were on to their next target. In the end they settled on Tanoh Kpassagnon, a 6'7", 299 lb defensive end out of Villanova. Kpassagnon doesn't do anything well, but he has many strengths to his game. His strength is good for the position, but not outstanding given his athleticism. Is athleticism is below average, but not bad for his strength and size. Once again, the Rams made this pick based on potential. Theoretically Kpassagnon could reach 80 SPD, 87 STR, and 80 ACC, a set of attributes that only Aaron Donald of the Seahawks could match. In the end it's unlikely he'll get to that level, but it is quite certain that the Rams will work on Kpassagnon's strength as much as possible, and he'll max out at a minimum of 77 SPD, 87 STR, 74 AGI, and 78 ACC with enough strength to stuff the run, but also enough athleticism to contain outside and rush the passer. He should start opposite Bud Dupree at DE for a long time.
Forum Discussion (by T_Richardson on 09/29/2017) Replies - 1 :: Views - 20

All Team News Stories

At A Glance

GM T_Richardson
Head Coach Bill Belichick
Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy
Defensive Coordinator D.Robinson
Special Teams Dave Toub
Salary $170.07M
Cap Penalty $2.78M
Cap Room $1.15M

Rams Jorge Lloyd WR 86 Out for season
Rams Eric Reid FS 96 Out for season
Rams Travon Wilkins HB 81 Out for season
Rams Christian Ponder QB 95 Out for season

NFC West
#3 Rams y-Rams 12-4-0 0.75 5-1
#26 Seahawks Seahawks 7-9-0 0.44 3-3
#28 Cardinals Cardinals 6-10-0 0.38 4-2
#31 49ers 49ers 1-15-0 0.06 0-6

1 Sep 10 at Cardinals Cardinals #28
Won 30-20
2 Sep 17 vs Giants Giants #19
Won 29-14
3 Sep 24 vs Cardinals Cardinals #28
Lost 24-30
4 Oct 1 at Cowboys Cowboys #7
Lost 17-27
5 Oct 8 vs Eagles Eagles #10
Lost 17-19
7 Oct 22 at Jets Jets #16
Won 21-14
8 Oct 29 at Patriots Patriots #17
Won 32-13
9 Nov 5 vs 49ers 49ers #31
Won 30-3
10 Nov 12 vs Bills Bills #15
Won 23-16
11 Nov 19 vs Dolphins Dolphins #29
Won 26-0
12 Nov 26 at 49ers 49ers #31
Won 41-3
13 Dec 3 vs Saints Saints #18
Won 23-17
14 Dec 10 vs Seahawks Seahawks #26
Won 34-6
15 Dec 17 at Packers Packers #5
Won 37-6
16 Dec 23 at Seahawks Seahawks #26
Won 33-7
17 Jan 1 at Redskins Redskins #11
Lost 34-35

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