St. Louis Rams – Blog

Rams General Manager Les Snead Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 22, 2013 – 11:48 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Rams general manager Les Snead spoke to the media this afternoon and offered his thoughts on a wide range of subjects, including how to value certain positions and his respect for RB Steven Jackson.

- Here’s Snead’s comments in their entirety:

(On Titus Young)

He was a waiver player and we have been successful this year with at least two waiver claims. Shelley Smith and Joseph Barksdale made starts for us on the offensive line so we are always going to attempt to acquire players in that manner. With the combine, you get 15 minutes to interview. With this particular player you needed more than 15 minutes to interview him. So that’s exactly why we claimed him. We sat down with him, had a lot of good discussions. At that point in time, at the end of nine days, we decided ‘Hey, it’s not the best partnership at this point in time.’ But I can tell you he’s a talented kid with passion and drive, still got a future. But for us it was not going to be the best fit at that particular time.

(On Steven Jackson)

The inbox has a lot of things going on but I can tell you the Steven situation is right there at the top. We have had ongoing discussions with his representation. We are going to keep that between us. This is the first time I got a chance to live with the person. You can be a fan from a far or a scout from a far but when you live with someone, you really get to know them. Go back to our first 49er game when it’s third and 9 and all of a sudden he doesn’t have a helmet on and he’s still getting the first down. Then you go late in the game and you need to score again to take the lead and Patrick Willis comes on a blitz and it’s not his guy but he knows exactly what to do. That’s why I put that picture on my wall of Steven Jackson.

(Confidence in Pead, Richardson, Ganaway)

Those guys, Pead toward the end of the year, Daryl at the beginning and middle proved they can play in the league as well as Steven made some big runs for us. So what you will always do is they will all have a role. Richardson is going to have a role, Pead is going to have a role, they are all going to have a role and we are going to utilize those roles.

(On weighing Jackson’s value off the field in keeping him or not)

When the decision to draft someone comes down to the final yes or no on the player or whether we will take him, I always ask ‘All thing considered,’ not just whether he can run, catch, block but all things considered means something. Yes, that definitely means something and we value that. Yes, all those guys have physical talents and usually the intangibles will be what takes those talents and eventually produces who they are.

(How can players change opinions of them at the combine?)

If we are private investigators, each player has a folder and in that folder you still have some questions to answer. Some of them will be in the physical process, some will be the interview process, some of them will actually be the play speed of a player if he comes and runs a certain time you can say ‘OK, we’ve got that checked off.’ Each player is case by case and you have got to almost have your outline and say ‘This guy is up next and about to do this drill and we need to see him.’’

(On weighing the value of Danny Amendola given his injury history)

Just like intangibles come into play, just like physical skill comes into play, just like production comes into play, your ability to be on the field comes into play. That’s a fact of life. I think everybody knows it and I’d be remiss to not tell you that. So yes, you have to weigh that because you are going to produce more for the team if you are out there.

(On how important durability is for slot receivers since they tend to be smaller)

I don’t think that’s the No. 1 thing you look at. You want to know that your slot receiver is going to go out there and he’s going to help us score points, get first downs and durability is somewhere in there. It’s a tough element to count upon. Obviously you have to make the decision now, it’s hard to predict how the story is going to end. Durability is definitely something you weigh but not No. 1.

In general, I think history can usually predict the future if there is certain patterns. Having one ACL and then coming back and nearly breaking Eric Dickerson’s record is one thing I think you have to think about. History is a predictor but it’s not a definite predictor.

(Thoughts on the WR class and finding play makers)

Obviously we want to get better in scoring offense. That’s the No. 1 priority. Score points, win games. If we have more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game, we win the game. So really, I would say offensive play makers and weapons come in all shapes and sizes. They can be 5 foot 8, they can be 6 foot 5. They can come in and help you block and score points that way. They can also be on the defensive side of the ball because if you keep that team from scoring that helps your offense. So I think you always look for weapons. It doesn’t have to be one position to help your team. Nowadays on offense you are throwing the ball around to a lot of shapes and sizes and things like that.

(On Brian Quick’s development)

He made big gains for us during the year and I expect as of year two that he will ascend further. When we took the player from App State, a smaller school, we knew it was going to be a tougher transition than if you were at a certain program that was larger and had a more traditional offense. You think Vincent Jackson when you draft Brian Quick. If you look at he comes from a small school, he only had maybe 59 yards his rookie year. His career wasn’t over at that moment. We definitely are excited about Brian Quick coming back to our building, going through OTAs, getting to work with Sam and staying in the same offense and getting better.

(On whether his moving around the draft via trade last year is an indication of his style)

Speaking of patterns, when speaking of drafts I don’t know that you’re ever going to be able to figure out a pattern with us. I think it’s going to be, what we need is the best available player and we are going to try to get the player we want whether it’s trading back and acquiring more players or if it’s going up. Throughout my career, I have been a part of one in Atlanta where we decided we are going to give up some things and go get a player. And it looks like it’s worked out well there. But I think it’s figuring out as an organization who in the draft you are targeting.

(On having more flexibility with two first round computers)

When we made the trade to get two No. 1s this year, really we made the trade we were thinking ’12, ’13 and ’14. And if you want to know what keeps me up at night and wakes me up in the middle of the night or wakes me up early with a smile, it’s the fact that in those two years – most people think in those years we have five first rounders and five second rounders – I like to say we have got six first rounders and four second rounders because when we decided to take Janoris we considered him a first round talent. So I like to say in these three years we have got six first rounders, four second rounders, which puts a smile on your face as you build this team. Teams win games, teams win championships and the thing is as you make that team, the more talented individuals you can bring to your team the better chance your team has to win.

(On Chris Givens and Isaiah Pead moving forward)

I’m like a father in this instance. Those two players, Chris really had a nice year, Pead toward the end. As a father figure I always look at it as that was just the freshman year of college and we are going into your sophomore year of college and we expect you to absolutely improve upon what you just did. They are going to have a role. We are excited about them. They are both fast, teams are spreading people out, speed is huge and those two players have it. We are expecting them to be even better their sophomore year.

(On if he thinks one more big offseason puts the Rams in the playoffs)

The reality of the situation is when I started we were picking No. 2 in the draft. This year we are picking 16 so we progressed. We play in a division where one team was NFC champion and the other was in the final four of the NFC in Seattle and San Fran. And we had the best record in the division. So I think those things point to a positive, positive future. And yes, I think the bar has been moved from 2 to 16 and we do want to follow that bar. And with those six first rounders and four second rounders, we want to further that bar going into next year.

(On what he’s learned from last offseason to this offseason)

I have always had a philosophy of work to make the decision work. Since last year, our building, from assistant coaches, head coach, trainer, strength, coach, nutritionist, Artis, all those guys are going to play a role in helping these guys become professionals on and off the field. So this whole thing actually works when you take a player and say this is the curriculum for this individual, let’s put him on it and see how it works. In our case, so far it’s worked.

 


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Rams Coach Jeff Fisher Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 22, 2013 – 11:45 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Rams coach Jeff Fisher took his turn at the dais on Friday afternoon and offered his thoughts on a variety of topics. For more on Fisher’s thoughts on spending a draft pick on an offensive lineman, where Austin Davis stands in the quarterback pecking order and more, check out the feature stories on the homepage.

- Here’s Fisher’s comments from today:

–assessing the NFC West

We assessed it before I started last year, and we were very, very impressed with it. Three physical teams. As you recall, Arizona was 4-0 or 5-0 when we played ‘em ( they were 4-0). So I have a great deal of respect for the talent level, for the coaching and those teams being very competitive.

–on Rams’ success vs. SF-

You know we made some plays in both the overtime games. Both teams had opportunities, mind you, they missed a field goal in each one of those in overtime. But we stayed in ‘em and guys played hard. We’ve got a long ways to go, but to answer your question very impress with the division.

–personality of division w/mobile QBs Kaepernick and Wilson-

We studied it during the year. We don’t have a lot of time. We played as best we could considering the amount of time we had and the ability level at the position. That’s going to be an ongoing process for us. Obviously we feel like we sense for what we need to do and the type of players that need to be on the field when you’ve got that type of talent at the quarterback position.

–on Gregg Williams-

You know, I made that decision well before the season ended, that we wanted to go a different direction. It probably wouldn’t have been as easy had we not had the assistants that I had on the staff. I’m talking about Dave McGinnis and Chuck Cecil and then Coach (Mike) Waufle. You’ve got guys that have coordinated. I’m very fortunate to get Frank Bush now. He’s also coordinated. So we just felt like we wanted this to be the Ram defense, so we’re moving in a little different direction from what Gregg’s philosophies are.

–talked with Williams since reinstated-

I have not spoken with him since being reinstated. I’m happy that it worked out the way it did. I think Gregg can help the Titans and help Coach (Mike) Munchak, and of course Jerry Gray. The other side of that is that they can help him to re-establish himself back in the league.

–how do you see Gregg and Jerry Gray working together-

They’ve worked together in the past and there were no issues. Some years have gone by, but when they were on our staff, we didn’t have any issues.

–on Tim Walton hired as new d-coordinator-

I’m real excited about Tim as is the staff. Again, we’ve got a number of former coordinators on the staff. It’s the Ram defense. Tim fits in really well with that. He has a very, very good understanding of the passing game and pass coverages. Tim has been in college (as a coach and coordinator) and been successful there. He’s defended options and he’s defended wishbones. At the end of the day, the patience in the process paid off for us.

–is this team one good offseason away from being a bona fide playoff contender-

If you’re talking about acquiring players, it’s really year to year. I’m probably equally excited about the offseason at the facility _ the offseason program. The fact that both sides of the ball are staying in the same system. We’re gonna improve our young players. So I’d like to think by the end of the offseason that we’re a better team than we were when we finished (2012).

–4 games a year vs. Kaepernick and Wilson-

It’s very challenging and they’re very talented. They’re also really good players around the quarterbacks. Both teams in addition had outstanding running backs, which makes that concept much more difficult to defend because traditionally on defense you haven’t accounted for the quarterback (as a runner). You have to make adjustments. . . .So we’re going to be doing that along with everybody else. Because we can’t predict that there’s not going to be another team or two that’s gonna come in and do that type of stuff. We’ve got our baby there in the West, and now those guys in the (NFC) East have their challenge with the high-tempo offense that they’re gonna see out of Philadelphia.

–will NFL coaches be visiting with college coaches in offseason to help figure out how to defense this pistol/read option stuff-

A lot of people are gonna go there. But I think everybody that thinks, ‘Well, let’s go talk to Coach Ault.’ (JT NOTE: Kaepernick’s former college coach at Nevada). You know, he’s the one that started this stuff. You think he’s gonna help us defend his former player? Good luck to those guys.

–on Titus Young’s quick stay with Rams-

Our approach regarding Titus was we had two options: One was to let him clear waivers. And then be one of those teams to try to get him in here and try to sit down and talk to him. Or actually submit a claim, and we were awarded (him). So we got to spend time with him. This to me was just a long, extensive interview and at the end of the day we felt like we were better off without Titus.

–Rob Ryan backing out of d-coordinator job-was it simply a case of running a 3-4 front (Ryan’s strength) vs. a 4-3 (which Rams run)–

Yeah, it was that. There were some other things involved. Again, things have worked out really well for Coach Ryan and for the Rams because we’ve got our guy, and he’s gone on and he’s more comfortable in the odd-front defense.

–are you comfortable with taking a guard or right tackle in first round-

Yeah, I’d draft just about any position in the first round except maybe a kicker or a punter. We don’t need those.

–Fisher didn’t draft an o-lineman in first round during all his time as Oilers/Titans head coach-

But we felt like we got first-round value out of some players we drafted there, specifically the two tackles. The tackles played very well for us down there.

–on development of young players–

Coaches will stand up and tell you that players make the biggest improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. They’re no longer rookies. They understand what they have to go through. They’re gonna come in the offseason program. And they’re gonna improve. If we’re doing our job _ we identify strengths and weaknesses in not only the younger players but all of our players _ and you have to address those things during the offseason. That process is well underway. As frustrated as we are that we can’t really put our hands on ‘em (until start of Rams offseason program April 15), we’re gonna take advantage of the time that we have starting in April to work with the young guys.

–expectations for Bradford with same coordinator, same offense for first time in NFL career-

Well, I think you’ll see more production out of him week to week. Probably a little bit more consistency out of him, not that he was inconsistent. But when you stay in the same system over time, you feel much more comfortable. One can only imagine what it’s been like for him for the last few years going through three different offensive philosophies and systems.

–on William Hayes’s success as a pass-rusher in 2012–

Will works real hard. We have an outstanding defensive line coach in Mike Waufle. And Will got real close with the other three ends, with Eugene and Robert _ and very close with Chris _ and just loved playing. Will wasn’t a 60-play-a-game guy, but when he was on the field he was productive. He ended up the season with 6½ sacks ( actually it was 7 sacks) and a lot of tackles for loss.

–so you want to bring back Hayes, who’s unrestricted-

That’s correct. Yes. We have a great deal of interest in bringing him back. As he does have interest in remaining with us.

–plans on backup QB–

Well, we’ve got Austin Davis. I was really happy with his progress. Still there’s a possibility that we would bring Kellen (Clemens) back. Kellen’s an outstanding locker room guy and very competitive. And if that were the case we’d probably flip things to where Austin would be (No.) 2, Kellen would be 3.

We got a chance to see Austin in the preseason, and he’s got some ability.

–with the possibility that Steven Jackson and Amendola could end up elsewhere-will that effect how you approach the RB and WR position in the offseason-

Well, I think we have for where that goes before we have to make any decisions (on free agency and draft). Now, you talk about free agency, we have a good feel for what we can do. What we’re planning on doing as far as UFAs. But there’s always a possibility that that doesn’t happen. We’ve said all along, we’d like to have both of ‘em back. They’re key members of our team. But if that doesn’t happen, you have to address it and fill those voids.

–on LBs-Because of the nature of the college game now, the physical characteristics of the linebackers that are coming out is not necessarily what we need. You’ve got to develop. They’re smaller. You see safeties now playing (linebacker) because of the speed and the multiplicity of the game. So when you talk about addressing the need at the linebacker position, there’s typically not a lot of depth from year to year.

–OG Rokevious Watkins update coming off ankle and weight issues-

We encouraged him to take some time off. He did. He came back. His rehab’s just about complete. His weight is significantly down and he made a commitment to a program early in the offseason to get himself in a position where he can really compete. So I’m pleased with his progress thus far.


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West Virginia WR Tavon Austin Speaks

Posted by nickwagoner on February 22, 2013 – 5:30 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Dynamic West Virginia WR/PR/KR/RB/Swiss Army Knife Tavon Austin just made his way through the media room. Austin is perhaps the most dangerous player in the draft with the ball in his hands and has drawn comparisons to Percy Harvin and Wes Welker, two players he looks up to.

- Austin is just 5’8, 174 pounds but he was one of the most electric players in the country in 2012.

- Here’s his thoughts on a variety of topics including what he hopes to run, his best 40 time and how he stacks up to the rest of the draft class.

(On what he hopes to prove with his workouts)

Two things I want to show. I want to show the scouts I am strong by benching the 225 and then the 40. Hopefully I clock a good time.

(On what he hopes to run in the 40-yard dash)

Anything under 4.4. With Tom Shaw, I think I clocked a 4.29.

(On whether he thinks his size can lead to injury)

No, it definitely shouldn’t be a problem. I haven’t missed a game in eight years so I think my durability should be pretty good.

(On his versatility)

I think it will help me a lot. It’s one of my specialties. I really take pride in doing punt returning, kick returning. I think teams are looking for players who can do multiple things on the field and I think I’m that guy.

(On if he thinks he can play some RB in the NFL)

Definitely. I don’t think I could do it every play but hopefully I’ll get third down and a screen or a couple plays in the middle, I think I can get it done.

(On posting 572 all purpose yards against Oklahoma)

It was more exciting than anything. It was a big game against Oklahoma and it kind of reminded me of my high school days. I give all the love to my linemen and the coaches believing in me. That was the first game I played running back the whole year and I’m glad with how it went.

(On who he looks up to in the NFL)

I have got a couple of guys. Percy Harvin, he’s somewhat similar to me. Wes Welker, he played for the same college coach in Dana Holgorsen and he’s teaching me some of the things he’s doing so I’ve seen a lot of the film on these guys.

(On how many reps he hopes to do in the bench)

Last time, I did it three or four weeks ago, I did it 15 times so hopefully I can do that.

(On if he’s the fastest player in the draft)

Personally, I think if we all lined up across the line in a race, I think I would come out on top. But I’m not really the type of 40 guy, I’m a game type of guy so I think I would probably win.

(On if he worries about his size hurting his draft status)

I don’t really get tired of it. I just take it and put it on my back. I’ve been a little guy my whole life. I’m a little guy but I play big.

(On what makes him so tough to stop)

Just my vision and my quickness. I wish I was two more inches tall, but I’m not so I have got to use what I got so that’s my No. 1 thing.

(On becoming a running back anytime he touches the ball)

I’m a smart player. I played running back my whole life so I know when you should get down, when you should run out of bounds and when to lower my shoulder. I’ve always been a smart runner and when I do touch the ball I try to turn into a running back.

(On when he figured out he had the vision to play football)

I would say I have had vision since I was 7 years old. I have played this game for a long time and all the way through the high school level, I never scored less than 22 touchdowns. I am just glad I am here and I can show it.

(On if he’s the best all around player in the draft)

I think so. I think I am the all around best player in the draft.

- As far as the Rams are concerned, Austin would seem to be a nice weapon to add, if nothing else in the return game. But if they lose Danny Amendola to free agency, Austin would be a logical and cheaper alternative as a replacement. He’s an intriguing prospect expected to go late in the first round. If he does post big numbers in the 40 and bench, he could help himself a bit and perhaps rise even higher. It seems unlikely he’d fall to the Rams spot, No. 46, in the second round.

- Back with more in a bit. GM Les Snead and HC Jeff Fisher are coming soon to the podium.


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Friday at the Combine

Posted by nickwagoner on February 22, 2013 – 1:57 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Good morning from the Circle City where day 2 of the combine is about to get underway.

- Today is a busy day if you’re a Rams fan as they take center stage on the podiums here. GM Les Snead is scheduled to talk to the media at 1 p.m. and coach Jeff Fisher will follow at 2. They’ll talk about a little bit of everything, including this draft and upcoming free agency. We’ll have it all covered for you here right after they finish.

- Likewise, here’s hoping that some of the players that we wanted to catch up with yesterday come through the media room today. That list includes Florida State OT Menelik Watson, Alabama’s D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack and Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert.

- In addition to leftovers from yesterday, today brings in the skill position players. Here’s a preliminary list of who we hope to catch up with from those groups: Wisconsin RB Montee Ball, Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, Mizzou WR T.J. Moe, Tennessee WR Cordarelle Patterson, Cal WR Keenan Allen, West Virginia WR Tavon Austin, Tennessee WR Justin Hunter and perhaps more. Stay tuned as we hear from them.

- Back with updates as we get ‘em.


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Draft Order Set

Posted by nickwagoner on February 22, 2013 – 1:42 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- One rite of passage here at the NFL Combine is the yearly coin toss between two teams tied in the draft order and tied in the initial tiebreakers. Many times, that leads to a coin toss to determine who goes first in the first round and then they alternate from there. This year, though, no coin toss was necessary.

- The Rams will draft at 16 and 22 in the first round. They own the 16th pick in each subsequent round but a couple of notes on that. First, the Rams will actually pick two choices before the 16th spot in the second round because Cleveland does not have its second round choice after using a second round selection in the supplemental draft on WR Josh Gordon. Also, New Orleans does not own a second-round choice because it had to forfeit its spot due to the bounty situation.

- The overall number for the Rams picks in rounds 4 thru 7 will vary depending on how many compensatory picks are awarded at next month’s owners meetings.

- Here’s how the first round looks:

 

Round
Pick
Overall
1
1
1
Kansas City
1
2
2
Jacksonville
1
3
3
Oakland
1
4
4
Philadelphia
1
5
5
Detroit
1
6
6
Cleveland
1
7
7
Arizona
1
8
8
Buffalo
1
9
9
New York Jets
1
10
10
Tennessee
1
11
11
San Diego
1
12
12
Miami
1
13
13
Tampa Bay
1
14
14
Carolina
1
15
15
New Orleans
1
16
16
St. Louis
1
17
17
Pittsburgh
1
18
18
Dallas
1
19
19
New York Giants
1
20
20
Chicago
1
21
21
Cincinnati
1
22
22
St. Louis from Washington
1
23
23
Minnesota
1
24
24
Indianapolis
1
25
25
Seattle
1
26
26
Green Bay
1
27
27
Houston
1
28
28
Denver
1
29
29
New England
1
30
30
Atlanta
1
31
31
San Francisco
1
32
32
Baltimore

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