Saturday, January 28, 2012

January Edition: Full 7-Round Mock Draft

Here is the January Edition seven-round mock draft for the Rams, I'll be releasing a new mock every month until the draft in April.

I will eventually copy the entire article to this site, but for now, here is a link to the article...

January 7-Round Mock Draft

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bradford Ranks High In Efficiency

Is anyone else surprised by how low Sam Bradford's interception total was in 2011? 

It seems like a true "garbage" quarterback would have thrown far more interceptions than touchdowns if placed in a situation similar to Bradford's, and by "situation" I mean his lack of pass protection and the absence of a true receiving threat for the majority of the year. 

Surprisingly, Bradford finished with six touchdowns and only six interceptions in 357 pass attempts, meaning he only throws an interception once every 59.5 pass attempts. 

How would that rank against the other 31 quarterbacks in the NFL? 

As it turns out, Bradfords' interception to pass attempt ratio is the third-best in the entire NFL. 

Check it out...

NOTE: Numbers indicates how many pass attempts it takes before each quarterback throws an interception, so the higher the number the better. 

Alex Smith (49ers)- 89.0
Aaron Rodgers (Packers)- 83.6
Sam Bradford (Rams)- 59.5
Tony Romo (Cowboys)- 52.5
Tom Brady (Patriots)- 50.9
Matt Schaub (Texans)- 48.6
Matt Ryan (Falcons)- 47.1
Drew Brees (Saints)- 46.9
Joe Flacco (Ravens)- 46.1
Tim Tebow (Broncos)- 45.1
Jay Cutler (Bears)- 44.8
Colt McCoy (Browns)- 42.0
Matthew Stafford (Lions)- 41.4
Andy Dalton (Bengals)- 39.6
Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars)- 37.5
Matt Hasselbeck (Titans)- 37.0
Eli Manning (Giants)- 36.8
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)- 36.6
Tarvaris Jackson (Seahawks)- 34.6
Kevin Kolb (Cardinals)- 31.6
Cam Newton (Panthers) 30.4
Michael Vick (Eagles) 30.2
Mark Sanchez (Jets)- 30.1
Matt Cassel (Chiefs)- 29.8
Philip Rivers (Chargers)- 29.1
Curtis Painter (Colts)- 26.0
Josh Freeman (Buccaneers)- 25.0
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills)- 24.7
Rex Grossman (Redskins)- 22.9
Christian Ponder (Vikings)- 22.3
Carson Palmer (Raiders)- 20.5

Other than a few obvious exceptions, such as Philip Rivers and Cam Newton being rated in the bottom half, as well as Alex Smith being rated No. 1, it doesn't look too far off from an actual power ranking of NFL quarterbacks. 

Obviously, this isn't indisputable proof that Bradford is a great quarterback. But still, you would think he would've ranked much lower if he is actually as bad as a few non-believers claim he is. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

NFL London: God Save the Rams?

The Beatles. Winston Churchill. The Sex Pistols. Elizabeth Hurley. Big Ben. Jack the Ripper. Parliament. Fish and chips. The St. Louis Rams?

England has had their taste of American football from the games that have been hosted in London since 2007 and also the failed NFL Europe experiment, as well as the nine games played in England from the late 80s to the 90s.

But no matter how clear it is that Europeans generally hate American football, it doesn't stop commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL from trying to shove it down their throats.

As most Rams fans know by now, the Rams are set to play in the NFL's annual London game not only next season, but for the next three seasons.

This, of course, comes at the cost of screwing season-ticket holders out of one of their games every year, which makes this whole ordeal a very bold public relations move considering the franchise has won only 15 games over the last five years.

If it weren't for the hiring of head coach Jeff Fisher, it would almost seem as though the Rams organization is going to great lengths to raise a middle-finger towards a St. Louis fanbase that has provided a reasonable amount of support despite a consistently poor product.

The Rams are frequently mentioned as a possible candidate to move to Los Angeles, but rather than shutting down the rumors, the Rams' billionaire owner Stan Kroenke would rather use the rumors as a tool to leverage a recession-stricken city into meeting his demands.

The Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC), the group that manages the Edward Jones Dome, is currently doing battle with Kroenke in an attempt to hammer out a new agreement that will keep the Rams in St. Louis before the lease expires after the 2014 season.

After 2014, if no agreement is made, then the Rams' lease will be on a year-to-year basis and the team will be free to leave St. Louis at anytime. (More on the stadium issues can be found here)

Perhaps, Kroenke is using London as a tool in order to show the committee that the Rams can survive outside of St. Louis and that they indeed have other options.

Or maybe, just maybe, the city of St. Louis is overly paranoid after losing the football Cardinals and they are panicked over something that could actually benefit the franchise in the long-run.

Well, Kevin Demoff (Vice President of Football Operations) certainly seems to think so. Here are some quotes from Demoff from his live chat with fans on Friday from

I realize people think I'm being disingenuous when I say this is a good thing for St. Louis, but here is why I think that: 1. The league is placing its faith in the St. Louis Rams and now has a vested interest in our success. That means potentially a better schedule, a possible primetime game, things like that. 2. This is a unique opportunity to showcase St. Louis globally and especially in the UK. For multinational businesses like AB, Monsanto, Enterprise, Emerson, Purina, etc, this provides a platform that combines their local roots with international reach. 3. The bigger we can make our brand nationally and globally, the bigger it makes our "effective market size". If you look at Buffalo playing yearly in Toronto, they are applying the same concept to grow their fan base while still being a regional and local team.

So the games will help the Rams gain good graces in the eyes of the NFL and could possibly increase their fanbase, but what good does it do specifically for the city of St. Louis and the fans? Here is another quote that brushes up on that:

Growing our fan base globally allows for revenue streams beyond St. Louis that reduce the pressure on St. Louis to deliver those revenue streams. Additionally, the larger the global brand, the more the TV networks and advertisers see our Club as one they want to work with and the better that is for our visibility.

So, the paranoid claim that this a possible sign of the Rams moving to England, when in reality these games can potentially support St. Louis' ultimate goal—to keep their football team from moving.

In Conclusion

While this is surely hard for season-ticket holders to swallow at first, there is some truth in Demoff's words when discussing the positives of the situation.

For a while now, the bad news Rams have lived under the shadow of their overachieving brother at Busch Stadium. The Rams franchise has struggled to increase it's overall status to an elite level.

There are two ways to achieve the national recognition that the St. Louis Cardinals have:

One way is to win hundreds of games and multiple championships over a period of several decades. However, the Rams are really bad at winning games and it's doubtful that the average fan has the patience to wait 20 years before the team gains national respect.

The alternative, however, is to build the team's image through smart marketing techniques, such as introducing the brand on an international stage, or by shoving the team into the faces of America by occupying high-profile games, such as the annual game in London.

The Detroit Lions have played the Thanksgiving game since the beginning of time. Once a year, people are talking about the Detroit Lions all across the nation. They may be talking about how they don't deserve the Thanksgiving game, but the team is being discussed nonetheless.

So why should you, as a St. Louis Rams fan, care whether or not the team has national recognition?

Well, because elite franchises are closely tied to their cities, which makes it highly unlikely that the team will relocate. Ever.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rams Will Interview Hue Jackson For Offensive Coordinator Job

The reports have been flying in since Sunday and they initially suggested that Brian Schottenheimer, the former offensive coordinator for the New York Jets, would accept a coordinator job with the St. Louis Rams.

Schottenheimer was booted out of New York after his offense finished 25th in the NFL (average yards per game), but he was interviewed by Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and was expected to be Josh McDaniels' replacement as the team's offensive coordinator.

The hiring was thought to practically be a done deal, despite the fact that there are questions regarding Schottenheimer and whether or not he's qualified for the job.

But if you're a St. Louis fan who initially had concerns over Schottenheimer, there may not be any reason to panic, at least not yet.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN just announced on Twitter that the Rams will also be interviewing Hue Jackson for the offensive coordinator job.

Jackson was the Raiders' head coach this past season, but he was fired after the team failed to make the playoffs with an 8-8 record.

The firing was somewhat of a surprise, since 8-8 is a solid record for a rookie head coach. Also, coaches are typically given more than one year to prove their worth.

Prior to being a head coach, Jackson has been an offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders (2010), the Atlanta Falcons (2007) and the Washington Redskins (2003).

He was also the quarterback coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 and 2009, which means he deserves some credit for the development of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

One thing Rams fans should be thrilled about in regards to Jackson is the fact he runs a West Coast Offense, which is the same system Sam Bradford thrived under in 2010 with Pat Shurmur as the offensive coordinator.

Also, the return of the familiar West Coast system would mean that the young offense won't be forced to learn their third different system in three years. There will likely be differences between Shurmur's offense when compared to Jackson's, but the overall concepts should be very similar.

Fisher will hire whoever he feels is the best man for the job in the long run, but since the Rams' roster is primarily built for the West Coast Offense, it would certainly make sense to bring Jackson on board.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Schotty and Williams Set to Take Over As Coordinators?

It was rumored that newly-hired Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was planning on piecing together a "rock star" coaching staff in St. Louis, but there have been no quotes from the Rams organization to elaborate on what that means exactly.

While Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer may qualify as "rock stars" due to their undeniable name-recognition, there are certainly questions surrounding their qualifications.

Schottenheimer has been the the Jets' offensive coordinator since 2006, but chose to leave New York after the Jets failed to make the playoffs this season (although, the common consensus is that he was forced to leave).

The Jets offense ranked 25th in NFL (average yards per game) in 2011 and has generally been considered an underachieving unit for the majority of Schottenheimer's tenure there.

Regardless, is reporting that Schottenheimer interviewed with Fisher on Sunday morning and is expected to be the next offensive coordinator of the Rams.

If the hiring is confirmed, Schottenheimer will be quarterback Sam Bradford's third different offensive coordinator in as many seasons, which is not an ideal situation for the young quarterback.

On the other hand, while it's not official yet, ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that Gregg Williams is expected to join the Rams, which makes sense given Williams' history with Fisher and the fact that Williams is a Missouri native.

Williams, who is taking a lot of heat for the Saints' 36-32 playoff loss against the 49ers on Saturday, is actually the potential hiring that's easier to stomach.

While it's concerning that Williams' defense gave up 36 points and allowed two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game against a stale San Francisco offense, let's not forget that he also has a Super Bowl ring as the Saints' defensive coordinator in 2009.

Also, Fisher has a defensive background and will be leading the St. Louis defense more so than Williams, so he won't have the same amount of control that he had in New Orleans.

It's also worth noting that Williams was Fisher's defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2000 in Tennessee.

While working together, their defenses were solid. During the 2000 season, their defense ranked 2nd in the NFL in fewest points allowed, and they never ranked worse than 15th (1999) in points allowed during Williams' tenure.

So while there are clear question marks regarding both potential coordinators, St. Louis fans will just have to sit tight and defer their judgement to the man who has 17 years of head coaching experience in the NFL.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why Jeff Fisher Can Succeed with the St. Louis Rams

With all the excitement surrounding the race for Jeff Fisher between the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins, there has been a slither of skepticism within the St. Louis fanbase.

Some of the hype surrounding the situation makes it seem as though the two teams are dueling with each other to fill their head coaching vacancy with a Tom Landry caliber legend, rather than Fisher.

With a career record of 142-120 (.542) over 17 seasons as a head coach in the NFL, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is not exactly starting to weld his statue in Canton.

In six playoff seasons over 17 years, Fisher's post-season record is 5-6, with three of those five playoff wins coming in a single season (1999).

However, his team's appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV gives his resume a little more validity.

Since there's nothing overly eye-popping about Fisher's application, it may lead some to believe that he just happens to be the best available option in a bad year for finding a head coach with experience.

Perhaps, the team could hire an up-and-coming coordinator, such as Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who may possess a more modern train of thought and could prove to have more potential in the long run.

However, the last three head coaches in St. Louis have been flavor-of-the-month coordinators who ultimately failed (Mike Martz, Scott Linehan, Steve Spagnuolo), which makes any option other than Fisher an unpopular one.

But that is not necessarily a bad thing. As it turns out, Fisher might be the best option after all, despite not having an overwhelming amount of success in the past.

Here are some points to bring up regarding Fisher...


Fisher has never had the benefit of a bonafide franchise quarterback capable of consistently leading the team every year.

If Sam Bradford can reach the potential that most people feel he possesses, then he would be providing Fisher with a weapon he's never had—a star quarterback for multiple years.

Here are Fisher's previous quarterbacks that started a significant number of games during his tenure:

-Kerry Collins stared 32 games over five seasons under Fisher, throwing for 33 touchdowns and and 29 interceptions during that five-year stretch. He started in only one playoff game (a 13-10 loss to the Ravens).

-Vince Young started 47 games off-and-on for the Titans with a 30-17 record as a starter, but he greatly benefited from solid defensive play. He threw 42 touchdowns against 42 interceptions and was considered a problematic player in the locker room.

-Steve McNair was Fisher's most consistent starter at the position with 131 starts over 11 seasons. His best statistical season came in 2003 with 3,215 yards and 24 touchdowns, which means the best quarterback production Fisher received was still just above average. McNair led the Titans to a Super Bowl appearance in 1999.

As you can see, Fisher did not have luxury of having both production and longevity out of the most important position.

Fisher's career winning percentage is .542, which equates to approximately an 8-8 season if you condense that record to a single year.

Now, if Bradford can become an elite passer, you can surely imagine how adding someone like him could do wonders for a coach that can basically get to 8-8 without an elite passer.

The Colts

When you look at the fact Fisher has only made the playoffs six times out of 17 seasons, it is a bit alarming at first sight.

However, the Titans often fielded solid football teams, but they had to play the Colts twice a year and frequently played second fiddle to Peyton Manning and his elite passing attack.

It's not often when a team has to bi-annually face a team that has been absolutely dominate for the better part of a decade.

Though the 49ers looked solid in 2011, it's probably safe to say that Alex Smith will not lead a 10 year dictatorship in the NFC West. There will be room for other teams to win some division titles, which is not a benefit Fisher had in Tennessee.

Bud Adams

Fisher has been the face of the Titans ever since they moved to Tennessee from Houston in 1997. He has been the only head coach the team has ever known up until Mike Munchak took over in 2011.

However, owner Bud Adams never fails to make his face known, despite the fact his role as owner states that he would be better off remaining behind the scenes.

Instead, the final years of Fisher's tenure with the Titans was practically a daytime soap opera. Fisher wasn't the cause of the drama, but it was a result of Adams' antics, as well as an egotistical quarterback in Vince Young.

Adams is an overly involved owner, which usually has bad results.

The Rams, on the other hand, do not have any overly dramatic players like Young, and owner Stan Kroenke's nickname of "Silent Stan" says all you need to know about how often he forces himself into the everyday operations of his sports teams.

The general manager (who ever it may be) will handle the personnel, Fisher will handle the coaching, and Kroenke will make executive decisions and sign paychecks.

There won't be an owner putting extra pressure on someone who's already involved in an extremely stressful occupation. 

Closing Statement

While Fisher has not been the poster child of a Hall of Fame caliber head coach, it's clear that there were factors working against him in Tennessee that, perhaps, prevented him and his teams from reaching their full potential.

There's no guarantee that Fisher will have more success in St. Louis than he had in Tennessee. Actually, there's no guarantee that he'll even have an equal amount of success.

However, Fisher was the longest tenured head coach in the NFL by the time he left the Titans, and you don't keep a head coaching job in the NFL for 17 consecutive years without possessing significant knowledge on how a football team should be run.

The last three coaches in St. Louis were promoted coordinators with no prior head coaching experience, so after watching those coaches "learn on the job" just to ultimately fail, the fans are certainly ready to take a chance on an experienced head coach such as Jeff Fisher.  

Why Mike Martz Should Not Be Considered for Offensive Coordinator

The Rams played their first full season in St. Louis in 1995 after moving from Los Angeles, which gave the city it's first taste of NFL football since 1987.

During that first year, the Rams finished with a 7-9 record. It was an improvement over their 4-12 finale in Los Angeles and at the time was the franchises' best record of the 90's, which perhaps gave the franchise a little bit of hope moving forward.

However, after that 1995 season, the Rams went 6-10 and 5-11 in following years, until they finally went 4-12 in 1998, which gave off the impression that the team was moving backwards, despite possessing some promising talent on defense in Kevin Carter, DeMarco Farr, Todd Lyght and Grant Wistrom.

After that four-win season, management forced head coach Dick Vermeil to take on offensive coordinator Mike Martz in response to the team performing poorly ever since Vermeil arrived in 1997.

The front office tried things Vermeil's way, resulting in only nine wins in two seasons, so they brought in the offensive guru Martz in an attempt to modernize an offense that modestly ranked just 23rd in scoring in 1997.

Along with Martz, the team traded their second and fifth round draft picks for Colts running back Marshall Faulk and made the miraculous preseason discovery of Kurt Warner.

And just like that, the Rams went from scoring 285 points in 1998 to scoring 526 points in 1999.

Not only did they patch together a record-setting season on offense, but they finished with a 13-3 record and went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans in a dramatic fashion.

The unexpected emergence of the Rams from their consistent futility in the 90's to their dominance from 1999 to 2001 was a phenomenon that was one of a kind and will likely never be matched ever again.

So with that, you can probably imagine where some fans are coming from when they fantasize of a scenario where Martz, who was recently fired from his coordinator position with the Bears, returns to St. Louis in a Rocky III type fashion and leads the Rams offense back to relevance.

In fact, the media has been backing up the rumors lately.

Day dreaming is nice, but now lets return from fantasy land...

Martz has not formulated a dominate offense even once since being fired as the Rams' head coach after the 2005 season.

The Detroit Lions

His first gig after leaving the Rams was a two-year stint with the Detroit Lions as their offensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007.

In 2006, the Lions ranked 22nd in yards per game (309.3) and 21st in total points (305).

In 2007, they improved to only 19th in yards per game (322.9), while they made a jump to 16th in total points (346).

The Lions had a 10-22 record during those two season and went on to have their infamous 0-16 season the year after they fired Martz.

While the talent Martz had to work with was not up to par, this experiment made it clear that he is not a miracle worker.

The San Francisco 49ers

In 2008, the 49ers hired Martz after he was let go by Detroit. They hoped he would be able to revive their quarterback, No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith, which should sound familiar since the Rams are looking for the same with Sam Bradford.

How did that train of thought work out for the 49ers?

In 2008, the 49ers ranked a pedestrian 23rd in yards per game (311.1) and averaged just 17.9 points per game, which was just a moderate improvement over the team's 13.7 points per game in 2007.

The 49ers did not feel a need to see any more and let Martz go after just one season.

The Chicago Bears

After a one-year hiatus from the NFL, Martz returned with the Chicago Bears to work under Lovie Smith, who used to work under Martz as defensive coordinator with the Rams.

The Bears offense struggled in 2010, ranking 30th in yards per game (289.4) and 21st in total points (334).

Quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked an NFL-high 52 times as a result of the unbalanced and pass-happy Martz offense. That should not sound appealing to Rams fans, who saw Bradford get sacked 36 times (ranked sixth in the NFL), despite missing six games.

The Bears were able to improve to 24th in yards per game (314.1) in 2011, while they also improved in to 353 total points (17th).

Regardless of the slight improvement, the increase in average points per game between 2010 (20.9) and 2011 (22.1) was not very impressive.

In 2011, Cutler was sacked 23 times but only played in 10 games. Bears quarterbacks were sacked a total of 49 times in 2011, which would have led the NFL had it been a single quarterback.

In Conclusion

Since leaving the Rams after 2005, Martz led offenses have peaked at just 19th in average yards per game and 16th in total points (both highs were with the 2007 Lions).

Granted, ranking 19th in yards per game and 16th in points sounds like a dream for Rams fans at the moment, but they should not sell themselves short and they should set their goals a little higher than that.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming about the "good old days" when the Rams were tearing up the NFL under the leadership of Martz, but it would be insane for the Rams to actually make a poor hiring based on warm feelings of the past.

In reality, it's clear that Martz' days in the NFL are actually numbered. The league has adapted to his system.

The Rams should not over think the decision—they need to hire a respectable coordinator who runs the West Coast offense, which is a system Bradford was embracing as a rookie.