Inside The St. Louis Rams

Inside The St. Louis Rams

The team has been on a steady downward spiral in recent seasons and the optimism for resurgence just isn't there when you examine the personnel currently on the roster.

Offensively, keeping quarterback Marc Bulger protected still is a major issue. While they were able to re-sign veteran left tackle Orlando Pace to a new long-term deal, they have no viable solution at right tackle. Starter Kyle Turley is expected to be released in June despite his offer to switch to defensive end. Left guard is also a concern.

Defensively, you have to question coordinator Larry Marmie's bland scheme. There aren't many surprises that he's going to throw at a team. Whether it's the personnel or his scheme, the defense has to be much better than it was last season.

Up front, losing emerging end Bryce Fisher will hurt since the team really doesn't have a viable replacement. Second-year pro Tony Hargrove will be given a chance at the starting job but he's very raw. They also need better place at both tackle positions. The hope is that former first-round pick Jimmy Kennedy will be a force in his third season.

The linebackers certainly look better on paper with veterans Chris Claiborne and Dexter Coakley added.

The secondary is pretty solid especially at cornerback. That's one area where they really don't need to upgrade as we head in to the draft.

TEAM NEEDS:

QUARTERBACK: The team tried but struck out with veteran Chris Chandler as the backup to starting quarterback Marc Bulger last season. They plan to give second-year signal caller Jeff Smoker a chance at that job but he has no playing experience.

TIGHT END: Brandon Manumaleuna is one of the better blocking tight ends around but the team lacks a quality receiver at the position. Look for them to address that position in the draft.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE: With veteran right tackle Kyle Turley likely gone, the team needs to find a replacement and fast. Backups Scott Tercero and Blaine Saipaia did a decent job when given a chance to play but neither has shown that they are ready for the job long-term.

GUARD: Veteran Adam Timmerman turns 34 before the season starts and they really have no proven starter at the other guard spot. While that position is the easiest to fill in free agency or the draft, it's still an issue and they also have very little in proven depth.

DEFENSIVE END: With starter Bryce Fisher leaving for free agency, the team has no proven starter to replace him. Veteran end Jay Williams and second-year end Tony Hargrove will battle for Fisher's vacated job but neither has shown that they are more than backups at this point.

SAFETY: With the likely retirement of veteran cornerback/safety Aeneas Williams, the team is left with a decision on who will replace him. They are toying with moving starting outside linebacker Pisa Tinoisomoa to safety but that is far from a certainty at this point.

FREE AGENCY/OFF-SEASON:

KEY ACQUISITIONS:
TE Roland Williams: UFA Raiders; DE Jay Williams: UFA Dolphins; OLB Dexter Coakley: UFA Cowboys; LB Chris Claiborne: UFA Vikings; S Michael Stone: UFA Cardinals.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: RB Arlen Harris: ERFA; FB Joey Goodspeed: RFA; WR Mike Furrey: ERFA; LS Chris Massey: RFA; G Darnell Alford: UFA; OT Scott Tercero: ERFA; OT Blaine Saipaia: ERFA; LB Jeremy Loyd: ERFA; CB Dwight Anderson: ERFA.

KEY DEPARTURES: C/G Matt Lehr: UFA Falcons; DE Bryce Fisher: UFA Seahawks; S Rich Coady: UFA Falcons.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Orlando Pace (Re-signed).

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS:
QB Jamie Martin; TE Cam Cleeland; G Chris Dishman; G Tom Nutten; DE/OLB Erik Flowers; OLB Tommy Polley; CB/S Aeneas Williams; S Antuan Edwards; S Zack Bronson.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: WR Dane Looker.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHT FREE AGENTS: None.

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