With the Rams coming to New England this week for some pre-season action, I thought it would be a good idea to continue the trend of Q&A Sessions with bloggers who cover our opponents. Up this week, is StLouisRamFan.com. As I know all too well from my own coverage of the Minnesota Timberwolves, it takes some true dedication to maintain a quality blog when your team is continually bottom-feeding. Vinnie, the site’s lead blogger does a great job keeping his readers up to date with all things Rams. He’s been gracious enough to share his knowledge with us Patriots fans today by answering a series of questions about the Rams. He, in turn, asked me a few about the Pats, which I’ll link to at the end. His responses are below.
1. I ask this question only because Patriots fans experienced an even bigger stomach punch during Super Bowl XLII, and I always think it’s interesting to hear the other side’s point of view. Since our two teams were intimately involved, what are your thoughts on Super Bowl XXXVI?
Wow starting with the big one. Our point of view will never change the Rams were robbed, the Patriots mugged the Rams receivers, and the NFL wanted the Patriots to win because of 9-11. Rams fans will never believe they were fairly beaten by the Patriots that day. As I take my tongue from my cheek for a minute I will tell you what the problem was on the field. Two words, Mike Martz. From the very first pass of the game from Kurt Warner to Torry Holt Martz allowed the Patriots in their head. The Rams still dominated the game getting into Patriots territory eight times while coming back to tie the game at 17 with 1:30 to play. Many blame Martz for the play calling and lack of touches for Faulk but the biggest fault was the last drive and change of philosophy. The Rams had their foot on the Patriots throat and just needed the ball back. Martz a fan of Max-Q should have been ready to pounce on the Patriots to get the ball back. Total yards at the time were 427-214 in favor of the Rams every fan thought the Rams had the game in the bag. Inexplicably the Rams played soft and let the Patriots march down the field on 5 dump off passes on route to their game winning field goal from Adam Vinatieri. We will never say the Patriots won that game, nor will we ever get that moment back.
2. Sam Bradford just cashed in on a rather hefty contract. Are you comfortable with your team investing that much money on a player who’s yet to take a snap?
Well most fans will say it is not their money so who cares, however the huge cost is the salary cap issues you can have in the upcoming seasons. Teams in the bottom half of the first round are landing great talent for less than 10 million guaranteed. A rookie salary cap is needed to keep the NFL parity in place. I am old school so in theory it is wrong to give Sam Bradford $50 million dollars without playing a down, but we live in America and that is what the market allowed him to make so I am fine with it and glad to have him on the St. Louis Rams.
3. What are you the most excited about heading into the 2010 season?
I am most excited about watching Sam Bradford. St. Louis has never really gotten to see a franchise quarterback drafted and grow up in our town. You have to go back to the St. Louis Cardinals drafting Neil Lomax early in the second round of the 1981 NFL Draft, to even compare this to anything we have seen. I do not think Rams fans have been this excited since the Rams picked up Trent Green before the 1999 season when you could feel the excitement building around the team. I can still feel the crushing blow of watching Rodney Harrison, then with the San Diego Chargers destroy Trent Green’s knee with a late hit in a preseason game. The Rams also drafted Tony Banks in the 2nd round of the 1996 NFL Draft but there was no excitement around the Rams in 96’.
4. What do you think the Rams’ weak point is?
Well for a team that is 6-42 over the past 3 years the St. Louis Rams obviously have many weak spots. If I had to pick just one I will go with the offensive line. Everything in the NFL revolves around the O-line. The Rams need continuity within their offensive line. The Rams need to get Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold as much experience as possible and try to get the same 5-man line together to play each and every week. The Rams must be able to power block for Seven Jackson while protecting their huge investment in Sam Bradford.
5. What is your prediction for the Patriots this season?
I think fans have already forgotten that the New England Patriots won the AFC East last year not the New York Jets. You have to factor in that the Patriots know how to win, winning 10+ games every year over the last seven seasons. The Patriots have the 6th toughest strength of schedule .531. The Patriots play some very good teams in 2010. I believe the Patriots continue to come back to the pack and appear to grow older year after year. I predict a 9-7 record for the Patriots.
6. What is your prediction for the Rams this year?
I like to wait until after the 4th preseason game to make predictions to know more about the roster and possible injury issues. It may seem simplistic but I believe the first game of the year against the Arizona Cardinals is key. The Rams have started the past three years 0-7, 0-4, & 0-8. The NFL is all about momentum and confidence. The St. Louis Rams need to learn to win again and build confidence. The Cardinals have lost Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle, Karlos Dansby, Bertrand Berry, Larry Fitzgerald is already banged up and Matt Leinart has not look good in the preseason. A win against the Arizona Cardinals to start the season would be huge. That being said the Rams top 22 players will compete but their youth, lack of experience and lack of depth will take its toll. I believe the St. Louis Rams will win between 0-4 games during the 2010 NFL season, for now my prediction is 2-14.