Ignoring the stories of how Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins are holding the NFL season ransom unless they are paid $10 million dollars, a deal between players and owners seems actually possible this week. Employees at Rams Park are preparing for training camp to begin this weekend, with preseason games just a couple of weeks away.
A madcap offseason is about to begin, and fans everywhere are breaking out their free agent wish lists. For a team on the rise like the Rams, the right addition could make a huge difference in a wide-open division.
There are two basic camps of Rams fans, and each has a big target in mind. Those that want to continue building a dominant defensive front are eyeing Giants DT Barry Cofield, hoping he can replicate the surprising impact Fred Robbins had last year. Those that want an elite target on offense are glomming onto Minnesota's Sidney Rice. But arguably a bigger priority lurks at the least-heralded position on the field.
The guy who protects the Franchise's right flank. Because we don't need to see more plays like this:
You might have read that the Rams still have the lowest-rated offensive line in the still-lousy NFC West, despite millions invested, but the biggest culprit is the one spot where the Rams have gone cheap. Veteran backup Adam Goldberg held his own as a part-time right tackle in 2009, but was badly exposed as a full-time guard on the right side in 2010.
According to Pro Football Focus's ratings, Goldberg's attempts at protecting Bradford in the passing game bordered on criminal. He avoided being rated the worst starter at the position by a mere fraction. His efforts in the run game? Just as bad. Astoundingly, he rated 81st of 82 players in both metrics.
The good news is that The PFF guys like his prospective replacement, John Greco, quite a bit. The bad news, though, is that the Rams may not. Not even the guy who drafted him is willing to stick out his neck for him.
This is for Rams fans on John Greco, I drafted John as skills but has not yet pushed for starting job! Clock is on 11th hour.
As far as Adam Goldberg he lacks girth for interior linemen but his passion for the game, toughness, competitiveness is what Greco is missing!
Even though he isn't on the Rams' payroll any more, I doubt Softli is alone in his assessment. Greco only earned 153 snaps last year, none after week 7. Even if you think he's an upgrade (and how coulnd't he be), penciling him in for a thousand snaps is a huge risk. Especially with the dual tasks of giving Bradford enough time in the pocket to run McDaniels' brand new offense, and making the run game respectable enough to keep defenses from pinning their ears back and crashing the pocket 70 times per game.
The Rams made strides on both side of the ball last year, but ultimately the defense carried the team to victory more times than not. But as we saw in the season finale, with a playoff berth hanging there, it's now the offense's turn to step up.
And I'm not against signing Sidney Rice or Santonio Holmes. They'd be nice to have. But the Rams absolutely have to have fresh blood on the interior of the line to take the next step forward.