AM: Bring 'em on.">
AM: Bring 'em on.">

Answer Man

<b>JW: </b> Answer Man, let me just start this off by letting you know I've seen the dirty looks from coaches in the halls and heard the "no comments" from the players these last two weeks. I get it. Life is hard after a loss, particularly through a bye, so I don't need any more lessons, just answers. <br><br><b>AM: </b> Bring 'em on.

JW: Don't get political, now. It's a football game.

AM: No comment.


JW: Got it. Nice dirty look, too, by the way. Tell me about the Rams. How close are they to the Rams of old?

AM: I'd say they're probably even better because I think their defense is playing better. With their tenacity and speed, with everyone pursuing to the ball, they're playing well as a unit. Individually you don't have any great superstars on that defense but they play their positions pretty well and know their assignments and play hard.


JW: Which unit do you like?

AM: The secondary. The corners have everything you want but size. They're cover guys; they're aggressive; they're just small.


JW: Who are these guys? Jerametrius Butler? Travis Fisher?

AM: They're young guys. You just haven't heard of them but they're good corners, as in cover skills and forcing the run, but they're like 5-9, 180. They could be exploited by big receivers. Know any?


JW: Maybe. But what about the safeties?

AM: The safeties, Aeneas Williams is not a safety. He's not a (Rod) Woodson, who was a corner and made a good transition. Williams is back there and if you hang balls up he'll go get 'em but he's back there really feeling his way. He's just kind of where he needs to be, not really making any plays but trying not to give up big plays. The other guy, Adam Archuleta, is an aggressive guy who plays like a linebacker. He's got some underneath cover skills but he can be exposed in deep coverage or space because he's so aggressive. The linebackers are athletic speed guys who have trouble when you run at them. They make up for it with side-to-side range.


JW: How will the loss of Tommy Polley affect them?

AM: Actually, Tommy Polley was horrible anyway. They'll come in with (Jamie) Duncan, who's not bad. I think he's better than Polley. Duncan pushing (Robert) Thomas outside makes sense. But you can run at these guys. Pisa (Tinoisamoa) is a rookie, and the quickest of the bunch, but he's small, too.


JW: What about their ends? Will Grant Wistrom give Alan Faneca trouble?

AM: Wistrom is more of a high-effort motor guy instead of a speed guy with pass-rush skills. He's a guy who'll keep coming and keep coming, which might play into Faneca's favor because Faneca's a tough guy and he won't have to worry about being beat off the edge with speed. He can just man up and battle mano a mano. Now, if they put Leonard Little over on his side, that would be more of a match-up problem because Little has the speed to come off the edge, can dip that shoulder and get real skinny and bend the corner.


JW: How about their tackles? I don't suppose they can get real skinny?

AM: The tackles are pretty good. Damione Lewis has got rush skills and can play the run. Ryan Pickett's more of a guy who's stout at the point.


JW: How is Penn State's own Jimmy Kennedy faring?

AM: He might get 10 snaps a game. He's just feeling his way out. They actually throw in their other three backups more than Kennedy.


JW: OK, let's go to their offense. I think we're all pretty familiar with them, except for Marc Bulger. What did you think about him coming out?

AM: I never thought he'd be this good. He was better his junior year because of a thumb injury he had his senior year, but I'm not the only one who didn't think he'd be this good either. Look where he was drafted and the practice squads he's been on. He's not big, doesn't have a great arm. I thought he'd be a solid three, possibly a number two. It helps him to have those receivers and that line. He throws to a spot off his fifth step and has a receiver run over it who has 10,000 yards on his resume.


JW: Which receiver do you like better?

AM: I've always been a big Isaac Bruce guy. He runs great routes, is a great competitor, but Torry Holt's really playing well, too. They're quite a pair.


JW: Without Marshall Faulk, they're missing a big chink aren't they?

AM: I tell you what, I really like Lamar Gordon. He was giving them everything Marshall did but he's injured now I understand. This other kid, Arlen Harris, I really don't know much about him.


JW: The Rams are gloating about their keen scouting instincts on Harris. He didn't even play his senior year at Hofstra.

AM: Yeah, they liked him so much they didn't draft him. Why can't teams just say they got lucky with a rookie free agent? He'll do alright behind that line. Anyone would The tackles, Orlando Pace and Kyle Turley, are outstanding. Turley's a better right tackle than left tackle and he's really found a home there. Their interior guys are solid. It's a good team.


JW: Any hunches on this game?

AM: Like I said last game, run right at them, possess the ball, keep them off the field and play a mistake-free game and you might have a chance. That's the best I can do for you at this point.

Steel City Insider Top Stories