Team Needs: St Louis Rams

The explosive St. Louis Rams offense can no longer make up for the lack of defense under coach Mike Martz. While the defense has shown some improvement, its overall lack of intensity and talent due to questionable personnel moves have left the Rams at a crossroads.

One more underachieving season could seal Martz's fate in St. Louis.

While the Rams signed veteran offensive tackle Orlando Pace to a long-term deal, they have yet to solidify the rest of the offensive line. Former starting right tackle Kyle Turley is expected to leave, and the guards (most notably Adam Timmerman) are aging. The team may go into the season with relative inexperience at right tackle.

Protecting quarterback Marc Bulger has to be a priority.


Quarterback – Depth is questionable behind starter Marc Bulger. Last season, Chris Chandler and Jamie Martin were the primary backups. Unproven Jeff Smoker is second on the depth chart. Look for the Rams to bring in a veteran backup or select a quarterback at some point in the draft.

Safety – The need for a strong safety is imperative with the decision to leave Pisa Tinoisamoa at linebacker. With the potential retirement of Aeneas Williams, the Rams will be without an experienced or quality player at the position. The team signed Michael Stone and Michael Hawthorne in free agency, but neither player is believed to be starting material. The Rams have kept an eye on Georgia safety Thomas Davis and may look to this tweener (linebacker/safety) in the first round.

Offensive tackle – The Rams have a couple of options at right tackle. Blaine Saipaia and Scott Tercero have some limited experience at right tackle and are believed to be serviceable, although both players are regarded as better offensive guards. With the free-agent market drying up and Turley not in the team's plans, the Rams could very well select an offensive tackle in the second round to give them depth.

Defensive end – Outside of youngster Anthony Hargrove, the defensive line is an aging unit. Jay Williams, signed from Miami in free agency, will provide some talent and depth at defensive end, but the Rams must add some youth and athleticism to the defensive line. Defensive end Bryce Fisher signed with Seattle, and Leonard Little returns after being acquitted of driving-while-intoxicated charges.

Tight end – The Rams have no threat in the passing game at tight end. Brandon Manumaleuna is a solid blocking tight end, but the team needs to draft a pass-catching tight end. Free agent Roland Williams adds depth.




UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: S Zack Bronson, TE Cam Cleeland, OG Chris Dishman, S Antuan Edwards, QB Jamie Martin, OG Tom Nutten, S Aeneas Williams.



PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: OG Darnell Alford, CB Dwight Anderson, LB Trev Faulk, WR Mike Furrey, FB Joey Goodspeed, RB Arlen Harris, LB Jeremy Loyd, LS Chris Massey, OT Orlando Pace, OT Blaine Saipaia, P Kevin Stemke, OL Scott Tercero, LB Drew Wahlroos.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: LB Chris Claiborne (Vikings), LB Dexter Coakley (Cowboys), S Michael Hawthorne (Packers), S Michael Stone (Cardinals), DE Jay Williams (Dolphins), TE Roland Williams (Raiders).

PLAYERS LOST: QB Chris Chandler (released), S Rich Coady (Falcons), DE Bryce Fisher (Seahawks), G/C Matt Lehr (Falcons), LB Tommy Polley (Ravens).

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