You Make Me Randy Baby! Big Year Coming For Rams' McMichael

john renshawContributor IMay 25, 2009

ST. LOUIS - DECEMBER 2:  Randy McMichael #84 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates his touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons at the Edward Jones Dome December 2, 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Falcons 28-16.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)


Randy McMichael is the most important part of the Rams offense this year.  As a lifelong Dolphin fan, I remember the days when this super athletic freak would glide down the field, leap effortlessly over defenders and make one handed catches look routine.

But then the Dolphin’s offense, just like the Rams’, got old, injured and pathetic.  Randy was no longer a part of the passing game, he was just another offensive lineman.  The Dolphins had nobody else to run block or pass protect, so McMichael’s days as a Pro Bowl caliber tight end in Miami were over.  It was incredibly painful to watch.

So this genius writer thought that the Rams got a steal when they picked up the released Randy.  I drafted him in every fantasy league and I thought there was no way a defense could account for him, as well as, all the gifted talent the Rams had on offense.

Big shock, I was wrong.  However, I’ll give myself a break.  I didn’t see his injuries or the depletion of skills along the Rams offensive line coming.  So like a reoccurring bad dream, McMichael was relegated to the roll of a blocking tight end.

Now enter, Billy Bajema, Jason Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Karney and the West Coast offense – McMichael is going to go nuts this year.  All of the guys mentioned above, allow him to leave his prison like role of blocking and breakout as the receiving threat he once was.

The West Coast offense is very tight end friendly.  Expect McMichael to catch a lot of short passes over the middle this year.  The Rams don’t exactly have the most experienced wide receivers in the league, so Bulger will be looking for McMichael often.

It is very easy to forget that McMichael used to be a dangerous receiving weapon for the Dolphins.  We will help you remember and give you a reason for hope when there seem to be so few.

McMichael was selected in the fourth round in the 2002 Draft by the Miami Dolphins.

He started 16 games in his rookie season, catching 39 passes for 485 yards and four touchdowns. His four receiving scores led the team. Although he was the eighth tight end selected in the draft, his touchdown total was most of any rookie tight end in the league in 2002.

McMichael quickly emerged as one of the top pass catching tight ends in the NFL.

In 2004 he led Miami with 73 grabs and was third among AFC tight ends in receptions and receiving yards. This effort earned him a first alternate spot on the AFC Pro Bowl Team.

Is Randy McMichael still in his prime? How much tread is still on those tires? Have the years he spent blocking on one dimensional teams, saved juice in his batteries or drained them? Because when McMichael is at his best, he is the match-up from hell.

In his best days in South Florida he was a red zone go- to -guy like a champ. He also had the knack to get deep down the field, hauling in much larger gains than your average tight end. He could get off the jam at the line, out jump a safety for the pill, stiff arm a corner or run over a linebacker.

The all time Dolphin leader in catches and yards for a tight end started 80-80 games in Miami, and as a pro he has started 95 of his 96 games played.

The offensive line should be much better this year in all facets. They will be able to open up holes for Steven Jackson and protect Marc Bulger. If they can get one more wide receiver to take the heat off of Donnie Avery, McMichael could thrive, jive, and keep alive drives once again.

I don’t know if it is the old Dolphin fan in me, or if I am just old. Maybe I am a glass half full kind of guy. Whatever I am, I will tell you this. If the players around him keep up their end of the bargain, I'll be drafting McMichael in fantasy leagues again.

He is itching to play after missing so much time last year. He feels like he has been forgotten by the common fan. Hey whatever happened to Randy McMichael?

It won’t be long folks before we find out.