Fact or Fiction for St. Louis Rams' Top Offseason Headlines

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVJune 26, 2014

Fact or Fiction for St. Louis Rams' Top Offseason Headlines

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The month of June is perhaps the slowest month for NFL fans, so we tend to see a surplus of irrelevant headlines flooding the news stream for each team, with the St. Louis Rams being no exception. 

    Some of the headlines contain useful information that should be taken to heart, while the others are simply noise intended to make news out of nothing. 

    This article will determine which of the latest headlines are useful and which ones are bunk. 

    Here is another edition of "Fact or Fiction."

Cortland Finnegan Complaints Against Rams' Scheme Are Legit: Fact

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, former Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan blasted St. Louis' former defensive coordinator Tim Walton, calling his defensive system "atrocious." 

    "From the game plan to technique to fundamentals, they weren’t in line with a defensive coordinator who knew what he was doing," Finnegan added. 

    It's clear that Finnegan's complaints at least partially stem from pure bitterness following what was perhaps the worst season of his career in 2013, but that doesn't make his tirade totally illegitimate. 

    In fact, it's pretty dead on. Whether it was the 10-yard cushion between the cornerbacks and receivers, or putting the defense's biggest turnover machine, Janoris Jenkins, into a position where he's incapable of making plays, there were definitely some questionable strategies in Walton's system. 

    Now that the St. Louis defense is headed by newcomer (sort of) Gregg Williams, a much more aggressive coach on all fronts, the complaints verbalized by Finnegan are hopefully a thing of the past.  

Greg Robinson "Struggles" a Bad Omen: Fiction

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Is there a bigger crock of offseason bull than the reports of Greg Robinson and his supposed "struggles" at practice? Absolutely not. 

    Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft last month, spoke to the media following OTAs last week and made it known that he still has plenty of work to do before he's ready for the starting lineup, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN:

    It's frustrating that I'm not up to pace right now because the playbook is more intense and things are changing, but once I get back to where I'm comfortable, things will calm down and I can be myself out there.

    As many Rams fans already know, these comments have made numerous headlines and are fueling fear and doubt regarding the team's top pick, but that should not be the case. 

    You see, Robinson made the unforgivable mistake of giving the media an honest assessment of his progress. Rather than spewing out a PR-friendly slogan stating how everything is grand and flawless, Robinson decided to tell the truth. 

    And it was quite a mistake, obviously. Especially during a month where there's nothing else to report.

    This is not an alarming story. Robinson is in the midst of his first month of NFL practice and is learning a new position. Reporting that he's not quite up to speed yet is merely stating the obvious. 

    Unless you were expecting Robinson to be playing at a Pro Bowl level at a new position in June, this report carries little weight. 

Sam Bradford's Early Participation Is a Great Sign: Fact

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Sam Bradford's devastating knee injury put an end to his 2013 season, but it also make his 2014 status somewhat sketchy, given these types of injuries tend to linger. 

    It was unclear exactly when we'd see Bradford back in pads throwing the football, so the latest reports of Bradford's participation in OTAs, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, are certainly a pleasant surprise.

    The report states that Bradford is participating in the two-minute drills during the 11-on-11 portion of practice, which the report says was slightly unexpected, and is also participating in the 7-on-7 red-zone drills. 

    Bradford's presence is certainly an encouraging sign in regard to his 2014 status. At the very least, the news could be worse: he could be sitting out completely.

Brian Quick's OTA Success Is the Good Sign We've Been Waiting For: Fiction

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    Mike McGinnis/Associated Press

    The latest reports on Brian Quick's progress are positive, according to Fox Sports, and while some will understandably take that as great news, I'm not biting. 

    If you ask me, it's as if Rams fans are living out the movie Groundhog Day when it comes to the annual reports of the St. Louis receivers dominating June OTA's, only to fizzle when it actually counts. 

    We heard identical reports on Quick's progress during the June OTA's of 2013, and we've also heard similar reports regarding Austin Pettis, who is virtually the Calvin Johnson of June football. 

    At this point, a St. Louis receiver standing out in June is like spotting a UFO without a camera—unless the action is in front of the Sunday cameras where the whole world can see, no one cares.

    So please, spare me the progress reports on Quick. Until he starts playing like a No. 33 overall pick on Sundays during the regular season, I'm not impressed.

Zac Stacy Needs to Earn Starting Job: Fact

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    USA TODAY Sports

    One of the more intriguing recent headlines is a report stating that second-year back Zac Stacy is not guaranteed the starting job, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.  

    Of course, Stacy emerged in a big way during his 2013 rookie campaign. He rushed for 973 yards—the most ever for a rookie fifth-round pick since the 1970 merger—and had eight total touchdowns. 

    Despite Stacy's eye-popping rookie production, it's good that he'll have to earn the starting job all over again. With capable talents such and Benny Cunningham and rookie third-round pick Tre Mason on the roster, the smart move is to open up the competition and let the best man win.

    Obviously, Stacy is the favorite and will more than likely run away with the starting gig, but since he's not guaranteed that honor, it will make him—and the other backs—work extra hard in camp, which could make things interesting.

    It's never a good idea to label a player as the starter before training camp even begins; it cuts back on healthy competition and accomplishes nothing. 

    Steven Gerwel is the longest-tenured Rams Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and serves as the Rams' game-day correspondent. You can find more of Gerwel's work by visiting his writer profile or by following him on Twitter.