This offseason has been the sporting world equivalent of 'Inception'. You sit through a long, perplexing ordeal and by the end of it you are left with a look of wide-eyed wonder and the depressing thought that you may never fully comprehend what exactly is going on. Meanwhile, your girlfriend, who hasn't really been paying attention at all tries to simplify everything with a "well obviously (insert absurd explanation)"... The top wobbled Courtney! The top wobbled! (No seriously, how crazy was the ending of Inception? I'm off topic)
Anyways, a lot has been going on this offseason and if you are a Rams fan feeling lost in it all, it is time to catch you up. Consider this chapter one of your St. Louis Rams offseason survival guide:
Remember that Julio Jones guy? Yeah, it is going to take a miracle to get him in horns...
Our Previous Conviction: Julio Jones was an absolute lock to go to the Rams with the 14th pick.
As of right now: If the Rams want Jones, they're going to have to trade up, because it is highly unlikely he falls out of the top-ten.
Wait, huh?: Yeah, apparently Julio Jones turned in an incredible workout at the combine, showing no signs of the 'inconsistent-hands' or 'lack of speed' everyone was downplaying him with. How good was his workout? I heard that the cleanup crew is still sweeping up all the jaws he dropped. (Horrible joke, please keep reading.) Jones posted the longest long jump and the third fastest 40-time amongst receivers. This is all with a foot that wasn't 100%. Seriously, this guy can play some football.
Apparently the Redskins were more willing to show OJ Atogwe the money...
Our Previous Conviction: The Rams would release OJ Atogwe to avoid his large salary bonus, then resign him a week later to a large contract. Arguably our best defensive player, he would be on the front lines of leading the Rams back to prominence.
As of right now: He is now the Washington Redskin's newest safety, signing a 5-year contract with them.
Great joke, but seriously what is going on with him: Well if I had to guess, he is probably condo-searching in Washington DC. It is hard to blame him, the Rams signed him to a 5-year deal last season, then released him to avoid a big paycheck. You can't hate the guy for wanting a more solidified foundation. Regardless, the Rams now have plenty of questions at safety next season.
Speaking of the 2011-2012 season, that may not be happening
(My) Previous Conviction: The lockout was being completely blown out of proportion. Give them a couple weeks of negotiation and they'll all be holding hands and singing 'Kumbaya, My Lord' around a campfire while using Al Davis's face as a substitute for a scary campfire story.
As of right now: The owners are greedy, the players are overcome with pride, and nobody is willing to budge. I haven't seen this many bluffs called since....nevermind, I guess I don't have a joke for that one. Regardless, the union has decertified and unless an agreement is reached soon, it isn't too far-fetched to say that there may not be football in 2011. I believe the best-case scenario is the season is two or three games shorter, but then again, I've been very wrong in my previous predictions about the union.
But...Football!: I know, I know. We'll have to settle for college football, arena football, the UFL, and that lingerie-football league. Football!
Who the Rams will take with their first round pick is a mystery
Our Previous Conviction: Julio...friggin'...Jones
As of right now: Your guess is as good as mine. If the stars align and Jones falls in the Rams' lap, then you take him immediately. As previously discussed though, that is highly unlikely. I'm an avid college football fan and I'm fairly familiar with all of the prospects, so here goes my prediction:
Aldon Smith, DE, Mizz: Ah yes, the Missouri boy staying in state would be a great story indeed, but that isn't the only reason I have him going here. His athleticism is off the charts and he is almost a guarantee to one day be a dangerous pass-rusher. He is capable of playing the outside-linebacker position, but at a monstrous 6'5 and 260 lbs, his future is definitely at defensive end. With James Hall getting up there in age, the Rams need to begin grooming a replacement and Smith is a prime candidate.
And because I'm feeling pretty dang good at the moment, I'm even going to throw in a second-round prediction:
Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma: As seen last year, those Oklahoma kids know how to play. I say we start stock-piling them. In all seriousness though, the sudden departure of Atogwe, along with the sub-par play of Craig Dahl leaves the Rams in severe need of a solid safety. Carter will be the best secondary-player on the board when this pick rolls around and I will be furious if the Rams don't select him. Yes Bradford needs some weapons, but I feel the Rams will take care of that in free agency. (James Jones, James Jones, James Jones)
Other Offseason Happenings
-Mike Karney, the Rams fullback the last two seasons, has been released. This wasn't a surprise as he saw a huge drop in playing time last season along with the fact that new OC Josh McDaniels doesn't utilize the fullback position nearly as much as Pat Shurmur.
-Mark Clayton, who was solid for the Rams last season before sustaining a season-ending injury is healing very nicely and would very much like to return to the Rams.
-Daniel Fells, who is now a free agent, will be one of Bill Devaney's primary targets during the offseason. I'm fine with bringing Fells back. He was one of the few solid (loosely defined) targets Bradford had last season. You go get Sam's weapons back!
-Randy Moss, arguably the biggest headcase in football last season, confessed his love for the Patriots, saying that is the only place he wants to play. I think it has something to do with Tom Brady's hair, that is the work of Gods ladies and gentleman. What does this mean? McDaniels will lose one possible free agent target for his new offense. In other news, I'm so sarcastically disappointed that Moss will not be on our team next season.
-Tim Tebow probably did some sort of charity work, I'm not really sure, I can't keep up with all the hip and awesome stuff that he does.
-Scratch that, Tebow has been playing in the Grammy award-winning band Mumford and Sons this offseason.
Until next time, go Rams!
UPDATE (3-24-11): Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels has officially been named the QB's coach as well. I was going to write a separate post about this, but one sentence really sums it all up.