Monday, November 15, 2010

It sucks to be a Ram fan today

Yesterday was very disappointing for Ram fans every where. You must understand that the 49ers are #1 on the bad-fags in Rams' encyclopedia. They are the most hated enemy on our hit-list. What do you call 53 dead 49ers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. Back in the 1980s, I used to pray that God would send the big San Andres Earthquake so that Joe Montana and Jerry could go to hell together, along with the rest of the San Francisco bay area.

Are you getting the picture? Good. Let's continue.

The loss was bad on several levels. We missed another opportunity to win a close game. We missed another opportunity to assert a winning record. We missed another opportunity to take over a clear-cut leadership in the NFC West.

Clearly, we just aren't ready for that yet. Our weakness at the WR position is the absolute reason why we are not ready for that yet. Clearly, the Rams had problems punching the football into the endzone all day long. It was most devastating at the very end of the game when Sam Bradford drove us deep into redzone, with just a few ticks remaining. We just could not punch it in. We had to kick a game tying field goal instead of scoring a game winning touchdown. We should have ended the affair right there, but we could not.

Why not? Let me tell you why.

Terry Bradshaw used to say that there is nothing worse than throwing against a zone defense when you are a scant 1-yard away from the goal line. When you put 4 or 5 lightning-quick defensive backs into a compressed box like that, you are much more likely to throw an interception than a touchdown pass.

In that situation--at chest level--you don't have a window to throw through. Rather you have a 45 micron fracture in the fabric of time for just 0.45 milliseconds. Naturally, you can't squeeze a football through that kinda space-time. Either you have a big physical receiver who can leap, or you try to punch it in on the ground.

Clearly, the 49ers knew we did not have that kind of receiver. Ergo, they threw all their resources into stopping Steven Jackson. Given the time on the clock, we couldn't take many cracks at the endzone with Steven Jackson. Guess what? The outcome was not in our favor.

Now, let's play a hypothetical little game. Suppose in some hypothetical alternate universe, the Rams had had a pair of 1st round choices in the 2010 draft. Suppose Billy Devaney decided to take Sam Bradford with the top pick and the marvelous Dez Bryant with other pick.

Now let's fast-forward to those crucial moments at the end of the 49er game yesterday. What happens now? Sam throws a high, but highly accurate, strike at Dez at the goal line. Dez goes up and gets it, falling forward into the endzone. We win. The end. Dez probably would have done it with greater ease than the touchdown he got against the Giants yesterday. Frankly, it probably would not have come down to such a situation, as we would have scored more points throughout the game.

Sam doesn't have a receiver like Dez Bryant to throw to. Many good quarterbacks do. It is pretty clear to me that the lack of deadly receiver cost us another close game.

Former Seahawks coach Jim Mora Junior called us out on this subject at the end of the 2010 draft. I totally agreed with him. He prophesied that the lack of decent receiver threats would be the Rams undoing in 2010. It looks like he is turning out to be right about that. I thought our weakness at the offensive line would be the death of us first, but I certainly hated the receiver situation also. As it turns out, the line is firming up pretty well.

I'm pissed the Devaney passed on Seyi Ajirotutu. You know I pointed him out to the team. I wrote Seyi up as one of my favorite college football players in the 2010 draft. Look at how well he is doing with the Chargers! Imagine how much better off we would we be if had squandered a late 7th round pick on the kid. We could have had him as a free agent also, but its tough to out-romance the Chargers.

In the 2011 draft, priority A#1 for the Rams has to be the Wide Receiver position. Now, if a true Kellen Winslow clone is available, I could be convinced to go with a tight end, however I doubt that will be the case. In all likelihood, we need to find a wide receiver.

With that said, what are the prospects for a receiver-hungry football team in the 2011 draft? According to CBS Sports, the prospects are not all that good. They have three WR listed in their top 50. None of them are higher than the #31 position.

Under-classmen have not declared yet, but given the possibility of lock-out and/or rookie salary cap we are faced with, I doubt many of kids will want to declare in 2011. Given the number of under-classmen who came out last year, and the scant few who may declare this year, 2011 could be a truly horrid draft.

[My ass bleeds for the Patriot fans.]

So who are the top 10 receiver prospects according to CBS Sports?
1. Leonard Hankerson The University of Miami 6-3 208
2. Jerrel Jernigan Troy State 5-9 185
3. Ronald Johnson USC 5-11 190
4. Niles Paul Nebraska 6-1 220
5. Titus Young Boise State 5-11 170
6. Austin Petitis Boise State 6-3 201
7. Dwayne Harris East Carolina 5-10 205
8. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos Iowa 6-0 200
9. Greg Little North Carlonia 6-2 220
10. Cecil Shorts III Mount Union 6-0 190

I only know three of the names on that list: Leonard Hankerson, Ronald Johnson, and Niles Paul. Regrettably, I have not seen much Boise State lately. I intend to check them out soon. The only guys on this list I can actually vouch for are Leonard Hankerson and Niles Paul.

The only guy I really want to build around is Leonard Hankerson. I mentioned him once before when I was commenting on the Randy Moss mess. I do like Niles Paul, and I would like to see him in a Ram uniform, but his DUI in 2009 might affect his status with Billy Devaney. Devaney has been criticized by NFL analyst Jamie Dukes for building the all-humanitarian, saintly choir-boy team. Personally, I would take him.