Chat with Nick Wagoner
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN NFL Nation St. Louis Rams reporter Nick Wagoner drops by to chat and answer all of your Rams questions.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Wagoner joined ESPN in 2013 after nine years of covering the Rams for StLouisRams.com. He also previously covered University of Missouri football.
Send your questions now and join Wagoner Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Nick Wagoner (1:02 PM)
Hello again everybody. Hope everyone is having a good week. Lots to get to today so let's not waste anytime. As always, thanks for your participation.
Do you think it is likely that Snead/Fisher will try to include a 2015 first in a trade down scenario? Obviously, that allows the RG3 trade to keep giving.......
Nick Wagoner (1:05 PM)
I'm sure they would love for that to happen if there's a team willing to make that move. Here's the reason they should really aim for it, in my opinion. The Rams have made it clear they are committed to Sam Bradford but what happens if Bradford has another injury or struggles in 2014? The Rams may not find themselves in position to draft a top quarterback again. If they add an additional first next year, even if it's not a top 10 pick again, they'd at least have the ammo to move up and get one if they can acquire an additional first round pick. Again, they say they're committed to Bradford but another injury-plagued season would have to alter that stance, wouldn't it?
Thanks for the chat Nick! Do you see Kenny Britt as a possible option for the Rams? Thanks
Nick Wagoner (1:06 PM)
Obviously, Britt has some ties to Jeff Fisher. Britt also hasn't done much in the past couple of years, has an injury history and has had his run ins with the law. I'm not sure he's a good fit for the team at this point in time. Especially if it means taking reps from a young, promising wideout.
Chris (Bloomington, IL)
Do you think the Rams should try to retain Rodger Saffold or find his replacement in the draft?
Nick Wagoner (1:08 PM)
I've written it plenty but I'll say it again, Rodger Saffold is the key to the rest of the offseason. I think the Rams should do what they can (within reason, of course) to re-sign Saffold. I know he's had his injury problems but he has Pro Bowl potential at guard and I believe he's more likely to stay healthy. Plus, his versatility would allow more flexibility in the draft, etc.
Assume Jake Long will not be ready Week 1 (or cannot be counted on to be) and Saffold is not re-signed: How would you approach the draft and free agency knowing you would possibly need 4 new offensive line starters from what the team fielded Week 1 2013?
Nick Wagoner (1:11 PM)
Kind of tying this one into the previous question, retaining Saffold would allow the Rams more flexibility in the draft/free agency. Losing him alters that completely. I think if you operate under the assumption of losing Saffold and a question mark about Long (both reasonable, to me), then you have to really throw some money and draft capital at the OL. It ratchets up the need to get a top OT in the draft and you would need to add at least two interior guys on the OL. That also, of course, assumes you part with Wells/Dahl. The X factor there is how highly the Rams think of young OL like Barnes, B. Washington, B. Jones. Either way, with the caliber of front 7s you see in the NFC West, the Rams have to bulk up the O-line rather than wishing and hoping that all of the developmental linemen develop.
Hey Nick. Do you think the rams will draft another RB this year?
Nick Wagoner (1:13 PM)
It's a good question. I wouldn't rule it out. I think the Rams believe in Stacy enough to make him the starter heading into 2014 and I think they like Cunningham enough to have him as the No. 2 but if there was a speedy, change of pace type available in the later rounds, I could see them adding another one.
Hey Nick,I know everyone thinks that Zach Stacy is the man now, but I'd like to see them draft another RB - we also thought Richardson was part of the answer before last season so you just don't know - what do you think about them drafting another mid round RB?thx
Nick Wagoner (1:15 PM)
To add to the previous post, it's worth keeping in mind that Stacy had some issues with little bumps and bruises along the way this season. It never cost him games or kept him out for extended periods but he missed chunks of games. The question then becomes if they're satisfied with Cunningham as the 2, Richardson or Pead as the 3, etc. I think they do like Cunningham's upside.
Scotty G (St. Louis)
Does Jeremy Maclin make sense for the Rams instead of taking a guy like Watkins?
Nick Wagoner (1:17 PM)
I guess it would depend on the cost. But again, you're dealing with someone who has had some injury issues. Remember, the Rams likely won't be dealing with a lot of salary cap space.
who do you think is better FS prospect Dix (ALA) or Pryor (LOU)?
Nick Wagoner (1:18 PM)
I haven't really seen enough of either to make that determination. But I really like what I've seen of Pryor.
Roger Schutt (Grass Valley, CA)
Nick, as extensively as necessary (please)... will you kindly explain the phenomenon of "Covering Up the Tight End" in pro football! I don't quite get it, I guess. How many "eligible" players are there on any given play? Which positions need to be on the line of scrimmage, and who lines UP OFF that line? Thanks!!
Nick Wagoner (1:21 PM)
As simply as I can put it, a team has to have seven players on the line of scrimmage at all times. At least seven, they can have more just as you'd see in goal line situations. Many times when you see the "cover up penalty" it happens because a TE lines up offset the line of scrimmage (in other words, just off it) or off it in the slot. Then the receiver outside him must be on the line of scrimmage to "cover him up" so to speak and give the team the seventh player on the line. Illegal formation can happen other ways too but that scenario I just laid out is a common one which is why you hear the cover up the tight end term so much.
Jason (Lakewood, Ca.)
Mr.Wagoner what do you make of the Rumors of the Rams drafting a QB in this years draft, when is seems clear Rams still need more starters/depth across the roster rather then a back up QB?
Nick Wagoner (1:24 PM)
They should and almost certainly will draft a quarterback this year. I don't think they have as many pressing needs as you indicate but as you saw this year, having a backup QB is important and the Rams could use a young guy with potential starter upside too. I wouldn't expect it to happen before the third round or so, though.
What are the chances the rams stay in St.Louis?
Nick Wagoner (1:25 PM)
I'm not going to pretend like I know the answer to that. Plenty of people out there will tell you they are definitely moving or they're definitely staying. The owner is the only one who really knows what he wants to do and he isn't saying anything. I can confidently say I don't expect much movement on this front anytime soon.
Bert (St. Paul, MN)
If Chris Johnson is available and cheap, should the Rams consider bringing him in?
Nick Wagoner (1:26 PM)
Fisher loves Chris Johnson and there are again obvious ties here. The key to your question is the word cheap. That's a relative term. He'd have to be pretty cheap to make sense for the Rams and even then I'm not sure they'd want to go that direction with money needing to go to more pressing needs.
Jason (Lakewood, Ca.)
What salary cuts do you see most likely happening to the Rams roster?
Nick Wagoner (1:27 PM)
The three most likely would be Cortland Finnegan, Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells.
Chris (Bloomington, IL)
Any chances of drafting another Wide Receiver early?
Nick Wagoner (1:29 PM)
I've said before that I'm not completely sold on Snead's comments about not "needing" a No. 1 WR. That's not the same as not wanting one. There's a lot of misinformation out there now and there will be more as we go along. Hopefully as the weeks go on I can get a better feel of what's real and what's not when it comes to that. Let's see what happens in free agency first. That should help shed some light on what they have in mind.
J Courtenay (Battle creek, Michigan)
Barrett Jones , and Sean Hooey were the only two rookies kept on the O line last year. The MO of this staff has been to build mid to late round guys into productive players. Jones was a known entity, and was drafted in the 4th round. Hooey was a UFA. What can you tell me about him, and how he projects in the future. Thinking if these two guys pan out, we can still be creative in the draft, and not take any O lineman until the later rounds as has been Fish's credo....Thank you Nick!
Nick Wagoner (1:31 PM)
Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau identified Hooey early on as someone he felt like he could develop. He made the practice squad even after missing a big chunk of the preseason with injury if that tells you what they think of his potential. I honestly haven't seen him play enough to really have a read on his game because of that. I know the Rams like his size and toughness. I wouldn't count on him to contribute this year. Of the young, developmental linemen the Rams kept around you're more likely to see guys like Brandon Washington and Mike Person get a chance. Both were kept on the active roster for most of the season.
Jason (Lakewood, Ca.)
Nick, what's the general feeling of Rams O linemen Barrett Jones among the Rams management/coaches to step in and start next season with a possible salary dump of Scott Wells and Harvey Dahl?
Nick Wagoner (1:32 PM)
They want to see him live in the weight room, gain strength and come back ready to compete for a job. A lot of how 2014 plays out for him is in his hands.
Dave Spickerman (Portland oregon)
Hey nick thanks for the chats always a great read. If the rams draft a left tackle at two what are your thoughts about move jake long to the right side?
Nick Wagoner (1:33 PM)
I doubt they'd move Long though I could see that draft pick potentially starting on the left side if Long isn't ready to go by day one. By the way, Long had his surgery this week. According to his wife's Instagram/Twitter, it went well and he's on the road to recovery.
Do you think the rams give up on I. Pead this year? I know he is a good special teams player, but... as a RB and KR, he has yet to do anything.
Nick Wagoner (1:34 PM)
It's possible. I don't see the value in retaining both Pead and Richardson and if they draft a back, maybe both could go. Pead has the advantage there because of special teams but Richardson has already told the coaching staff he wants to try to contribute there next year. But Pead has been a disappointment. If his main role is special teams, he's a little pricey for that role and Chase Reynolds already fills that role as the RB/special teams guy for less money.
What odds do you place on the Rams resigning Saffold?
Nick Wagoner (1:35 PM)
I'd say 60/40 he goes elsewhere but hard to say what other teams might be willing to pay. It only takes one.
Joe (St. Louis)
Just for a moment, forget about team needs, Sam's remaining contract, and all the nay-sayers...Picture Johnny M going to the Rams at No. 2. Wouldn't that create a buzz? Sell tickets?
Nick Wagoner (1:37 PM)
It absolutely would. And I've been on record as saying I'd love to cover Manziel. I love watching him and he's absolutely entertaining. It's not going to happen but there's no doubt that any team that adds JFF is going to have major buzz.
Seems like no one is in love with any of these QBs. 2011 was a loaded draft and GMs weren't openly looking to move down. 2013, not so loaded, and everyone tried to move down. Could it be that Clowney goes first and then 2 isn't the great real estate Snead hopes it was?
Nick Wagoner (1:40 PM)
It's absolutely possible. But I do think the QBs are still going to go pretty quick. What could happen in the Rams' favor is that every team needing a QB is going to have their one guy they want rather than viewing it as two or three pretty good options and they won't know who the others like, thus making it important to get first crack at the list of possibilities. This isn't like last year where the QB class was unappealing. Plus, it's a little early for teams to be clearly in love with anyone. We haven't even hit the combine yet. Remember how people were talking about certain guys in 2011 and then Cam Newton went to the combine? It crystallized pretty quick after that.
John (Yorba Linda)
What do you think the minimum asking price for the Ram's 2nd pick should be? For instance, would you accept Minnesota 1st and 2nd, or would you also demand next year's 1st.
Nick Wagoner (1:41 PM)
This question is impossible to answer right now. Let's wait and see how the board kind of firms up and what players teams might move up for. I will say if the Rams are moving all the way down to 8, I'd want more than just a second round pick. They need to add an elite player here, which to me means they can drop no further than 5 or 6.
if Rams trade with CLE is it reasonable to ask for their #4, #26 and a 2nd rounder to move up to #2?
Nick Wagoner (1:42 PM)
Sure they could ask for it. Doesn't mean they'd get it. Going to depend on the competition for the pick and who Cleveland might be wanting to move up for.
TommyD (San Jose)
Nick, keep up the great work! What is the Rams cap situation as of today? Where would it be if they release Finnegan, Wells, and Dahl. Top 3 needs in free agency and/or the draft for me are OL, DB, WR. I would like to get your take.
Nick Wagoner (1:44 PM)
It's pretty tight though we don't have the exact cap number just yet. If they released those three, it would free up a pretty sizable chunk, somewhere in the $13-15 million range. That would give them room to sign the rookie class and make a move or two. I agree with your top three needs.
Will the rams be active in looking for a number 1 wide receiver in free agency?
Nick Wagoner (1:44 PM)
Not sure there is going to be one of those in free agency.
Jerry (Alton, Illinois)
What are your thoughts on the play of Tim Barnes the last 4 games. From my observations he had really good games against New Orleans and Tampa Bay w/pro bowler Gerald McCoy, a decent first game against Arizona and held his own with a completely reworked o-line against Seattle. For someone who had not played a meaningful game since the 2010 Insight Bowl in Tempe, I was impressed and think the Rams might have a solid center giving flexibility to address other needs. What are your thoughts? Thanks!!
Nick Wagoner (1:45 PM)
He had some good moments and he had some rough moments. He got pushed around a bit in the NFC West games, especially against Seattle but he held his own for the most part. Not sure he did enough to pencil in as the starter but I think he did enough to compete for the job if the Rams want to go that way.
Hey Nick,Say it's Sunday, May 11, and you're busy writing your post-draft grades. What would it take for the Rams to get an A in your book? Also, I know you're a hip hop guy, any under-the-radar stuff I should be listening to right now?
Nick Wagoner (1:48 PM)
Hopefully I can leave the grading to the draft experts. I'm not a big fan of grading drafts right after they happen. So many variables. But to have a good draft in my eyes, the Rams need to add an elite player early on (or a player that is widely regarded as one of the draft's elite) and if they can do that while adding more picks, then it's a good draft. After that, filling whatever needs remain would be good for them as well. As for hip hop, I simply haven't heard much I like lately. I'm getting to be a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to music lately because I constantly find myself listening to stuff that came out at least 7 or 8 years ago or before. There just aren't many new hip hop artists coming out that catch my ear these days. Hope that changes soon.
Carolina Ram (Charlotte)
Mr. Wagoner, Bradford seems to be such a polarizing subject but I never hear anyone breakdown his skill set. What he does better than most NFL QBs and what he does worse. Does he lock on to receivers, is he able to recognize defenses pre-snap, etc... Also are his receivers running the routes as designed? Do they recognize the defense and make the adjustment to the route they should make? In other words are they consistently where they are supposed to be when they are to supposed to be there? I appreciate any light you can shed on the subject. Thanks
Nick Wagoner (1:53 PM)
I think that's a fair question. First, some good: Bradford has a really good grasp of the offense and has a great understanding of how things are supposed to work when everyone is doing their job. He throws a really nice, accurate deep ball and in general is a pretty accurate quarterback (who has been the victim of countless drops in his career). His arm isn't the strongest in the world but he has plenty to fit it into tight windows and hit the deep out. Some bad: He struggles at times to go through his progressions and his pocket presence is lacking. He's quick to go to check downs and often refuses to throw the ball into coverage. Some of that may be a mistrust of his receivers to win one on one battles but sometimes you have to put faith in your receivers to go up and get it. And, of course, he's had his share of injury issues in half of his NFL seasons. That counts for something too. For the most part, he hasn't had much help from receivers to answer that part of the question. It's a young group and they miss sight adjustments fairly often.
ScottyG (St. Louis)
I think the Falcons feel like they are close - that last year was just a fluke and they are a player (Clowney) away from getting back to where they were in '12. That said, I can see them going for the #2 pick - would Watkins still be there at #6....and would the Rams take him?
Nick Wagoner (1:55 PM)
Hope you saw the piece I did the other day on the Falcons as a possible trade partner. They'd make a lot of sense for the Rams for a number of reasons. As for Watkins, I think it'd be pushing it a bit to think he's there at 6 but my guess is that's the absolute lowest he'd be available. And it's too early to say what the Rams would do in that situation. Not trying to cop out but let's go through the combine and some pro days before trying to peg exactly what the Rams are thinking. I will say if they think he can be that No. 1 WR they haven't had since Holt, they SHOULD take him. At this point, I don't know if they view him that way and they may not even know that yet.
ScottyG (St. Louis)
At #13 - especially if the Rams trade down from #2 and stockpile some picks - could you see the Rams moving up to get their "guy," whether it's one of the LT's or even possibly the OLBs (Barr / Mack) who might be a great fit for the D.
Nick Wagoner (1:57 PM)
Sure. They could theoretically move back up to get a guy they want. To me, it would be silly to move up for an LB who won't be on the field all that much but if it's a DB or OL they really love, why not? If there's one thing we know about Snead/Fisher it's that they aren't afraid to make moves to get what they want.
ScottyG (St. Louis)
How big of a need do you see the defensive backfield being - and that being said, where do you see the top CB's / S's going in the draft? Around 13 or lower?
Nick Wagoner (1:58 PM)
Biggest need on the defense. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Rams take one in the first round, perhaps at that 13th spot. It might even be a CB. I don't know if enough has happened to peg the top DBs but it sounds like Dennard and Gilbert could both go in the 10-15 range. That could easily change in the next few months.
Chris [via mobile]
Hey Nick. Thanks for starting these up again. I miss them. In week 2 against atlanta is where I saw it more than any other time; do you think the rams, mostly Bradford, could benefit from a up-tempo or no huddle offense? Or is it not worth going away from what worked for the second half of the season?
Nick Wagoner (1:59 PM)
I'd like to have seen what Bradford could do in the offense the Rams began using in week 5 for the whole of the season. The thing about the no huddle is it would have been better if the Rams were effectively running the ball. It would have been a nice change of pace as part of the revamped offense. The two can be used in harmony and I think it would have been good for the offense.
Any chance of the Rams taking a QB with #2 pick and cutting Bradford?
Nick Wagoner (2:01 PM)
Things can change so I won't say there's zero chance of it happening but it's about as close as possible to zero.
What positions do you think the Rams should target with their two 1st round picks? Thinking OT and WR, think we can get a safety/CB in later rounds.
Nick Wagoner (2:02 PM)
I'm an advocate of building up the offense as much as possible. The defense can be fine with what they have now and if you add some pieces in FA or in the mid rounds of the draft, it can still improve. But I also don't think you can pigeonhole yourself into take certain positions, either. You want your needs to meet the value of the player you take. Which is why if the Rams took Clowney, I would understand.
ram for life (fort lauderdale fl)
nick, what do you think of snead downplaying the need for any of the top rated players wouldn't it be smarter to make teams feel like he wants to get all these positions badly so he can drive the price up for the pick, makes no sense to me
Nick Wagoner (2:05 PM)
Well, let me re-direct it a little bit if I can. If Snead is telling people that he's not really interested in anyone -- which so far has been the case -- then teams are going to have no idea what he's thinking. And teams are smart enough to know he's not going to just forfeit the pick. In some instances, the wild card approach can be best. It creates confusion. If you and I don't know what he's thinking, neither do the teams behind him in the draft. I just don't think it's that big of a deal, especially this early in the process. I'd love it if he came out and told us his plan or at least what positions he's interested in -- Ozzie Newsome just did that in Baltimore -- but I also understand why he keeps his cards close.
do you think Rams should target someone like the C from CLE (Mack) as a free agent, sounds like he couild solve some OL problems - they they could draft OT and OG around him
Nick Wagoner (2:06 PM)
I doubt he becomes available and if he does, I'm not sure the Rams could afford him.
H Alex Wolters (Wildwood, Missouri)
These are unrelated to this article, but I have a couple of questions I am hoping you are willing to answer.1) As you have mentioned in previous articles, the Rams are evaluating quarterbacks to draft this May. Do you know if they have a liking for A.J. McCarron and if he will even be available in the rounds the Rams will be willing to realistically draft a quarterback?2) What are your personal thoughts on Darquize Dennard from Michigan State University and Ha Ha Clinton Dix from the University of Alabama? I am not too knowledgable on the defensive backs in this year's draft so I do not have a great idea of who they want to target, but I thought Dennard was elite this season and would be fantastic for the Rams to have moving forward at CB. & do you think the Rams value a guy like Jake Matthews or another elite offensive lineman over these defensive backs?
Nick Wagoner (2:09 PM)
Alex, thanks for bringing these over here. 1. I don't know what Rams think of McCarron or many prospects yet. Will dig into that as much as possible in the coming weeks, especially after the combine. I think McCarron is probably a third rounder or so which is likely the first round in which the Rams would consider a QB barring a shift in agenda. 2. I need to see more of Dix and Dennard but I wonder a little bit about Dennard. He has good size and such but let's face it, he's not exactly facing top flight WRs every week in the Big 10. Will be interested in seeing how he runs in February. Dix underwhelmed a bit in the Sugar Bowl but there's no doubting the level of competition he played.
John Carbeau (Little Rock, Arkansas)
I think it's about time the Rams give up on Brian Quick. His first two seasons are nearly identical. The only thing he was good at in my mind was taking reps away from Stedman Bailey.
Nick Wagoner (2:11 PM)
It's not going to happen this year and I disagree that it's time to do that. He was about as raw as possible coming out and I know he hasn't produced yet to the level of his draft status but I think there are some good things there that are worth fleshing out further. If he doesn't take any tangible steps this year then I think you can make the argument but in a general sense it's worth giving him another year to see if he can take that step forward. Not every player progresses the same. I'm not saying his presence should keep the Rams from adding to the receiver position but there's really no need to just outright let him go right now.
Jason (Lakewood, Ca.)
Who do envision lining up next to Tj McDonald in the backfield for the start of the 2014 Rams season?
Nick Wagoner (2:12 PM)
A drafted rookie.
Nick, you seem to be a fan of Sammy Watkins. How would you compare him to some of the other high profile wideouts that have come into the league in the last few years? Is he worth #2?
Nick Wagoner (2:14 PM)
Need to study him more but yes, my early impression is that he is a No. 1 caliber wideout. I think he compares favorably to A.J. Green and Julio Jones though I'd probably put him a notch below Green (comparing them when they came out, not now obviously). But from what I've seen so far, I think he's better than any WR coming out in any of the years since the Green/Jones draft. Again, that's comparing him to those guys coming out, not what they are now. If he's a genuine No. 1 receiver (which we don't really know yet), yes, he's worth the No. 2 pick.
I have done gymnastics trying to defend Bradford for the last 4 years. But I think I'm officially giving in. At this point in his career, is he really less injury prone than Saffold? I just don't see the return on investment anymore. Help me!
Nick Wagoner (2:16 PM)
For all of the arguing that goes on about Bradford's intangibles, it surprises me how rarely people point to the injury red flags. To me, that's the most tangible thing you can grab on to in assessing his career. It has to be a concern at this point. I absolutely understand the Rams rolling with him moving forward and I think he can do some good things in an offense with a successful run game but he has to consistently stay on the field to do it.
Dave (Syracuse NY)
The Rams came up with a pretty good ground game this year. Stacey did a good job but was the real difference Roger Staffold playing guard ? The last 2 games of the year Staffold moved to LT and Stacey did not do well. If Roger is not resigned they better get a REALLY good guard if they want to run the ball -- do you agree ?
Nick Wagoner (2:17 PM)
Absolutely a valid point. They were a very good run team when Saffold was at RG and Long was at LT. They need to bolster the interior OL even if they re-sign Saffold. If they don't they might need to add two.
what is the biggest need this offseason. OL, CB, S I think you have to beef up the O line in this division and with bradford coming off knee injury and a pocket passer
Nick Wagoner (2:18 PM)
I have maintained that it's a stud WR, a No. 1 type WR. If such a player isn't available then it's the OL. After that, it's CB or S.
Vincent (St. Louis)
I know you discussed how tough the division is with the Niners and Seahawks but don't forget the Cardinals. This team went 10-6 in the toughest division in the league and have a nasty defense.
Nick Wagoner (2:19 PM)
I haven't forgotten them at all. I wrote multiple times how scary it is for the Rams that they not only took a step backward within the division but also got passed by Arizona. The Rams were the worst team in the division this year and got manhandled on the road by all three division foes.
say the rams draft wr. who isnt on the team next year? pettis?
Nick Wagoner (2:20 PM)
He'd be the likely odd man out but remember, the Rams wouldn't have to let go of anyone. They can carry six receivers if they want. Plenty of teams do. If it meant going a little lighter at RB, then fine. If it was me, I'd rather have six receivers and keep Pettis than five RBs and keep both Richardson and Pead.
Luke (San Diego)
Is everyone is St. Louis rooting for the Broncos for the Super Bowl?
Nick Wagoner (2:21 PM)
I can't speak for everyone but I'm sure most Rams fans are rooting against the Seahawks.
Steve (Centralia, IL)
In your opinion, what have Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll done with the 49ers and Seahawks that the Rams haven't done?
Nick Wagoner (2:23 PM)
Well, it's not just those two. First, the Seahawks and Niners have built tremendous rosters over a period of time. The Rams are only now starting to catch up in that regard. But the personnel departments in those two places deserve a lot of credit. Special cap tip to Scot McLoughan, who had a major hand in both roster builds. But Carroll and Harbaugh have injected their personalities into those teams. Harbaugh has a tough guy demeanor which can be annoying to media and fans but his team clearly buys into. Carroll isn't the same, he's more relaxed and outgoing and his team buys into that. It's really a function of knowing how to relate to players and building a team in your image. For the record, I don't think that's something that lacks in St. Louis. Rams players love Fisher and his personality as well.
Turtle Man (Live Action)
2013 was a disappointing year from Chris Givens..what does he need to do to take his game next level? He reminds me of Torrey Smith...
Nick Wagoner (2:25 PM)
He needs to really polish up his route running, first and foremost. Especially on intermediate routes. There was just something missing from his game in general this season. Hard to put your finger on. I would've like to see him compete for contested balls on a more consistent basis, too. He's a talented guy and can still be a valuable piece on the offense but he needs to become more well rounded.
How popular is Richard Sherman in St. Louis? What is your take on his postgame outburst?
Nick Wagoner (2:27 PM)
I've mostly avoided the topic because there has been plenty of other places to find takes on that issue. I don't get the feeling that Sherman is some sort of public enemy in St. Louis. My take -- and it's likely unpopular -- comes from the perspective of a media member. I had no problem with it. All too often we complain about cliches and canned answers but when a guy, 30 seconds after making the biggest play of his life, cuts loose some real, raw emotion, I'm not going to criticize him. And honestly, is it really that big of a deal? Didn't we already know that Sherman is super emotional and likes to talk? He backs it up with his play which is more than we can say for some of the guys who run their mouth.
Duke (St Louis)
What is the potential market for the Rams to add a Safety via free agency?
Nick Wagoner (2:28 PM)
There are some interesting names that could hit the market but I'm not convinced the Rams are inclined to spend big money on a safety.
Can you project (in your best guess) the Starting line-up of the O-line next year? assuming J. Long is back.
Nick Wagoner (2:30 PM)
I really can't. Theoretically, you could say Long is the LT if he's ready and possible Barksdale at RT but even that isn't for sure. There are just too many moving parts to even make a guess on that right now.
Mark Riello (New York )
What do you think about thier defense do you think they need another line backer and corner? I think they can address safety in the middle rounds. Also what direction do you think best to go in the first round?
Nick Wagoner (2:31 PM)
I don't think LB is a major need but adding another one in the middle rounds would be understandable. Bringing Dunbar back if they could get him reasonably cheap (I would think they could) would be fine, too. I think they like Armstrong's upside as well. They do need another corner and another safety, maybe two.
Richard Sherman (Seattle)
Don't Sam Bradford even think about putting mediocre Rams receivers in my direction!!
Nick Wagoner (2:32 PM)
Judging by how little the Rams threw at you, Mr. Sherman, I think they clearly know better.
do the Rams compete in the NFC West next year or or they headed for another 7-9 season, seems with Bradford and Long rehabbing and best FA (Saffold) leaving, they are off to bad start.
Nick Wagoner (2:34 PM)
I think they can compete but I'm not sure how they overtake Seattle and San Francisco. And, as mentioned earlier, Arizona is awfully tough too. They need all the young talent to blossom at once. It's possible but who knows if it happens?
As a Falcons fan that misses Dahl, what's the issue with him... too expensive or declining performance? Don't get to see much of the Rams down here other than our week 2 triumph!
Nick Wagoner (2:35 PM)
Dahl has been fine, sometimes pretty good and a consummate professional and teammate. I don't think there's anything wrong with him, per se, but he's had some injury issues in each of the past two seasons and I think if you weight the cost of keeping him versus putting that money into a younger player (like a Saffold), it likely makes sense to part ways. Perhaps he could return at a reduced cost, too. You never know with that type of stuff.
Turtle Man (Live Action)
Give us prediction for the SB Nick!
Nick Wagoner (2:38 PM)
Before the season started, I picked Seattle over Denver. I really believe the weather and how the game is officiated are two major X factors in this one. I'm going to stick with my preseason pick and say Seattle gets the job done. Denver's offense is outstanding but it also hasn't played a defense the caliber of Seattle's all year. I'm curious to see how that plays out. I think it's a good game but let's call it Seattle by 3.
Rick (St. Louis)
Do you feel like the Rams should invest in a veteran WR to set an example for these younger WRs who have great potential?
Nick Wagoner (2:39 PM)
I think they're hesitant to do that because they don't want to take reps away from the youngsters. So if you do it you have to be sure that guy can really still play. That said, Anquan Boldin would be great in St. Louis just so we don't have to see him abuse the Rams young corners and then see them continue to yap at him.
You think finnegan Dahl and Dunbar done? Can u see them taking corner and reciever first round and moving trumaine or Brandon McGee to safety?
Nick Wagoner (2:40 PM)
Finnegan and Dahl are under contract but candidates to have their contracts re-done or be released outright. Dunbar is a free agent. I could see them using a first round pick on a CB, wouldn't shock me. But they won't move Johnson or McGee to safety.
If the Rams cannot close gap with SEA and SF and even AZ, should they think about trading Bradford for picks and drafting a QB? Hitting the -reset button on OFF and in 20-3 years when SF and SEA have to pay big $$ to Kap and Wilson?
Nick Wagoner (2:41 PM)
That depends on how Bradford plays, doesn't it?
Turtle Man (Live Action)
So by officiating, do you anticipate a crackdown on the pick plays by WRs in the SB? Do yu think the Welker hit was dirty?
Nick Wagoner (2:45 PM)
I think that's something to keep an eye on but I'd also point to the clutching and grabbing of Seattle's DBs. They get away with quite a bit and more power to them because it's only a penalty if you draw a flag. But let's be real here, the Seattle DBs vs. Denver WRs is probably the prime matchup of this Super Bowl. What can each side get away with? That's going to play a huge part in how this one goes. And no, I don't think Welker's play was dirty. I feel like we see those types of picks all the time, including from New England. It just happened that Talib got hurt but it didn't appear to me that there was intent to injure. Of course, only one person really knows if that's the case or not.
have been hearing that Rams want to extend Quinn, what kind of deal would he command? soulds like it would be cheaper to do it now instead of year or two later...
Nick Wagoner (2:48 PM)
They don't have to do anything for a couple years and he's still a bargain in the next two seasons. I wrote about it earlier this week if you want to look to see what it might cost but it's going to be costly. Depending on what he's looking for, Quinn could potentially be in line for the richest contract a defensive player has ever received. But remember, the likes of J.J. Watt and Aldon Smith will be up at the same time. That could help define the market too.
Nick Wagoner (2:48 PM)
That's going to do it for today. Thanks again to everyone for coming out. Back at the same time in the same spot next week. Have a good weekend, everyone.