There have been a lot of complaints in the last few days about the moves the Rams have made early in the season. Complaints about not getting more star power on the club.
In adding LaJuan Ramsey, Anthony Smith, Ruvell Martin, Paris Lenon and several practice squad guys, the Rams are working on the BOTTOM part of their roster. As Dick Vermeil always told us when he and Charley Armey would make similar moves in ’97 and ’98, “you’re only as strong as the bottom of your roster.” He would say that as he added players like Ray Agnew, Tom Nutten, Mike Gruttadauria, Charlie Clemons, Jeff Robinson and Kurt Warner.
The Rams are a mess right now. If Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis were added to the roster tomorrow, they’d still be, at best, a .500 team that missed the playoffs. Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo inherited a team that needed about thirty new players, and they still need about a dozen to be good. There are A LOT of holes to fill. Strong side linebacker, backup LB’s, pass rushing defensive tackle and defensive end. A guard, maybe two, backup running backs, a couple of receivers, and perhaps a quarterback.
Among that dozen or so are depth guys, backups, special teamers. And perhaps the coaching staff can find a diamond in the rough…a guy that they coach up and turn into a key performer on a winning team. There are no top-level talents available right now…and even if there were, the Rams don’t have cap space to get top-level talent. Case in point…Hank Baskett, who was released by Philadelphia. If the Rams would have claimed him on waivers, they would have been responsible for his $1.5 million dollar salary. Last week, they cut Chris Draft so they could save about $1 million and stay under the cap.
When Baskett became a free agent, he was able to choose between the Colts and the Rams, among others. If you can choose between the Rams and a winning franchise, you’re going to choose the winner and a chance to make the playoffs.
We, as fans, need to be patient. The Rams achieving success will be because of a process, not an event. Accept and embrace fixing the bottom of the roster. Because eventually, it’s going to pay dividends. But right now, the Rams are trying to fill a hole that took most of a decade to dig. It’s pretty deep, and takes time to repair.