Hello again, everybody. A couple of items first off. Our 2-Sport Town podcast returns with a bang this Wednesday, with Lovie Smith as our guest to kick off the 2017. Lovie's fresh from the Big 10 media days. Look for it tomorrow on stltoday.com. Also we'll have a special package in Sunday's paper (and also online) on Kurt Warner's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The centerpiece story will be: Who really discovered Kurt Warner? (As you know, about 1,000 people claim to have done so.) We'll also have stories or graphics on 1.) Warner's continuing involvement in St. Louis area charity; 2.) Warner by the numbers (including the ironic symmetry of 4-for-11); 3.) 10 magical Warner moments (you'll be able to pick most of them); 4.) And on-line only _ a look at the ever-growing "St. Louis Wing" in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Joe G couldn't make the chat live, but he sent a couple via email yesterday. He asks: 1.) Why do the Rams always seem to have a tight cap situation if they always have one of the league's youngest teams? And 2.) Do I have any insight on how the Aaron Donald contract situation is going/ I'll start with the second question first. I don't have any insight on Donald. But there's really no excuse for the Rams not to have something done by now. He's almost universally regarded as one of the top defensive players in the game. If not the best. So Rams, take a deep breath, Malibu Stan open your wallet, and start with Ndamukong Suh's contract _ six years, $114 million, $59 million guaranteed. And work upwards. Doubt very much, however, that Donald holds out of training camp. Because since he's under contract, he cann be fined for missing camp. As for the Rams cap position. It is an interesting question. Especially last year when I wasn't following the money as closely as I did when the Rams were in StL, I wondered where the money went. It's not like they've been in cap hell under Demoff and Snead. But they never seem to be swimming in cap space either.
Yeah, the most recent report on the brain study, with 110 out of 111 NFL players found to have CTE, was startling. Very interested to see how the TV ratings are for the league this year. As for any long-term impact, the first real trouble signs will be when participation levels start to drop markedly at the youth and high school levels. And I don't think that's happening yet.
Stan, I hate to break this to you. But in our story this coming Sunday on who discovered Kurt Warner. . .it's not you.
Drafting left tackles used to be one of the safest positions in the draft. But as the college game has seen the proliferation of spread offenses, it has made offensive tackles difficult to project. Many are rarely if ever in a three-point stance in college, meaning they have to learn the footwork and balance needed to do so at the NFL level. There's also much less running in the college game, so drive blocking is kind of a lost art. Even so, the Rams drafted Robinson because they thought he could be an excellent NFL run blocker. GM Les Snead played at Auburn; coach Jeff Fisher had a son who played for Auburn. So they had plenty of exposure and familiarity with the program. As a rookie, I know Robinson was affected by some family/friend-related issues. He had lots of people tugging at him. Auburn had a very simple blocking system, even when it came to the running game. Robinson struggled with the complex pass protection schemes used by the Rams (and really all NFL teams). There are some who feel he lacked a true passion for the game. As for his holding penalties, he had a reputation for that in college. So there's really no surprise that it followed him to the pros. In my estimation, he got in trouble too often by lunging at the pass-rushers and getting off-balance, instead of establishing a good anchor and using his strength to redirect. And again, there were 4 top o-linemen in that draft: Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, and Zack Martin. Those three have all become good to excellent pros. So I don't know if any of this answers your question, but it was a big swing and a miss by the Rams.
If there's another 4-12 type season, I don't see how he can survive. Then again, I'm surprised he's made it this far.
I don't recall that Cleveland actually sued the league. Did they? There is no hope for the promise of an expansion team in the St. Louis suit. They're simply looking for damages. The next step in the lawsuit is the discovery _ or information-gathering process. The Rams/NFL is trying to block or severely limit discovery. The plaintiffs (St. Louis) want a broad discovery process. There will be a series of hearings over the next few months to decide all this.
I think there's enough here for a reality show: "I Discovered Kurt Warner" (coming soon on Bravo).
I think the Chargers fully expect to have 30,000 in the StubHub. As for the Rams, ticket sales appear to be sluggish compared to last year but they almost certainly should draw more than 40,000. (At least at the beginning of the year.)
I can't exactly remember my first conversation with Stan Kroenke. It may have been a phone interview when he was recruited at the 11th hour in 1993 to head the ownership group seeking to bring an expansion team to St. Louis. He was friendly and helpful. I can remember when he was minority owner (to Georgia Frontiere) talking to him in the lobby of the Arizona Biltmore at the owners meetings. He was friendly, unguarded. Things changed when he became controlling owner. My last "conversation" with him came at an owners meeting a couple years ago. It consisted of him and Kevin Demoff passing me in a hotel café at lunchtime, and me telling Stan: 'I'm ready for that interview when you are." Stan laughed and kept walking. (Along with Demoff.)
I think at a minimum, St. Louis would like to recoup the expenses from the stadium effort. Any embarrassing moments that come out in the proces would be a bonus.
You're already in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. What more do you want?
I don't know if Kapernick's actions actually resulted in any lost viewers. Hard to quantify. I think the presidential election may have affected ratings more than Kaepernick.
I have to say, it was stunning really to see Rosenthal just standing on the mound forgetting for a moment to cover first base.
Years ago, do you remember when then Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson cut running back Curvin Richards because of fumbling problems? It's always easy to take a stand when it comes at the expense of a fringe player. Maybe the Cowboys should've waited a couple of days before deciding what to do with poor Lucky
Not much really. They needed a third quarterback. They got one. Not exactly the missing link to the playoffs.
Andy, the big one of course, is changing to a centralized system of replay review. All replays will be decided at NFL headquarters in New York rather than on site at the game. Also, overtime in the regular season (and preseason) has been shortened to 10 minutes instead of 15. In the name of safety, we're told, although it won't really affect many games. Also, leaping over the line of scrimmage by a defender to block PATs or FGs has been banned. And although not a rules change per se, there will be a greater point of emphasis on penalties for egregious hits. As is often the case on these points of emphasis, they result in more calls early in the season, and then the enforcement dies off.
Do you mean scrutiny for brain trauma, or just general scrutiny? I think the NCAA gets plenty of scrutiny, especially when it comes to the exploiting of unpaid labor for lots of profit.
I'm assuming you were a "St. Louis" Rams fan. First off, you have to start with the premise that you can't truly replace a hometown team. But if you're looking regionally, I would recommend either the Chiefs or the Titans. The Titans look like an exciting, ascending team. Marcus Mariota is fun to watch. And like it or not _ and some don't because of the Clark Hunt relocation committee vote _ the Chiefs are Missouri's NFL team. Andy Reid is a good man, who once coached at Mizzou. And despite some bumps late in the offseason, their roster is stacked in most positions. But if you're going nationally, how can you go wrong with the Green Bay Packers? The tradition, the success, and publicly owned.
From what I can tell _ from halfway across the country _ Chargers fans are pretty bitter. It'll be interesting to see how many Chargers fans in San Diego still follow the team. It's an interesting dynamic because it's only 110 miles from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego to the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., the Chargers new home while Kroenke's palace is being built. That would be like the Rams moving from St. Louis to Columbia, Mo. But it's a big deal, of course, to the Chargers fans in San Diego.
If there are no physical setbacks, and he's ready to go by opening day, it shouldn't be a factor long term. That's not to say he won't be a little rusty early on the season (which could work to the Rams' benefit on opening day when Indy comes to the Coliseum.) I don't think Luck is anything close to being a bust. The guy's made three Pro Bowls and had the Colts in the AFC title game in 2014. The Colts' problems are with the defense and the offensive line _ not Luck