This off-season for the Rams is, to this point, reminding me of the events early in 1999. For starters, the Rams previous seasons were both messes and the team needed an overhaul. Like 1999, John Shaw has been very active in directing change. Dick Veremil was coerced into firing coaches then and Scott Linehan was told to re-tool now.
Mike Martz was the coordinator that came on board in 1999. Now, it's Al Saunders who runs a version of Martz' offense which was actually Don Coryell's offense. Charley Armey had been brought on board to help Vermeil and the oragnization in finding talent. Now, those duties belong to Billy Davaney. I like the fact that Shaw had addressed the need for a dominant influence in the area of personnel.
What remains to be seen is how many diffference makers the Rams add this offseason. They'll never match the crop from 1999. I doubt there's anyone in free agency or the draft that can have the impact that Marshall Faulk did. And, the Rams added Adam Timmerman in free agency plus drafted Torry Holt and Dre Bly. The Rams need minimum three impact players for 2008. Four would be a major haul.
So far, a productive off-season but the critical part is just beginning. Devaney's prediction that the Rams can do a 180 in 2008 is tied to what the team does in free agency and the draft.
Speaking of the draft, one defensive coach at Rams Park tells me that Glenn Dorsey, the defensive tackle from LSU, and Sedrick Ellis, the defensive tackle from USC, are guys who could not only help the Rams immediately but are "worthy" of the number two overall pick. He believes the addition of either of those guys coupled with the picks of Adam Carriker and Cliff Ryan last year would make the Rams nasty versus the run.