49ers Clubhouse 

Around The NFL

October 11, 2002

by James Parrott
Clubhouse Staff Writer

The St. Louis Rams previous three years of offensive production gave people an excuse to overlook their often glaring weaknesses.
In recent years St. Louis have drafted offensive linemen John St. Clair, Cameron Spikes, Kaulana Noa and Andrew Kline and failed to develop even one of those players adequately. Only St. Clair remains. A college center, St. Clair was thrust into the lineup as the starting right tackle without any live experience and found that they were in trouble almost immediately.
If the Rams continue to lose games then they will be in position to draft the linemen that they will need next year. Three of five starters and free agents next spring including struggling guards Tom Nutten and Adam Timmerman. Also last years three draft picks are having little impact, especially the two defensive tackles.

Chicago are paying the price for their lack of playmakers at defensive end and cornerback. Beyond R.W. McQuarters and Philip Daniels, the Bears have little to worry opposing quarterbacks, witness the pummeling they received from Brett Favre and Green Bay.

The situation in Cincinnati is beyond a joke. Essentially the Bengals drafted Akili Smith to pay him a fortune and to ruin his career in the NFL. And considering who is playing quarterback for them now, why did the Bengals staff even bother to sign Gus Frerotte? And who could seriously think that a career backup could turn a decade long loser into a winning franchise?

The Jets have found that playing a system taken from elsewhere more often than not does not work. Especially if you do not have the personnel. Note to NFL defenses: if you are going to use the Cover 2 defense then it is an absolute must that you control the line of scrimmage, a la Warren Sapp et al.

Pittsburgh can only gain from replacing Kordell Stewart as the starter. In his eight year he still isn’t even a solid quarterback.

Bad free agent signings thus far:

Hardy Nickerson - Green Bay. Consensus around the league is that he’s finished.

Sam Cowart - NY Jets. Looks nothing like the player he was before he tore his achilles while playing in Buffalo.

Organizational gaffes:

Minnesota Vikings. If you have the second pick you pay him less than the first and more than the third guys taken. Ditto if you pick seventh. Pay the man (OT Bryant McKinnie) the amount he gets based on his draft slot. Idiots.

New York Jets. Paul Hackett is a rotten playcaller. Ted Cottrell is an excellent defensive co-ordinator. They both have bad units on the field. Green Bay Packers, amongst others. This does not affect them as badly now as it will after the season. But with teams with worrying depth shortages and holes in their respective lineups, how can you be in such bad shape salary cap-wise as the Pack and others figure to be.

Over hyped:

Jeremy Shockey - NY Giants TE; It’s early I know but people got a little carried away when hyping the former Miami star.

Washington Redskins; Those star linebackers have done nothing. The passing game under Steve Spurrier has been hampered by the personnel.

Pittsburgh’s defense; 3-4! Zone Blitz! Oh dear! A spread offense and quick passes! 1-3 is the result.

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