Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC West [Print without images]

Tuesday, August 5, 2008
On the record: Rams coordinator Al Saunders

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

 
 Getty Images
 Al Saunders expects TE Randy McMichael to have a "very, very, very profound impact" on the Rams' offense this season.

A recent visit to Rams camp allowed for an interview with new offensive coordinator Al Saunders. I asked him about the second and third receiving spots, the tight end position and keys for the offensive line. Here are his unedited answers:

How are the second and third receiving spots shaking out?

Al Saunders: Right now it's a battle all the way through the lineup. We have two young players we really like in Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton, but those guys have been hobbled up with injuries. They haven't been able to practice as much as we would like. So we haven't had a chance to really see them in a competitive environment. We like what they bring to the table and hopefully they'll develop into guys who will be very good players for us.

We have a large group of receivers competing for those spots. Dante Hall has had an outstanding training camp, Dane Looker has had an outstanding camp, Reche Caldwell is working very hard and he has done very well. Derek Stanley was on this team last year. It's going to come down probably to the last week of the preseason to know who those backup guys are going to be.


How do you feel about the tight end situation?

AS: Randy McMichael has been spectacular this training camp and I would expect him to have a very, very, very profound impact on our offense. He's done an extremely good job. Having Anthony Becht here has been excellent because he provides us with a real blocking dimension at the tight end position. Joe Klopfenstein is coming into his own. We feel that may end up being one of our strongest positions.

The offensive line was a mess last season. What needs to happen this season?

AS: The first thing is they stay healthy. We had a number of injuries last year that hurt this football team. We have got a couple, three guys coming off surgeries. We have to manage those guys, choose our best five and let them play together and get a rhythm together as one unit. That is probably the most important thing together with Orlando Pace's health. He is looking very good. Cardiovascularly, he's doing a great job. His shoulders look well. We're excited about the direction we're going. We just need to maintain our level of performance.