NFC West: Matt Turk

An update on the Rams' youth movement

March, 29, 2012
The St. Louis Rams' list of unrestricted free agents got a little shorter Thursday when longtime punter Donnie Jones reached an agreement with the Houston Texans.

Jones, 31, was generally outstanding for the Rams during five seasons with the team. He was twice a second-team Associated Press All-Pro selection.

Teammate Steven Jackson has called Jones the one Rams player he thought most deserving of the Pro Bowl.

The Rams have yet to re-sign any of their UFAs, no surprise as they break from the past and generally seek to get younger.

The Rams signed punter Tom Malone this offseason. Malone has spent time with New England, Seattle and San Francisco without playing in a regular-season game.

Dave Zastudil, Brad Maynard, Mat McBriar, Matt Turk and Daniel Sepulveda are among the UFA punters without contracts.

The chart lists the Rams' UFAs and their statuses. Brandon Lloyd and Chris Chamberlain were the only ones to sign elsewhere before Jones reached agreement with the Texans.

I'll be surprised if the Rams' new leadership re-signs more than a couple of the players listed. Most are older players. The Rams currently have the youngest roster in the NFL, slightly younger than those for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers has the transcript from an "uncomfortable" exchange involving offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The interviewer brought up the allegedly "fair" competition for the quarterback race, only to have Martz shoot down the premise this way: "First off -- let me tell you this. Let's get this straight. There's nothing fair about this league." The interviewer acknolwedged Martz, who then said: "All right? If you establish yourself as an incredible player within a quarter of a game, that's just the way it goes. There's nothing fair about it. Understand that, first of all. OK?" OK.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee also has the transcript. Barrows considers Martz and quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan to be kindred spirits. Martz on O'Sullivan: "What he's done so far is taken an opportunity and made the most of it. To say that I expected him to be this good -- I'd be lying to you."

Also from Barrows: an in-depth look at the 49ers' linebackers. He thinks Tully Banta-Cain makes the team, but only barely.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals brought in punter Waylon Prather for a tryout. Dirk Johnson is the punter. Last November, the Cardinals brought in Chris Gardocki, Tom Rouen and Mitch Berger for tryouts. They visited with Matt Turk in March. They previously released Mike Barr and Scott Player.

Earlier from Somers: Kurt Warner gets the start in the final exhibition game.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Dante Hall is really looking forward to playing against the Chiefszzzzzzz ... whoa, Dante nodded off for a moment there. Actually, Hall could not care less about playing his former team in a meaningless game.

John Czarnecki of Fox Sports takes a big-picture look at Mike Holmgren and the Seahawks. This is a good read. Czarnecki calls Holmgren the game's finest 9-to-5 coach. The "5" part is an exaggeration, but Holmgren has always said he reaches a point of diminishing returns if he works too late.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Lofa Tatupu probably will not play against the Raiders in the Seahawks' final exhibition game. I would be stunned if Tatupu played. Fans should take it as good news that Tatupu's knee injury won't keep him out of the regular-season opener.

Frank Hughes of Seahawks Insider says quarterback Charlie Frye could play in the final exhibition game Friday night. That's good news for Seattle. A knee injury forced Frye out of the game Monday night.

Also from Hughes: Tyler Schmitt apparently has the back of a 60-year-old man, unless coach Mike Holmgren was exaggerating. Either way, Schmitt is out for the season. That's why the Seahawks brought back 38-year-old snapper Jeff Robinson today.