St. Louis Rams: Darnell Dockett

Morning Ram-blings: All due respect

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
8:00
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- For any Will Ferrell fans out there, stay tuned for Ricky Bobby references. If you prefer the Ferrell of "Land of the Lost" vintage, well, maybe we can't be friends.

On Monday afternoon, outspoken Arizona defensive lineman Darnell Dockett offered some interesting comments on the Rams' offensive line and, by extension their offense at large. Per azcentral.com Cardinals reporter Kent Somers (@kentsomers), Dockett offered the following take after playing the Rams on Sunday:


Now, nothing Dockett said there is really outrageous. The Rams have a long way to go before their offense can be considered elite in the league. The same applies for an offensive line working together for the first time.

What Dockett said is more funny than offensive and I'm sure the Rams probably aren't taking it too seriously (though it may appear on a bulletin board or two in early December), particularly given Dockett's penchant for saying off the wall things.

The comments are more amusing than anything for a couple of reasons:

1. Dockett stuck to the time-honored tradition of adding some sort of pre-emptive caveat before offering a little jab. In this case, he didn't opt for "I'm just sayin'" or the caveat of choice for Will Ferrell's Ricky Bobby character in "Talladega Nights." In that movie, Ferrell's character has an exchange with the sponsor of his racing team in which he emphasizes the phrase "with all due respect" before going on to denigrate an idea his boss had. He then engages in an argument in which he proclaims he's allowed to say anything he wants because he started with the "all due respect" precursor.

Dockett opted to go with "no disrespect" before, of course, offering a somewhat disrespectful statement.

2. All due respect but Dockett was nowhere to be found against the Rams on Sunday. In unofficial pressbox statistics, he had one tackle and not much else and the Cardinals had no sacks in the game. The folks over at Pro Football Focus graded Dockett's performance as one of the worst individual outputs by any player in the league in week 1. They gave him a minus-8.2 overall grade only a year after he opened the season with a 9.8.

The good thing for Dockett and the Rams is that they'll get a chance to renew acquaintances when the teams meet again on Dec. 8. Bottom line, Dockett's Cardinals had a very winnable game sitting right in front of them and they couldn't get the job done. Perhaps a sack or two might have made a difference. It sure did for the Rams.

I.C.Y.M.I.

Our roundup of yesterday's stories from right here in this space. ... We started the day with a look at the Rams' rookie class, how many snaps its members played and the production the Rams got from that group against Arizona. ... From there, we had our first "Upon Further Review" where we hit on four hot issues coming out of the Rams' season opening victory. ... Next, we offered a look at Rams QB Sam Bradford's emerging habit of leading the Rams to fourth quarter comebacks. He's done it in four of the team's past nine games with three wins and a tie mixed in there. ... Running back Isaiah Pead will return this week and the opportunity is still there for him to contribute if he can take advantage of it. ... That Rams offensive line Dockett took a slight shot at earlier in this column? It hasn't allowed a sack in three straight games dating to last year. It's the first time a Rams line has done that since 1973.

Elsewhere:

Over at stltoday.com, Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz offered some leftover takes on Sunday's game. In it, Miklasz touches on the struggles of Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan and discusses Finnegan's struggles in coverage going back beyond Sunday's season opener.

In the same corner of cyberspace, stltoday.com's Jeff Gordon provided his good, bad and ugly observations from Sunday's game and Bryan Burwell provided a video look at the Rams' two biggest stars from Sunday: TE Jared Cook and DE Robert Quinn.

#NFLRank: A full NFC West accounting

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
1:40
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Fifteen San Francisco 49ers and 13 Seattle Seahawks helped the NFC West account for a disproportionate number of players listed in the #NFLRank project from ESPN.

Sixty-three voters helped rank 100 top players on each side of the ball. NFC West teams accounted for 20 players on defense and 16 on offense. The 36-player total works out to 18 percent representation for the NFC West, above the 12.5 percent expectation for any division.

The chart shows where NFC West players ranked on each list. I shaded offensive players in gray to better distinguish the rankings.

The 49ers' Patrick Willis and the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald have long been perceived as the best players in the division. They've got additional competition, but those two ranked higher than anyone else in the NFC West.

There were sure to be oversights in a project of this scope. Defensive end Calais Campbell of the Cardinals stands out to me as the most glaring one. I might have placed him between Patrick Peterson and Chris Long in defensive rankings as they stood for this project.

Three Seahawks cornerbacks earned spots on the list even though one of them, Antoine Winfield, reportedly could be released by the team Saturday in the reduction to 53 players Saturday.

A quick look at ranked players by team:

San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis (3), Aldon Smith (10), Justin Smith (11), Vernon Davis (18), NaVorro Bowman (18), Joe Staley (25), Mike Iupati (32), Frank Gore (37), Colin Kaepernick (42), Ahmad Brooks (56), Anthony Davis (60), Donte Whitner (64), Michael Crabtree (78), Anquan Boldin (83) and Jonathan Goodwin (92).

Seattle Seahawks: Richard Sherman (8), Earl Thomas (17), Percy Harvin (26), Marshawn Lynch (27), Brandon Browner (46), Russell Wilson (47), Russell Okung (49), Kam Chancellor (49), Max Unger (57), Bobby Wagner (67), Winfield (70), Cliff Avril (74) and Chris Clemons (85).

St. Louis Rams: Long (40), James Laurinaitis (57), Jake Long (61), Cortland Finnegan (63).

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald (7), Patrick Peterson (19), Daryl Washington (59) and Darnell Dockett (79).

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