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July 25, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Nick Wagoner

Nick Wagoner
  (1:01 PM)

Good afternoon, Rams fans. Training camp is finally upon us. Let's get to work before we really get going.

HammyRammy (Chicago)

What are the biggest starting position battles that will take place in camp?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:03 PM)

Honestly, things are a bit different this year in that I don't see a lot of competition for starting spots. Now, the depth chart isn't settled and there will be good battles toward the end of the roster but as for the starting 22, it seems fairly settled. I think wide receiver has some sorting to do though Austin and Givens will play a lot. After that, injury is the most likely thing to force a battle for a starting job.

KJ (Va) [via mobile]

Hey Nick, longtime reader first time writer. Anyway my question is about Isiah Pead. I know he gets a bad rap often in these kinds of webspaces but my question is why hasnt he gotten the on-field opportunities as usually given to a 2nd pick. Even Quick gets on the field enough to mess up learn from it and improve. He has a small sample size and I was wondering is he just not getting it done at practice, was he not picking up the play book, or did some of his early immaturities land him in the doghouse. Thanks

Nick Wagoner
  (1:04 PM)

I think it's a combination of things, KJ, but much of it is from the immaturities you mentioned. He has won some of that back for his willingness to help on special teams but the problem is that he got passed up in the meantime.

Mike (Victoria BC)

Hey Nick,Last season the Rams offense in preseason was very "vanilla" as Fisher called it. Do you think they need to add a flavour or 2 this preseason? Took 4-5 games to determine they could not play wide open then changed the emphasis to the run. Seems to me they might have wanted to try a few more things in preseason and they may have found that out sooner.

Nick Wagoner
  (1:06 PM)

Being vanilla in preseason is nothing new. I think that's how most teams approach it. But based on who the Rams are trying to be offensively, it's probably unwise to expect them to open up and be something that they aren't. Last year was more of a difference from who they tried to be offensively in the opening four weeks. This year, if you see some relatively vanilla stuff in preseason it probably won't be a major departure from what they become in the regular season.

JD (Oregon) [via mobile]

Hey nick! You have mentioned in the past that tavon Austin will be used all over the field including the backfield. He had over 600 yards at WVU coming out of the backfield. Is it crazy to think he could get some touches other than end arounds?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:06 PM)

Not crazy at all. In fact, I'd expect it.

jj reno nv [via mobile]

Nick, I just booked tickets to the opener against the Vikings. Any local restaurants that are a can't miss you could reference me too.

Nick Wagoner
  (1:08 PM)

Lots of good stuff around STL, depending on what you want and where you're staying. For BBQ, I recommend Pappy's or Bogart's. For italian, go to the Hill and explore the various options. Lots to choose from. Pi for pizza is also a popular local favorite.

Desmon/ St.louis [via mobile]

Keeping the Rams schedule in mind, how realistic is it that the Rams take a step forward this year and make the postseason? Do you believe this team has a chance?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:10 PM)

Does it have a chance? Yes, I believe it does. I don't think it's completely out of the realm of possibility it could be a playoff team. Especially if they have some luck in terms of health. The question for them is pretty simple, can they turn all that potential into production? It's a bit unrealistic to think that all of those young players can do that but if enough do and they get a bounce or two, they could be right in the mix. I'm still tentatively going with 8-8 but I wouldn't be shocked if they made a move.

jj reno nv [via mobile]

Nick, what 3 players are you most looking forward to see in pads ?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:12 PM)

Aaron Donald and Greg Robinson are easy choices, no? I'll add the other forgotten addition to the mix, too, with DL Alex Carrington. He's sort of the forgotten man in the DL mix.

joey (brooklyn)

do you think Dubar will be suspended at all? i really hope not i dont know if alot of people noticed but we couldnt stop anyone from running the ball while he was off the team the beginning of last year...IO he is our only Run Stopping LB and the Def isnt the same w/out him....you agree?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:14 PM)

Based on the details that came out and the fact that he's being charged with a misdemeanor, I tend to think he won't be disciplined further but I also would be naive to even try to guess what the commissioner is going to do in terms of punishments with any player. I don't think he's the only run stopping LB on the roster but he's definitely the most physical presence they have at the position. They still need much more from him than they got last year if he retains his starting job.

kyle (evergreen park, il)

with, in my opinion, ray rice getting a pretty lenient suspension for, well, you know, what do you think Josh Gordon will receive?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:15 PM)

Well, the expectation all along is that he's going to miss the full season. But you have to differentiate between suspensions that are part of the CBA and those that are more flimsy like the collective bargaining agreement. There's not much wiggle room in Gordon's case.

Jeff (NY)

Even though the Rams are saying that Mason a change of pace guy, if Stacy gets off to a slow start, any chance that Mason is the starter by week 3-4?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:17 PM)

I don't foresee that but I suppose it's not out of the question. People have undersold the way Stacy attacked his offseason -- perhaps I'm guilty of this as well -- but he is in really good shape and really worked in the offseason to make himself better at picking up the blitz and catching passes out of the backfield. In other words, he's more well rounded. Mason has a lot of work to do on some of those details before he can claim the job.

Jeff (NY)

Do you think the Rams will have a top 5 starting defense this season?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:18 PM)

I think they have the pieces to be that but I need to see the secondary improve before I'm willing to take that bet. I will say this, if the defense is top five, this team's chances of contending goes up dramatically. Since the offense is still such a question mark, having a top 5 defense can cover for a lot of holes. There's a lot of talent on that side of the ball and there's a lot of belief in Gregg Williams around here. My guess is that somewhere between 8-10 would be more realistic but top five isn't out of the question.

Jack Fenton (Windsor, Canada)

Kind of off topic question, but did you hear about the Dolphins starting Shelley Smith at center? A little odd isn't it? The guy has never played center. Do you think he has what it takes to pick it up? Thanks

Nick Wagoner
  (1:19 PM)

I didn't hear that but I actually like the idea. Smith was always undersized at guard and he's at his best on the move where he can use his quickness. I wouldn't be surprised if he picked it up pretty well. He was average at best at guard so maybe a move to center really gets him going.

Brad Freeman (Elgin, IL)

What role do you see Benny Cunningham playing this year?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:21 PM)

It will be interesting to see where he falls. The Rams are high on him, more than many realize, but he's also got stiff competition in Stacy, Mason and even Pead. It'd be good for him to win the kickoff return job as a jumping off point and then work his way into the mix on the offense.

Jack Fenton (Windsor, Canada)

Hey Nick, I know he's only had like 1 practice this offseason, but how did Alexander look yesterday? Did he look like he was far behid the curve? Did he look like he had a bounce in his step? Or significantly rusty? Thanks

Nick Wagoner
  (1:21 PM)

Really hard to say based on just a couple practices with the rookies. I'm sure there's some rust there but on the bright side, he seemed to be moving around just fine.

Jonathan (Seattle)

Hey Nick - How soon do you expect Greg Robinson to become the Rams starting left tackle?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:22 PM)

I'd say probably two years from now but if Jake Long suffers another injury this year, maybe to start 2015.

DaDuke [via mobile]

Will the rams d line be able to pick up the slack of the secondary

Nick Wagoner
  (1:23 PM)

I believe they are banking on the D-line to help cover up some of the warts that might exist in the secondary. It's part of the aggressive approach of Gregg Williams where the corners don't have to cover as long and the D-line can get home.

Shea muller (Michigan)

I'm excited about all the drafted rookies, including Lamarcus Joyner. What are the Rams expectations of him by opening day? I doubt he'd crack the starting lineup by then, but will he get much PT? More CB than safety? Thanks!

Nick Wagoner
  (1:23 PM)

I fully expect Joyner to be the team's primary nickel corner. Which means a lot of snaps.

chillwillEYEam [via mobile]

What would be more of a "distraction", Michael Sam making the team or him not making the team?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:23 PM)

Neither.

Ed (Queens Village)

Who is going to be backup QB?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:23 PM)

Shaun Hill.

HammyRammy (Chicago)

Do you think Greg Robinson will be a dominant guard once he gets used to the NFL life?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:24 PM)

I expect him to be a difference maker in the run game right away. As a pass protector, even at guard, it's probably going to take him some time but you can tell all the physical tools are in place for him to have success and he's got an excellent line coach guiding him.

Larry (Glendale, Ca.)

Do you agree that Pead is a better receiver than the other RBs? How is his blitz pickup?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:25 PM)

Honestly, none of the running backs stand out much in blitz pickup. They all need to be better there. As for receiving, I think that's an area you could see Pead get some work this preseason and camp. Your thought that he's the best might be correct so if he can handle it and show some chops there, it's probably his best shot at some offensive snaps.

Joe (New York) [via mobile]

I know I big topic of conversation this off-season and going into camp has been Bradford. But, I honestly don't know what else the Rams can do at this point but what they currently have decided to do with him. This a team that is built to take the next step in progression. Is he worth his salary? To me that's not the question. What is the alternative? Get a mid level guy and give him the reigns. Stat all over at the qb position and draft a college kid with no experience? Unfortunately, guys like Wilson don't grow on trees. I believe durability is an issue with Bradford, but besides this concern, he has proven to be a competent qb and I think is the best alternative the Rams have at this stage of their development. Thoughts?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:27 PM)

Wait, is this a fair and measured take on Bradford? I think it is. Joe, it's hard to disagree with much of what you say. Is Bradford the long term answer? I don't think we know the answer to that question yet but we can all agree that this is the year we need to find out. But your point about handing it over to a rookie in year 3 of this program is right on. The Rams had no intention of starting a rookie at quarterback in the year they've been targeting for a breakout. It could undo all the work and time they've put in to getting the other young players much-needed experience.

B. Jones (Dallas, TX)

Does a wideout explosion seem to be looming in St. Louis? Do you think that Kenny Briit will surpass the other receivers on the depth chart? Or do you think Brian Quick will end camp as the breakout receiver who will get most of Sam Bradford's attention this season?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:29 PM)

Explosion? Probably not. I just don't see where any of these guys will have a monster, breakout season where they post 1,200 yards and a dozen touchdowns or something like that. But they also don't necessarily need someone to do that, either. The offense isn't built that way. If they could find a couple of guys to get to 800 yards or so, that would be progress and a good sign the offense is working how they hope it is. As for the spot opposite Givens and Austin, I think Britt is the favorite right now since Bailey isn't available but let's see how things go when the pads finally come on next week.

Malik Bowen (Texas) [via mobile]

If none of the wide recievers break out or show significant improvement this year, can you see the Rams drafting a wide reciever in first round next year?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:30 PM)

If none of them do, you'd have to think that's an area they would take a long look at.

Mike (Victoria BC)

With Long being out for most of the preseason, what is the plan for LT in the games? It makes more sense to keep the other 4 starters in their positions doesn't it so they can gel. Which would mean that Saffold stays at RG. Or do you have Roger play there with the starters and then play some RG with the 2nd team? And is the reason they may limit Sam somewhat in preseason?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:31 PM)

Don't know the answer to that one just yet but will as we get closer to preseason games. I think they'd like to get Saffold as many reps as possible at his position -- RG -- but you bring up a solid idea. Why not use Saffold at LT when Bradford is in the game to ensure he's protected during preseason. And yes, the Rams will pick and choose their spots with Bradford.

joey (brooklyn)

did harvy dahl every wind up signing anywhere? i know at one point there was talk of bringing him back if we had an issue

Nick Wagoner
  (1:31 PM)

To my knowledge, he is still a free agent.

joey (brooklyn)

I look back on alot of recent teams to win the SB..balt..obviously Sea had Reed Pitt had Troy hell even the Saints were 2 totally diff teams when they had darren sharper compared to when they didnt..i think it has become the most important position on Def slightly edging out a pass rush DE and I think if we had gotten Byrd our D would have went from very good to exceptional and had a chance to be great...I know its late for this talk but im sure greg Williams having Darren Sharper knows how important that position is, we must of had the cap room because we were in the running what was th reason they didnt pull the trigger? at the time wasnt the belief they were gonna go after HAHA Dix? it Obviously wasnt so what do you think happened there? and do you agree with me that type f ball hawk combined with our great pass rush would of made us atleast top 3 def in the league maybe even higher

Nick Wagoner
  (1:33 PM)

Simply put, the Rams didn't view Clinton-Dix as that type of player. He might have been the best safety in the draft but that doesn't make him worth the 13th overall pick. Obviously, he ended up going a bit later so other teams felt the same. A ball hawking safety would be great for this team and that's a position that could still use an upgrade but none of the safeties in this year's draft seemed to qualify. Also, in Williams' scheme, he seems to prefer bigger, more physical safeties.

chillwillEYEam [via mobile]

Think sjax returns to form? You think he regrets leaving?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:34 PM)

It's rare for older RBs to "bounce back" after a down year so while I think he can still produce, I wouldn't expect much. As for leaving, probably not. I think both sides agreed it was best to part ways. I still expect him to do the ceremonial retiring as a Ram thing when the time comes.

Rich (New Jersey)

Hi Nick - I enjoyed your article about Aaron Donald and he should be starting in week one, what rookies in camp have the potential to make the starting line up by week one?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:36 PM)

Even if Donald doesn't technically start, I expect him to play and play a lot this year. As for others, Greg Robinson is the only other rookie I expect to start week 1. Joyner might technically start but as the nickel back.

Kory (FL) [via mobile]

Is Mo Alexander healthy and ready to go?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:37 PM)

Yes. He returned to the practice field Tuesday and Wednesday. He's been cleared from offseason knee surgery.

Kyle -IL [via mobile]

Rams had a bad case of the sophomore slumps last year. Which sophomore do you see building off their solid rookie campaign? Stacy/Olgetree/Bailey?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:38 PM)

I expect all of them to, actually. Bailey was the one I really believed in and his suspension was a big mistake because it could cost him a lot of opportunity but those three all showed signs that they just got better at their rookie seasons went on so I expect more from all of them in year 2. The Rams do also.

John Robinson (Springfield, MO)

Hey Nick, any Camp Heroes we should be keeping our eye on? I remember Andrew Hemlick from last year was a fan favorite.

Nick Wagoner
  (1:38 PM)

Ha. Well, if we want to stick to the theme, how about T.J. Moe?

Sam (KY)

Saw the other day that the Rams are starting camp at WR with Givens as X and Austin as Y. Do you think moving Austin outside will help, hurt, or do nothing to his numbers?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:39 PM)

Don't put much stock in these "depth charts." But yes, Austin will play outside more and move around quite a bit. That's what he was doing when he found some success late in the season and it should continue as this year arrives.

duke / stlouis [via mobile]

Does rayray have a chance to start

Nick Wagoner
  (1:39 PM)

He could push for the job, yes. If he doesn't, they'll find ways to get him on the field occasionally.

Kyle [via mobile]

Is there anyway that Bates could see playing time at OLB this season? I like him on special teams alot, don't know if that will transfer over to the defensive side of the ball or not. Thanks as always.

Nick Wagoner
  (1:39 PM)

I don't expect him to play much, if at all, on defense. But he'll still be a special teams stalwart.

Jjenkz Lockdown (Chicago)

Let's talk Janoris. The man is a stud. What does he have to do this year to build off of his rookie year performance?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:40 PM)

Consistency is the name of the game for him. He needs to figure out when it's OK to take chances and when he needs to make the safe play. I'm curious to see how Gregg Williams' aggressive coverage approach helps Jenkins. In theory, it seems to suit his game.

J Heat (Chiraq)

From following Janoris Jenkins, he seems like he isn't as dedicated as other players on the team but has the talent. Do you see it that way and that his work ethic and desire might be lacking?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:41 PM)

I actually don't see it that way. Jenkins has had his share of off the field issues and I realize that what he puts out on social media may not be what fans want to see but one thing that has always struck me about Jenkins is his love for the game. Now, I have no idea how he spends his off seasons but work ethic has never been an issue with him.

Hammy Watkins (Chicago)

Hey Nick- any cause for concern with Greg Robinson not being able to grasp the playbook?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:43 PM)

Too much was made of that. Way too much. I wrote the story. I spoke to him for 15 minutes during OTAs and I found it refreshing how honest he was about the adjustment to the NFL. He's changing positions and he's learning an entirely different offense. That's not easy. He's a rookie who should be going into his junior year at Auburn. I'm not making any promises on how he pans out but he deserves a chance to learn.

Dan (St. Louis)

Which WR has the best chance to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:43 PM)

I suppose my answer would be Givens but I don't expect any of them to.

chillwillEYEam [via mobile]

What are your thoughts on Greg Reid? He and Joyner together again can reap similar benefits for us to what Arizona has with PP and honey Badger in terms of familiarity and keeping his nose clean

Nick Wagoner
  (1:44 PM)

Reid has an uphill climb to make the roster.

Brandon- Warwick, RI [via mobile]

Does Jeff Fisher and the Rams management really see Sam Bradford as the QB of the future in St.Louis? You would think with a young team like they have, using a potentially non toxic QB would be a better way to go. Bradford hasn't done anything in St.Louis. To me he seems like a glorified Jamarcus Russell.

Nick Wagoner
  (1:44 PM)

They see him as the quarterback of the immediate future, as in 2014. After this year, we'll know more and see where they really stand. And to compare Bradford to JaMarcus Russell is absurd. Flat out absurd.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

How has Michael Sam looked on the field so far? And what are your thoughts on Dungy"s comments?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:47 PM)

Looks faster than he did in spring but he said he lost 13 pounds in that time so that makes sense. Honestly, I don't have many thoughts on Dungy's comments. After he clarified the comments and put some context behind them, it seemed like he was saying what most were saying when the Oprah Network docu-series was in play. However, I'd greatly prefer if people stopped using the word distraction as some sort of catch all to keep from owning their feelings.

Eric (Atlanta)

Any insight into the Rams or America's Center game plan once the dome lease expires?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:47 PM)

There's nothing new to report there. I still believe we are a ways away from any sort of resolution on the dome which means probably going year to year on the lease for a bit.

LAChamp (Los Alamitos, CA)

Nick, is it more likely that Mo Alexander replaces Mcleod than Joyner since Fisher & Snead have said he has the skills to play the safety position? I understand the late start, but how hard can it be to pick up a defense in 3 months? Hasn't he had a playbook since the draft?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:48 PM)

Alexander has a lot of catching up to do so it's probably not likely he jumps into anything just yet. But eventually, yes, I think that's reasonable. And Fisher has been consistent in saying Joyner is most likely to be used as a nickel corner. He did some safety in the spring but only because of the injuries to other safeties.

John Robinson (Springfield, MO)

Think Gilbert beats out Davis for that coveted 3rd QB slot?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:48 PM)

If there is a third QB spot, yes, I think it's Gilbert's to lose.

Gene (Manteca CA)

Nick you need to start a contest before the season so we can pick a name for our defense I think they are going to be awesome!!!

Nick Wagoner
  (1:49 PM)

I'm a big fan of good nicknames but let's see the defense follow through for a few weeks before we start handing them out.

Luke (West Coast Rams Fan)

Hello Nick. Thanks for keeping us Ram fans up to date. In my opinion there is no better source for Rams news than what you bring. Am I seeing this picture correctly. It seems the Rams have a huge amount of talent at D-line AND a lot of high potential rookies there also. While its a nice problem to have. I look forward to seeing this play out in training camp. Do you agree What are your your thoughts on how many we keep including practice squad

Nick Wagoner
  (1:51 PM)

I think you have 8 guys on the roster right now who are basically on the club. Then you have some intriguing guys for a possible ninth spot. Michael Sam, Ethan Westbrooks, even Deantre Harlan. That will be one of those fun battles to watch when we get into the third quarter of preseason games.

Todd C. (Rantoul, Illinois)

I'm a Bradford fan, I consider last year a fluke injury. I also remember quite well Bradford not doing bad in the stats cat. (considering the running game didn't get started til after he went down.) Do you believe Bradford can be an elite QB now that we have a running game established with a better OL ?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:53 PM)

The word elite should be reserved for the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys of the world. So no, I don't expect Bradford to be an elite QB. But I think Bradford can be effective and the Rams can win with him under center.

Mike (Canada)

Nick should we expect lots of Greg Reid returning kicks in preseason. That's where he will make his mark for the first year anyway don't you think?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:53 PM)

I wouldn't count on a first year. But returning kicks and punts might be his best way to potentially win a roster spot.

Gene (Manteca CA)

Nick do you think Jake Long will be ready by the third preseason game?

Nick Wagoner
  (1:54 PM)

The Rams still seem to think so. I have my doubts though he looked better in spring than I anticipated.

Lloyd (Texas)

Nick, if Mo Alexander becomes starter, would he be the starting FS or would he be the starting SS? I know TJ McDonald use to play some FS in college but it was in a Tampa 2 scheme. I'm just asking because the backend of the defense is who will make the defense rocket to the top of the league after the DL wrecks havoc.

Nick Wagoner
  (1:55 PM)

The Rams don't view safeties as FS or SS so it might not matter. I think if those two were on the field you'd see Williams do a lot of mixing and matching in their roles.

Jake (Wentzville) [via mobile]

Hey Nick, what's the competition at RB going to look like? Is it mainly a competition for 2nd string between Cunningham and mason or is everything really up for grabs? Thanks

Nick Wagoner
  (1:56 PM)

I'm not sold on the open competition talk. I know Schottenheimer said as much but that's pretty common at that time of year. I do think Mason and Cunningham will push for carries but I'd be surprised if Stacy isn't the starter barring injury.

marco (seattle/ st.louis)

With the rams easily being in the toughest division in the nfl. Where do you think we rank against outside teams..

Nick Wagoner
  (1:57 PM)

I think if the Rams were in a different division, especially a few in the AFC, they'd be considered favorites to win it or go to the playoffs. They manhandled some good teams outside the NFC West last year. It's unfortunate for them that they have to deal with the West but the good news is that they'll be ready for anything when they don't see Arizona, Seattle or San Francisco.

duke / stlouis [via mobile]

Why not pick up ed reed or james harrison as a leadership role on the defense

Nick Wagoner
  (1:57 PM)

Because they can't play any more?

William Morris (STL)

Nick, do you think the rams did enough in the secondary to improve from last season. Who starts at Free safety??

Nick Wagoner
  (1:59 PM)

Technically, aside from adding Joyner they did nothing in the secondary which would mean the answer is no. But they did bring in a new defensive coordinator and they made a good D line better which should help the secondary as well. And, like many positions, they are betting on improvement from their young players. There are reasons to think things will improve back there but a wait and see approach is warranted, in my opinion.

Alex (kc) [via mobile]

Aside from the rams, who is your dark horse nfc afc team to make the super bowl this year... may a surprise team or 2?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:00 PM)

It's early but I like the Bears to improve enough defensively to be a dangerous team in the NFC. On the AFC side, it's a bit harder to go against the grain but I'm intrigued by Tennessee as a potential sleeper right now.

Rocknram [via mobile]

Michael Sam, what are his chances?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:02 PM)

He's going to have to earn it but there's a path to the roster for him if he follows it. The Rams have kept nine DL under Fisher and Snead and they have eight spots pretty much sewn up. But that ninth spot is a battle amongst Sam and some undrafted rookie types. If he can do well on special teams and shows some pass rush potential, he could make it. It's no guarantee, far from it, but it's also not the long shot that some seem to believe.

Jeo (El Paso, TX) [via mobile]

Hey Nick first time asking a question, love the chats though. Do you think that all this media attention will give Michael Sam an edge over other rookies in the final roster cut?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:03 PM)

No. I don't think Jeff Fisher operates that way. But would it be naive to think that it might not serve as some sort of tiebreaker if it's close between he and another player? I think it probably would.

Jason (STL) [via mobile]

Statistically what would make Bradford's season a success? 3500 30/10? Or is it all about wins at this point?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:04 PM)

Wins matter most. Those numbers would certainly be a success and I'd think wins would go with them. But if the Rams get the job done and take the next step, his statistics will be secondary.

Frank Guzman (El Paso, TX)

The biggest question to me is how is the Rams offense going to get better without the addition of any proven difference makers? Will the maturation of their core weapons really come to fruition? Will Bradford improve and stay healthy enough to be a reliable NFL QB?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:05 PM)

That's a fair question, Frank. The Rams are banking on maturation of many players, not just at WR. The whole team's success depends on it.

Mike (Canada)

More egregious act , smoking pot or knocking a woman out cold. Terrible message from Goodel in my opinion. Your thoughts?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:06 PM)

I think anyone with a brain would agree with you. I obviously do. But part of the problem here is that it goes back to the CBA. Drug testing is collectively bargained, there's little gray area. Personal conduct is more random. That's a problem that needs to be discussed and Goodell should have used his authority to come down harder on Rice, no doubt, but hopefully this spurs the discussion to take out some of that gray area on player punishment. And we're still waiting on a punishment for Irsay.

Rainman (STL) [via mobile]

How many wins are Kapernick and Wilson worth? As in if they went down for the season, how would that reflect on their teams?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:08 PM)

Quite a few. Both teams would take a big hit if they lost their QBs, just like most (not all) would. I don't know an exact number but I do know both those players have a knack for making big plays to bail their teams out and without them, it would be tough sledding. Even with good defenses and run games in place.

Mark (Missouri)

Nick, do you think Sam Bradford will play in all 4 preseason games and will practice in all training camp sessions?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:09 PM)

Jeff Fisher says he's full go so they could do that if they want. And I think he'll get the bulk of the work but I also think they'll pick and choose some spots to give him some rest also.

kyle california [via mobile]

What do you think of udfa Johnny Millard and also the recent pick up pat schiller. Will they make the team and if so how much playing time do you see them getting

Nick Wagoner
  (2:10 PM)

Rams have some openings for depth at linebacker but I think both players you mention will have to really show well on special teams to have a chance. Long shots.

Clint (North Carolina)

I actually have a great feeling about our team this year. However,with all the hype about Sam Bradford and how this is his "Make or Break" season, if he doesn't perform to expectations, how long do you think his tether will be?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:10 PM)

You mean in season? They'll stick with him so long as he's healthy unless he really really lays an egg consistently.

Malik Bowen (Texas) [via mobile]

Any chance Cody Davis gets a real chance to play the safety position. He had intriguing speed and could be turned into a ball hawk.

Nick Wagoner
  (2:11 PM)

Don't think so. But injuries can change things. That's how Rodney McLeod got a starting job last year.

Ben S (Columbia SC)

Nick Scott Wells was considered a top 100 player when he signed. Has it been the injuries that slowed him down or is he starting to lose it. Any chance that B. Jones gets significant reps this season.

Nick Wagoner
  (2:12 PM)

Well, it's mostly been injuries. He's played fairly well (for the most part) when healthy but that has been rare. I think Wells is still in the driver's seat for the job but another injury could obviously open the door.

LAChamp (Los Alamitos, CA)

Talk about Etienne Sabino, is it likely he makes the team? Is he still eligible for the PS?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:13 PM)

Don't know much about him honestly and he was fairly nondescript in OTAs. Probably a long shot. He is PS eligible.

Tony (Portland OR)

with so many injury risk on the oline what do you think of the depth when we have injuries.Thanks

Nick Wagoner
  (2:14 PM)

They are largely unproven on the OL behind the starters. Joseph should provide a solid backup. Tim Barnes has a little experience which should help. But otherwise, the Rams have guys like Jones, Washington, Person, Hooey, etc. who still have to prove themselves.

Willy [via mobile]

If Sam doesn't make the team, I see him as a practice squad member. Do you think there will be a significant negative reaction if that happens?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:14 PM)

Only by people who don't understand how the NFL works.

c_good (Washington, DC)

I'm actually a fan of Isaiah Pead, based almost entirely on his college highlights, but is it safe to say the Rams would be better off if they'd taken LaMichael James (who was available) with that pick? And do you have any sense of why they liked Pead better?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:16 PM)

What has James done in his career? Honestly, the Rams should have done what they probably would have done if they hadn't been worried about recouping the fifth round pick they'd traded for Brandon Lloyd. Which is stay where they were (at pick 45) and drafted LB Bobby Wagner. That's not 20/20 hindsight, that's the player they really liked and they moved down instead.

c_good (Washington, DC)

I'm a bit hazy on Mo Alexander's role/position. Seems like he's a SS, but I've seen some people refer to him as a FS candidate. What's your take? Is he going to be a special teams guy and spell McDonald, or do you think the Rams staff sees him as someone to push/maybe replace McLeod?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:17 PM)

Contribute on special teams and see where he fits on D after that. Again, Rams don't view safeties as SS or FS. I wouldn't be surprised if he pushed for playing time at some point but that point probably not anytime soon.

c_good (Washington, DC)

What happens if James Laurinitis gets injured? How had of a spot will the Rams be in, and wouldn't Dunbar make the most sense to play in the middle?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:18 PM)

Yes, Dunbar would likely handle MLB duties. Rams would obviously miss Laurinaitis. He's the leader of the defense and underrated in his role in terms of getting guys lined up and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Dave (So-Cal)

Any word on Jake Longs current condition or status?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:18 PM)

Nothing has changed. Rams still optimistic he'll be ready midway through preseason. We'll see.

Brandon (DC) [via mobile]

The team currently has 9 CB's on the roster. Having young talented guys like Gaines, Reid, and Roberson to round out the bottom of the depth chart isn't all that bad of a problem to have. Between the aforementioned youngsters, McGee, Woodard, and Pointer which guys do you see sticking with the final 53 (aside from Jenx, Tru, and Joyner of course)?

Nick Wagoner
  (2:20 PM)

First of all, Pointer is no longer on the roster. Rams didn't bring him back. My early prediction (which I reserve the right to change) is that the CBs to make initial 53 are Jenkins, Johnson, Joyner, McGee and Gaines. I wouldn't be surprised if they kept a sixth but for now, that's my expectation.

Nick Wagoner
  (2:21 PM)

All right, time to get some work done. Thanks to all for the questions. Back next week when we can actually talk about real, live football. See you all then.