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St. Louis Rams

Defense may be improved with additions by subtraction

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Posted: Saturday July 21, 2001 1:30 PM

  • 2001 schedule
  • Head coach: Mike Martz (second season, 10-6-0 career)
  • Stadium: Trans World Dome
  • Rams all-time record: 456-420-20
  • 2000 rankings: Offense, 1st; Defense, 23rd
  • 2000 team statistics
  • 2000 season results
  • Rams alerts from CNNSI.com!
  • City Page: St. Louis, Mo. 

    St. Louis opens its training camp at the University of Pacific in Stockton, Calif. on July 25.

    By Rich Loup, CNNSI.com

    In a whirlwind offseason, the Rams added linebacker Mark Fields (2.0 sacks) and cornerback Aeneas Williams (5 interceptions) to the NFL's worst scoring defense. St. Louis also revamped its defensive coaching staff and traded defensive end Kevin Carter. Will all these changes make a difference on Sundays?

    The Rams can make the playoffs if the defense jells and Kurt Warner (3,429 yards, 21 TDs, 18 INTs, 11 games in 2000) stays healthy (untested Joe Germaine as the backup). St. Louis retooled its defense, highlighted by the trade of the disgruntled Carter (10.5 sacks) and drafted heavily on defense, taking three defensive players in the first round.

    Pivotal games: The Rams don't play consecutive games on the road or at home, and there's no particular stretch that's daunting. Monday night games against Tampa Bay and New Orleans and the season finale against Indianapolis could be difference-makers.

    Up-and-coming: St. Louis drafted Miami defensive tackle Damione Lewis 12th, Arizona State safety Adam Archuleta 20th and Ohio State defensive tackle Ryan Pickett 29th in the first round. With a defense in flux, the Rams would love to see all three step in and contribute immediately.

    On the hot seat: Clearly, the focus is on the defensive coaching staff, which never seemed to find answers last year after giving up points by the boatload. St. Louis was last in the league in points allowed (29.4 per game) and Martz fired coordinator Peter Giunta, two other defensive assistants and special teams coach Larry Pasquale.

    Sports Illustrated's season preview will post Aug. 29.

  • NFC West Previews: Falcons | Panthers | Saints | Rams | 49ers

    St. Louis Offseason Movement
    Signings  Departures 
    O.J. Brigance, LB  Taje Allen, CB 
    Don Davis, LB  Ray Agnew, DT 
    Mark Fields, LB  Kevin Carter, DE 
    London Fletcher, LB  Steve Everitt, C 
    Frank Garcia, C  D'Marco Farr, DT 
    Az-zahir Haikm, WR  Trent Green, QB 
    Kim Herring, SS  Tony Horne, WR 
    Tyoka Jackson, DE  Mike Jones, LB 
    Cedric Jones, DE  Keith Lyle, FS 
    Leonard Little, LB  Todd Lyght, CB 
    Jeff Wilkins, K  Shevin Smith, SS 
    Aeneas Williams, CB  Chris Thomas, WR 
       Roland Williams, TE 

    Rams' 2001 Draft Picks
    Rd.  Overall  Player  Pos.  School 
    12  Damione Lewis  DT  Miami (FL) 
    20  Adam Archuleta  Arizona St. 
    29  Ryan Pickett  DT  Ohio St. 
    42  Tommy Polley  OLB  Florida St. 
    83  Brian Allen  OLB  Florida St. 
    116  Milton Wynn  WR  Washington St. 
    129  Brandon Manumaleuna  TE  Arizona 
    145  Jerametrius Butler  CB  Kansas St. 
    197  Francis St. Paul  WR  Northern Arizona  

    Related information
    Dr. Z's NFL Power Rankings
    The NFL in '01: Ten faces in new places
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