Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Strauss: How the Rams Should Market Themselves

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Strauss: How the Rams Should Market Themselves

Article excerpt

The Rams, it would seem, sorely need assistance branding themselves this season.

Sure, a franchise on deck for relocation could embrace the Mayflower's Team theme, but that might be a bit in your face for a franchise admittedly struggling to draw 40,000 for Sunday afternoon's season opener. AFLAC could neatly dovetail in an allegedly lame duck season; however, marketing contacts inform me the insurance company's mascot is already overexposed.

As for in-house options, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles remains too new.

Any reference to last season's pregame protest by the receivers' "Hands Up" crew ... too soon.

The Rams' 53-man unit seemingly offers a secondary story against a backdrop of off-field intrigue.

Forget how first-year offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti incorporates Tavon Austin into his scheme. Sunday's first watch will be for Rams principal owner Stan Kroenke.

Does the Silent One show?

Will Kroenke's entourage of Escalades leave tracks over unaware fans during its tire-screeching turn-in off Cole Street?

Will Post-Dispatch beat guy Jim Thomas draw close enough to be "Heisman'd?"

Face it: To command a pulse, these Rams must defy marketing convention. Rather than elevate playmakers, they should fixate on those whose jerseys go unsold and whose names draw attention only when on the wrong end of a penalty flag or some other "negative play."

Make 2015 the year of Five Guys.

The Rams' great experiment this season involves a renovated offensive line that projects rookies at left guard and right tackle; a fourth-year, undrafted free agent at center; a right guard who began the exhibition season on the line's left side; and a high- ceiling left tackle still considered a work in progress in pass protection.

Jamon Brown, 68. Rob Havenstein, 79. Tim Barnes, 61. Rodger Saffold, 76. Greg Robinson, 73.

The quintet sports 76 career NFL starts, 60 belonging to Saffold. Only Saffold and Barnes are older than 23. Of five backups, three (Darrell Williams, Cody Wichmann and Andrew Donnal) are rookies. Redshirt center-guard Demetrius Rhaney is entering his second professional season without having ever played an NFL snap. Tackle Garrett Reynolds, 27, is an elder lineman. Fair to say Cignetti's offense rises and falls with this bunch.

The Rams badly need an identity up front.

Since Orlando Pace, the Rams' last All-Pro lineman, left town after 2008, the team has employed 22 starters in 31 combinations on the offensive line.

During the last 16 months the Rams have selected seven offensive linemen -- eight if one counts supplemental pick Isaiah Battle. The Rams spent four picks total from 2009-13 on the O-line.

Robinson is the second No. 2 pick the Rams have turned into an offensive lineman. Unfortunately the first was spent on Baylor's Jason Smith, whose notoriety derived from concussion issues and an aborted attempt at "borrowing" Albert Pujols' game hat from his Busch Stadium locker. …

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