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Jeff Fisher says Rams are interested in Mark Sanchez

Mark SanchezMark Sanchez was officially released by the New York Jets last Friday, and the backup quarterback market is already buzzing. At the NFL’s owners meetings on Sunday, Jeff Fisher confirmed that the St. Louis Rams are interested in Sanchez.

“I’d say that there is interest. I can’t say how much. But there certainly would be interest,” Fisher told Jim Corbett of USA Today Sports. “I don’t have a backup with experience on the roster right now.”

Rams starting quarterback Sam Bradford tore his ACL back in October, and the only other quarterback St. Louis has on its roster is Austin Davis (who?). Sanchez also spent three seasons working under Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in New York. The Jets reached the AFC Championship Game twice during that span, so there is some level of comfort between the two.

“Brian had a good relationship with Mark,” Fisher said. “He’s just learning. He’s been to the AFC Championship game a couple of times, so he’s been there.”

Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last year, but that is not the reason he did not start for the Jets. They were already prepared to move on after Sanchez proved he cannot consistently protect the football — not that he was surrounded with much talent.

Say what you will about Sanchez, but teams could do worse for a backup quarterback. Experience is important, and the former USC star has plenty of it. He may never start again, but he should serve as a more than capable reserve.

Rams owner bought 60-acre plot of land in LA, possibly for football stadium

Stan KroenkeSt. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased a 60-acre plot of land in the Los Angeles area that many are speculating is large enough for him to build a football stadium as a possible new home for his football team.

Both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that a holding company tied to Kroenke purchased the land earlier this month. The land is located in Inglewood, close by the Hollywood Park racetrack and across from the L.A. Forum, which is the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings.

The land is 60 acres and was originally purchased by WalMart, but the city blocked them from putting in a super store. The land has been unused ever since and was just sold to the company tied to Kroenke.

Though the Post-Dispatch frames the news in the context of the possibility of the Rams moving to LA, The Times’ Sam Farmer gives several reasons why it might be unlikely for the Rams to move to LA.

First, there are several obstacles to overcome with building a stadium in the area. There are already locations by Staples Center and the City of Industry that have made huge pushes for acquiring an NFL team, so they would use a lot of pressure to stop such a move. Secondly, even though the plot in question is 60 acres, there might not be challenges to find enough room for parking to accommodate tailgaters.

There are several other obstacles against the Rams moving.

They would have to receive approval from three-quarters of the NFL owners. They would have to pay a relocation fee, most likely in the nine-figure range. They would need to obtain all the proper permits and financing for such a construction project.

And then there is everything in St. Louis that would need to be taken care of. The Rams have a contract with the Edward Jones Dome, which is their current home, that requires the stadium to be in the “first tier” of stadiums (top 8 of 32) by 2015. If they’re not, they would be able to leave the city or go year-to-year on a lease. The Rams would have to prove that the city has not shown a willingness to work with them to keep the team. So far, St. Louis has demonstrated efforts to use public funds to improve the stadium. However, the spread between what they have offered and what the Rams want or would need to improve the dome is in the hundreds of millions.

Now I could just be totally off here, but it’s my educated guess that this story was planted by Kroenke’s side in an effort to scare St. Louis into stepping up and agreeing to spend more public money to keep the team. Isn’t it curious that stories were published minutes apart in both the LA Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the same day? Why did these newspapers just happen to come across the same exact story tip minutes apart? It seems to me like some strategic move by Kroenke.

Also, it’s important to note that Kroenke builds and develops WalMart-anchored shopping centers around the country, so there’s no certainty that the land is even intended for a stadium.

Brett Favre reportedly turned down offer from St. Louis Rams

brett-favre-vikingsBrett Favre has not played in the NFL since he was with the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. Apparently that did not stop the St. Louis Rams from thinking the Ole Gunslinger can still get it done.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Rams reached out to Favre on Sunday night after Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury in a loss to the Carolina Panthers. The 44-year-old declined.

There were initially rumors that the Rams were interested in Tim Tebow, though that clearly was not the case as I’m sure Tebow would have been more than willing to sign with St. Louis.

During a radio interview on Thursday morning, Favre confirmed there was interest but said there’s “no way in hell” he’s making another comeback.

“It’s flattering, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to do that,” he told SportsTalk, via the Washington Post. I can honestly sit here and say I don’t go ‘I want to do that’ or ‘I feel like I could do that better.’ I leave that up to other people. I think if anything the last year I played was an obvious, writing-on-the-wall vision for you, if you will. It was time.”

So what’s more surprising, the fact that the Rams were reportedly willing to take a chance on a 44-year-old quarterback who hasn’t played in three years, or the fact that Favre turned them down? He’s only come out of retirement, what, 13 times? The Rams’ front office must have taken what Favre’s agent said recently a bit too seriously. I think he was just trying to compliment his client.

St. Louis Rams have embraced the ‘smack cam’ social media trend (Video)

Cortland-Finnegan-Chris-Long-smack-camFor those of you who haven’t seen it, “smack cam” is one of the latest — and most violent — trends that is sweeping the world of social media. Basically, smack cam consists of people whacking their friends in the face with any item that is readily accessible and posting a short video of it on Vine. The St. Louis Rams are fully on board with it.

Defensive end Chris Long was smacked in the face with a plate of whipped cream by cornerback Cortland Finnegan during a recent interview with NFL Network. According to Long, Finnegan is the one who started the war. But the video you see above may have been payback for this:

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Marshall Faulk still feels Patriots cheated to beat Rams in the Super Bowl

Marshall-FaulkIt has been more than five years since the New England Patriots were caught videotaping their opponents’ signals, but there are plenty of people who are not ready to let it go. Marshall Faulk is one of those people, as the former St. Louis Rams running back feels he was personally affected by the spygate scandal.

On Tuesday, Faulk spoke with CSNNE.com’s Tom E. Curran and said he is never going to be over getting “cheated” out of a championship.

“Am I over the loss?” Faulk asked. “Yeah, I’m over the loss. But I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl. That’s a different story. I can understand losing a Super Bowl, that’s fine … But how things happened and what took place. Obviously, the commissioner gets to handle things how he wants to handle them but if they wanted us to shut up about what happened, show us the tapes. Don’t burn ‘em.”

Members of the media were shown the tapes before they were destroyed, and from what we hear they were exactly what you might think — the Patriots videotaping opposing coaches giving signals. The more Faulk ranted, the more it became clear that he still believes the Patriots taped the Rams’ walkthrough prior to the Super Bowl back in 2002.

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Steve Smith: Rams players talked during practice about wanting team to move to LA

steve smithThere has been speculation over the past year that the St. Louis Rams could eventually move back to Los Angeles. The agency that operates the Edward Jones Dome rejected a proposal for improvements that was submitted by the team. The two sides are beginning arbitration and, if improvements are not made to the stadium, the team could break its lease and move.

Rams players were well aware of the possibility that the team could be moving to Los Angeles, and wide receiver Steve Smith says he and other teammates would be excited to see that happen.

While speaking on a “Blogs with Balls” panel Friday about the possibility of the NFL returning to LA, Smith was asked if Rams players would be interested in playing in LA. He said with certainty that they would want to.

“Oh I know so,” said Smith. “We talked about it all season long. We would be out literally in practice — during practice — talking about playing in LA. Honestly.”

A candid Smith revealed the types of things teammates would say to each other.

“How nice would it be to be practicing in LA? Just go to the mall after practice in LA. It’s such a beautiful day in LA all the time.”

Early in the panel discussion, Smith spoke in reverential terms about LA when asked what would make the city so attractive to a football player.

“Los Angeles is so attractive. All the people that are out here, all the celebrities. The celebrity that you get from playing for the LA team. All the hookups that you’re going to get — you’re going to go to restaurants and clubs, get clothes. I played in New York, so I saw the big town, the media. There are so many eyes on you it’s a great opportunity.”

Yes, Steve Smith is all about the hookups. But don’t you worry — he certainly did NOT ever capitalize on any hookups while attending USC! Rams fans have to be thrilled to hear this from one of their players.

Robert Griffin III accuses the Rams of playing ‘dirty’ and ‘unprofessional’

One of the many changes we have seen across the NFL as a result of the replacement officiating crews is players complaining about dirty play. Rookies typically don’t say much during their first professional season, but Robert Griffin III apparently felt as though the Rams threw enough cheap shots at him last Sunday that saying something was warranted.

“I remember one play,” Griffin said according to an Associated Press report. “After the play, the guy said, ‘We’re going to hit you every play.’ I said, ‘Isn’t this football?’ It’s nothing that I’m not used to. It was extremely weird the way they went about it, though.

“They were doing a lot of dirty things. I still think they have an extremely good team, that doesn’t take anything away from them, but the game was unprofessional. Who am I to talk? I’ve barely been a pro for very long, but from what I experienced against the Saints compared to that game, it was definitely unprofessional and it does need to be cleaned up.”

RG3 thought the Rams had made it a plan to target him in their practices all week, but he stopped short of getting into any talk about bounties.

“I don’t want to tip-toe the lines of anything that’s happened with bounties or anything like that, but they were definitely going after me,” he said. “They made it a point, obviously, all week to hit me. Some of the shots were cheap of that nature. But it’s nothing I can control. Teams are going to try to hit me because they don’t think I can take a hit. I think I’ve proved over my career that I can.”

Trying to hit a rookie quarterback early and often is not a new strategy. Griffin has the ball in his hands for a number of run plays as well as throws, so the Rams likely wanted to do anything they could to rattle him and make his inexperience show through. Veterans have also complained about their opponents playing dirty this year, so perhaps it is the result of the replacement officials not having control over the games. Still, it’s surprising to hear a rookie speak so candidly about it.

Photo credit: Matthew Emmons-USPRESSWIRE