Mike Karney Q and A with The Original Herd and Zine
Monday, February 20 2012 @ 10:12 PM CST
Contributed by: Shaky
I'd like to begin by saying thank you to shaky and tony-sopRAMO for asking me to be apart of tonight. i feel honored to come on and talk rams football and football in general with all of "the original herd" and answer everything based on my experience of playing the game and playing for the rams organization for 2 years. with that, l plan on answering your questions with the mindset of "shooting it straight". i will not "sugar coat" my answers, in regards to the organization past or present, players, coaching or front office. my answers will be coming from what i saw as a player, and what i believe to be true. In no means whatsoever am i being bitter towards any of it. i was fortunate and lucky to have played as long as i did. Although, i will say, my time with the rams was far far too short. but nothing gives me more statisfaction than to help educate or give better "insight" to a game i enjoyed playing at the highest level. once again, thanks for having me on and i hope all of you enjoy!
SpagsVaney? by tony sopRAMo
Mike,Thank you again for doing this.I love your honesty.What was the atmosphere like under the past regime?Could you also elaborate on the Rock Gullickson comment about him throwing players under the bus.Disturbing, considering they retained him.Thanks buddy!See ya on Twitter. Follow Mike at @Karney44
the atmosphere all around the facility from a players point of view, was very uncomfortable. almost like you had to always watch what you said and what did no matter who was around. it didn't at all feel like a normal nfl lockerroom or facility should feel like. the weirdest thing for me was when we won a game, spags acted and wanted the staff to do the same, like we lost. but when we lost, it felt like we had won a game. just very very unusual and not normal at all from what the "norm" of the nfl is like. spags had players in the lockerroom as spys to tell him what guys were saying and doing. and we knew who they were and alot of us stayed away from those guys. same went with a lot of the staff as well. which brings me to gullickson. rock and i were together for 2 years in new orleans. and let me say he was a totally different guy when he was the strength coach there. he evetually could not withstand the pressure he was getting from spags on a daily basis, and also very insecure himself, gave in to the mold that spags was looking for. he was a guy who would go upstairs and tell on guys for what ever reason it was. WHICH IS A STRENGTH COACHES SIN TO DO. the weight room and lockerroom, are where players can be who they are. what i mean by that is, joke, laugh, talk trash etc...just a very a unfortunate situation that didn't make it at all to fun to be at work...
Mike, why is the Rams OL so soft? by ramsfaninmd
I appreciate you taking time to answer questions of some real Ram fans.
I have watched for years the Rams spend considerable money and draft high in the process prospects who are soft.
I do not expect you to address individuals, but the following players were the softest I have seen in years of watching football.
Rodger Saffold (2011)
Was it coaching (or a lack there of)? Players getting paid huge sums of money and checking out?
I am interested in your thoughts, because Spags and Devaney were fired due a great deal to the most overpaid, under-producing group of OL I have seen in the free agency era.
i wouldn't necessarily say they were soft. although every sunday thats what it looked like. i do believe that too many of them were "way over the heads" from a talent standpoint. steve loney was not very good at holding any of them accountable for there play. guys like goldberg, brown and bell, time and time again played bad game after bad game and nothing was ever said or done about it. jason smith was the only one until (i think this past year brown got benched) who was benched for bad play. i believe it was always worthy and i believe it had to do with that fact they drafted him #2 overall. i don't think he will be around much longer even with a pay cut that is much needed (to accomplish to make the moves necessary for the rams this offseason.) as u mentioned, spags and devaney were fired in the end, for alot of reasons but this being one of them for sure. coaches and sometimes front office personnel live and die by what they do or didn't do. along with steve loney, he never made it better from his position and he got it in the end as well. look for this group to be much improved in 2012
Steven Jackson by joram
Thanks for stopping to chat. I always appreciated your hard nosed style and your candor even more. I know Steven Jackson has compiled some nice stats but stats aside whats your opinion of him as a feature back?
well, steven has been the featured back for about 8 years now and i believe he has done an outstanding job of being just that. one of the things he lacked most when i arrived was his pass blocking skills. he very much improved in that area in the last 3 years no doubt about it. as for running and catching the ball out the backfield, i think his numbers speak for themselves. at the end of the day, i wouldn't want any other RB in the league to feature than steven jackson. a future HOFer for sure
Ramdom Thoughts :) by CraigMatson
Mike I appreciate your contribution to our Ram team the past few seasons. You played in a wide open system with the Saints and probably worked with one of the greatest play-callers in the league in Sean Payton.
Can you give us a sense of how his system broke down defences and how you would run a offence if you were a offensive coordinator ?
What was the most unusual play pro or college that you were ever a part of ?
I'm sure you may know we had a coach a few years back who had a obvious urge towards acquiring former Sun Devil players.
In 2004 the Rams drafted a Safety from Arizona St ( your same draft year ) named Jason Shivers who was thought of as a 'draft steal ' with a 5th rnd selection but unfortunately didn't quite make it in St Louis.
Was there ever a hint you would be drafted by the Rams or did you have an interest in coming to the team?
Any remembrance of Shivers you'd like to share ?
Sean payton is one of, if not the best at breaking down defenses. he is alot like what i heard from some guys that played under him in mike martz. the ability to see defenses weakness no matter where you are on the field is not all that usual with every OC out there. that's something special that you have to have in being able to see and watch film like that. it doesnt hurt that he has drew brees either haha. just like martz having kurt warner, very intelligent and accurate makes what ever plan/play, you put into place week in and week out work the way you want it to work. hours upon hours of film study definitiely separates the average coordinator to the great ones. all four of the ones i listed above were/are the best at that.
if i were a coordinator i would run the exact offense as jim harbaugh runs in san francisco(yes i said san francisco) i like the ball control run it down your throat throw when we have to approach. it's the best and very effective if ran the right way with the right personnel.
speaking of jason shivers we were teammates at ASU for 3 years. good college player with alot of upside that unfortunately didn't pan out for both him and the rams.
good guy though.
on draft day or leading up to the draft i had no inclination of who was gonna draft me or IF i was even going to drafted at all. i was just happy to be drafted and get an opportunity to play in NFL.
Comments regarding seattle game by ycramsfan
Mike always enjoyed u as playeer..i like urself expected alot more out of u in the offense. Looked to me that u lost time to a guy who at the time was much younger and seemed to have the better percieved abilty to help out in the short dump off passing game etc. You have been critical and i think its justafiable of the horrible game planning in the win and in game against the seahawks.. my only question to u is there were several short yardage attempts in that game that held us back as much as anything else..your thoughts on y we came up short,..and y not sj u th middle?..go rams,..miss ya karney
i did lose some playing time do to the fact the mike hooman was having a standout rookie year. he is very versatile and pat shurmur coming from philadelphia, loves more tight end play then fullback play. just look at andy reid in philly. uses alot of 2 tight end sets. my only problem with it was it made it seem as if i couldn't catch the ball. which is unfortunate because i could catch very well. i think it came down to hooman being a bigger guy in height and more effective than any other tight end i would give credit to :-) , in that heactually did a good job run blocking from the backfield. it wasn't great but it was respectable. his issue as you all should know is his health concerns, can he stay healthy? is now his biggest knock. not good with a new staff in place. as for the seattle game and our failed attempts in short yardage, i would say that the seattle defense made couple big stops and wanted it more up front. i think the crowd noise has alot to do with who has a better jump off the ball. in there case they had the advantage. i believe in 2010 we were 1st or 2nd in short yardage conversions the whole year. the sad part is when we needed it most we didn't get it done. as to why we stopped running the ball all over them like we were doing the whole 1st half? i would put that on the coaches or as a matter a fact the HC playing not to lose. when i visited with seattle to potentially sign there after the lockout they asked me the same thing...go figure. just be thankful, which i know you are that fisher is in place...
Broadcasting by tony sopRAMo
Hello Mike,I read where you are going to try to break into broadcasting.There are some Broadcasters that I absolutely can't listen to.Thank goodness for the mute button.My question to you Mike is who are some of the Broadcasters that you like?Thank you for your time,Tony
my favorites are mark schlereth and trent dilfer. past players who have a ton of knowledge and tell it like it is...not all do that in broadcasting. i use the mute button alot myself :-)
Fullback by sean
Enjoy your style of play.
Do you consider yourself officially retired or do you have a desire to get back in the league? Also, why do you think pure FBs tend to have longer careers than players in other positions? How much of this is driven by the fact that players in this role seem to take longer to learn the position vs. other positions?
i am officially retired. would love to play again but not one to hang on either. the FB position is dying in todays game as you see every sunday, i even ask myself what teams even use one anymore? but i think guys who learn it and play it longer is because it's not an every down position. less physical tole on the body do to the fact that teams who use them and use them right only play 20-30 snaps. as to why its easier to learn it? is because its less skill and more want to than anything. yes an FB needs to block and block well but not all want to run into linebackers all day. an FB must be able to catch and catch consistently and when you find one that can do both block and catch they will be around a lot longer than any other position because other positions require alot more skill
What's your opinion of Bradford? by Atlantic Rams
Should the Rams hitch their wagon to him?
Honestly, I thought his stats were a little elevated in 2010 but he was still lights out as a rookie. It seemed that when they took the kid gloves off and let him throw it around a little more late in the 2010 season, he struggled pretty good. And of course he struggled throughout the 2011 season.
I realize he could use better protection, more playmakers and some continuity in offensive scheme, however, I think Bradford enters 2012 with some questions. What do you think?
Thank you for your time.
i think its fair to stay that bradford will have some questions to answer in 2012 no doubt about it. he needs to get back to 2010 and i think he will do that under fisher's offensive philosophy. i think some of the things he needs to improve upon besides his mechanics, accuracy and pocket awareness is his leadership skills. his body language i feel is his biggest to improve on. speaking up and being more vocal is another. i like sam and i think with the right coaching and scheme he will be successful. he has no alternative but to do so.
Best Tackle? by ScRAM
Thanks for stopping by the best Internet Rams fan base in the world!
What was you most memorable tackle & why?
ScRAM aka Scott
my most memorable tackle was when i was 7 years old. my dad had always taught me that when someone is faster than you, you should always take an angle at them and more often than not you will catch them. so here i was at 7 years old playing against kids 8 and 9 years old and i didn't play much my first year except for a little offense and a little defense and a lot of special teams especially on kickoff. so here i go in our last game playing against one of the better teams in our division and the opening kickoff there fastest kid breaks loose and im the only one left to catch him. so what did i do? did what my dad told me and took and angle and made the tackle. i got up so excited that i was crying and my dad asked "why are you crying?, i said because i did what you told me and i cant believe i did it" haha..good old days
Mike, thanks for.... by Ram23
spending sometime in our Original HERD pasture of RAMS fandom, this is a very loyal and dedicated group of fans so I know they appreciated it.
Actual team experiences and first HOOVE knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes from someone who played the game is priceless to fans so again, thanks for taking the time.
Most of the HERD will probably ask you more technical questions relating to X's and O's and organizational stuff, so I'll dwell on a more kick back fan curiosity area not so deep of a scenario for my question.
Giving us an overall picture can you tell us what lt is like to actually play in the St.Louis dome in comparison to the other NFL stadiums around the league. What is the enthusiasm level of the RAMS fans at the dome on game days, the noise levels, the luxury of the dome etc ?
Thanks Mike, I hope you can come back to The Original HERD of Dedicate RAMS Fans whenever you have some free time so you can share some more insight and experiences about our HORNS.
RAM23 aka Phil
playing in edward jones dome was quite the experience. i've played there on both sides of it. my first 2 years in the league i played there when i was with the saints. in 2004, the rams were still of old and let me tell you that place was LOUD. man what an experience. then in my 2 years as a ram i would say it was a bit of a different experience. maybe not as loud but some of the best and truest fans i've seen for sure. i definitely enjoyed my time there and think the edward jones dome is a great place to play. i think it will only get better in the near future.
Haslett, Payton and Spagnuola by Bucky
Thanks for visiting.
How would you compare those three coaches?
Why did you not play in 2011? You were playing very well at the end of 2010.
haslett drafted me and love his approach. he is a defensive minded HC who loved old school players. he played the game which helped when you played for him. he understood the day to day grind of a player. his downfall was he didn't always hold everyone accountable for there actions. Sean is an offensive minded guy who everyone respects in the lockerroom. he held everyone accountable all the time. great leader and great at getting you ready to play week in and week out. spags well i dont have much to say about him except hes a better defensive coordinator than HC.
Since you are so unfiltered I think you'll actually answer this, by Les backer
I wasn't going to ask and have been tossing it around for a few days, but since you speak your mind freely I figured this is a chance to hear it from someone who might tell the truth, or have an idea of what is close to the truth.
We've seen PED use in pretty much every sport skyrocket over the years, its just flat out polluted sports in my opinion. I've always had the mindset that about 4 out of 10 guys are using something like HGH or some other undetectable performance enhancer.
What is your opinion of PED's, the penalties in place in the NFL and what do you think the percentage of players using them actually is?
Well, i'd say PEDS are a problem now and will always be a problem in pro sports. they were a problem back in the day but they didn't test for them. i couldn't put a percentage on who an what guys are taking. I know HGH is a big one but it is undetectable and to me it's not a PED. plus, there are so many other supplements these days that guys can take and are taking that are a better route in part to health concerns and testing positive like they would for a PED. i think guys in the NFL more so test positive for things they truly didn't know was in the supplement they were taking. a lot of supplements dont have put all of what is on the label do to the fact that it's not approved by the FDA. the only problem i have is that guys get tagged as testing positive for a ban substance when they truly weren't trying to cheat. it puts a bad name on them and who there playing for which is unfortunate.
Hi Mr. Karney by RustyRay
I was thrilled when the Rams signed you and figured it would be a huge factor in the running game hitting its stride. It was no suprise that you and my current favorite Rams player Steven Jackson hit it off.
To me the traditional FB is a must have position, and a top FB can provide an O with so many different options and little things that go un-noticed. What were your favorite parts of playing FB?
In your opinion why is the FB position being phased out? And what makes a top fb in todays game? Why arent more teams using them and developing them?
It would seem to me that a top notch FB could make almost as much of a difference in different ways then a top TE can...what is your opinion on that?
Thank you for your time.
The FB position is being phase out in todays game for sure. a large part of it is do to the college game changing so much. the spread offenses are not just being ran in college but also at the high school level as well. it's i guess the epidemic of today as was the "wing T" back in the day. plus TE's are so much more versatile now a days that you are seeing teams use them as wide recievers aka jimmy graham, gronkowski, aaron hernandez. the ideal FB i would refer to and who is a personal friend of mine, is vonta leach of baltimore. he is from the old school who is in a great system with a HC and OC that likes a guy that does what he can do. another problem is not alot coaches like to use them anymore. the start of the playoffs this past season, 9 of the 12 playoff teams ran one or had one. so the position is still there but not as much like 5-10 years ago.
The best question you'll be asked in this Q&A , by Ramsrule
Before I ask it, I want to thank you for taking some time out of your schedule for The HERD! We're greatly appreciative.
Now onto what most players love to talk about..... knocking the crap out of the guy lined up opposite of you. Can you give us your top 3 most memorable blocks (they don't necessarily have to be devastating), and why they stand out in your mind?
Thanks again and take care...
my most memorable blocks as a pro there were alot but the ones that stand out are....pancaking derrick brooks my rookie year. future HOF linebacker. pancaking roy williams of dallas my rookie year. and my 3rd year there were just to many to name. but as a ram every block i made and hearing big JACK run past me was the most fulfilling every time it happened.
Culture of the Rams by ferragamo79
Thanks for taking time out your schedule to drop by The Herd.
The Rams have really struggled over the last 7 years or 8 years. They have one winning season since 2001 and 15 wins over the last 5 years. Meanwhile, it seems some team like Seattle and Arizona have had some ups and downs, but they still seem competitive. What do you think some of the bigger issues are and (have been) with the organization that have made them such a poor team? Do you think Fisher can address them in a realistic time frame?
Again, thanks for your time and best of luck to you in the future.......F79
great question....i think it always starts at the top. ownership. i don't think the ownership in the past has been at its best. and what i mean by that is who they have hired to "run the show" i think at times there has been too many people at the "table" giving there advice as to what should be done. weather in picking a new GM, HC, or player acquisitions, i don't think in the past its been in the best interest of the organization. NOW...with Kroenke in place as the sole owner i think the rams with hiring of jeff fisher, will get back on track and on track in a hurry. mind you, there will be some bumps in the road but i think you will see more and more of consistent competitive football then in the recent pass.
Terrell Suggs by Bucky
When you were at Arizona State, did you realize how good he was? He seems to be as good now as ever. He must have been a pain to try and block in practice.
same guy as he is now...but better. terrell and i came in together as freshman and i knew after the first practice he was destined for greatness..my job as fullback in practice every time the 1st offense went against the 1st defense? CHIP him and chip him every pass play, cause our tackles COULD NOT BLOCK HIM.
Thank MK 44 by ycramsfan
Couple of short questions, .....you had options when leaving the saints, ...why did you choose the rams? ..What is your opinion of Jason Smith as a football player minus the concussions, ..same question for Jacob Bell, and to round it out, was the rams oline coaching staff that poor? ..If time allows, give us your opinion on the incoming coaching staff of the rams..thanks for your time and effort, ...Go Rams
i chose the rams because of the offensive philosophy that spagnuolo was planning on establishing on offense. i was told by him on my trip that he wanted to immulate the giants offense. which never really happened. plus, the chance to block for steven jackson a future HOFer was very enticing as well.
jason smith minus the concussions? is way over his head. Not gonna make it but i hope he proves myself and alot of others wrong. jacob bell could be a lot better but to me doesn't look as he cares to much at being the best he can be. The new staff? won't stand for any of this and will get it better and right for sure...
that is it everyone. i am signing off for the night and believe i answered every ones questions to the best of my knowledge. i appreciate everyone's questions and hope i gave you the insight and "straight forward" answers you were looking for. hope to stop by again in the future but if not, it's been fun. i wish my time with you all would of been a lot longer. either way, you all should be very excited about the hiring of jeff fisher and what type of football he is going to bring to st. louis. You should expect a lot more Ws, division championships, playoffs and super bowls under his watch. i will be watching from a far and hoping for the absolute best for the players i know that are still there and the RAMS FAITHFUL! "we acquire the strength in which we have overcome" ALL THE BEST!!
Follow Mike on Twitter @Karney44