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Evaluating Sean Mannion's Prospects With The Rams

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Sean Mannion is looking forward to his future in St. Louis. What will he encounter with the Rams?
Sean Mannion is looking forward to his future in St. Louis. What will he encounter with the Rams?

Oregon St.'s Sean Mannion was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft last weekend. He was the 4th quarterback taken overall. The Rams had already traded once heralded but multiple times injured Sam Bradford to Philadelphia (and Chip Kelly) for Nick Foles, which leaves some room for uncertainty about coach Jeff Fisher's vision going forward, and what it might mean for the record setting former Beaver as he begins to negotiate his future as a pro.

We got with Charles Martel at Turf Show Times, the SB Nation site that covers the Rams, to discuss Mannion, and assess the situation.

You can read my thoughts on Charles' questions here.

Charles also had some great insights about what Mannion will encounter in St. Louis.

BTD: Do you expect Sean Mannion to wind up as the backup quarterback? Or the 3rd stringer for his first year?

TFT: I think he will likely be the backup, with an eye toward being the starter of the future. That will remain to be seen, but that seems most likely at this point.

The biggest question is that Nick Foles contract will be up after this next season. If he replicates 2013's success, he will be due a long and lucrative contract, which the Rams will probably give him, thus relegating Mannion to long term back up status. On the other hand, if he bombs, Mannion may get the starting nod sooner, rather than later.
BTD: Nick Foles is no stranger to Oregon State fans, but most wonder about  Mannion in a system that will be initially designed for Foles, who is about as different from Mannion in terms of physical tools and stature as possible. What is Jeff Fisher thinking of? How do you see him managing the quarterback position?

TFT: I have to respectfully disagree that they are very different. Many are saying that Sean Mannion is a Nick Foles clone. Whether they mean that as a complement or insult, I know not, but I do think it is apt. I see their style of play to be very comparable. Both will excel in a run-heavy, play-action offense. Air Coryell Lite, if you will.

BTD: It sounds like the scheme and situation will minimize the differences then.

TFT: The quarterback position for the Rams has been a mess these last few years, with Bradford's twice torn ACL and the likes of Kellen Clemens, Shaun Hill and Austin Davis filling in. Through these trials, Jeff Fisher has shown a willingness to bench quarterbacks who are struggling and to give a very long leash to those who are performing. In short, it is all up to Foles...if he does well, Mannion won't see the field this year.
BTD: The Rams have assembled some promising talent on the offensive line. What do you see as the general game plan for moving St. Louis up in the very tough NFC West, where San Francisco [may] take a step back post Jim Harbaugh, but Seattle is looking as stout as ever after back to back trips to the Super Bowl, and Arizona has been trending up for a while now?

TFT: Smash. Mouth. After smashing the mouth, stomp on their face and insult their mother. Easier said than done in the hugely competitive NFC West, but that remains the plan and despite some ugly overall records these last years, the Rams have been very competitive within the division.
BTD: Not unlike at Oregon St., the issue of a good running game being a big assist to any quarterback is part of the story with the Rams as well. Tell us a little about what we should expect to see to compliment the future of the quarterback position in St. Louis?

TFT: A very big part of the story. Todd Gurley is the future of the Rams at this point. Obviously, we are hoping his ACL tear was an anomaly that is quickly healed ala Adrian Peterson. If that is in fact, the case, the Rams can look forward to having a premier back who is a threat by simply being on the field. If that is not the case, the Rams still have Tre Mason, who is starter quality in his own right, with Benny Cunningham as a solid change of pace back and then Trey Watts and Chase Reynolds for depth; two guys who have a lot of potential. The running game will happen, regardless.

BTD: Finally, Jeff Fisher is known of as a defensive oriented coach, and is also somewhat under pressure to produce. What is your assessment of how successful he will be, or can be, at getting the Ram offense going? And is there a risk to Mannion of Fisher not being around to see him through the multi-year vision Fisher had to have in drafting Mannion?

TFT: Sometimes, I think Jeff Fisher is more cut out to be a general manager as opposed to a head coach. He often seems more adept at picking talent and developing it, than he is utilizing it on the field. He is very defensive minded and sometimes, to a fault. Our defense is loaded to the gills with talent and with his hand picked DC Gregg Williams in full charge next year, the defense could be legendary. The offense has been neglected though as this years draft class showed...nearly all offensive players. None too soon, I might add. Jeff Fisher coached teams have never been offensive juggernauts and I don't expect the next few iterations of the Rams to be any different. All he asks of his offense is to score a few points and let the defense get some rest. That can be a winning formula and that is quite likely what we are about to witness.

I don't think Fisher is going anywhere soon. The Rams may be headed to Los Angeles, but not with a new head coach. He is safe for at least two years.


Thanks, Charles! Great info.

BTD readers will surely keep an eye on TFT as the year progresses to keep tabs on Mannion.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com