Former Ram London Fletcher speaks highly of Rams 2015 roster


London Fletcher was one of two players to make the St. Louis Rams 53-man roster during the 1998 season. That year Fletcher would play in all 16 regular season games and win the teams rookie of the year award. The following year, Fletcher would lead the team in tackles with 138 on the way to his only Super Bowl championship in a victory against Jeff Fisher’s Tennessee Titans. Fletcher also has a history with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Fletcher retired in 2013 holding the record for most consecutive starts at the linebacker position with 215. I caught up with London last week to talk about the upcoming season.

We jumped right into the conversation with his thoughts on the Rams defense and he saw things playing out in 2015.

"“Obviously it starts with that front four. They’ve got some guys on that defensive front. You go out and you add Nick Fairley to that mix, they’re going to get after the quarterback. (I expect a) very aggressive defense. I played for Gregg Williams, I know he likes to blitz the quarterback.” Fletcher also spoke about the secondary.“They have an underrated secondary. I like the young safeties. I like T.J McDonald a lot. Jenkins, He’s a play maker. You got some guys on that back end that can really make some plays. And then Laurinaitis, the linebacker, another leader on that defense.”"

Nov 16, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis (55) and outside linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) walk off the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated Denver 22-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Current Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree is an upcoming star in this league and Fletcher seems to like what he sees. When asked if he had an opportunity to evaluate Ogletree Fletcher mentioned his potential and sky high ceiling.

"“Yes he has. I got a chance to watch him down the stretch (Last year) where he ended up making some plays. He got his hand on a couple balls He’s a game changer, physical linebacker, really the sky’s the limit for him.”"

We shifted gears a little bit and began to discuss the offense. Fletcher mentioned he felt newly acquired Nick Foles was an upgrade over Sam Bradford for a simple reason, he will be available. But Fletcher still had concerns about the offensive line.

"“He’s (Foles) an upgrade because he’s going to be available. Sam just wasn’t available. He missed a ton of ball games, when he was healthy, Sam wa a really good quarterback, but again, you have to be available in the National Football League.” Fletcher voiced his concerns about the protection available for Foles.“The big thing for St. Louis is that offensive line, can they protect? They’ve had some offensive line issues being able to protect the QB. They have Robinson, going to be playing left tackle this year, can he make that transition? I don’t know? They have a good running game, running backs. Can you protect the quarterback?”"

With the offensive line being such a high priority, I asked London how he felt about the Todd Gurley pick.

"“Potentially, we know Gurley, if he hadn’t blown his knee out, he might’ve been top pick, top five pick definitely, so when he see him there and they take him at ten, you say alright, but you still scratch your head because this is a team that they can win now and they had more pressing needs along the offensive line.”"

So if Gurley was too good to pass up, will head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead be around to reap the benefits of his ability if the team falls short of expectations again in 2015? Fletcher surprised me with his answer.

"“First of all, I don’t expect them to have another sub-.500 year. I think they can finally get over that hump, but his could be a make-or-break year for coach Fisher. I know he’s an excellent football coach, but I don’t know how patient Les Snead or Stan Kroenke will be making a decision. I know Jeff Fisher is an excellent football coach.”"

And if that prediction didn’t surprise you the next one will. When asked about his prediction for the NFC West this year, Fletcher didn’t hold back.

"“I think Seattle is going to have a down year. Not down in the terms of sub-.500, but I don’t know that they’ll be as good. You know, Arizona will still be in the mix. I see possibly the Rams maybe being able to sneak in there, or possibly worst case scenario they have three teams in the playoffs but San Francisco, with all the guys they lost, that’s just going to be too tough to overcome.”"