#26 – St. Louis Rams
2011 Record: 2-14 (4th NFC West)
Projected 2012 Record: 6-10 (4th NFC West)
Key Arrivals: CB Cortland Finnegan, OT Barry Richardson, OLB Mario Haggan, OT Quinn Ojinnaka, WR Steve Smith (PHI), DE Kendall Langford
Departures: OT Thomas Welch, PK Josh Brown, OLB Bryan Kehl, OG Jacob Bell, P Donnie Jones, WR Brandon Lloyd, CB Ron Bartell, C Jason Brown
Patchwork. That’ll be the major part of the Rams 2012 campaign. The Rams pretty much answered all free agency departures in free agency, and grabbed a few young WRs and corners in the NFL Draft. The Rams two biggest plays of the offseason include the signing of Cortland Finnegan and the hiring of Jeff Fisher, but the indefinite suspension of Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams presents a major blow. Finnegan will add some tenacity to a defense that was 7th against the pass, but a miserable 30th against the run, allowing over 150 ypg. Bradford returns for a 3rd season in hopes of improving upon a 2011 season that made everyone forget about the flashes of potential he showed in his rookie season. The main issue will be staying on the field: Bradford only played in 10 games last season, leaving a lot of QB action to Kellen Clemens and AJ Feeley.
Steven Jackson is getting older and the Rams know it, it’s why they made the play for two young rookie RBs to add to the rotation, but he still has enough left in the tank or else they would have made a play for Richardson at the 2-spot (before trading it to Washington) or Doug Martin late in the first round. So obviously Jackson can still provide some pop, and he’ll need to after the Brandon Lloyd experiment failed, which brings us to the next point of focus…the WR position.
The Rams have signed former Giants/Eagles WR Steve Smith in hopes of bringing some vertical credibility to this offense (are you noticing a pattern with these lower tier teams?). As of right now there is no legit #1 threat for Bradford to go to, so it doesn’t matter what Steven Jackson and company do, it won’t be enough if you get no production out of your WRs.
Rams will improve behind a great coach like Jeff Fisher, but with the lack of weapons necessary to get things done on offense, they’ll continue to struggle. The defense has to get better at stopping the run, Chris Long and Kendall Langford should provide a decent tandem up front, if they still can’t continue to provide pressure, they need to revamp the entire front 7.