Friday, August 26, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: St. Louis Rams

With Sam Bradford at the helm, the Rams surprised a good amount of people with their success last year, as they came within one win of an NFC West title, and a .500 record. Bradford impressed many people with his play last year, and most of the great play came without many good wide receivers, as they were injured. This year, the Rams expect bigger and better things, but can they get there?

What's New: There are a decent amount of new faces in St. Louis this year, and most of the big ones will create immediate impact. On offense, the Rams added a decent target to their wide receiving corps in Mike Sims-Walker. If he can stay healthy, he may become a very good target for Sam Bradford. Also added on offense were RB Jerious Norwood, who may be a good complement to Steven Jackson, and guard Harvey Dahl, who was one of the better guards available in free agency, and he should fit in well with a young offensive line group. On defense, the Rams got better by adding FS Quintin Mikell from Philadelphia, LB's Zac Diles from Houston, Brady Poppinga from Green Bay and Ben Leber from Minnesota, and veteran corner Al Harris from Miami. All of these additions are quality additions, and should improve a defense that did have some problems last season. Gone are corner Kevin Dockery to Pittsburgh and starting Tight End Daniel Fells to Denver.

Biggest Strength: They have Sam Bradford, who impressed so many last year by setting many NFL rookie passing records. He has room to improve too, considering he didn't have his best wideout, Donnie Avery last season due to a knee injury. It helps to have a good running game when you are a young QB, and the Rams have just that, with Steven Jackson, Cadillac Williams, and newcomer Jerious Norwood. Their group of wideouts are also good, with Donnie Avery, Danny Amendola, and Mike Sims-Walker. The Rams also have a good, but young, offensive line, with only a few issues. On defense, the Rams pass rush is getting better, as they expect big things from DE Chris Long. The linebacking corps is also a good mix of young players and veterans, which should work well for head coach Steve Spagnuolo.

Biggest Weakness: Their offensive line has some issues, namely with a few holes at some spots, where young and inexperienced players will have to start. On defense, they can get a good pass rush going if their talent lives up to its potential, with guys like rookie Robert Quinn, Justin Bannan, and the aforementioned Chris Long. The secondary has good players, but it is the weakest spot on this team. They lost safety O.J Atogwe to Washington this offseason, and even though Quintin Mikell is an adequate replacement, they will see the effects of his loss. The corners are also young, and have not played incredibly well either.

Outlook: This team is becoming a very good young team, and as long as Sam Bradford can keep up his play from a year ago, the Rams have a chance to win the NFC West. The additions they made this offseason should improve their team, and overall they are a much better team than the one that won 7 games last season.

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