The St. Louis Rams Will Succeed in 2014
The city of St. Louis has seen the ups and downs of owning a team in the NFL. The Cardinals of course are now in Arizona and the St. Louis Rams are certainly a down trodden shadow of the team that won the super bowl almost 14 years ago. We as St. Louisans are dedicated to our sports teams. Therefore, why can’t these Rams seem to get on board with a winning culture. I just as many others are certainly tired of hearing the repeated phrase that the Rams will be better next year. However, I treasure the offseason because of this phrase. It is a time when we can believe that there is hope for this team.
As the 2013 regular season comes to an end, Ram’s fans will be sitting on their couch watching other teams play for the cherished Lombardi trophy. The season will end and we will be left with so many questions, concerns, and of course the hype of the NFL draft. When it is all said and done, I truly believe that the Rams will succeed in 2014 and this is why:
The St. Louis Rams possess a plethora of talent, which many teams would covet.
Sam Bradford is a more than capable starting quarterback. In 2013, Sam Bradford played only 7 games. However, in those 7 games he racked up 1,687 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions to give him a QB rating of 90.9. The upside to Sam Bradford is that he gets better every year; unfortunately he incurred a season ending injury and will not play till the 2014 season. I believe that Sam Bradford will have a breakout year in 2014, will exceed expectations, and will continue to improve as his career stats have shown.
The Rams possess several intriguing running backs on their team. Zac Stacy, the rookie from Vanderbilt, has impressed and exceeded expectations. In 12 games, he has put up 854 yards and 6 touchdowns. Daryl Richardson has had a regression in 2013; however he is a back who provides a good burst of speed and agility reminiscent of Marshall Faulk. Finally, Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead provide more competition at the running back position.
The upside to the Rams receiving core is the increased experience that the young receivers have had in 2013. Tavon Austin has impressed and with only 40 receptions has racked up 418 yards and 4 touchdowns. He had a slow start to the season, but had breakout games against the Bears and Colts. Jared Cook will continue to be a dangerous threat having 614 yards and 4 touchdowns with only 44 receptions. Finally, Stedman Bailey, Austin Pettis, Chris Givens, and Brian Quick provide versatility and look to get better with experience for 2014.
The Rams offensive line are 8th in the NFL giving up only 33 sacks and 67 QB hurries. Their major assets include Jake Long, Rodger Saffold, and Scott Wells. The Offensive line looks to get better next year, however so far they have played as a respectable unit.
The Rams defensive line has had great success through most of the season. They look to only get better next year and boast two of the best defensive tackles in the game with Robert Quinn and Chris Long. In addition, Michael Brockers has had a breakout year providing support to the interior of the defensive line. The Rams defensive line have contributed 37 total sacks out of a total 42 sacks for the team.
The Rams secondary boasts the starting linebackers of Alec Ogletree, James Laurinaitis, and Jo-Lonn Dunbar. James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree have been very solid and have provided the Rams with a steady core of linebacking. Each are tied for first in tackles with 101. Finally, the safety and cornerback positions are the area of most concern, but this is a result of inexperience not lack of talent. T.J. McDonald looks to become a solid NFL safety. He has provided 42 tackles and 1 interception for the Rams. In addition, cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins possess great raw potential and look to improve with the experience of this year.
Overall, the St. Louis Rams possess a great amount of talent. This talent will continue to achieve more and improve having gained the knowledge and experience of the 2013 season. In addition, this team looks to get even better through the NFL draft, most likely possessing two top ten overall picks. Finally, Jeff Fisher and the coaching staff looks to stay intact for 2014 which will provide a stable environment for players to achieve and prosper.
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