2012 is a make or break year for the St. Louis Rams. They will either show progress from a year ago and prove last season’s mishaps were caused by injury or they will blow free agency and the draft and plunge back into NFL purgatory.
The hiring of highly respected head coach Jeff Fisher means the team will have both a tough and smart demeanor for the first time since Dick Vermeil left after the 1999 season.
The Rams also have a few key building blocks in place as Fisher will have a roster that includes his best quarterback to date in Sam Bradford, a top 10 middle linebacker in James Laurinaitus, and the kind of high caliber running back he’s come accustomed to working with in Steven Jackson.
Fisher has always put solid defenses on the field, so it’s not crazy to think he’ll focus on defense early. It would however be crazy to think that he would totally ignore offense or do anything to hinder Bradford’s chance at being successful. And keep in mind, Fisher has never had the luxury of having a top flight quarterback prospect, so he’s going to be anxious to prove what he can do now that he finally has one.
I see an opportunity for the Rams to take a big jump in 2012 due to the return of key playmakers from injury and the addition of a much more competent coaching staff.
However, this is still the NFL, and a couple of healthy players and new coaches aren’t going to rocket any team to the top of its division in one year. If the Rams are smart though, and make quality moves in free agency and the draft, they could have themselves in position to compete for a playoff spot for years to come.
Here’s how I think they should do it…