The St. Louis Rams are coming off of the worst five-year stretch in the history of the NFL. They have held a Top Two draft pick in four of the last five drafts (Chris Long, Jason Smith, Sam Bradford and the RG3 pick that was traded). They are about to have their third head coach in four years (Scott Linehan, Steve Spagnuolo and now Jeff Fisher). They are about to start their fourth consecutive season with a new offensive coordinator.
On the surface, the Rams are a mess.
A closer look would reveal otherwise. The Rams were a 7-9 football team in 2010. Sam Bradford, the 2010 offensive rookie of the year, passed for over 3,500 yards. The defense was 12th in the league in points allowed, with young players like James Laurinaitis and Chris Long looking like future Pro Bowlers. Steven Jackson, the battering ram running back, was one of the best at his position in the NFL.
2011 rolled around, and the Rams, not the San Francisco 49ers, were the team favored by several people to win the NFC West. However, a rash of injuries decimated the roster, wiping out the defensive secondary and offensive line. 2011 exposed the Rams for what they were—a talented young team, but one that didn't have the depth to sustain the injuries that every NFL team has to overcome.
So as the team enters the 2012 season, with another round of free agency and the NFL draft, the Rams are a deeper, more talented, more mature football team. I think this Rams team is better than the 2010 team that went 7-9, and I think this Rams team has a very good chance to make the playoffs.
Today, I'm going to predict every game on the Rams schedule. Thanks for reading along.