2012 St. Louis Rams Season Outlook

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2012 St. Louis Rams Season Outlook
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Will Sam Bradford get back to where he was in 2010?

Quick Review of 2011

Offense—No. 23 rushing, No. 30 passing, No. 31 total.

Defense—No. 31 rushing, No. 7 passing, No. 22 total.

After coming close to a division title in 2010, the Rams had high hopes of being a playoff contender in 2011. Instead they won only two games—a shockingly dominant upset of New Orleans, and a one-point win at Cleveland.

Quarterback Sam Bradford was hit with the "sophomore" slump. Bradford missed six games and the Rams were only 1-9 in the games he played. He threw as many interceptions—six—as touchdown passes, and had no games with more than one touchdown pass.

The Rams were also last in points scored with 193, and their point differential was a league low of -214.

Even though the pass defense put up respectable numbers, it was due to a poor run defense and the fact that since the Rams were usually behind, teams didn't need to pass as much against them.

Overall, it was another poor showing for a team that is a miserable 15-65 over the past five seasons. It was enough to put Steve Spagnuolo out as head coach at season's end.

 

New Additions

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LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, CB Cortland Finnegan, DE William Hayes, DE Kendall Langford, DT Trevor Laws, TE Matthew Mulligan, OT Quinn Ojinnaka, WR Steve Smith, G Robert Turner, C Scott Wells.

 

Draft Choices

DT Michael Brockers, WR Brian Quick, CB Janoris Jenkins, RB Isaiah Pead, CB Trumaine Johnson, WR Chris Givens, G Rokevious Watkins, K Greg Zuerlein, LB Aaron Brown, RB Daryl Richardson.

 

Undrafted Free Agents

FB Todd Anderson, LB Sammy Brown, CB Jeremy Caldwell, LB Derrick Choice, DT Matt Conrath, S Matt Daniels, QB Austin Davis, TE Cory Harkey, G Michael Hay, C T. Bob Hebert, P John Hekker, LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis, DE Jamaar Jarrett, WR Nicholas Johnson, LB Noah Keller, OT Joe Long, S Rodney McLeod, RB Calvin Middleton, TE DeAngelo Peterson, S Quinton Pointer, RB Nick Schwieger, DE Scott Smith, LB Travis Tripuka.

 

Subtractions

DE C.J. Ah You, TE Billy Bajema, DT Justin Bannan, CB Ron Bartell, C Jason Brown, S James Butler, LB Chris Chamberlain, WR Mark Clayton, QB A.J. Feeley, DT Gary Gibson, OT Adam Goldberg, CB Al Harris, CB Roderick Hood, P Donnie Jones, LB Bryan Kehl, CB Justin King, LB Ben Leber, OT Matt LeVoir, WR Brandon Lloyd, RB Jerious Norwood, LB Brady Poppinga, DT Fred Robbins, TE Stephen Spach, RB Cadillac Williams, G Tony Wragge.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Jeff Fisher takes over a team that is 15-65 over the past five years.

Outlook For 2012

Following the release of Steve Spagnuolo, the Rams hired long-time former Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher brings immediate credibility to a team that has been among the worst in the NFL over the past five seasons. Fisher has brought in cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who will have an immediate impact on the defense.

The Rams were big traders in the offseason. They traded their No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to Washington for a bundle of picks that the Rams will use to build for the future. Even though they traded further down, they were able to select LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers with the 14th pick.

The passing game was perhaps the Rams biggest problem in 2011. Bradford didn't look as good as he did in his rookie year. In his defense, he has never had a true No. 1 receiver to work with. With Brandon Lloyd leaving in free agency, the Rams took two wide receivers in the draft—Brian Quick and Chris Givens.

The Rams also took a chance on troubled cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins has had his off-the-field problems, but if Jeff Fisher can straighten him out, he could become a fixture for the Rams for several years.

The Rams will rely on several new players who they hope will gel together quickly. In the end though, Sam Bradford will need to return to his form of 2010 for the Rams to see much improvement.

Nick Laham/Getty Images
Sam Bradford will have to get the Rams out of last place again.

 

Schedule

Sep.  9 at Detroit

Sep. 16    Washington

Sep. 23 at Chicago

Sep. 30    Seattle

Oct.   4    Arizona

Oct. 14 at Miami

Oct. 21    Green Bay

Oct. 28    New England (London)

Nov. 11 at San Francisco

Nov. 18    New York Jets

Nov. 25 at Arizona

Dec.  2    San Francisco

Dec.  9 at Buffalo

Dec. 16    Minnesota

Dec. 23 at Tampa Bay

Dec. 30 at Seattle

The Rams will "host" the game in London this year. It will come during a stretch of three Super Bowl contenders in consecutive weeks.

Their only prime-time appearance will be a Thursday Night game on NFL Network against the Cardinals.

Prediction

Two years ago, the Rams went from 1-15 to 7-9 with a rookie quarterback. That year they almost won the division.

The NFC West will not be as easy to win this year as it was that year.

The start of the season will be key. The Rams could potentially be 4-2 in the first six weeks. If Sam Bradford and his receivers have a poor start, they could potentially be 1-5.

If that happens, the season could spiral out of control fast like it did last year.

They have a rocky road from October 21 until December 9. If they win three of those games it would be a success.

In their wildest dreams they could win 10. However, in reality, they may still be a year away and four wins or less is more likely.

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