St. Louis Rams: Stat Predictions for Key Offensive Players
Calling the Rams offense anemic would be kind, but there are bright spots and hope. The Carolina Panthers scored only 196 points in 2010, and turned around and scored 406 last year. Offenses can turn around in a hurry. Especially when you have a franchise quarterback like Sam Bradford.
Steven Jackson has had an illustrious career. He has rushed for over a 1,000 yards in seven-straight seasons.
Jackson has been a model of consistency for the Rams. Even when their offense is terrible, he is productive. The fear is that Jackson, who is currently 29 and will soon be 30, will hit the wall that is an aging running back with 2,138 career carries.
I don't share that fear. Until Jackson shows he is visibly slowing down he will continue to be the centerpiece of this offense and give them the most production.
Rushing Yards: 1,128 Yards
Rushing Touchdowns: Eight
Receiving Yards: 356
One receiving touchdown
The loss of free agent Brandon Lloyd will be a significant impact on a Rams offense that struggled mightily through the air.
The Rams expect Brian Quick to be their new No. 1. Rookie wide receivers have traditionally struggled breaking into the NFL their rookie year, but recent examples like Julio Jones and A.J. Green show that it can be done.
Don't expect the same from Brian Quick however. He has all the tools, and all the talent, but he is unpolished. At 6'3''and 220 pounds, he has the physicality to work the middle of the field and the physical prowess to work the outside. It will take him some time to adapt however, but I expect Quick to be starting and to have a productive rookie season.
Receiving Yards: 685
Receiving Touchdowns: Four
The biggest loss in the Rams offense was undoubtedly Amendola.
Amendola played a massive part in the Rams offense in 2010, catching a whopping 85 passes, even if it was only for 689 yards. He was the security blanket for Sam Bradford, and Bradford's confidence and play severely diminished after Amendola was hurt.
Amendola also plays a big part in getting good field position for his offense. He lead the league in yards from scrimmage in 2010 in large part because of his excellent return abilities. There's more than one way to help an offense.
Receiving Yards: 1,020
Receiving Touchdowns: Six
Rodger Saffold/Jason Smith
The massive pressure that the Rams offensive line has given up has destroyed what passing game they could have had.
Sam Bradford as been sacked 70 times in 30 games. Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold are responsible for a lot of those.
If the Rams offense is going to improve it has to keep Bradford up right. Saffold and Smith suffered a slew of injuries last year, combining for only 15 starts. In those 15 starts, they still gave up a combined 47 hits/hurries/sacks. There is room to bounce back, and even if they only play at an average level the Rams offense will significantly improve.
Combined hits/hurries/sacks over 16 games: Saffold 35, Smith 42
The key to the Rams offense is Sam Bradford, and Bradford alone.
His terrific rookie season was quickly overshadowed by a sophomore slump that had him battling injury, pressure, and a depleted receiving core. Bradford looked worried in the pocket, and often saw pressure where there was none. That will happen to you when you are sacked 70 times in your first two seasons.
Bradford has all the talent, but he can't carry the team by himself. His success will depend on those around him as well, but he simply must play better. He will have to take care of the ball in the face of pressure, and work with the offensive line and wide receivers he has available. Great quarterbacks elevate the talent around them.
Passing yards: 3,455 yards
Passing Touchdowns: 23