It’s safe to say the Rams fell short of player and fan expectations last season (2-14), but have a real shot at showing marked improvement this year. The Rams find themselves in a division that has no clear cut front-runner beyond the Cardinals. (And we all know what the trend is for the season following a Super Bowl loss. Bad news for Arizona.) The bottom line is I expect an 8-8 season, at minimum, for the Rams under the new regime; a nice improvement from last year’s 2-14 mark.
The first change of note is at the top- defense, where Steve Spagnuolo takes over the head coaching job- his first in the NFL. If anything is certain, it’s that Spags will bring an improved attitude to a defense that was pummeled last season. In fact, Spags is near the top of anyone who is anyone’s list of top defensive minds in the NFL today, a huge plus for the confidence level.
A new look defense spearheaded by what will certainly be much more pressure based attack by Spags should be just what the Rams need to compliment an always potentially dangerous offense. Improved Defense + Offensive line improvement + healthy (please) Steven Jackson + healthy Marc Bulger = a dangerous team.
The change up front starts with OT Jason Smith. Better luck with health all around is all this offense needs to be competitive, despite the loss of long time favorite Tory Holt. Some of the younger guys, Donnie Avery in particular, provide plenty of firepower in the WR department.
How could the rams exceed 8-8? Win more games! You never know in the NFL. I look around the NFC and see some VERY good teams, potentially, so I’m trying to temper my expectations. But the Rams are dangerous. Steven Jackson alone makes them a formidable opponent for any team. He needs to put together a full season this year!
Steve Spagnuolo is a winner with tons of playoff experience from the Giants and the Eagles, it’s up to the players to take his coaching and trust in it. If they can do that, 6 win improvement from last season. What could derail my prediction? We could be dealing with a possible morale issue from last year’s horrid season. Also, injuries and time spent adjusting to the new system are going to be the biggest threats to an improved season for the Rams, but then again it’s not real hard to improve on 2-14, so…