Bob Leverone/Associated Press
Will Sam Bradford Finally Excel?
This is the million-dollar question. Sam Bradford had 14 touchdowns and just four picks in 6.5 games games last season, which put him on pace for a career year, but his season was cut short with a Week 7 knee injury.
The Rams are 5-2-1 against the NFC West since 2012 when Bradford is under center and 0-4 against the division without Bradford, but once again, the sample size is too small to draw any definitive conclusions.
Bradford has demonstrated an ability to win games, as well as an ability to produce the numbers, but he has yet to do either on a consistent basis.
Unless the Rams shock the city of St. Louis by drafting a quarterback No. 2 overall, it's clear that Bradford will get another competition-free shot at quarterbacking the Rams in 2014.
Bradford is the single most important player for the Rams in 2014. His play will determine whether the Rams finally reach the postseason or whether they're left out once again.
The Rams need Bradford to finally excel in 2014. If his season is spoiled with injuries or poor play, it could be the end of his tenure.
Will Zac Stacy Build on His Rookie Success?
Zac Stacy rushed for over 900 yards in 2013 despite having just one carry in the first four games. Stacy is a Maurice Jones-Drew clone and is expected to post Pro Bowl numbers in 2014.
The Rams have had bad luck with promising rookies slipping into sophomore slumps (Janoris Jenkins, Chris Givens), but they cannot allow the same to happen to Stacy. He's too important to the offense.
If Stacy can build on his promising rookie campaign and lead St. Louis' ground game, the offense will be better off.
Will the Secondary Improve on Tackling?
The biggest issue on defense in 2013—the only issue that prevented the St. Louis defense from being top notch—was the sloppy tackling in the secondary.
The front eight is stout, but the linebackers and linemen need better support from the secondary.
The Rams will look to add a starting safety in either the draft or free agency. Additionally, don't be surprised if the team also invests in another physical cornerback, such as Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert.
If the secondary can provide better run support, the Rams will be in good shape in 2014.
Will the Defense Overtake Seattle or San Francisco?
The most important aspect in 2014—even more important than the play of Bradford—is the defense's ability to become the best in the league. Or, at least be among the best.
For those fans waiting on Bradford and the offense to become the second Greatest Show on Turf, don't hold your breath. That's not what this team is about.
Coach Fisher is not building a finesse aerial team. He's building a team that wins games with top-notch defensive play and a relentless run game.
Unfortunately, that's the same blueprint every team in the NFC West is using. So in order to make the playoffs, the St. Louis defense will have to dethrone either the Seattle or San Francisco defense.
Finishing 2014 with the third- or fourth-best defense in the division will not cut it. Even if every NFC West team finishes with a top-10 defense (a strong possibility), the Rams cannot finish last defensively within the division.