Breaking Down the New Faces on the 2014 St. Louis Rams
One of the most exciting aspects of sports, from an entertainment standpoint, is that no two seasons are ever exactly the same due to constant personnel change—players as well as coaches come and go, and the roster seems to incessantly reshape itself.
The St. Louis Rams are certainly no exception. The core of the 2013 team is still largely intact, but many exciting pieces have been added to the mix.
This article will cover the top new faces who will help compose the 2014 squad and provide insight into the role each player will have on the team.
Gregg Williams: The Caporegime
Every great mob boss in television and cinema history has been accompanied by a top-of-the-line caporegime to keep the troops in order.
Don Corleone had Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, Tony Soprano had Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri in The Sopranos, and Frank Costello had Mr. French in The Departed.
Jeff Fisher has Gregg Williams.
Fisher is obviously the fearless leader and the king of the franchise, but Williams will serve as the right-hand man who'll ensure that the men complete the mission—which is to establish the nastiest defense in all of football.
With Williams' leadership skills added to the mix, St. Louis' defense will stop being viewed as a young unit with potential. It will instead be viewed as a dominate unit within the NFL.
Greg Robinson: The Enforcer
Greg Robinson's smile on draft day resembled that of a 330-pound teddy bear, but his personality on the field is anything but cuddly.
On the gridiron, Robinson is a mauling run-blocker who levels anything that dares to enter his path. He has intensity and plays with attitude—basically everything the Rams lost when they cut Harvey Dahl.
Dahl was undoubtedly the enforcer on offense, so it's up to Robinson to grab the torch and step into that role.
If Robinson's game film is any indication, he'll have no problem being the bully up front for St. Louis' offense.
Kenny Britt and Tre Mason: The Swagger
Former Rams greats, such as Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce, prove that it's alright to play the game with class. Leaving the ego at home is not always a bad thing.
However, after nearly 10 years of boring football in St. Louis, the Rams need to dump the boy scouts and regain their edge. It's perfectly fine to have a handful of high-class characters, but in the end, football is a vicious, hard-nosed game and requires players who fit that bill.
Kenny Britt and Tre Mason are certainly not the nastiest players to ever strap on the pads, but both add a certain level of swagger that the offense desperately needs.
Mason, who has yet to play an NFL game, has already voiced his desire to win the starting job over incumbent Zac Stacy, and has even bragged about his potential to produce, stating "10 carries, all I need. 10 for 100 yards."
As for Britt, he's already running his mouth and getting into scuffles at practice, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It's behavior that is simply...fantastic.
In recent years, the Rams have owned an extremely soft and timid offense, so it's nice to finally see a player who's quite literally willing to punch the opponent in the face. This is a man's game, after all. If you want class, here's a PGA tour guide, as well as a schedule for Wimbledon. Have fun.
If, instead, you want to put the class on hold and finally witness real football in St. Louis, then simply tune into the Rams games on Sunday. This season, they're showing up to play, and they're not about to be polite about it.
Mo Alexander: The Bone Cruncher
Mo Alexander, St. Louis' fourth-round draft pick, was kicked off his Utah State football team for assaulting a teammate in 2012, according to NFL.com.
Following his departure, Alexander spent 45 days in jail and ended up securing a job as a janitor at the Edward Jones Dome (of all places).
It's safe to say that very few NFL players actually have the opportunity to experience the alternative to professional football (working for a living) before joining the league, so you can count on Alexander using that as motivation. He probably has no desire to ever mop up a beer-stained aisle ever again, so expect to see that determination on Sundays.
Alexander will live up to his reputation as a guy willing to play through the whistle and deliver bone-crunching hits on a regular basis.
Lamarcus Joyner, E.J. Gaines: The Safety Net
The Rams entered the offseason with a promising duo of starting cornerbacks in Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, but the team needed depth in the worst way.
St. Louis answered the call for depth in the draft by adding exciting newcomers Lamarcus Joyer (Round 2) and E.J. Gaines (Round 6).
Thanks to Joyner and Gaines, that paper-thin depth is no more. The Rams now have plenty of attractive options at cornerback, and you can go ahead and throw undrafted free agents Greg Reid and Marcus Roberson into the mix as well.
If one of the starters go down, the Rams are more than prepared.
Garrett Gilbert: The Lottery Ticket
Quarterback Garrett Gilbert is entering training camp with zero expectations, but that doesn't mean he lacks the potential to do something special.
One of two sixth-round picks in this year's draft, Gilbert was very underwhelming for most of his collegiate career at Southern Methodist before enjoying a breakout season in 2013. He threw 21 touchdowns to just seven picks in 2013 and posted a career-high 3,528 passing yards.
Gilbert's delayed fuse at the college level suggests that he'll struggle with the transition to the NFL. However, at 6'4" and 223 pounds, he has the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback and could eventually pay off in a big way.
If the Rams keep Gilbert, he'll more than likely spend a couple of years on the practice squad. After a few years of development, he could gradually work his way up the depth chart and, at least, be a capable backup quarterback.
T.J. Moe: The Fan Favorite
Since the Rams roster has an abundance of former Auburn players—the college team that ran over the Missouri Tigers in the SEC Championship Game—St. Louis fans are surely excited to add a Mizzou standout to the roster in order to even things out.
Wide receiver T.J. Moe had a promising college career while in Columbia, MO, but the undersized receiver has struggled to find a home in the NFL.
Moe did not crack any team's final roster in 2013, but the Rams are giving him a shot to compete in training camp. If he can prove to be a special teams asset, he'll at least be in the conversation for the practice squad.
Without a doubt, the fans of St. Louis will be thrilled to see Moe wear the horns, and it'll be interesting to see what he can do in the preseason.
Aaron Donald: The Padawan
The Rams defensive line, much like the Jedi Knights of Star Wars fame, consists of only the best and brightest talents around—those "strong with the force," if you will.
Although, even Luke Skywalker had to undergo intense training with Yoda before reaching Jedi status. Similarly, Aaron Donald—one of the most impressive defensive line specimens of the entire 2014 draft class—will have to spend the entire preseason learning the finer points of quarterback hunting from the pass-rushing gurus on the St. Louis defensive line.
After Donald proves his worth, he'll be an accepted member of one of the baddest units in the NFL—an achievement almost on par with joining the Jedi Counsel or being selected for Seal Team Six.
In other words, once Donald is viewed as worthy in eyes of Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Michael Brockers, he'll basically have it made.
He has the talent and the support, so the rest is up to him.