Where do we begin?
It’s hard to prepare for a season in which four victories would be a huge success. I can’t believe that this team was the “Greatest Show on Turf” only ten years ago. Looking at the disparity between the Rams then and the Rams now, the Super Bowl teams might as well have been from the leather helmet era.
How big of a contrast has there been from the beginning of the last decade compared to the end? In 1999, 2000, and 2001, the Rams started each season 6-0. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the Rams won six games. COMBINED. There hasn’t been much to cheer for under the arch.
But finally, the Rams have hope. That’s what is so great about football. You can get kicked while you’re down year after year, but in an instant, things can change.
As a fan, having the first pick in the NFL draft is always exciting, and when you take a quarterback, it gives you a real sense of optimism for the future. All of a sudden, you have a new face of the franchise, someone for the city to rally around.
When Sam Bradford was selected number one overall, fans in St Louis stopped worrying about the past, and started anticipating the future. Of course, these things do not happen overnight. Rookie quarterbacks rarely win a lot of games, although recent history may be showing that the trend is turning around.
I believe most Rams fans will be satisfied with a season like the Colts had in 1998, the Giants in 2004, or the Lions in 2009—a lot of growing pains, but glimmers of brilliance displayed by their young signal callers. If they get seasons like the Steelers in 2004, the Falcons and Ravens in 2008, or the Jets in 2009, then they will be ecstatic.
Personally, I think the former is much more realistic, which is why I’m predicting the Rams to finish third in the NFC West. They are moving up a spot in the rankings because it’s not a very good division, but the Rams still have too little talent to compete. And although I don’t believe all rookie quarterbacks need to start in week one, it is absolutely the right move with Bradford.
Remember that he barely played in his last year at Oklahoma. Do you really want to throw him the keys to the franchise in 2011 after he’s effectively been out for two full seasons?
What if there’s no football next year and you have to wait until 2012? I don’t think so. Bradford needs to take his lumps now, and when the Rams amass enough talent around him, he’ll be all the better for it.
Prediction: 4-12, third place in the NFC West