Seriously, what the hell happened last season?
I’m not going to pretend that the St. Louis Rams were good enough to compete for a Super Bowl berth last season, but they were at least good enough to compete in the NFC West.
Once Orlando Pace went down, it was like they gave up.
Don’t get me wrong, he was a huge loss, but that team just flat out fell apart.
Once it got to the point where Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, and Torry Holt were openly complaining about the coaching staff, the season was as good as over.
How Scott Linehan was able to keep his job is completely beyond me. He was somehow able to work the “nobody could have succeeded with all of these injuries” angle successfully. Good for him. Bad for the Rams.
That’s not to say the entire coaching staff is a bust. I’ve always been a fan of Jim Haslett, and Al Saunders comes with an impressive resume. But everything starts at the top, and Linehan is as useless as they come.
I’m worried that they’re in for another dysfunctional season, starting with their unhappy and missing runningback.
Steven Jackson may be a little full of himself, perhaps a smidge selfish, and a bit crazy, but he’s still one of the top four or five running backs in the NFL.
And the Rams need him to take some of the pressure off of Bulger, who’s been hit more times than most professional boxers over the last few years.
Tory Holt and Marc Bulger will be OK if the offensive line can hold off opposing defenses long enough for them to make a connection, but this team does absolutely nothing this season without a healthy Orlando Pace and Steven Jackson.
On defense, the addition of Chris Long helps tremendously (even though Glenn Dorsey would have made more sense, given that he’s a better player and all).
It all starts up front, and Adam Carriker and Chris Long make up a pretty decent foundation. La’Roi Glover and Leonard Little are both decent players, but they’re getting old and can’t be relied upon to play an entire sixteen game schedule.
The secondary should be good. Fakhir Brown and Tye Hill anchor a decent-to-pretty good secondary. But the front seven needs to help them out a little, as even the best corners can’t cover an NFL wide receiver for an unlimited amount of time.
They were 21st against the pass last season, and their secondary is much better than 21st best in the NFL.
Overall, it's hard to be optimistic about the 2008 St. Louis Rams. The NFC may not be as tough as the AFC, but the Rams would have trouble winning the Big East.
Yes, I know he was terrible last season, but assuming Steven Jackson eventually shows up and Tory Holt remains Tory Holt, he’s going to draw single coverage on almost every play.
Plus, he’s going to be available in the late rounds of most drafts, so the potential for reward far outweighs the risk.
Fighting for Draft Picks, fighting for the playoffs, or contending for the Super Bowl?
Scott Linehan teams will always be fighting for draft picks. Always. He’s awful.
Between four and six wins—but unlike the Dolphins, there’s no hope at the end of the 2008 season’s tunnel.
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.