Just five years ago, the St. Louis Rams finished the season 12-4. The next season, they barely made the postseason going 8-8. What happened during those two years? The team didn't lose anyone, and all the key guys were still playing.
I'm not sure what it was, but the one time "greatest show on turf" hasn't made the postseason in the last three years. Dante Hall joined the team in the summer of 2007, and the Rams seemed to have filled their biggest need, which was a good kick returner.
Injuries began occurring right from the start though, and St.Louis were already looking for players to step up in the absence of Orlando Pace, Dante Hall, Steven Jackson, and Marc Bulger eventually. As usual, Torry "big game" Holt will be required to make the most receptions and touchdowns for the squad.
With Shaun McDonald moving to Detroit last summer (big mistake), and Isaac Bruce off to the San Francisco 49ers, someone else will have to step in to help Holt. This team was lacking offense and defense last year.
Injuries, an 0-8 start, and no team chemistry just killed this team from week one. Head Coach, Scott Linehan, said that after the halfway mark of the season, the team was off to a fresh start for the second half. He was pretty much pretending the first eight games never happened.
Well, that mind set didn't help the Rams either as they went 3-5, and finished the season 3-13. Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, and Isaac Bruce are gone, and to be honest, I don't know if the Rams will ever be as good as they were during their two Superbowl appearances in 2000 and 2002.
Ricky Manning Jr. will be joining the Rams after being released by the Chicago Bears. A good portion of the defense's turnaround will depend on him.
Virginia defensive end Chris Long will bring energy to a defense that was ranked 21st in points allowed last year. Meanwhile, second-round pick Donnie Avery will be expected to take some of the load off Holt on the receiving end.
Former kicker, Jeff Wilkins is retired. His replacement will be clutch kicker Josh Browns, former member of the Seattle Seahawks. If the likes of Bulger, Jackson, Pace, Hall, and Dudley can stay healthy, I can see the Rams return to the playoffs.
Will there be a Superbowl win? Probably not. But, you have to take it a step at a time. This is step one.