Coming off an "oh-so-close" season, St. Louis isn't sure how to feel.
With a new franchise quarterback and a revamped team that came a game away from the postseason in 2010, Rams fans should be buzzing with excitement.
But there's a certain hunger in the air—St. Louis wants more.
Recently, the Rams brought in quarterback guru Josh McDaniels to call the shots on offense. McDaniels leaves a program in shambles in Denver, a program he dismantled by mortgaging fan favorites Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall for unproven players like Tim Tebow and Demariyus Thomas.
We have learned that Josh McDaniels can't be given too much power over personnel changes, but we've also learned that no matter who he has on the field, the whiz coach can light up the scoreboard.
The propensity to score, and score a lot, comes from McDaniels' days in New England.
McDaniels is a great play-caller, catering to the strong suits of his teams. With the Patriots, he worked with Tom Brady to make the star quarterback into a cerebral passer. In Denver, McDaniels helped to transform Kyle Orton from an afterthought to an adequate NFL starter.
Give him Sam Bradford and he'll create a score-at-will offense that will put the Rams back on the map as one of the league's best offenses. If this coach can do it with Kyle Orton, then there should be no limit to how far Sam Bradford can go.
In a stellar rookie campaign, the Offensive Rookie of the Year, Bradford put all of his skills as a passer on display.
While it is easy to say that Bradford is a top passer, remember that Bradford's gaudy numbers (for a rookie) came in Pat Shurmur's specially designed offense of easy throws for the young quarterback.
Now that he has seen NFL defenses for the first time, he can graduate to the more complex offense of McDaniels.
Pat Shurmur is off in Cleveland, hoping to put Colt McCoy through a program of development similar to the one he prescribed for Bradford in 2010. While Shurmur works on the product of Texas, McDaniels is busy at work scheming for McCoy's old Red River rival.
Although Bradford had a weak cast of receivers, the hiring of McDaniels immediately neutralizes this problem. With the Broncos, McDaniels helped Brandon Lloyd's career take off and now Lloyd is considered one of the game's better deep threats.
It could be argued that in St. Louis, McDaniels' cast of pass catchers is better.
Donnie Avery, coming off a season-ending injury, should provide a nice target for Bradford, and Mark Clayton may be back as well after also coming off a big injury.
While those two should have success, expect Danny Amendola to be the next Wes Welker.
Amendola and Welker are both diminutive, adept in-the-slot wide receivers from Texas Tech whom are renowned for their route-running and pass-catching ability. Neither one is a big threat deep, but any Patriot fan can attest to how instrumental Welker has been to the Patriots' recent success.
Amendola hasn't been able to take the next step in development, but the addition of a former New England offensive coach makes it awfully difficult for him to avoid Welker comparisons. McDaniels will be able to get Amendola to buy into the offense and take his game to the next level in the slot.
Then, there is the running back position. McDaniels himself noted that he's never had a running back as talented as Steven Jackson, and the coach also stated that Jackson's role in the offense will be more than one would expect from the tailback in a McDaniels offense.
Jackson is skilled enough to take McDaniels' pass-happy offense to the next level, and with the star running back keeping defenses honest, expect more open looks for Bradford.
The 7-9 Rams battled the rest of their division to the bitter end last year and almost beat the rival Seattle Seahawks to earn a playoff berth. The labor of the St. Louis rebuild has produced fruit such as James Laurinatis, Chris Long and Ronald Bartel on defense.
It is now time for the offense to flourish and Josh McDaniels is just the man to lead the Ram offense to both competence and excellence.
If you're a Rams fan, go out in the street and pull a Bart Scott: "Can't wait!"
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