Friday, September 10, 2010

St. Louis Rams 2010 Season Preview



The St. Louis Rams were knocked out and finally fell to the mat in 2009 finishing 1-15 and were 6-42 over the last three years. I believe the St. Louis Rams have reached rock bottom. In 2010 the St. Louis Rams will have to crawl before they can walk. With the selection of Sam Bradford the Rams now have a face of the franchise and hope. It is time for the St. Louis Rams to start gathering the pieces to once again be successful.

Offense - The St. Louis Rams have to rebound from having one of the worst offenses in the history of football. The Rams were dead last in scoring in 2009 averaging only 10.9 points per game. In addition the Rams were 29th in total yards, 28th in passing and even with Steven Jackson they finished 20th in rushing. The Rams look to turn things around with the addition of Sam Bradford. The Rams made the correct choice in selecting Bradford over Ndamukong Suh. The Rams will continue to rely on Steven Jackson to run the ball and hopefully open up things for Bradford in the passing game. The Rams also drafted Mardy Gilyard to add to their attack. The Rams will need to acquire a top wide receiver within the next year to take this offense to the next level.

Defense - As anemic as the Rams offense has been you can argue that the defense has been even worse finishing in the bottom 5 in points allowed the previous five years! The numbers don't get much better from there as the Rams were 30th in sacks, tied for last in interceptions, and opposing QBs had a QB Rating of 97 against them. The Rams offense will have to find a way to keep this defense off the field more in 2010. The Rams have
found a great leader on the defensive side of the ball in James Laurinaitis. Chris Long will move over to LDE replacing Leonard Little and will need to have a year worthy of being the 2nd overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. The Rams have high hopes for draft pick CB Jerome Murphy but did little else to bolster a defense in need of a real hammer. I look for the Rams to pick up a stud defensive end or safety in the next draft or free agent period.

Special Teams - The St. Louis Rams special teams should be very solid with one of the best punters in football Donnie Jones, and Josh Brown looking stronger than ever as the place kicker. Danny Amendola will be the threat returning punts, and explosive Mardy Gilyard will take over the kickoff return duties. I would also like to welcome back Chris Massey the best long snapper in the business from his 2009 season-ending knee injury.

Coaching - I must admit I am still not sold on the coaching staff. Sure they are all very nice guys but do they have what it takes to return the St. Louis Rams to their glory? Steve Spagnuolo was never a head coach at any level prior to getting the head coaching job with the Rams. His claim to fame was being the Defensive Coordinator on the New York Giants when they shut down the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Coach Spagnuolo has only two years experience as a DC in the NFL and has never been on the offensive side of coaching in his 25+ years in the business. I have yet to see any schemes or coaching philosophy changes to improve the Rams, it could simply be because he does not have the horses yet. In Pat Shurmur the Rams have an unproven and totally inexperience offensive coordinator. Shurmur was the tight ends coach for three years and then quarterbacks coach for five years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Shurmur has no offensive coordinator experience and it showed in 2009 as the Rams offense was about as vanilla as you can get. On the defensive side of the ball the Rams have inexperienced Ken Flajole who has never been a defensive coordinator at the NFL level. Will Ken be able to turn around a defense that has been bad for so long? If the Rams have a poor season look for Owner Stan Kronke to clean house.

Intangibles - One word "Inexperienced." The 2010 St. Louis Rams will experience growing pains. The Rams have 14 rookies on their 53 man roster which comes out to 26% of the roster. Not only are the Rams inexperienced they are inexperienced at key positions. The Rams are not only starting rookie QB Sam Bradford but they are also protecting him with rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold and second year right tackle Jason Smith. In addition the Rams starting wide receivers Laurent Robinson and Danny Amendola have a total of 98 NFL receptions between then and really pose no threat to opposing defenses.

Schedule - Based on 2009 results the St. Louis Rams 2010 strength of schedule (SOS) is .449, 31st overall, or the second easiest schedule in the NFL. On paper the Rams finally catch a break and a big break at that. The Rams have early season match-ups against Oakland, Detroit & Tampa Bay. After starting the past 3 seasons 0-4 the Rams need some success early to build some confidence and their fan base.

My thoughts - While I am very excited to watch Sam Bradford take over as the Rams quarterback the Rams are still a couple years away. From 1 through 22 the Rams should be able to stay in games for quite a while but this team is just super thin and super young. A key injury at almost any position will cripple this team. There are still not enough weapons but they are heading in the right direction. With the early season schedule if they catch a couple breaks you never know, but I just don't see it happening yet. The inexperience factor has to cost them quiet a lot. A rookie QB in the NFL has a very tough time out of the blocks and to be starting on the worst team in the NFL will make it that much harder for Sam Bradford.

Prediction - (3 - 13) With some early season breaks and some Sam Bradford magic 6 wins is possible.

By Stlvinnie - http://www.stlouisramfan.com

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