The Rams will make the playoffs in '09. We have the talent to succeed/ As we have seen in the past (this year with the Falcons and Dolphins, or back in '99 with the Rams) teams can change VERY quickly in this league. Here's what I think that we need to do.
1. Lock up Atogwe and Bartell. These are legitamite defensive stars. Atogwe is a turnovers machine and 6'1 corners with Bartell's speed and coverage ability are extremely rare. Bartell and Atogwe are both top 5 players at their respective positions.
2. Get a second cornerback. Tye Hill is a nickelback, nothing more. The Rams need to realize this and get a second corner. Fakhir Brown is a joke; he just can't play. With a second corner, the Rams will be able to shut down other teams passing games.
3. Get a strong safety. Chavous is done and Todd Johnson is a backup. We need a real strong safety who can give Bartell some help over the top.
4. Switch to a 3-4 scheme. Each of our past 2 first rounders have been guys who are better suited for the 3-4. Use them that way. This means that we need to find a big DT, probably release Little, and find two or three new LBs. It's a tall order, but Long and Carriker can dominate on the end and the Rams have shown that they can get creative with the blitz packages over the past two weeks. Ray Lewis is scheduled to be an UFA this year, I believe (a guy can dream...)
5. Find a center; a great center. I honestly believe that our offensive line problems will disappear (and with them our offensive probelms as a whole) if we just get a really good center. The Rams have a good LT, LG, RG, and RT, if we get a center we are money. In the Bears game, at least three of their sacks could be attributable to poor play by our center. Adding some depth would also help. I would not be opposed to drafting Andre Smith, moving Barron to RG and Incognito to center. That line would mash.