While the Rams have won more games this year and it appears that the talent level has risen considerably for the team, and they have won as many games this year as the last three combined, the offense still ranks 28th in DVOA and second to last in red zone touchdown percentage. Is the team really better? Or have they just gotten a little more lucky this year and had the enjoyed the benefits of the NFL's weakest schedule?
The answer is a little of both, I think. Even though the offense only ranks 28th right now, that is still a few spots better than last year. Also, the defense went from one of the NFL's worst to middle of the pack. Then it helps that our schedule this year has to be historically weak.
Looking beyond this year, can the Rams continue to climb the ladder? Or will they regress back to the 2007-2009 form? Everyone believes Bradford will get better and hopefully he gets a lot better next year, which, in itself, could boost the offense up to middle of the pack. If we found a good RG to replace Goldberg, I would pretty happy with our offensive line and as Peyton Hillis has shown this year, you do not need to be a top pick to become a top RB.
The defense has so many young players on it that it is hard to imagine anything but improvement for next year. Hopefully, Fred Robbins and James Hall can keep their production up. Also, a couple of outside LBs would go a long way I think (it is too bad Carpenter didn't work out.)
Overall, I am optimistic for next year's Rams. However, because they will likely play a substantially tougher schedule next season, they may improve quite a bit, but not win any more games than in the 2010 campaign.
Until then, I will just hoping for a Super Bowl this year- a win this Sunday would be a great step in that direction.