Alright. The Rams have a lot of improving to do as we all know. Here are 10 things that could lead us to some success this year. They are not numbered in any particular order (except for maybe 1) because they are all very important.
10. O-line- Tackles are the biggest key. If Jason Smith can come back and give a healthy, productive season at LT, we will be in good shape. Saffold is also important. He needs to play immediately and do well.I think Fraley/Greco will be able to hold down the RG spot and I feel comfortable with the rest of the interior.
9. Steven Jackson’s health and backup RB- Not much needs to be said about the importance of a healthy Steven Jackson. What could prove to be even more important is having a decent backup RB, or the lack of a decent backup RB. If we sign Westbrook, I’m guessing we have Jackson, Westbrook, and Ogbannaya as our RBs. Toston may be a practice squad guy. I also like DeMaundray Woolridge and hope he can stick on the roster or at least practice squad.
8. Darell Scott- Darell Scott could be a huge difference maker. If he really shows up, our line could be a whole lot better with some interior pressure. If he doesn’t really do anything our D-line could be in trouble. Unless:
7. Veteran DTs- These two kind of go together. One of the two veterans need to step up if Darell Scott does not. We just need one of these (Robbins or Hovan) guys to play really well. If two or more of them do itd be a whole lot better as we could get a really good rotation going. Gary Gibson doesn’t make the team and Clifton Ryan plays about like he has in the past in this situation. Scott, Hovan, Robbins and Ryan are the DTs I predict.
6. Rookie DE’s- The Rams drafted three rookie DE’s. I can’t see all three making the team and I’d guess Hall Davis and George Selvie will be the two that make it. I see Sims as a practice squad guy this year. If either one of these rookies can provide pressure opposite Chris Long, it will go a long way to helping our defense. I’m predicting the DE’s are Long, Hall, Selvie, Davis, and Ah You. Sorry Adeyanju, I don’t know if you’re going to make it.
5. Chris Long- Chris Long needs to have a good year if our defense is going to have any success. We need to get pressure on the QB for our defense to be effective. That is why the first 4 keys to this season are all D-line
4. Rookie TEs- Michael Hoomanawanui sounds like he is winning a job this year and is looking to be a great draft pick. I think he could be a key contributor in both protecting Sam Bradford and giving him a big target in the short passing game. And of course there’s Fendi Onobun. I love this guy and think he’s a real boom or bust player. He’s big and fast. He could turn into the next Antonio Gates, or be out of the league in a couple years. If he really shows up and plays well, he could be a huge piece for the future of this team. I predict the TEs will be Daniel Fells, Billy Bajema, Michael Hoomanawanui, and Fendi Onobun. I don’t know if we will carry four TEs but I wouldn’t mind it. If I had to get rid of one I would probably get rid of Bajema, then Fells, then Onobun, then Hoomanawanui. Unless Onobun shows that he’s completely useless then we could get rid of him, which I don’t think will be the case. I think Darcy Johnson will have a short-lived Ram career. Eric Butler has about a .0002% chance of making the team.
3. Secondary- I really like our secondary this year. I like it even better if it has Atogwe, which it is looking more likely that it might. It is physical, talented, and deep. If Bradley Fletcher can bounce back from injury and keep developing into what he showed flashes of in his time last year, our secondary is a lot stronger. Jerome Murphy is another good addition. Bartell I think will play better if he avoids the nagging injuries. I think the secondary is the strength of this team albeit with a few question marks. Kevin Payne, Craig Dahl, OJ Atogwe, and James Butler give us plenty of depth at safety.
2. WRs- Namely, Laurent Robinson. If he can prove to be a go to guy like he showed last year before he got hurt, it will help us a ton. Mardy Gilyard I think will emerge as our main slot receiver. I think he may even lead the team in receptions this year. Brandon Gibson will be a possession type will be the fourth receiver I’m guessing. The rest of the corps is tough to predict. If we keep six, I think we’ll keep Robinson, Avery, Gilyard, Gibson, Foster, and Curry. I think Burton and Amendola could easily be interchangeable with Foster and Curry. Curry might stick on the practice squad. That leaves McRae and Kent out for sure. I think it will be tough to decide between those first eight I mentioned.
1. Who do you think?- Sam Bradford is by far the biggest key to the success of this season. First of all, he has to get on the field and stay on the field. I don’t know when he’ll earn the starting job from Feely, but when he does, he needs to stay healthy. I think he could have some decent success right away in our WC offense. And I’m just reading that Bradford is expected to start by week 3 or 4 at the latest. That estimate seems like all speculation but I can’t see us waiting much longer than that.
So if all these things turn out to be the absolute best case scenarios, we could easily win the Superbowl, as long as all these things work out perfectly and we have zero injuries. Some of my biggest worries are lack of O-line depth, mostly the tackle position, and lack of backup RB. DT will probably be a need again next year, although we may have enough to get us through the year. This turned out to be more keys than I planned on, but a couple of them could be combined.
Here is a link to my projected roster for the beginning of the season. It is also below. A couple of the backup O-lineman are pretty much guesses, but I have it narrowed down to the 55 players that I think have the best shot to make the roster as the season opens. To cut it down to 53, I'd probably get rid of an O-lineman and a LB.
Rodger Saffold Daniel Fells
Phil Trautwein Billy Bajema
|Sam Bradford||Mike Karney||Steven Jackson||Donnie Avery||Daniel Fells|
|Aj Feely||Brian Westbrook/Keith Toston/Kenneth Darby||Laurent Robinson||Billy Bajema|
|Keith Null||Chris Ogbannaya||Mardy Gilyard||Michael Hoomanuwanui|
|Brandon Gibson||Fendie Onobun|
|Jason Smith||Jacob Bell||Jason Brown||John Greco||Rodger Saffold|
|Adam Goldberg||Roger Allen III||Mark Setterstrom||Hank Fraley||Phil Trautwein|
|Dorell Scott||Chris Long||Bobby Carpenter||James Lauranitis||Na'il Diggs|
|Clifton Ryan||James Hall||Larry Grant||Dominic Douglas||David Vobora|
|Fred Robbins||Hall Davis||Josh Hull|
|Chris Hovan||CJ Ah You|
|Ron Bartell||OJ Atogwe||James Butler||Josh Brown||Donnie Jones|
|Bradley Fletcher||Craig Dahl||Kevin Payne|
|Justin King/Marquis Johnson||Chris Massey|