No, I don't mean that the Rams will surprise the NFL and go 0-16. The Rams will become a good team next season, hell I think that this season will closely mirror the 2008 Atlanta Falcons season.Okay, yes I know just compared the Rams to a Falcons team that had an record of 11-5. Before I get deep into this, I'm not saying that the Rams will be 11-5 or make it to the wild-card. However the elements are there however, and if other teams that were supposed to be bad can make quick turnarounds then why can't the Rams? Mainstream media is always quick to talk about the big market teams, and also teams that have been consistent over the years.
This is the most talented Rams team that I have seen in a while. Last year many of the experts had us winning more than 4 games last season. However the Rams had many issues to go through last season. The Rams had a lack of talent, good quality veterans, rookie coaching, and most importantly they couldn't escape the injury bug. Last season the only reason to watch the Rams play was to see how they would lose to their next opponent. Those days could be over however sooner than later, and after the jump we will look more into these Rams and I will loosely compare the Falcons and Rams.
I know the first thing that you are thinking. Tevin you chose to compare these two teams because they both had rookie quarterbacks. Well that is true but other than that there are other similarities between the teams. The Falcons didn't have big expectations for the upcoming season, not one media member had them winning more than four times. Both teams are coming off of dismal seasons, and both teams are replacing former franchise quarterbacks.
These two franchises also waived many dismal star players. Falcons let go of TE Alge Crumpler, QB Byron Leftwich, RB Warrick Dunn, CB DeAngelo Hall and I'm sure everyone remembers what happened to Mike Vick . This year the Rams let go of Alex Barron OT, Dallas, Marc Bulger QB, Adam Carriker DT, Washington Paris Lenon LB, Ruvell Martin WR, Randy McMichael TE, Jonathan Wade CB. Look at the first five players chosen by the Falcons. 1st rounder QB Matt Ryan, 1st rounder LT Sam Baker, 2nd rounder LB Chris Lofton, 3rd rounder CB Chevis Jackson,3rd rounder WR Harry Douglas. Now look at the first four players chosen by the Rams. 1st rounder QB Sam Bradford, 2nd rounder OTRodger Saffold, 3rd rounder James Murphy, and 4th rounder Mardy Gilyard, then you put 2009 2nd round pick MLB James Laurinaitis on the list for the Rams and these two drafts look eerily similar.
Let's hit the obvious the 2010 Rams and 2008 Falcons have rookie quarterbacks. Most likely Bradford will start the season as the starter, Like Ryan did his rookie year.The Rams will rely heavily on the running game this season, just like the Falcons did. Which is good because I consider Steven Jackson to be just as good if not better than Michael Turner. The Falcons had a number 1 WR in Roddy White . The WR position is the biggest difference between the two teams, since the Rams don't have a true number 1 receiver. The Rams have Laurent Robinson and he was looking like a number 1 WR until his leg injury last season. Also the Falcons didn't have any TE's that would scare opposing defenses, Just like the Rams who will most likely have two rookies on the final roster, and while the y may have potential that doesn't mean they will make an impact this season.
The Falcons played an easy opener in the Detroit Lions, and the Rams play against the Arizona Cardinals. While the Cards will be a good test, it's still a winnable game. I don't expect Bradford to light the world on fire, but Ryan went 9-13, 161 passing yards and a touchdown. I can see Bradford having a game like that.. Oh and here is a fun fact about the Falcons they had 10 players who had their first start of their careers in this game. THREE of these players were offensive lineman, For those wondering two tackles and one guard recording their first carer start in this game.
Now let's get to the defensive side of the ball. I won't go position-by-position because frankly I don't remember that much about the Falcons defense and I hate lieing to you guys so I won't. I do think that the Ram's defense will be good this year. What I do know is that their defense wasn't the reason that they won games. While the defense didn't have a lot of playmakers most of the time they just had to slow the opposing offense down. The Rams might not generate much pass rush this season, but every other position is solid.
|TOTAL FIRST DOWNS||313||309|
|FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-passing-by penalty)||131 - 157 - 25||108 - 189 - 12|
|THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS||95/219||79/208|
|FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS||6/13||10/20|
|TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS||5779||5572|
|OFFENSE (Plays-Average Yards)||1011 - 5.7||998 - 5.6|
|TOTAL RUSHING YARDS||2443||2046|
|RUSHING (Plays-Average Yards)||560 - 4.4||415 - 4.9|
|TOTAL PASSING YARDS||3336||3526|
|PASSING (Comp-Att-Int-Avg)||265 - 434 - 11 - 7.9||325 - 549 - 10 - 6.9|
|(Rushing-Passing-Returns-Defensive)||23 - 16 - 1 - 3||17 - 20 - 0 - 1|
|TIME OF POSSESSION||31:10||29:30|
|TOTAL FIRST DOWNS||259||333|
|FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-passing-by penalty)||79 - 159 - 21||127 - 182 - 24|
|THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS||73/226||91/209|
|FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS||10/28||6/12|
|TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS||4470||5965|
|OFFENSE (Plays-Average Yards)||998 - 4.5||1016 - 5.9|
|TOTAL RUSHING YARDS||1784||2201|
|RUSHING (Plays-Average Yards)||411 - 4.3||500 - 4.4|
|TOTAL PASSING YARDS||2686||3764|
|PASSING (Comp-Att-Int-Avg)||312 - 543 - 21 - 5.5||315 - 491 - 8 - 8.0|
|(Rushing-Passing-Returns-Defensive)||4 - 12 - 0 - 1||24 - 22 - 1 - 7|
|TIME OF POSSESSION||29:10||31:15|
I won't lie these statistics widely favor the Falcons. This coming up season should be different though. However just like the 2008 Falcons this season will come down to our franchise quarterback. If Sam Bradford can bring a breath of fresh air to the Rams offense then expect the Rams defense to be better than last season. The defense has more depth than last year, the defense will also be in their second season under Steve Spagnuolo and then you have new veterans playing on our defense.
Believe me when I say that, I too am skeptical about the Rams having a good season. It's been at least three to four years since the Rams played a meaningful game. The facts don't lie though, and who knows maybe the Rams will make their turn-around sooner than later. The 2007 Miami Dolphins did it, and so did the Baltimore Ravens, and Atlanta Falcons. If those teams can turnaround their franchises than why not the Rams?