The St. Louis Rams named RB Steven Jackson as their team MVP this year. And a 7-win season had lots of player pitching in to help turn the team around this year, Sam Bradford comes to mind. Plus, another year of experience for a young squad made the playbook much easier to understand and operate; that was especially evident on defense.
But there was another factor that played a role in the Rams' success, a sort of 12th man the team hasn't had on their side for a long time now: health.
2010 was unique among the Rams recent seasons for the relative health of the team. Last year injuries wrecked the offensive line, the secondary and the defensive line. Quarterbacks were also hit pretty hard after years of abuse finally caught up to Marc Bulger, thanks in part to years of injuries along the offensive line. Backup Kyle Boller was injured which allowed rookie Keith Null to play, before he too suffered an injury in the season's final week. The 2009 QBs weren't very good to start with either.
This year, no single unit on the team suffered the same rash of injuries. There were the occasional week-in, week-out kind of things, like a shoulder injury that cut into Ron Bartell's playing time, but the team remained in tact for the entire season. And it made a big difference. One unit that was hit hard with injuries, the wide receivers. Losing Donnie Avery in the preseason hurt. Losing his replacement, Mark Clayton, hurt too. The team also missed the steady hands of TE Michael Hoomanawanui, who missed most of the season. Losing those players had an obvious impact as the Rams leaned on rookie Danario Alexander to fill the role. He did a solid job, but was green enough to remind us all just how much the Rams needed the receivers they lost.
The Rams have a pretty clear set of needs for next season, but they also have to start acquiring depth along for some key spots where they lack capable players to step in should injury take away a starter. This is true along the entire offensive line, defensive line, running back, etc. Add that to GM Billy Devaney's offseason to do list.