Down to the last key. I'm not going to even bother putting in a jump, partly because this isn't going to be very long and partly because I think it is pretty obvious as to what this key is. Forgive me for pushing this back, but I thought it'd be better chilled then served immediately. Like us Rams fans didn't have any news to carry us over the weekend anyway...
Awkward intro paragraph transition aside, the last key to the Rams success in 2011 is Sam Bradford. Last year for the Rams parallels Sam Bradford's season, as you'd expect any team's fates to be intertwined with that of their franchise QB. We were surprised by Bradford's aptitude and for lack of any better phrase, the ability to get shit done. This boost nearly powered the Rams into the playoffs (you can say they were the ninth seed if you will, the SNF game against the Seahawks practically was wild card week). However, the team came out flat and unprepared and it showed. Now though, I highly doubt any rookie mulligans will be handed out.
This season, the 'pieces are put in place' (a cliche for Van). The Rams have a young core who have those few precious years under their belts (Chris Long, anyone?) But the playoff hopes pretty much fall on Sam Bradford and him alone. If he comes out of the gate rusty, then so will the Rams, and they will mightily struggle through the hardest part of their schedule. If he grasps Josh McDaniels offense well, then the Rams will surely surprise the media by starting the season on a roll. You can have all the young core you want, but if the quarterback sucks, then it just isn't going to happen.
Sophomore slump? No dice if you want to win.