While I don't consider myself to be a NFL or even college level talent evaluator, I'd thought I would give all of you my take on each player currently on the roster who had measurable playing time this past season:
Sam Bradford- He still remains my choice as the "ONE'. 2011 was not highlight film quality for him or anyone else on the offense for that matter. But, given time, he can get the ball to the receivers with the best of them. There was way too much thrown at him this year in my opinion. The ineptness of the line and receivers as a group plus making the line calls was too much to overcome. Maybe, if he had a full camp this year, things might of been different. I'm thinking if he hadn't been hurt and played to the level of 2010, two, maybe three more wins would have possible with everything around him being the same. It was in his best interest for 2012 that he was shut down in the last few games though.
What he needs to work on for 2012: Footwork- I know much of the difference in McD's offense affected this as he was asked to be more of a pocket (I know, what pocket?!)passer. But he didn't seem to access those situations when he should have and adjusted to what was given to him. This might have allowed him to take something off some of those passes that hit the receivers right in the hands. Speed- Even before his injury, there was was a glaring difference in the way he moved around this year. New coaching will need to focus on this, as even some of the other not so nimble QBs (Brees for one) could make those adjustments on the fly. New conditioning coaches will help this too. Focus- I know I'm not the only one who saw that at times he seemed distracted on the sidelines. Maybe McDs voice was irritating (he he), or his ping-pong buddies were kicking his butt. Fisher, I'm sure, will get his head on straight this year. Leadership- Everyone here knows that Sjax is the team leader, but Bradford needs to be the leader in the huddle and he's not. Step up Sam, the receivers don't fear your wrath. Get in their face or make the next read to let them know were you stand.
Whats in store for 2012: With a QB coach and a possible less complicated offense, I'm sure we will see the Sam Bradford we all envisioned as 'King Sam'.
A.J. Feely- O.K., he was on the field for the biggest win of the year, but what else is there to say about him? If Bradford hadn't won the starting job last year, would we have been in the running last year, NO! Is he a capable back-up, yes, he does give it his all, but I'd take Brady Quinn over him everyday. He needs to hang it up! And no, he would not be a viable choice as QB coach.
Kellen Clemens- This dude is a keeper as a back-up and could even push Bradford a little next year if he's here. He picked up McDs offense fairly quick and could have even won a few more games when Bradford went down if he was on the roster at the time. Fisher will try to hold-on to him unless a better option is out there before the 2012 season.
Steven Jackson- What other back at his age puts out the effort, performs and leads by example as he does across the board. He had some health issues early on, but rarely did we see him not preform on the Pro-bowl level that we're use to seeing. The only thing in my opinion that would keep out of the H.O.F. is that he never started on a winning team. He has lost a step, but made up for that by altering his running style, hitting tacklers at angles on the edges to add yards to each carry. He doesn't hit the holes as he once did, but when he did, tacklers knew what was coming and only a few DBs could take him down solo.
What he needs to work on for 2012- Accept that less carries would benefit him the most in his quest for being on a winning team. Fisher sees this, but will pound him at the end of games to manage the clock. Not lining him split out will also help his longevity for the season. He did drop some passes in screens this year. Upgrading the O-line may produce Pro-bowl numbers for him again. Dropping a few pounds may not help his inside game but might improve his speed in overall game.
Whats in store for 2012: He will continue to be the leader and voice of the Rams again this coming season. Hopefully, Fisher has to vision to see that getting a young scat-back back-up may add a year or two to his career.
Brit Miller- He did fine as fullback but needs to work on blocking assignments in the passing game to make roster next year. An upgrade to a hybrid fullback/tight-end type will happen in Fisher's plan for 2012, I'm thinking. Can he fill that bill?
Jerious Norwood- His injuries limited his play and when he did play, he wasn't visible enough to be back next year.
Quinn Porter- Didn't do anything carrying the ball and his Kick-off returns were bottom ten. See you!
Cadillac Williams- Everyone will remember the 'lateral', but I think he a good job as the second RB option. I'm thinking that the Rams will try to get younger at this position. He could still make the team next year in a limited role as the #3 back.
Danario Alexander- Being a good straight route receiver won't be enough to make the team next year. He's just too brittle to think he could work himself into winning a position anywhere else on the team. Maybe bringing in a new condition coach could turn him into Bionicario. We might not be talking about drafting Blackmon if you knees weren't popcorn.
Dominique Curry- There is absolutely nothing to say about him as a receiver, but as a edge buster he one of the best and might make that game changing play a few times in the future doing this. Don't know much about his playing history in college as I would think about moving him to DB based directly on his aggressive play on special teams.
Brandon Gibson- He's another one who is going to have a huge hill to climb to make the team next year. He just disappeared after the Lloyd trade. To his benefit, he didn't have stone hands as much as some others did this year.
Brandon Lloyd- Your the best thing that happened during the season this year. Re-sign this guy! I would give him a huge signing bonus this year and a large$ for the next. You proved all the nay-Sayers wrong with your play and reminded all of us (see Bruce and Holt)what having a top flight receiver can make. If he's resigned he could help guide the young guns to be more productive. You have come a long ways from your troubled days on the 9ers. He's the prime example of what a change of scenery can make. Are you listening Mr. Holmes?
Nick Miller- I would bring him back next year to compete for the KR/PR positions. With a better blocking wedge, he might have broke off a few more big returns.
Austin Pettis- Using PEDs was surely breaking the four pillars ideal and losing you for the first 2 games next year will cost you reps for sure. I'm willing to give you a rookie pass if you beat-out Amendola(if he's here next year) in camp. Maybe you and a couple others on the team could graft on lizard hands for grip in the off season. Stay clean and play you A** off next year and prove your 3rd round draft status.
Greg Salas- The NFL is a long ways from coconuts and grass skirts 'Ae? It was a tough year for you also and there were a few guys picked behind you that did very well. So, what's it going to be for you this coming season. Please surprise us all!
The rest of the offense was much more difficult to critique, so I split it into two post.