I'm by no means an expert here. Played a little Jr. High ball some years ago and have watched a lot of pro football. But now that the Rams season is over, I've done a little thinking and research, and thought I'd throw out a few ideas and observations. I was watching the movie Apollo 13 a short while back. After the explosion aboard the ship in space, things went all to hell. It was so bad that the flight control chief finally asked: "Well what's GOOD on the spacecraft?" That's the way I'm going to approach this post.
To start with, it's a new day, we aren't losing anymore this season, and an absolutely terrible and incompetent front office and coaching staff have been duly released. There can be NO excuses for the many poor draft picks and failure to develop talent in the guys we did get over the last three years. The lack of fire, motivation and discipline among the Ram players was totally unacceptable. Now we get a new GM and Head Coach. So there's hope we'll be able to make some really good picks this April and they'll develop nicely. Drafting at the #2 position is a BIG advantage, even though it was painful how we earned the honor. That's good.
Many people are assuming Jeff Fisher is a lock as our new HC. In a perfect world, I'd want Cowher or Gruden, but don't see that happening. I also don't think we would try to promote yet another coordinator to HC and try on-the-job training again ala Martz, Linehan and Spagnuolo. There are a few wild cards out there in Sherman and Billick too. While not spoken of very often, Brian Billick did manage to win a SB convincingly with Trent Dilfer as QB. That couldn't have been easy. If Fish is the man, I'm OK with it. Though I'm a little bit concerned about his mediocre record with the Titans, he did come within one Mike Jones tackle of derailing the GSOT. So, the potential of gaining a former SB HC is good.
Money. I'm hearing that in 2013 the Rams will be awash in cash with plenty of CAP space. Money to procure high quality players is good.
The current roster is overall bad. But there are elements of talent in key positions. I believe good coaching will be a benefit in utilizing and improving these guys. As well as cutting the ones that have no future with a winning Ram team. Sam Bradford had a dismal year. But, if he's healthy and properly coached (maybe even by a regular QB coach) I don't see why he can't our man for a decade. He's big, tall and strong. With reasonable protection and capable pass catchers, he should rebound. That's good.
Steven Jackson is a beast. But he'll be 29 years old and has a lot of mileage. Still, he's a beast with no major injuries. He should still have a couple good seasons left. That's time to use Jackson and get a young stud to eventually replace him. That's good.
Brandon Lloyd is an excellent WR. If we can keep him that's good. Amendola may come back and become Wes Welker Jr. Imagine adding a Blackmon in there? That's the good as far as our receivers go. The rest of the crew is not good and/or chronically injured.
As far as the offensive line goes, Saffold and Dahl are good. The rest is an ugly mess that could get Bradford killed and Jackson stymied. The offensive line needs three new players. Very likely Smith, Brown and Bell will be gone. A lot of money will be saved by dumping this under-performing trio. That's good.
We want to score TD's from now on, not settle for FG's. But when we have to go for 3 points, we need a reliable kicker. Josh Brown ain't it. Losing his big salary is good, but a replacement won't be cheap either. Donnie Jones as punter is good.
On the defensive line we have TWO 1st round draft picks in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Long got 13 sacks this season. That's good. But both these guys have to improve their performance against the run. New coaching may help out there. I've heard that Spagnuolo wanted these guys to all out rush the QB every play. With no capable OLB's behind them that was a recipe for disaster.
There is nothing good at DT. Robbins, Gibson and Bannan are bad. The best that can be said here is that the new staff will likely recognize and address this problem immediately. That's good.
JL is a true animal at MLB. A man with 142 tackles this season. That's damn good. What's bad is that he needs TWO capable OLB's at his side. Kehl and Poppinga ain't it. Chamberlain might be able to cover one position. That's good.
There is a slim chance that Ron Bartell may be able to come back from a serious neck injury. That's the only potential good at CB. But if Bartell can't be 100%, his $10M salary will get him retired quickly. Murphy is a complete unknown.
An intangible is that many Rams will be returning from IR. That's good. But a lot of these guys may not make the 2012 team.
Finally, the Rams get to play the Redskins, Bucs, and Vikes in 2012. That's good. And maybe the Bears, Dolphins and Bills won't be that bad either. But nothing would be gooder than beating the Pats. It could happen.
Maybe I'll write another post about what's BAD on the Rams. But that might take volumes.