Scott Kane-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Rams are halfway through the season. TST hands out some midseason honors for a surprising start.
The St. Louis Rams have played eight games. The team owns a 3-5 record which is disappointing because long-suffering fans are hungry and Jeff Fisher's team has made almost every outing a competitive one. They could easily be 5-3 instead. For now, I want to go back to the individual players and hand out some coveted TST hardware to recognize contributors through the first half of the season.
Greg Zuerlein, K: A month ago I might have picked Janoris Jenkins, but he's had a couple terrible games, rookie growing pains. You have to go with Greg the Leg here. With 17 field goals, he's tied for the third-most in the NFL. The Leg leads the league with seven attempts from 50 yards or more, and he's made five of those, tied with Blair Walsh from the Vikings. His most impressive three-point shot has to be a 56-yarder in Chicago.
Bradley Fletcher, CB: BFB didn't make it through the team's bye week last season, spending the year on IR with his second ACL tear. Many wondered if he would be able to perform as well this season, and the Rams were rumored to be considering trading him. Instead, he's been an outstanding part of the secondary, often finding himself matched up against the league's best, biggest receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson. Opposing QBs are completing just 48 percent of their passes when targeting Fletcher.
Danny Amendola, WR: This one's easy, just look at the Rams offense has struggled without him. Amendola has been a rare consistent presence in the passing game, and he's not just running those short little Shurmur routes anymore. He's averaging 12.3 yards per reception, well ahead of the 8.1 he had in 2010. Brian Schottenheimer is lining him up in his usual slot spot, as well as on the outside where he's running routes beyond five yards from the line.
Robert Quinn, DE: You can probably make a case for Cortland Finnegan here, what with the secondary and all that. Still, Quinn's been a force against passes, with seven sacks and more than 30 total pressures. Worth noting is that he does benefit from Chris Long's beastliness, pushing passers his direction.
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Blake Williams, linebackers: Son of the depose defensive coordinator, the younger Williams has become the defacto play caller for the unit, a group that has done remarkably well, save for short circuiting over the last two games.
Brian Quick, WR: There were more than a few candidates for this one, but I'm going with the rookie receiver that the Rams' brass spent the offseason hyping. First-year wideouts struggling is nothing new, but Quick's been burned a few times, most notably on three passes thrown his way that all ended up as interceptions. You want an answer why he isn't playing more, there it is. He's a liability right now. The good news is that the Rams have plenty of time to get the light to come on with Quick.
If this was Spagnuolo's team, I'd say there's no way that they can win two more games, not with the schedule they have. Fisher's approach is vastly different. His preparations for each opponent are doctoral level. If they can get the currently injured players back, keep the rest reasonably healthy and count on improved play, another three wins feels about right.