I hate the NINERS!
I hate the Seahawks! I hate the Cardinals! and for good measure, I have always hated the Cowboys! Okay, now that the minor venting is done. I dislike seeing players targeted by the Rams end up on teams in our division. Not being able to sign Jones, Manningham, and even Mebane last year is one thing, but having them signed by division rivals is another. I still get a bit upset whenever I think of Wendall Tyler and Hacksaw Reynolds playing for the Niners. I like to think they never would have won that first Super Bowl without them. I hate the Niners!
However, I do trust the new regime. The FO did not give Jones what he wanted because of the injury to his knee and Manningham is probably not worth what he was asking, so I still believe the Rams are heading in the right direction. I dearly would like to see the team address all of their needs with top notch draft picks and free agents but there are just too many needs and not enough cap space to do so. The Rams have been hamstrung by being so lousy for so long. The high salaried players who have not matched their contract value every year they have played have really hurt this team. The three years before the new CBA saw the Rams sign three top 3 picks. Those salaries are all at least twice (if not more) what they should be and hamstring this team when trying to get the top talent in this league. (Note: I believe the investment in Chris Long is now paying dividends and that Sam will begin to pay dividends on his salary this year - Smith is probably a bust and will not be in the league as a starter ever again)
Next year will be the beginning of bringing these old early round salaries into the new CBA paradigms and it will be the second year of this FO and those two things should help the Rams fill all of their holes and begin to create depth on a roster that sorely lacks it. I find that hopeful, but a little frustrating as the lack of true NFL OL starters could mean the loss of a potentially great QB. But Fischer is a man of his word and he seems to be repairing the porous OL one player at a time. I will reserve judgement on the roster until the Draft is done and we start to see how it shapes up in total. If the Rams go into the year with good line play on both sides of the ball, I will be a happy fan. Finally, my one free agent suggestion is to go and get Donnie Avery back - he's cheap, fast and can at least catch the ball - he might even be humble upon his return. Those are all admirable characteristics for a wide receiver. Sign him for as little as possible and see what happens in camp. Actually, I have one other free agent suggestion - pray Manning signs with the Titans or Broncos. I HATE THE NINERS.
In conclusion, I think the Rams will be quite average this year, but the trend line of the past ten years will reverse. As a fan I want to see improvement - improvement being defined as competitive in every game, winning 5 - 9 games, winning at least 3 of those games in our division, a nasty defense that always keeps us in games, some red zone success, and finding a passing game to complement our running game.