This is a breakdown of how stats compare over the last 2 years between the superbowl champs, the best in each category and the rams stack up. I wanted to do a bit of research and figure how just how far are the rams away statistically from being a playoff contender. The results show that they are not terribly far off in some categories, yet a mile away in others. But which stats really matter?
Its Easy to look at what team led the league in each category and where the rams are. But if your going to look at it that way your bound to say the rams may be hopeless. But are they? What happens when you take some of the more important stats and compare them to the last two superbowl champs. using this as a gauge you can see that slight improvements in certain areas can make a big difference.So which stats do you look at when your gauging how good a team really is. I made a list of quite a few that seem to be the experts choices in the way they look at a teams strengths and weaknesses. As in anything else in life certain strengths can mask a big weakness. Then there are other stats that just seem to dominate who wins or loses. So lets take a look at how we compare(these are not exact im not interested in decimal points)...
Turn over ratio +10 +7 +28 +28 +5 -5
Time of Poss. 32min 29min 33min 33min 31min 28min
Off. Pen yd/g 39 50 37 34 54 56
Def. Pen yd/g 47 58 40 41 63 59
Sacks 47 48 48 50 43 39
Rush yd/g 100 89 164 164 98 104
Pass yd/g 257 295 288 334 204 179
Rush yd/g allowed 114 121 63 77 113 152
Pass yd/g allowed 195 255 178 171 224 206
3rd dwn% off. 42% 37% 49% 57% 33% 28%
3rd dwn% def. 36% 38% 32% 31% 34% 38%
Red zone off. 62% 54% 66% 66% 35% 38%
Red zone def. 51% 54% 39% 38% 48% 50%
As you can see strictly comparing ourselves to the leagues best can be a bit over whelming. Yet in some categories we may only need a bit of improvement to be as good as a team who can make a run in the playoffs. While in other areas massive increases in production will be necessary . The question to ask is, in what areas have we made improvements that can help us make those slight increases.
Now take a look at the 2010 stats which will be more comparable to what we will look like this year being that as of now we are healthy, with a similar offensive system. Even the superbowl champs the past 2 years did not come anywhere close to the league leading +28. In 2010 we had a +5, its not unrealistic to think that this year we could improve that number 2-5 spots in the plus.Perhaps with better coaching calls, an upgrade in wide out talent and health,o-line health and scott wells, an emphasis on the run and added talent on D we could add to that number quite a bit. Even our 31 min a game in time of possession is close to where we need to be. Penalty yards could even become comparable with what i consider to be a much better coaching staff but we are still the youngest team in the league so that might not change.
We had 43 sacks in 2010, but with Chris Long Emerging as a top pass rusher, and up and coming youngster with big time potential Robert Quinn and adding some beef at the tackle spot with Brockers and Langford i can see us jumping that number up as well. We are right on par with rushing yards per game and that will improve this year. With our additions to the secondary and the d line if we can combine and improve on our 2010 rushing yds per game stats, and 2011 pass yds per game we would actually be a bit better that our past two superbowl champs.
we would also need to improve the 3rd dwn % about 5-10%. That isnt easy but not unrealistic. We also have been pretty good on 3rd dwn defense. But there are areas in which we need to make dramatic changes.
Our passing offense has been down right terrible, and for good reason. A young QB, changes at O-coordinator, no off season, lack of talent and health at both o-line and Wide out. Can Quick and Givens make rookie impacts. Can Kendricks show us what he flashed last year in pre season. Will Amendola be back to the same guy he was in 2010. Will Sam Bradford Succeed in this more conservative offense with a healthy line and with Wells making the protection calls. I expect more bootlegs which he ran effectively in 2010. With an heavy run game and Pead to help will the play action become more successful. Can that change our passing numbers up 50-75 yds per game? and more importantly will that translate into a much improved red zone offense.
The red zone defense has not been kind to us either but when you cant stop the run up the middle and have as many injuries to the secondary as we had that can be expected. Fisher will help in areas like the red zone and on the 3rd down on both sides of the ball. No more backwards passes when we are in the red zone like Mcdaniels did in that giants game. Our defense is greatly improved talent wise, but young, but as you can see the team that won it all wasnt exactly lock down either.
Now to the obvious, what all superbowl champs have is elite qbs, and can put up the points. So no im not saying that the 2012 rams can be superbowl champs. But i can argue that Bradford can be as good as Alex Smith, Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan, and that Fisher can change it up like Harbough did for the 49ers. A few extra turn overs from play makers like jenkins, finnegan, quinn, etc. A few big run stuffs or pass break ups on 3rd down and in the red zone. Limit the penalties that destroyed us inside the 20`s and if the players step it up and become atleast average in the red zone, then all of a sudden the confidence builds. I see no reason to think the rams are years away, and would be lucky to win more than 5 or 6 games this season. We can win now, playoffs are not unreachable. Maybe this is the year Bradford starts his climb into the ranks of the elite. Then we can start talkin' possible superbowl.