ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 30: Chris Long #91 of the St. Louis Rams sacks Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Saints 31-21. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long did not just fall off the turnip truck, or whatever cliche you want to use to call him savvy. Asked about expectations for the Rams on Bernie Miklasz' Thursday radio show, Long played it close to his vest.
"I don't do the numbers game. That's just going to get you hurt. Listen we came out last year and I know we had some deficiencies, we had some injuries, some unfortunate things and we just plain didn't play well and we were not a good team last year."
The plan last season, Long revealed, was to win the division, something they thought they could do until it became mathematically impossible.
But winning the NFC West is back on the table this year.
"If we could do it last year we can definitely do it this year if you know what I mean. Our upgrades are substantial at a lot of positions and I think with Coach Fisher and his experience and our staff, the feeling and the buzz right now is really good. We're just going to compete to try to win the NFC West. There's three other teams in the division and I don't see why we can't shoot for that. We're definitely going to set our sights high."
Challenging the 49ers is not going to be easy, and the road to the division title goes straight through San Francisco, as much as I hate to admit it, until rerouted otherwise. Nevertheless, this is a Rams team capable of surprising, and the right mix of talent and leadership could lead them to outperform outside expectations.
Eric Nagel took a look at what could be a big season for Chris Long on Wednesday.