It's no secret that there are a bevy of different reasons that the Rams were anemic on both offense and defense in 2011. Whether it be injuries, poor play calling, or simply inability to make a tackle or hold onto a pass, the proof was in the puddin!
Rams fans really have no choice but to be optimistic about the potential for successes in this upcoming season. The organization was able to successfully rid itself of 'the clap' and his regime. They've also made some very exciting, seemingly smart offseason acquisitions, and most seem to be thrilled with the results of the latest draft.
It's fair to say that there will be a 'new' Rams team taking the field in 2012. Having acquired both skill and depth at positions of need should provide improved results. But will they be immediate?
In this hypothetical, I want to focus solely on a Ram's fans potential reaction to how you would feel if Week 1 of this season looked like about 14 others from last season. Would the wind be taken out of your sails if the Lions came out in mid-season form, and the Rams......well.......came out in mid-season form?
I'll use some pretty basic figures for the premise. The Lions finished 4th in the entire NFL in passing last season, averaging 300.9 yard per game. The Stafford to Megatron connection is lethal, and the whole world knows it. In what sometimes looked like Tecmo Super Bowl, Stafford was able to rack up over 5000 yards in 2011. Their running game wasn't much better than ours (29th), but it appears that abandoning that facet of the game did little to slow them down. The Lions finished the regular season averaging 31.5 points per.
On the flip side of the coin, the Rams offense.......well you already know. Beat up, sidelined, and struggling to stay competitive. The Rams were good for 179.4 yards per game passing, ranking 30th. An embarrassingly low number, they averaged only 12 points per game.
Just for season 'kickoff' purposes, let's take a gander at the results of last years opening game against the Eagles. Oddly enough, knowing the stats above, the game ended 31-13. In that game Sam Bradford was 17-30 for 188 yards. Pretty similar to last years averages, no?
In 2010, the Rams took the 'Hey Rookie, go throw 55 times and let's see what hapens' approach. Sam went 32 of 55 in that game for 253 yards, again in a losing effort. Cardinals 17, Rams.......13.
* 2009 - Shutout by Seahawks (28-0)
* 2008 - Pummeled by Eagles (38-3)
* 2007 - Doubled-up by Panthers (27-13)
* 2006 - A win at last! Defeated the Broncos 18-10
...It's been five years since the Rams were last able to score 13+ points in the season opener, and the same amount of time for us to WIN one. In that span, they managed to score only 3 TD's and kick 13 field goals.
The players are certainly going to be healthier, and improved at almost every position, with coaching being no exception. We've yet to see this team take the field though, and even with upgraded personnel, we're not sure what Week 1's product will look like, or how/when it's all going to mesh. I certainly hope that these aren't the results, but how would you feel if after Week 1 if the Rams are 0-1, having given up 300 passing yards, in a 31-13 loss? For those of you with hopes of 10 or 11 wins this season, is this one you had the Rams winning? It's probably going to take more than 13 points in order to break the trend.