Sep 23, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan (31) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE
I'm going to ask you for a bit of patience here, ok? What I'm about to say may stun and befuddle many of you. Not unlike many of my articles now that I think about it?
What I believe, is that this loss to the Chicago Bears offers more positives than negatives. Sure, wins are great, and the great big score board in the sky didn't treat the Rams well this weekend. I'm also going to leave the problems for others for enumeration, because there's just so many times I can write about a weak offensive line and sub-par wide receivers. You won't hear from me about Sam Bradford holding the ball too long, and accounting for at least two of the Bears sacks. Nope! Nope going to happen! I'm a "The Pizza Box is half full" kind of guy... The kind of guy who'll still part his hair as my hairline turns my forehead into a "six-head".
Er, uh? Where was I? Oh, yeah - the positives. Say what you want, but the Rams showed the NFL world they aren't the same team as last year in a variety of way. As weak as the offensive line is right now, they played well against - what I consider - the best defensive front four in the NFL. The Bears' defense is one of the top two or three in the NFL. Where the Rams really shined was on defense. If any fan isn't excited about this half of the Rams, you're loopy. This defense has consistently taken top receivers out of games. They only seem to give up big plays when they're on the field too long. The Bears owned time of position, and any defense that's still building its position depth is going to suffer a bit. Chris Long and Robert Quinn played extremely well, and Langford and Co. - the Rams defensive tackles - sealed the inside of the line for the better part of the day. The corner back duo of Finnegan and Jenkins is already one of the best at their position in the NFL.
The defense is what's going to make the Rams a name other teams' offensive coordinators will have nightmares about all season. The offense showed a few shining parts too. Bradford is two offensive linemen away from being brilliant. His quarterback coach has worked miracle to turn him around from last season. He's shown he has the arm to hit any receiver. He even hits them in their hands... Yes, I'm talking to you Brandon Gibson.
I also saw something I hope Rams offensive coordinator saw in this game - Chris Given in the slot. This could very well be a key to future games, in that if Givens can find a way to use his blinding speed in both long and short passes, things will open up for this offense. Before this game I really hadn't given Givens all that much thought. Now I see him as a key component for building a wicked short passing game out of the no-huddle offense. The combination of Danny Amendola and Givens, both running short to intermediate routes, will be an awesome thing to see.
There are times when you have to look at positives, especially after a game in Chicago. When you know - really know - you're about to play against a great defense, and your team is growing into what it can become, seeing assets instead of liabilities can be exciting. I KNOW Daryl Richardson is going to be special. I'm POSITIVE the Rams offense has the tools to change my 6 wins prediction before the season started to 8 wins as a floor for this team. (Baby steps, right?) We have one, just 1, great defense left on the schedule (San Francisco). There some very good ones left to play, but none that can overwhelm the Rams outright. Every opposing offense will have a daunting task against the Rams defense - every one of them. We know that now, because this game against the Bears proved it.