The Rams defense has shown much improvement in the last half of the season:
As of Monday morning, Rams are 7th in the league against the run, allowing 102.33 YPG. Turnaround in run game not limited to offense.
As of Monday morning, Rams are 7th in the league against the run, allowing 102.33 YPG. Turnaround in run game not limited to offense.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 23, 2013
The NFL draft picture becomes a bit clearer:
Based on strength-of-schedule tiebreakers Rams now almost assured of no worse than a top-3 pick from Washington Redskins.
Based on strength-of-schedule tiebreakers Rams now almost assured of no worse than a top-3 pick from Washington Redskins.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 23, 2013
Joe Barksdale perhaps summarized it best:
Praying for Jake Long
Praying for Jake Long— Joseph Barksdale (@BazookaJoe72) December 22, 2013
The news on Jake Long was as expected:
Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirms: Jake Long has torn ACL and MCL. Will wait 4-6 weeks to have ACL repaired so MCL can heal first.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirms: Jake Long has torn ACL and MCL. Will wait 4-6 weeks to have ACL repaired so MCL can heal first.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 23, 2013
But the prognosis is good:
Fisher said doctors are optimistic about Long being able to return in time for start of '14 season. If not, soon thereafter.
Fisher said doctors are optimistic about Long being able to return in time for start of '14 season. If not, soon thereafter.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 23, 2013
Fisher optimistic that Long will be ready for season opener: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The bad news was expected: Jake Long suffering a torn ACL. The good news? He may be able to return for the 2014 season opener.
2014 NFL Mock Draft: Shutdown Corner - Yahoo Sports
This mock has the Rams taking OT Jake Matthews and WR Mike Evans...before the injury to Jake Long on Sunday.
2014 NFL Free Agents: NFL Trade Rumors
An up-to-date list of players who become free agents after this season.
The Rams might be looking to extend Robert Quinn this off season, before the price gets too high.
Upon Further Review
The NFC West correspondents at ESPN provide their weekly, in-depth, review of the weekends action for all 4 teams in the NFC West.
Draft Prospects Highlight Reel: Offensive Tackle - Cyrus Kouandjio
Cyrus Kouandjio vs Virginia Tech (2013) (via Nick Page)
Rams Unveiling New Identity: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"That’s our blueprint. We’re going to run the football. We’re going to get completions when we can and play good defense."
Aside from losing Jake Long to injury, all the takeaways from Sunday's game were of a positive nature.
Bradford still the man for Rams: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Despite the Rams' recent success, Bernie Miklasz leaves little doubt about who should be the Rams' starting QB next season.
It was only for a couple hundred thousand, but the restructure illustrates how close to the salary cap the Rams truly are.
Week 16: Rams rookie review: ESPN NFC West
Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey, and T.J. McDonald all contributed fine performances in the Rams' victory over Tampa Bay.
St. Louis Rams 7 round mock draft: Football Nation
Interesting choices pervade this 7 round Rams only mock draft.
Rams would be wise to invest in Saffold: ESPN NFC West
Investing in Rodger Saffold is a great idea...will the Rams be able to afford him?
Rams' strong finish sign of real progress: ESPN NFC West
"Run the football, play good defense and then the other things happen," Fisher said. "They stem off those things. You play good defense, you rush the passer, get off the field on third down and run the football and then good things happen. ... That's how you have to win."
Stat Facts Of The Week: Toxic Differential
On August 19, I wrote about the importance of the "toxic differential", in an article for Turf Show Times (link). The Rams, after 15 games, rank 6th in the league in this vital statistic. It's evident there is a correlation between the "toxic differential", and an NFL teams success on the field. One of the bright spots for the Rams this season has been their improved turnover differential. This bodes well for next season. The chart is courtesy of "Sporting Charts".
On This Day In Sports History
1950 - The Cleveland Browns win the NFL Championship, defeating Los Angeles 30-28.
The Jeff Fisher Show - December 23:
How does Jake Long's injury affect the Rams' off season?:
Blast From The Past: Christmas Tuesday
John Lennon - Happy Christmas (War Is Over) (via BeatlesHQ)
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Ramtastic holiday season!!