St. Louis Rams: Potential Is Only Part Of The Equation

USA TODAY Sports

It's great to see so many players for the St. Louis Rams on the verge of breaking out. Think for a minute about what we see - really see...

The thing about a young football team - like the St. Louis Rams - is it's all or nothing when they start the 2013 NFL season. They have to hit the season in concert with one another; 53 young men finding their primes at the exact same moment. It's a hard thing to synchronize all these players, of every shape and size, and to find their potential simultaneously. It's so difficult, that it rarely happens in the NFL. More often than not, young teams wind up be a baseline for a what's needed in the future.

The Rams will be interesting to watch in 2013. They'll be putting a boatload of "potential" on display this season. Some will rise to the challenge, and others simply won't, right? If you live by pure reason, then the preceding statement is correct in every way. But the NFL isn't based on pure reason; it's a conglomeration of wishes, dreams, hopes and outright denial at times. Tell a Baltimore Ravens fan Joe Flacco isn't a great quarterback, and they'll spout Poe-esk doom your way. Try to tell a Dallas Cowboys fan Tony Romo can't lead them to the playoffs, and they'll rope you with more than a Texas twang. It's just the way it is...

We love our favored team's players, however blind it may make us all look to others. When you're the fan of a young team like the St. Louis Rams, you take on a proud Daddy or Mommy facade. We'll pull out pictures of a potentially special player, and exclaim how great he is, all the while those we're talking to roll their eyes when we're not looking. It can be funny when you think about it. The way some Rams fans talk about Tavon Austin, I'd swear he's ten feet tall. We embellish a bit, but our hearts are in the right place.

This season will be remarkable for the Rams, regardless of the win/loss record at the end of the year. This team - so, so very young - will hit the training camp field soon, and start to find out who they are in the NFL scheme. They'll sit in meeting rooms to study tape of vaunted division foes. One or more rookies will be told they will face "___" All-Pro across the line of scrimmage in week whatever of the season to come. They'll look to their left or right and scoff to their teammates, like it's not a problem picking up Patrick Willis on a blitz. All the while, deep inside, they'll be asking themselves if they can do it. And this situation is going to be written large for the Rams. There's a very real possibility St. Louis could have FIVE rookie starters on offense, and two on defense. This wouldn't be all that troubling if it weren't for the five second year players who'll be on the field at the same time. Gulp!

I often wonder what Scott Wells thinks when he sees all the young players around him on the Rams roster. He is, after all, the senior statesman among the Rams at age 32... 32? Right guard Harvey Dahl is 31. After these two ancient, wise old men, there's a age gap. They'll be playing next to guys who have only been able to order a drink in a bar for a year or two. Cortland Finnegan and Kendall Langford are the "old men" on defense, at 29 and 27 respectively. These guys are surrounded by "potential"...

Think about what's going through the mind of every player for the Rams, let alone Jeff Fisher, Les Snead, Kevin Demoff and owner Stan Kroenke. They are about to unleash the "Little Rascals" on an unsuspecting NFL. They've gather together young players who have registered on their "Potential meters", and are about to fling them into the spotlight. The only way this all works out, is if every Rams player shows up, flying more than their personal potential flags. The need to be under one banner, playing with an eye for the others standing next to them. They need to be in tune, or this symphony will fall on deaf ears. I'm hoping for Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with Cannon, only with 53 instruments playing the same tune. How about you?


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