Over the course of the past week, we’ve covered several questions regarding the St. Louis Rams, their offseason, and their expectations for the upcoming year. We kicked off the questioning with 5 "Can" Questions to ponder before switching gears to "How" they were going to do it. Friend of TST [misone] then turned the tables by answering my questions with his own. Not to be outdone…I’ve got five more questions that you need to consider as we inch towards the 2013 season.
What player are you most excited to see play in 2013?
A toughie to start. There are several new players on the team that are intriguing. Jake Long, when healthy, could be one of the better LT’s in the NFL. Protecting Sam’s blindside is going to be pivotal if he’s going to get the passing game going for the Rams.
Speaking of passing game, there’s not a WR on the roster that can be ruled out of consideration. Chris Givens lead the team in receiving yards last season, and has some stiff competition for starting snaps. Fellow 2012 rookie - Brian Quick - played minimally last year, but could be poised for a breakout year. Austin Pettis has outperformed him thus far in the early portion of the offseason, but there’s still plenty of time work his way up the depth chart.
There’s also a pair of former WVU Mountaineers - Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey - who will be in the mix. Austin was the most exciting player in college football last year, and the Rams didn’t trade up to the 8th overall spot not to get him involved.
On the defensive side of the ball, there’s very little not to be excited about. There’s no change in the front four, but this bunch played a major role in the team tying for the NFL lead in sacks in 2012. For some time now, the LB corps has been James Laurinaitis surrounded by question marks on either side. Jo Lonn Dunbar proved to be an excellent free agent acquisition last year, and rookie LB Alec Ogletree is a player who will be expected to step in and contribute immediately. The secondary probably still leaves more questions than answers, but not having Craig Dahl aimlessly wandering about the field should make all Rams’ fans a tad more comfortable.
What one player YOU most excited to see this season?
What position on the Rams’ roster concerns you the most?
The offensive line has been oft-discussed as one of the team’s weaknesses. On paper, the front five look very appealing, but a lot of that is contingent upon health. There is a glaring hole at LG, though.
The Rams’ most reliable player will line up behind Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan in 2013. There’s no Steven Jackson on the Rams’ roster right now, and the team has openly stated that it’s going to be a running back by committee approach this year. The trio of young RB’s have very big shoes to fill.
The safety position is comprised of a slew of undrafted free agents, rookie T.J. McDonald, and recently acquired Matt Giordano. It looks to be the weak point of the Rams’ defense… though it doesn’t have to be.
Did I miss a position? What position concerns YOU the most?
What position battle do you find most intriguing to watch this offseason?
I just covered three pertinent positions to keep your eye on in the previous question. Rokevious Watkins won’t be eligible for the first game of the season [suspension], but has he done enough in the offseason to step in Week 2 and remain the team’s starter for the duration? Maybe the team has other plans at the position…
The three RB’s [Isaiah Pead, Daryl Richardson, and Zac Stacy] will enjoy the luxuries of a timeshare backfield to begin the season. There’s no guarantee that it stays that way, nor is it impossible for one of these players to ‘wow’ enough to earn the starting gig prior to Week 1. There are a lot of questions surrounding the Rams’ running backs, and how the depth chart will shape out.
Defensively, the depth chart is all but set for the front seven, but the secondary [specifically in terms of the safety position] will be an interesting battle to monitor. It sounds as though the [intended] starters are Darian Stewart and T.J. McDonald. Stewart has struggled to stay healthy and McDonald has yet to play a down in the NFL.
Those are just three battles that I find intriguing. Certainly the WR position is one to keep an eye on, though QB is probably set.
What position battle will YOU be looking forward to the most?
What player do you think will disappoint most in 2013?
For some reason, I’m continuously being drawn back to Craig Dahl. I’m a creature of habit, I suppose. The point? Last year, Dahl was often the at the other end of blaming fingers and flying expletives. He stood out amongst the players as one who consistently let the team down.
He’s gone now. There are at least 22 other players to choose from, but it doesn’t have to be a starter. Maybe it’s someone you’ve got high expectations for in 2013, and they just simply don’t crack the starting roster. Then again, there could still be a player on the roster that you likened to Dahl… and he’s still suiting up for the Rams this year.
No need to play nice. Someone will let you down this season. What player is it going to be?
What is the best possible outcome [wins/losses] for the Rams this year? Postseason?
The Rams haven’t had a .500 season since 2006 and haven’t put together a winning year since 2003; a year in which they made the postseason. Still fueled by the exciting turnaround season last year, many fans think a 9-7 season is a real possibility.
Is that your safe projection? Is it your ceiling? Is it your floor? The Rams let a few games slip away from them last year, but they also beat a couple of the best teams in the NFL.
What’s a [realistic] best case scenario for the Rams in 2013?