Well, we're in the thick of the darkness of the NFL offseason when Tim Tebow and murders somehow find a way to conjoin in the same storyline. When an NFL head coach is punished by the NCAA to make sure he can't coach a college team even though he's, as noted, an NFL head coach.
At least we're under double digits on the "weeks until football" counter for college, and, of more import, less than a month away from training camp. We're close.
So it might be the last time we get a pre-preseason check on the power rankings, the ultimate lodestone of conventional wisdom in summary form (I love power rankings. You love power rankings. If you don't love power rankings, why are you reading this? Go make a banana split or something, ya weirdo who reads things they don't want to read about).
A month ago, we had the SB Nation/ESPN/CBS triad of power rankings to discuss. Today, it's Teh (proper spelling, if you please) Shield's own Elliot Harrison with his updated power rankings.
Two things: First, Having the Rams at 15 must have been discussed at NFLPunditCon 2013. Harrison bumped them up a notch as the beneficiary of a sliding New York Giants team that dropped 7 spots in his rankings down to 17th largely on the backs of the Victor Cruz contract, Hakeem Nicks OTA stuff and most importantly Jason Pierre-Paul's recent back surgery. Harrison only has six teams moving around more than one slot one way or the other, which given the lack of activity at this point in the year makes sense. Which leads me to the second point...
Right now, power rankings for each team are really about the tiers. Want to make your own power rankings right now? Here's the recipe. You've got a top tier of the Seahawks, 49ers, Falcons and Broncos. Sort em out however you want; you won't get any flack for it. Then you've got a second group of the Packers, Patriots, Ravens and Texans. Again, put em wherever. Now go down to the bottom and fill out the last seven teams from this group: Cardinals, Titans, Jets, Bills, Chiefs, Jaguars and Raiders. The other 17 teams in the middle? Put them in one of those old bingo rollerball cage selection thingies and have fun. Of course, if you're trying to be a national scribe and not a Rams-based writer, write more about the other teams than the Rams in your blurb as Harrison did:
While some would push the 7-9 New Orleans Saints over the 7-8-1 St. Louis Rams -- especially with Sean Payton back in the Big Easy -- losing pass rusher Victor Butler to an ACL injury really hurts Rob Ryan's defense. The Dallas Cowboys, despite having a better record than both last season at 8-8, also have some injury concerns with Tony Romo's cyst and DeMarcus Ware's shoulder. Meanwhile, keep an eye on Rams rookie RB Zac Stacy, a fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt who might give the offense an inside running presence -- a la the departed Steven Jackson.
Translated: "I rank the Rams here because the Cowboys and Saints have bigger fan bases and I have to keep them involved here. Oh, and uh, random RB so I can mention Steven Jackson."
Don't get too riled up. The Rams haven't really done anything in recent years to earn the offseason spotlight either by reaching the playoffs or through actual serious criminal activity (no, taking Anabanatrametrol or some other banned substance does not count as actual serious criminal activity as long as it does not involve taking Anabanatrametrol and then murdering someone).
This is the life of a young team that hasn't reached it's prime time to achieve. Yet.
Adjust your schedules accordingly.