Offseason doldrums. It's time to fight the sports void with the number of days until football now into double digits.
An appropriate time to gauge the offseason changes of each time, ESPN's Matt Williamson went through the changes of every NFL franchise and compared the teams from each conference against one another (insider wall of doom subscription required).
As Rams fans, we're going to be biased. Understandably so. So seeing the Rams ranked fifth in the NFC is a bit of a validation that the rest of the world is seeing an offseason that sets up the Rams for a greater chance of success than otherwise:
Expect a fast-paced attack with highly skilled players all over the formation. This group can really run, and with Cook, Brian Quick, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, the Rams have a unique big-to-small electric mix of options to best attack a defense's weakness. Pinpointing where the production will come from might prove difficult, but matching up against this group of young receivers will be tough for every defensive coordinator St. Louis faces.
Already a very good defense, the Rams stuck with the speed theme by adding Alec Ogletree, who has excellent coverage skills, explosion and range. Even though they added T.J. McDonald, the safety position really worries me here and the front office should be on the lookout for a veteran signing at this position before Week 1. St. Louis' roster has improved immensely since Jeff Fisher took over as head coach. Three teams out of the NFC West might end up going to the playoffs.
There's more analysis there, but aside from offensive line changes, that's really the crux of the offseason. New weapons for Sam in Jared Cook and rookies Austin and Bailey, and defensive reinforcements in Ogletree and McDonald for a unit that was plenty strong in 2012.
Now I don't get bent out of shape by listravaganzas, but I certainly took note of the top four that eclipsed the Rams on Williamson's rankings.
Most concerning (in more ways than one) was his 1-2 combination of the Cardinals and Seahawks. Whether or not you agree with his ranking, the idea of the teams of the NFC West's offseasons being ranked 1st, 2nd, 5th and 9th among a 16-team group? And that middle-of-the-road offseason was the NFC Champion 49ers who added four players in the first three rounds of the draft? The NFC West is getting silly. Very silly.
If the conventional wisdom is any indicator, the Rams have at least done themselves well in positioning the team to be expected to compete in 2013.
That alone is a significant improvement.