An All Pro/Pro Bowl season for punter John Hekker:
Punter Johnny Hekker set NFL's all-time record for net punting average in one season at 44.2
Punter Johnny Hekker set NFL's all-time record for net punting average in one season at 44.2— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) December 30, 2013
Chris Long's reaction to Robert Quinn's Pro Bowl and All Pro accolades:
For those who believe the Rams should be looking at possible coordinator changes:
Rams coach Jeff Fisher wrapped up his end of season news conference. He said he is not anticipating any staff changes this offseason.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher wrapped up his end of season news conference. He said he is not anticipating any staff changes this offseason.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 30, 2013
What's the Rams' plan at wide receiver?: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Do the Rams remain patient with their young receiving corps, or do they continue looking for that elusive #1 wide receiver?
The Definitive Blueprint To St. Louis Rams' Perfect Off Season: Bleacher Report
Few things in this world are ever perfect. If the Rams can shore up the secondary, secure a mid-round QB to develop, and solidify the offensive line...that's close enough to perfect for me.
The Chicago Bears signed QB Jay Cutler to a lucrative 7-year contract extension, with 50 million plus in guaranteed money. If the Rams wished to extend Sam Bradford's contract, what could it cost them? Should they even consider it before the 2014 season?
2014 NFL Free Agency - A Primer: Bleacher Report
The free agency signing period begins on March 11. The Rams, although cash-strapped, may find a way to add a significant piece from the free agent market.
With Andrew Luck and RG3 at the top of the board in 2012, the Rams' trade down process was accomplished well before the draft. That's not likely to be the case in 2014, as there is much uncertainty at the top of this years draft.
Draft Prospects Highlight Reel: Safety - Deone Bucannon
Deone Bucannon Highlights (via gokai15)
Rams Can't Give Up On Young Receiving Corps This Off Season: Rant Sports NFL
Should the Rams be selecting another wide receiver in the draft, or focusing on developing the secondary and offensive line?
Five Biggest Roster Needs For The Rams In 2014: Ramblin' Fan
The offensive line and defensive secondary highlight the list of Rams needs heading into the off season.
Tajh Boyd, Jeff Mathews, and Aaron Murray are all QB's the Rams could look at in the later rounds of the upcoming draft.
Ogletree Makes Kiper's All Rookie Team: ESPN - Nick Wagoner
Off Season Priorities For The NFC And The Rams: Rams News Now
Peter King discusses the Rams, who he believes will trade down the #2 overall selection in the draft, acquiring an extra #1 pick in 2015.
Stat Facts Of The Week: Toxic Differential
|Team||Turnover Differential||Big Play Differential||Toxic Differential|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||12||30||42|
|7||Kansas City Chiefs||18||-5||13|
|8||New Orleans Saints||0||12||12|
|10||St. Louis Rams||8||1||9|
|12||New York Jets||-14||17||3|
|16||New England Patriots||9||-11||-2|
|18||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||-16||-6|
|19||Green Bay Packers||-3||-3||-6|
|22||San Diego Chargers||-4||-5||-9|
|29||New York Giants||-15||-8||-23|
On August 19, I wrote about the importance of the "toxic differential", in an article for Turf Show Times (link). The Rams finished the season ranked 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".
Why Texans Trading Down Won't Hurt Rams: Ramblin' Fan
When all is said and done, the number 2 pick in the draft is still the number 2 pick in the draft. There will be interest in that selection from many teams come May.
Watkins To Declare: ESPN NFC West
Mel Kiper believes WR Sammy Watkins could be a good fit for the Rams:
"The Rams could move off the No. 2 pick they have from Washington," Kiper wrote. "But a year after drafting Tavon Austin, they could still use an elite perimeter receiver to challenge for balls in the air and stretch defenses over the top."
2011 first rounders can finally get paid: Pro Football Talk
The end of the 2013 regular season was important to 2011 first round draft selections. They are now eligible for new or extended contracts. Will the Rams be looking to extend DE Robert Quinn in the off season?
5 Big Moves Rams Could Make In Free Agency: Bleacher Report
Do the Rams have the resources to make a splash in free agency this year? There are some interesting free agents that could fill big holes in the Rams roster, particularly in the secondary.
Ten Takeaways From The Rams' 2013 Season: 101 ESPN Sports
Randy Karraker leaves us with this to ponder:
"The Rams projected 2014 as their breakout season, and 2014 is here. There are no more excuses."
On This Day In Sports History
1899 - Walter Camp publishes his 1st All-American football team in Collier's.
Stacy staked claim as starting RB: ESPN NFC West
Who would have thought, at the beginning of the season, that Zac Stacy would emerge as the starter at RB?
Examining the Rams' free agent options in the secondary: Cover 32 Rams
Both T.J. Ward and Jairus Byrd are attractive options at safety, and both are free agents this off season. Neither will come cheaply, but could be options for the Rams if they decide to open the purse strings.
Female Alabama fan goes after Oklahoma fans - video: Sports Pickle
Obviously not a good idea to piss off a female Alabama fan...
La Canfora talks draft and the Rams' #2 pick - video: Rams News Now
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora believes the Rams will pass on a QB with the #2 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, opting to trade down instead.
2013 PFF All-Pro Team: Pro Football Focus
DE Robert Quinn and P John Hekker are deservedly adding to their post-season honors, both being named to PFF's All-Pro team.
2014 NFL Mock Draft: Bleacher Report
Although they preface their selections - stating the Rams WILL trade down the #2 overall pick - for now the Rams select DE Jadeveon Clowney and OT Greg Robinson with their two first round picks. Aside from Clowney, seven names are repeatedly being cited as the top picks in the draft: QB's Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, LB Anthony Barr, OT Jake Matthews, and WR Sammy Watkins. The ideal situation for the Rams? I believe the ideal situation would be the Rams trading down the #2 pick - while still remaining in the top 8 - and have Matthews or Watkins available for them to select. Could they trade the number 2 pick down twice?
St. Louis Rams: Three New Year's Resolutions For 2014: Football Nation
All three resolutions revolve around the offense, most importantly Sam Bradford's health.
The trade market for no. 2 overall pick: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
As many as eight teams could be calling Les Snead on draft day looking to trade up. All it takes is one to make a deal.
Fisher expecting more continuity for Rams: ESPN - Nick Wagoner
"Considering the Rams will likely need to release some high-priced veterans to have workable salary cap space, it's entirely possible that whatever roster turnover the Rams do incur could actually make them the youngest team in the league for the third consecutive year in 2014."
St. Louis Rams Weekly Salary "Re-Cap"
Heading into the off season, the Rams have $86,162 in available salary cap space for carryover into 2014, second-lowest in the league. This puts the Rams within $161,000 of the cap space total they had at this time last year. Restructuring of contracts and cap casualties should be expected again this off season.
"Dubs' Pigskin Picks" Final Update
For 17 weeks I published a regular column, picking teams both straight-up and against the spread. Pickwatch kept track of the picks from 93 experts throughout the season. How did I fare against the experts Pickwatch was tracking (link)? I finished tied for 1st place with John Halpin of Fox Sports, in a race that went down to the final week. For those who followed and bet on my "hot picks against the spread", you would have made some money, for those hot picks came through at a 75% success rate. The accompanying charts present my results for the year, and those of the top 25 experts:
|Week||Wins Straight Up||Wins vs Spread||Hot Picks vs. Spread||Rams Straight Up|
|Last Week||13 3||8 8||2 1||1 0|
|Season||177 79||155 101||38 13||10 6|
|6||Pete O'Brien||USA Today||12||11||10||9||8||10||10||11||7||8||10||8||13||13||9||10||13||172||83||67.45%|
|13||Don Banks||Sports Illustrated||11||14||10||9||8||10||9||12||7||6||11||6||11||14||8||9||14||169||86||66.27%|
|14||Nate Davis||USA Today||11||14||8||8||9||11||9||11||8||9||10||8||11||11||9||8||14||169||86||66.27%|
|18||Michael David Smith||PFT||12||12||10||9||8||11||8||10||8||6||12||5||13||12||9||10||13||168||87||65.88%|
|19||Simon Samano||USA Today||10||12||10||10||10||9||9||12||6||7||9||10||12||12||8||10||12||168||87||65.88%|
My Super Bowl prediction? The Denver Broncos defeat the San Francisco 49ers.
My darkhorse team that could surprise? The Carolina Panthers.
Blast From The Past: Classic Rock Tuesday: Manfred Mann - The Mighty Quinn
Manfred Mann - Mighty Quinn 1967 (via fritz51351)
Please have a great Tuesday and a Ramtastic week!