Some of you may have missed the live reaction 'hangout' with TST staff last night. If so, you missed a good time. 3k and Ryan van Bibber, Brandon and Sean provided their reactions to the schedule release; soliciting reactions and questions. A couple of technical glitches aside, it was fun and informative.
The last question discussed, was win/loss projections for the coming season. Originally posed by Douglas M in the comment section, all of the projections seemed to be 8-8 to 10-6. I , for one, was a bit shocked at the pessimism, though in truth we Rams fans have taken such a beating in recent years, it is quite forgivable. I have a bit more optimism.
Rams 2014 Regular Season Schedule;
vs. MIN, @TB, vs. DAL, BYE, @PHI, vs. SF(Mon), vs. SEA, @KC, @SF, @AZ, vs. DEN, @SD, vs. OAK, @WSH, vs. AZ(Thurs), vs. NYG, @SEA
Yes, that is a tough schedule, but we already knew that, didn't we? We don't need reminding that the Rams are in the NFC Best, and the AFC West - with their three playoff teams - was slated as their opponents from the opposing conference. That gives us a total of five games vs championship participants, and three versus recent Super Bowl contestants! Yes, it is tough.
I see an 11-5 season in our future, with a probable playoff berth as a reward.
Gregg Williams: Securing him in the defensive coordinator position is a seriously strong move. This alone will add two more 'W's to our total from last year. The Rams defense has the chance to be scary good next year. This is a case of on-field serendipity. The players match the coach, and his style of play. This is not at all coincidence. Jeff Fisher wanted Williams all along, and has drafted and coached accordingly. Expect the Rams to lead the league in sacks next year. Expect them to be a top defense against the run, and top ten vs the pass. Overall, expect the Rams Defense to be ranked in the top 5 by the end of the year. Barring the unforeseen, it can be that good.
Famously young, the Rams players have had some time to settle down and gel as a team. Most of last year's roster will be returning. Not the most loved of offensive coordinators, Brian Shottenheimer will be leading the offense again, and this is a good thing. Yes, really! Don't expect that spread-thingy we saw at the beginning of last year. He has his marching orders - pound it out on the ground at the opposition.
Already mentioned above, it's worth repeating that the Rams youngsters have some time on the clock now. Alec Ogletree, Zac Stacy, Tavon, Stedman, and the rest will build on their experience and put it to stellar use this year. Sam Bradford will be back and healthy. Jake Long will be back, though many questions remain about when. As the season progressed last year, you could see the increased level of play on both sides of the ball, and that's only going to get better.
Last year's draft provided three immediate impact players - Ogletree, Stacy and Tavon - with three more solid contributors in T.J. McDonald, Stedman Bailey and Benny Cunningham. The Rams are in primo territory to repeat, or even outdo, that success this year. Some gaps remain on both sides of the ball, but with 12 draft picks - two of them in the top 13 - Snead and Fisher can be picky and flesh out the remaining needs and add depth.
So... Chin up Rams fans! Snead and Fisher have put together a team that can compete with the absolute best the NFL has to offer, and they'll prove it against the NFL's best.