Yes its true, the Rams play one of the toughest schedules in the NFL this season, but that doesn't mean we should be worried. Yes we play the NFC West (who could field 3 playoff teams this year) and the AFC West (3 playoff teams last season), but there is reason for optimism and hope this season. Even thought the schedule is strenuous and grueling, it will be exciting and nerve racking. A lot of games in 2014 are going to come down to the wire! You might be asking yourself at this, "What is this magical force that is making him so darn optimistic?" Well, a lot of it has to do with this guy...
The Rams just picked up Quinn's 2015 option, so we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future. My optimism isn't solely in one (great) player, but in the entire D-line of the St. Louis Rams. How could you be not be excited to watch the Fearsome Foursome 2.0 this coming Sundays. The likes of Quinn, Brockers, Langford, and Long are a offensive coordinators worst nightmare, also you can't forget the supporting cast of Hayes, Sims, and the new guy Carrington. But honestly my optimism doesn't stop there! There is another guy that I am pretty excited to watch next fall...
Another year of development for Olgetree is going to do him wonders. Alec Olgetree is another athletic, play-maker that can change the course of game by himself. Yes the above GIF is a preseason game, but one it is still Peyton Manning and two it shows how instrumental he will be next season when the Rams are visited by said Manning and company. Another thing that impressed me about Olgetree last season is his TWO forced fumbles against FRANK GORE! The esteemed, veteran running back only had three fumbles of the course of the season and two coming at the hands of the rookie linebacker from Georgia. In total, Olgetree had 6 forced fumbles on the year and don't forget that 98-yard INT return against Houston. In addition to Olgetree, the Rams boast a LB corp with James Laurinaitis, Dunbar, and Ray Ray Armstrong (who is an intriguing prospect), and the LBs could see the addition of another LB in the Draft (perhaps Kahlil Mack?). In any case, the Rams will be lining up on defense with a dynamic front seven next season.
The Rams will also likely add a Safety between May 8th-10th to fill what many consider a sizable need. I would agree, but it will be interesting to see when the Rams decide to select a safety because they didn't take T.J. McDonald until the 3rd round in 2012. The Rams may not see the safety spot as a big of a need because they have some young talent on the roster. McLeod and Chris Davis have shown flashes of promise at times, and Mcleod has shown the versatility that Fisher likes in players. Fisher was quoted about what he wants in a safety:
Well you’re looking for first a thorough understanding of the defense and to be able to…for them to be interchangeable both positions - strong safety, free safety - and then you’ve got to be a complete player, in that you’ve got to be a good run defender and good tackler and you’ve got to be able to play spacing and break up passes. Courtesy of www.ramsondemand.com
About those CBs... Jenkins had a sophomore and was victim to Walton's lack of aggression last season. Tru Johnson had a decent year after taking over the starting CB role. I look for him to have a break out year in 2014. The Rams will probably draft a CB in the first few rounds and some say as the Rams could select a CB at the 13th pick. You really can't have enough good CBs in a pass happy NFL.
The final reason to be optimistic is the addition of the evil genius to put all of the pieces together!
Finding a leader on the sidelines for this team was an important part of the puzzle. Of course there is the Bounty Gate, but Williams brings an aggressive style that meshes well with the nucleus the Rams possess on defense. The likes of Jenkins and Johnson will benefit from a more attacking defense because Jenkins likes to take risks and Johnson excels in press coverage. This defense is only a piece or two from being top 5 next year and that has be ecstatic. I am a defense first kind of guy, so I wouldn't mind the addition of top 5 talent to the front seven. There is reason to be optimistic and it will only grow when the Rams are on the clock May 8th!