Editor’s Note: The theme of this winds up being somewhat similar to Douglas M’s "I’ve been thinkin’…"; then again, I wrote this yesterday. This leads me to believe he has hacked into my computer. He probably is watching me through my webcam right now, thinking, "Why did I hack into the life of someone so boring?" and "Why are there two babies screaming in the background?" I don’t know the answer to either. This middle finger is for you, buddy. Anyway, here goes.
I have been thinking about this awhile. Who would I love to step up this year for the Rams to make the leap into the top teams? This is different than the question, "Who is most likely to step up?", which would be an entirely different discussion.
Sam Bradford is an obvious choice. If he plays at a high level, I think that we not only are a contender in the NFC West, but a Super Bowl contender. Our pass rush will be the best in football, hopefully leading to lots of chances of turnovers for playmakers like Jenkins. The biggest concern is putting up points. Our running game will hopefully keep the chains moving, but we will need some big plays in the passing game to score TDs.
Which brings me to my choice: if I had to choose one player to make the Pro Bowl this year, I would choose Brian Quick. Brian Quick is an enigma, obviously talented but hasn’t been able to put it all together. I worry about the mental side of his game more than anything else: learning the playbook, focusing to make consistent catches. If he maximizes his potential, not only will he be a #1 receiver but potentially an All-Pro in the Vincent Jackson mold. Do I think this is likely? Absolutely not; however, the greatest thing this team has lacked on offense is a #1 receiver.
Other players I have considered:
Jared Cook: Another big, strong, fast target for Sammy B to hit. Played great in the first game just to screw with me and pick him up in Fantasy Football, just to break my heart the rest of the way. The 2nd place finish of the Globo Gym Purple Cobras is on you, and now it’s time to atone.
Zac Stacy: If he is an All-Pro, that means our running game really clicked this year. That also means that he stayed healthy, which is a concern of mine (although less so with Tre Mason in the fold).
Tavon Austin: If he is an All-Pro, that would mean that he is scoring touchdowns. However, he may very well wind up in the Pro Bowl as a punt returner, which certainly wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot.
Jake Long: For him to be an All-Pro, that would mean that: #1 He is healthy. #2 He performed well against the dangerous defensive ends/OLBs that we faced.
Aaron Donald: I think we generally know what we are going to get from the rest of the defensive line: death, destruction, pillaging, lamenting of women. If Donald is an All-Pro, other quarterbacks will get "migraines" or "pulled hamstrings" or "mental breakdowns" prior to the game to avoid playing us. Just wait.
Janoris Jenkins: This would mean that he played well against the top receivers we faced, and probably combine that with some interceptions/fumble recoveries. Winning the turnover battle is always a good start.
Any safety: Bueller? Bueller? Someone show up. If our worst position overall gets an All-Pro nod, that would mean something amazing happened in the defensive backfield that I don’t forsee. Going from the worst to the best at the back end would have to result in a playoff spot, right? Make it happen.