The dust is settling on the St. Louis Rams 2009 season, a rough slog through 17 weeks of football. When the season ended this time last year events created a renewed sense of optimism, something Rams fans hadn't experienced in several seasons. Jay Zygmunt was out; the experienced football man Billy Devaney was installed as GM by the children of the late Georgia Frontiere. A little later in the offseason, the team hired an outgoing rookie head coach, Steve Spagnuolo, who brought an impressive resume as the defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl Champion NY Giants and a long track record of success as a defensive coach with the Eagles.
Next came the cuts. Long-tenured veterans, big name players who once helped sell tickets were jettisoned along with their hefty contracts and replaced with players with their best years still ahead, some came through the draft, some were just replacement parts collected from practices squads and the ranks of the undrafted. The cuts, while somewhat draconian, and the new additions were needed for the franchise to rebuild. Of course, those cuts left the team vulnerable at key positions, giving us our first red flag that the going might get a little rough before it starts getting better.
The front office will be making some very important moves during this offseason, moves that should translate to more wins on the field in the season ahead. Of course, there isn't much room for error. A miss with a free agent or a high draft pick would be a huge hurdle for the Rams future. The team being for sale adds another wrinkle to the story. As much as 1-15 hurt to watch - and man were Sundays painful sometimes - the vision for the Rams still seems clear.
Let's take the pulse of Rams Nation and get a feel for we, the fans, are feeling about the team's overall direction.