The hope was that the St. Louis Rams would be a good team going into this season, better than the 7-8-1 group from last season. That hasn't been the case so far through the first quarter of the season. The Rams are heading into Week 5 with a 1-3 record, and hoping that they can put together a win streak, starting with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
What we have seen from this team, so far, doesn't instill much hope. Granted, the season isn't over and the there are still things that the team can change that could at least make them more competitive. But those are maybes, so let's take a look at what the Rams have shown us thus far.
The Tavon Austin show needs new cast members
The most exciting player in college football last season was supposed to bring that same excitement to St. Louis, with all the shaking and baking and making people miss. So far that show has been a disappointment. In the first quarter of the season, Austin has 20 receptions, 124 yards, two touchdowns and a dismal 6.2 yards per catch. Not bad for a rookie player, but after all the hype surrounding Austin, how could you not have been hoping for better?
Besides a punt return that was called back, there hasn't been any of the promised excitement around Austin. Which isn't a total shock, he does need to get used to the pro game. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer needs to do a better job of making plays for him and giving him am chance to succeed. The Rams traded up to get him; he's the guy to make the team more explosive. Maybe Austin doesn't know enough of the plays, so they're limiting his use, maybe he isn't ready to make plays on the field, it could be anything.
There is no Heisenberg, without a Jesse Pinkman helping Walter White along the way, just like there's no Tavon Austin show without Jared Cook and Chris Givens helping him. It's hard to rely on a rookie, especially a rookie that the defense is on to. If Cook and Givens can play better that should make life easier for Austin. The Rams' brass hyped up Austin all through the offseason. He was the spark the offense needed, and they had secret plans for him. For now, the plan is just to use him as a healthy Danny Amendola and hope he can break a big gain.
The Rams defense won't finish in the top 10
Last season, the Rams had a good defense. Not great, but it kept the team in most games and even stole a few wins with turnovers. And they did it "without" a defensive coordinator. This year, the Rams hired Detroit Lions secondary coach Tim Walton to be the team's defensive coordinator. This is his first year being a defensive coordinator, so growing pains were expected.
It's not just on Walton. When you have defenders who over pursue ball carriers or players missing tackles, it's hard to blame the coach for that. You can blame the coaches when the Rams defense plays deep on short yardage plays, something that the Rams finally figured out last week against the San Francisco 49ers, sort of.
Unrealistic expectations on offense?
The Rams have Jared Cook, Jake Long, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey. The team also has deep threat in Chris Givens. There's a short yardage threat in Austin Pettis, and don't forget about last year's second-round pick Brian Quick. We had the promise of the Rams offense moving faster and using their weapons like the New Orleans Saints do.
Talk about unfulfilled promises. This is the same offense that the team put on the field last season, just with new names. This isn't Madden 25. You can't just add players and have a great offense, things like this takes time. Granted, after the years that Rams fans have been through, it's hard to hear that, but it's true.
Maybe the extra days off after the "Thursday Night Disaster" will convince the Rams to take chances like hurrying up the tempo or using more formations, and, hey, finding a running game wouldn't hurt.
The Rams showed us who they were
In the preseason, teams usually use vanilla schemes so that teams won't be able to look back and say, " okay, so this is what they plan on doing." The Rams didn't get the memo.
I kid you not, this looks like the same offense and defense that the team showed in preseason. It's the same coverage issues and the defensive line not generating as much pressure as you would expect that we saw in August. The offense looked better during the preseason, honestly. The deep throws to Chris Givens are the only thing that aren't there.
Those are just a few things that the Rams have shown us so far this season. It's not as positive as one we hoped, but it is what it is.
Is there anything positive that you can say about this team? I can't think of much right now, but maybe you guys can. Sound off in the comments.