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Are We Expecting Too Much?

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We all had high expectations for that ever-elusive breakthrough season. Playoff aspirations have quickly gone belly-up in St. Louis. Should we lower our expectations for this team?

Evan Habeeb

The Rams have been in NFL purgatory for a decade now. We all had high hopes heading into year three of the Jeff Fisher / Les Snead regime. All any of us wanted was to have was a winning season for the first time since 2003. I think that, given the difficulty of the schedule, most - if not all - fans would have been happy with a 9 win season.

But - as we all know - those hopes were dashed early. It's no secret that the Rams rebuild is a precarious built one; built on the back of Sam Bradford. So when he went down with another season ending injury, Rams fans everywhere knew they would most likely be left yearning for a winner for another year.

After Bradford went down, the likes of Chris Long, Jake Long, and Brian Quick all followed him to the IR. It's hard to grasp the impact that these injuries have had on this team. So to get a better understanding of it, I turned to what I understand best: Numbers.

Player Cap Hit
Sam Bradford $17,610,000
Chris Long $12,900,000
Jake Long $9,250,000
Brian Quick $1,469,072
Isaiah Pead $1,101,300
Brandon McGee $543,790
Mason Brodine $318,000
Demetrius Rhaney $314,474
Total Salary on IR $43,506,636
2014 Salary Cap $133,000,000

For what it's worth, 3 of the 4 top salaries on the team - however bloated they might be - account for the majority of the roughly $43.5M out of the $133M salary cap that is currently on IR. I'll save you the trouble of getting out a calculator... that's 32.7% of the Rams salary cap - roughly 1/3 - that's unavailable for the rest (or in Chris Long's case, a significant portion) of the season.

Yes, I realize that Chris Long is on the "IR-Designated to Return" list. Meaning that he will play again for the Rams before the season is over. However, he is unlikely to return until he can regain the strength in his ankle and by that point, the damage will have been done.

My question is this: if we would have been happy with a 9 win season before all of these injuries, should we now expect 32.7% OR roughly 1/3 less from them? Should we be satisfied if the Rams win 3 less games than our original expectations? Is 6 wins a successful season, considering all that has transpired?