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The Austin Davis Era Shouldn't Have Ever Happened

A recap of how the Rams got here and why it shows the underlying issues in how the Rams have built their roster over the last half decade.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

January 3, 2010

The Rams have just lost to the 49ers 6-28, cementing the worst record in the history of the franchise, 1-15. It is new Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo's first season at the helm and it's capped with a game in which the Rams accrued 22 passing yards. It's also the last time any of the quarterbacks on the roster will ever play for the Rams again. Marc Bulger would go on to Baltimore to end his career. Kyle Boller would head to Oakland. And Keith Null, who posted 566 yards in four starts with three touchdowns and nine interceptions, would hang around through the next preseason before the Rams cut him.

The Rams had the #1 pick with a #1 QB in mind.

April 22, 2010

Sam Bradford has been drafted by the St. Louis Rams with the #1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. It's a perfect fit for a second-year staff trying to turn the corner for a franchise that has won six games total in the last three seasons. The hope is that a shoulder injury that derailed his final college season is an anomaly. His offseason work suggests he's 100% and that serious injuries are behind him.

January 2, 2011

Heartbreak in Seattle. The Rams' season was nearly storybook. Rookie QB Sam Bradford would go on to win the offensive rookie of the year award, but what's left is the what if. Week 17 offered the Rams a chance to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but the Seahawks held their ground at home and would take the better 7-9 record into the postseason.

The Rams would need to find a way to improve marginally to make the postseason in 12 months time.

January 1, 2012

Back to basics. The Rams have finished 2-14 erasing the optimism a 4-0 preseason and popular dark horse candidacy brought just months prior. Things unraveled down the stretch with an especially notable confrontation between Bradford and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels. Bradford dealt with an ankle injury for much of the season, battling through pain to play 10 games. His production dipped significantly, but much of that can be attributed to the offense around him that General Manager Billy Devaney and Spagnuolo have constructed.

Despite paying through the roof for the last #1 overall pick from the previous collective bargaining agreement, the Rams have opted neither to protect him sufficiently nor give him an escape route. The offensive line is adding to Bradford's health insurance deductible with guys like Jason Brown, Jacob Bell and Jason Smith clearly not up to the task. The coaching staff opted to cut ties with Donnie Avery and Mardy Gilyard before the season started, two recent draft selections. Mark Clayton, a favored target of Bradford's, was facing retirement thanks to a gruesome knee injury. That left a collection of Danny Amendola (who would miss most of the year), Brandon Gibson, Danario Alexander, Mike Sims-Walker, Dominique Curry and rookies Austin Pettis and Greg Salas. None would sniff 40 receptions. The Rams were forced to make a desperate mid-season move for Brandon Lloyd who immediately outperformed everyone the Rams already had on the roster.

It was time to blow it up and start over.

January 13, 2012

It took less than two weeks. Jeff Fisher has agreed to be the next coach of the St. Louis Rams. His job is less of a rebuild than a renovation. He's got core components in place in Chris Long, Robert Quinn, James Laurinaitis, Rodger Saffold, Danny Amendola and Steven Jackson.

The real question was whether or not to entertain the option of taking Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick. Fisher, and his new partner in General Manager Les Snead, will have to decide whether or not to go in with Bradford who is coming off of a relatively serious injury or whether to go big in the draft.

March 9, 2012

Well that's that. The Rams have traded the #2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft for a huge haul. There's no excuse now. They've got the draft capital to build a winner.

May 14, 2013

Fisher's first year went fine enough improving a two-win team into a seven-win team, but damn if they didn't look lost getting there. The team sputtered out to a 3-6-1 start before the 4-2 finish put some gloss on the season. Veterans like Jackson, Amendola and Gibson were allowed to hit free agency as the team looked to rebuild the offense. While the Rams looked to hit with some of the rookies in Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins, there are legitimate questions about Brian Quick and Isaiah Pead.

The key is improving on Bradford's best year to date. So now as the 2013 NFL Draft begins, the Rams are looking to add some weapons to the arsenal and continue to grow the offensive line. Things certainly look like they're headed in the right direction, though 2013 could be a make or break year for Sam.

November 3, 2013

Wrong again. The Rams are coming off of a second consecutive home less leaving them at 3-6 as they head to Indianapolis. More problematic is that the weapons for Bradford, like Brian Quick and rookie Tavon Austin, aren't providing sufficient returns. Most problematic is that Bradford himself is now out for the season having torn his ACL two weeks ago. Kellen Clemens is doing his best, but that's just not enough. The Rams are going to have serious questions now about the QB position as they head into the 2014 NFL Draft with their last extra pick from the RGIII trade which looks like it could be extremely valuable the way the Redskins are playing.

May 10, 2014

The 2014 NFL Draft has just concluded and the Rams brought in quite a haul...and didn't do much about quarterback. For all the pre-draft ballyhooing over the Rams potentially taking a QB early or even in the middle rounds to prep for the future, the Rams have stood pat with the current group save for...Garrett Gilbert. Fisher and Snead have gone all in on Bradford. As long as the weapons around him grow up, he could be in for a banner year.

August 23, 2014

Oh no.

August 24, 2014

Oh no no no.

Bradford's out for the year. The avoidance of putting someone else in the QB stables mean the Rams have Shaun Hill, Austin Davis and maybe Gilbert as active QBs come week one. This is not good. But it's what we were worried about. It's why so many people wanted Johnny Manziel in round one. It's why so many TSTers and Rams fans clamored for a mid-round backup instead of relying on Shaun Hill whose value is certainly higher in the locker room than it is on the field.

September 7, 2014

It's halftime of the Vikings game, and the Rams are struggling down 13-0. Shaun Hill's first half of the season did not go well. He's now gotten injured/benched after throwing a late interception in the half that led to Minnesota's touchdown. It looks like Austin Davis is going to come out to start the second half. Austin Davis...who was cut by the team last year...

I don't know what's going to happen or where this team is going, but I know how it got here. And at every step of the road, there's a question. If Austin Davis isn't the answer, then we'll have gone five years without finding it...

This was never supposed to happen.