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St. Louis Rams: ESPN Finally Showing Some Love

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Jeffri Chadiha, a Senior NFL Columnist at ESPN.com, has earmarked the Rams as a breakout team this year. Here's why.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

I try to avoid ESPN most days. Between the constant Johnny Manziel coverage and Skip Bayless (why is he still employed?!?) it's just not worth my time anymore. However, when working on a dreadfully slow Saturday afternoon, I grew desperate for something to keep me awake. When I navigated the ancient browser the USAF employs (IE 9) to ESPN.com, I was shocked when I saw that the Rams headlining the NFL page. Chadiha's analysis focused on 2 primary tenants: A young defense gelling together under Gregg Williams to convert potential into production, and the health & continued development of franchise QB Sam Bradford. I know, I know.... we heard all of this last year during training camp too. But this has a more legit feel to it.

I personally believe Williams will be able to pull the best out of our über-talented defense. He's too good of a coach not to. He expects excellence of himself and demands the same of his players. Consider this... with a Defensive Coordinator who didn't know how to command player's respect nor game-plan, the Rams still ranked 13th in the league in points allowed and 15th in total yards...all while playing one of the most difficult schedules in the league. If they can be "average" with a DC who (per Cortland Finnegan) was in over his head, I'm betting that they can be elite with of the best in the biz.

The other tenant mentioned is essential not just for the Rams but for every team in the NFL: QB Health and Development. Every Rams fan knows that Sam Bradford is a hot-button issue, and that's not changing until he can stay healthy and lead the Rams to a winning record. The front office points to his success post-Week 4 last year as a reason to be hopeful. I'll save my detailed analysis of Sammy Boy until I write his Roster Preview article early next week, but (SPOILER ALERT) I expect him to do well this year.

As fans, we are obligated to love our team. As Rams fans, that has proven to be tough in the past. But seeing the team recognized on national media as a team who can make noise this fall is refreshing. Hopefully it lasts longer than it did last year.