It's that time of year Rams fans.
No I'm not talking about a 'polar vortex' or dealing with your in-laws or holiday travel. It's time to start thinking about next season. Jeff Fisher is so committed to his plan of action that he refuses to see how spectacularly it is failing. I'm not going to touch the 'regime-change' discussion that's bound to come this week. But something I will NOT shy away from is change.
It has to happen at some level. Damn near 100% of the blame for the Rams struggles this season belongs to the offense. A Lance Kendricks drop here, a missed FG there, poor OL and QB play everywhere. This unit is beyond help for the 2015 season. They've defined themselves as the Tavon Gurley show and teams have learned to stop that. Until they find more than their 2 studs this isn't going to get any better.
Historically, TSTers are broken into 2 groups: those wanting OL and those wanting playmakers. I'm going to split that up a bit further due to the horrendous QB play the Rams have gotten this season.
What's clear to everyone but Fisher is that he waited far too long to seriously upgrade this unit. For what it's worth, there are some solid pieces here. But there are also core members of this unit that frequently draw the ire of TSTers: Rodger Saffold and Greg Robinson.
Saffold could likely be a cap casualty this offseason, but Robinson - for better or worse - isn't going anywhere. Moving forward, that leaves big 'ol #73, Jamon Brown, Garrett Reynolds, and Rob Havenstein as the core of this group (with Isaiah Battle becoming an insurance policy to Robinson).
While the youngsters have performed mostly admirably, as a whole they don't inspire much confidence. The Rams likely need an upgrade at Center, a replacement for Saffold, depth, depth, and more depth.
The only receiver on this roster that has solidified his slot moving forward is Tavon Austin. Yes, I'm still a believer in Brian Quick, but that ship has sailed. Nothing against Bradley Marquez, but if he is getting looks ahead of BQ, then I don't ever see Quick regaining his early 2014 form.
Jared Cook and Kenny Britt count roughly $13M against the 2016 cap and they have to go. Stedman Bailey has done nothing but dig himself a hole this season and who knows what happens with Wes Welker after his cameo this season.
This group needs help in a bad way.
And here we are - the grand-daddy of all the Rams issues right now. From Marc Bulger to Case Keenum and everyone in between, the Rams have been looking for a franchise QB for a dozen years. I'm not saying Nick Foles can't be that guy, but he clearly hasn't been this season.
With the contract extension he's going to be around in 2016, as will Sean Mannion. But will the Rams significantly upgrade the position once the inevitable 7-9 season concludes? Doubtful, but we can hope right?