It’s fair to say the St. Louis Rams will look differently in 2015. They’ve made moves amongst their coaching staff, and have added [and subtracted] a few key pieces in free agency. Exciting stuff.
But when the dust settles, and free agency and the draft are behind us, it’s time for the team to put it all together and start winning football games. Which players are going to step up, and what are we expecting from them in 2015?
Nick Foles Passing Yards: 3,300
Nick Foles has never eclipsed 3,000 passing yards in a season. He’s also never played a full one. In fact, he’s played in only 28 games in three seasons. Statistically, his 2013 season was his best in terms of yardage; having thrown for 2,891 yards in 13 games [on pace for 3,558]. Last year, his performance fell off though, and he was ultimately replaced by Mark Sanchez. He was still on pace for over 4,000 yards...and probably 4,000 interceptions. Either way, it’s clear he get toss it for over 3,000 yards if he can stay on the field. The question is whether or not he can do it in Frank Cignetti's run-heavy offense.
Sacks on Defense: 50
Over the past few years, perhaps no team in the NFL has done such a fine job of living in the opponent's backfield than the Rams. They’ve finished the last three seasons with 40, 53, and 52 sacks respectively. Gregg Williams had the defense dialed in over the last half of the 2014 season, and if he can keep that momentum - especially with the addition of Nick Fairley - "Sack City" may be back in full force.
Tre Mason Rushing Yards: 1,000
The Rams haven’t had a 1,000-yd rusher since Steven Jackson did it in 2012. Tre Mason clearly earned the starting running back job early on in 2014, and there’s little that would indicate he’s not lining up behind Foles on the first play of the 2015 season. Mason was featured in 12 games last year, rushing for 765 yards on 179 carries. At that pace, had he played in 16 games, he would’ve just surpassed the 1,000-yd mark [1,020]. If Cignetti’s game plan is to run-first, Mason could be in a for a big year...assuming there are five competent blocker in front of him.
Rams’ Defense Ranking: 11th
The Rams allowed 351.6 yards per game in 2014; that was best for 17th in the NFL. Had they been able to knock a mere 10 yards per game off of that average, they would’ve jumped 11th in the NFL. We often hear about how great the Rams’ defense is - or can be - but can that unit put together an entire 16-game season, stifle it’s opponents consistently, and become a top 10 defense?
Kenny Britt/Another WR Reception Yards: 2,000
Kenny Britt appears to have emerged as the team’s top wideout. At least that was the case in 2014. We’ll see how things progress with Britt and his new QB. Regardless, I asked what you thought about Britt’s potential in 2015 in this Over/Under piece and it’s pretty evident Rams Nation feels he’s capable of eclipsing 1,000 yards. The question is who else can do it? Jared Cook approached 700 yards in 2013, as did Chris Givens in 2012. Those were also leading performances, clearly making it difficult for the No 1 and 2 receivers to eclipse the 2,000-yd mark.
You probably saw this one coming. The Rams haven’t won 8 games since 2006. They haven’t won 9 [or more] since 2003. It’s not asking a lot, at least it shouldn’t be, but is 2015 the year where the Rams finish .500 or better?