I have mixed feeling after taking a look at the Rams 2015 schedule. Make no mistake: This is a tough season to come for St. Louis. But there's something about it you may not have considered as you try to predict the outcome...
|1||Seattle Seahawks||Home||Sep. 13||1pm||Fox|
|3||Pittsburgh Steelers||Home||Sep. 27||1pm||CBS|
|4||Arizona Cardinals||Away||Oct. 4||4:25pm||Fox|
|5||Green Bay Packers||Away||Oct. 11||1pm||CBS|
|7||Cleveland Browns||Home||Oct. 25||1pm||CBS|
|8||San Francisco 49ers||Home||Nov. 1||1pm||Fox|
|9||Minnesota Vikings||Away||Nov. 8||1pm||Fox|
|10||Chicago Bears||Home||Nov. 15||1pm||Fox|
|11||Baltimore Ravens||Away||Nov. 22||1pm||Fox|
|12||Cincinnati Bengals||Away||Nov. 29||1pm||Fox|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||Home||Dec. 6||1pm||Fox|
|14||Detroit Lions||Home||Dec. 13||1pm||Fox|
|15||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Home||Dec. 17||8:25pm||NFL|
|16||Seattle Seahawks||Away||Dec. 27||4:25pm||Fox|
|17||San Francisco 49ers||Away||Jan. 3||4:25pm||Fox|
In 1984, the Chicago Bear tallied 72 quarterback sacks, and set the NFL record for a team. (One of the Bears' players - Jeff Fisher - was at the end of his career...)
Wins and losses predictions aside, take a look at the Rams opponents, and think about their offensive lines... Now consider the Rams defensive front seven, considered by many to be the best in the NFL. So I'm putting aside W/L for a moment, and look at possible QB sacks for the Rams' "Wild Bunch"...
Weeks 1 & 16: The Seahawks started the 2014 season off slow, and their offensive line has taken a huge hit with the loss of Max Unger. Not the best unit on this team at the best of times in pass protection, it allowed Russell Wilson was sacked 42 times in 2014...
In Week 2, the Rams face Washington. The dubious trio of Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and Colt McCoy combined were sacked 58 times in 2014.
The Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 have a great quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, but he hit the turf 33 times in 2014.
In Weeks 4 & 13, the Rams play the Arizona Cardinals. I have to admit I'm a bit shocked at how few times Cardinals' quarterbacks were sacked last year. Their quietly improving offensive line only allowed 26 sacks.
Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers - who St. Louis faces in Week 5 - benefited from an improved offensive line. He only got mauled for 28 sacks in 2014.
The relentlessly quarterback challenged Cleveland Browns are in St. Louis for Week 7. Brian Hoyer - now with the Texans - and "12 Step Johnny" Manziel were sacked 27. The Browns added Tampa's Josh McCown, but more on him later...
Weeks 8 & 17 find San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick facing the St. Louis defense. "The Colin" was the second most sacked quarterback in the NFL for 2014 - 52 times! (Jacksonville's Blake Bortles wins the "Face Plant Trophy": 55 sacks.)
Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater - the Rams Week 9 foe - was welcomed to the NFL 39 times in 2014.
The Bears in Week 10 bring the brooding Jay Cutler to the Edward Jones Dome. He had 38 opportunities to sulk last season...
In the 11th game of the 2015 season, the Rams play in Baltimore. Joe Flacco was sacked only 19 times; the least of any quarterback in the NFL other than Peyton Manning (17).
Andy Dalton gets loads of heat from NFL media folks. Winning in the post season may be his Achilles heal, but he managed to only be sacked 21 times last year.
Detroit's gun-slinging Matt Stafford had a career high in 2014. He was sacked 45 times, so he has that going for him... Which is nice...
2015 first pick in the NFL Draft Tampa bay may very well have Jameis Winston as their new quarterback this season. But his agent may want to point out to his client Bucs' quarterbacks were pummeled 52 times last season.
All totaled, the quarterbacks the St. Louis defense will face this season were sacked 447 times... Hmm?
Whether or not quarterbacks sacks actually lends to a winning record is anyone's guess. Yet - as I look at who the Rams will face in 2015 - I can't help but think their defense may very well be drooling at this point? It all comes down to how fast Fisher gets his defense to gel at the starting gate in Week 1. If they come out of the preseason with fire in their eyes, this defense could very well be a sight to see. If they do, keep the number "72" in mind as the season unfolds...
(Statistics source: NFL.com)