Who will make the final roster? Who will have the top receiving performance this year? Who will be the teams MVP? All are frequent questions for each team in the NFL this time of year. The trick is accurately predicting those outcomes, because far more times than not, it's never what you think it would be.
Today we will have a look at 10 bold predictions that somehow, make some sense...
- Isaiah Pead will make the final roster. This will be a doozy for quite a few people. But it's not that far fetched. He began to excel on special teams before his injury, and for that reason he will replace Chase Reynolds. He is far more talented, than Reyonlds making him more valuable, plus the Rams invested more into him, so if they can same job - plus Pead can return - the choice will not be that difficult.
- Tavon Austin will finish the season with 850+ yards between rushing and receiving, and will have 8+ touchdowns total (returns included). Austin will be used as both a deep threat and change of pace "receiver". He will still get his carries, but his underneath routes will be used more to keep teams on their toes. Expect more screens. But Austin will also finally be allowed to show off his speed and go deep. Two of his eight touchdowns will be from returns, four from receiving, and two from rushing. Expect about 650 yards receiving.
- A Rams' receiver will eclipse 1000 yards. No I have not bumped my head folks. The Rams will finally have another 1000 yard receiver. That receiver will be Kenny Britt. If not for countless over/under throws on wide open routes down field last year, Britt would have achieved this goal last season.
- Three Rams' players will finish the season with 11 sacks or more. Those players will be Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Aaron Donald. A lot of fans will be skeptical about Long hitting double digit sacks again, but one has to remember his motor and hand usage is by far the best on the team. The fact that teams are more worried about Donald and Quinn is the best thing that could have happened for a guy looking to bounce back after an injury riddled year.
- Frank Cignetti will prove to be right man for the job. There is absolutely nothing to lead to this notion, as he has no prior play calling experience in the NFL. So this is pure speculation and opinion. But Cignetti appeared to have a sound of relief in his introductory press conference, as if to say "I am so happy that Brian Schottenheimer is gone, I have had ideas for this team for so long, we all have". I think that he may very well have some things up his sleeve, and will do a pretty good job of utilizing all of his talent.
- The Rams will have 3 or more pro bowlers. This team had two last season, as well as two alternates. This year I predict that the Rams will have a bare minimum of three, but may possibly send five. That list would include the four from last year (alternates as included), with T.J. McDonald and Alec Ogletree vying for another spot. My money would have to be on Ogletree. He makes more splash plays than T.J. which is what grabs peoples attention and helps get you noticed for the small things.
Trumaine Johnson will finish with six interceptions and two touchdowns. Johnson had a much better season in 2014 than he gets credit for. He took the backseat to breakout rookie E.J. Gaines, thanks to a training camp inury, but that was never his fault. He did make some really nice plays when healthy and continues to show highly impressive ball skills. Now, he appears to be extremely motivated headed into his contract year. That much talent, with added motivation, plus a continuation in improving each year, equals a big season. But first thing first is he has to stay healthy. He's gotten hurt each season, and it's vital to stay on the field. He should be able to land the RCB job with E.J. playing the slot, and Janoris Jenkins manning the LCB job. With the Rams sudden depth and some solid play from Janoris on the other side, teams will throw at him early and often. Expect him to capitalize on these opportunities.
- Stedman Bailey and Lance Kendricks will be the third and fourth leading receivers in receptions. I am not sold that the promise of more chances in the passing game to Lance Kendricks was only a ploy to help retain him. I truly believe that he will see more targets. And with Brian Quick's health an uncertainty to start the year there are targets available. Speaking of Quick, I believe he slides down the depth chart a bit this season. Even a blind man can see the more productive receiver between the two was Stedman Bailey, and it wasn't even close. Quick is bigger, but not necessarily faster. They are about equal. But Bailey gets open far more frequently.
- The Rams will not exceed 395 rush attempts. The team finished with 390 total rush attempts last season. While there has been a lot of talk about finally running the ball more, I have heard this talk for three years now, and I am not convinced that it will happen. Part of the issue in the past has been the offense's inefficient ball movement and falling behind. I think that will still be a bit of an issue considering the youth of the line. But also, Cignetti speaks very highly of the receivers and tight ends. He may look to build a lead first, then chew the clock second.
- Three players will have 100+ tackles and three interceptions. James Laurinaitis, T.J. McDonald, and Alec Ogletree, will all eclipse 100 tackles this season. And all of them will have three interceptions. The real question mark with this prediction is McDonald. He is not much of a cover safety, but with his vast improvement the last eight games of 2014, there could be hope. No, I am not predicting his coverage will be improved. What he did do last season was he began to be in the right place at the right time. That is not to be confused with good coverage, but if he is there he can definitely catch some tips or bad throws. These three will be tackling machines this season. Expect them to be all over the box.
Put it in stone, you heard it here first. These 10 things will come to fruition this season. The only way they won't is if they don't.
Share your bold predictions below...