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St. Louis Rams: Sleeping Talent That Needs To Wake Up...

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams fans have become all to ready to divine excuses for their talent laden team when it doesn't shine. Admit it! I do the same thing, and I think it's because we're trying to buy time, in the hopes a player-coaching light switch will be suddenly flipped to the "ON" position. The NFL preseason is a shadow time, as who will be on final rosters gets sorted out. I'm fine with that, for the most part...

Yet, what I've seen thus far from the St. Louis Rams gives my stomach a rumble or two. Even I know it's premature at best to think we should be seeing anything close to the finished product that will fly into the 2015 NFL regular season. Woes-o'-plenty stare through my less than qualified-to-discern mind's eye as I've watched the Rams play, and I have to fight the urge to run to my excuses comfort zone. That being said, here's a few thoughts on where I think the St. Louis Rams are at this point:

The best running back corp in the NFL...

Without question, the St. Louis Rams have the deepest, MOST talent running backs group in the NFL. It ain't even close too. In fact, I'd venture to say there's quite a few NFL teams waiting to see who Jeff Fisher will release when teams have to get down to their 53 man rosters. Even without having seen 2015 first round draft pick Todd Gurley, the crew of Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham, Trey Watts, and rookie Malcom Brown impresses. Have a look at other NFL teams, and try to find one this this many potential starting running backs. There aren't many...

Unseen winds are shaking the Rams' quarterback tree...

Am I the only one who can't get a comfortable feeling about the quarterback position for the Rams? Having traded for Nick Foles, you'd think I'd be able to settle into him as "The Guy" who'll lead this team throughout the 2015 season. But I'm just not there yet... Instead of cheers, all I hear is wind rustling the Foles-iage (See what I did there? Don't tell me energy drinks can't make you a wordsmith!) ever so slightly... In truth, what makes me even more nervous is who will be backing up Foles this season: Case Keenum, Austin Davis and rookie Sean Mannion. I do believe Foles has the ability to - at the very least - operate at a high "game manager" level. But if he goes down, Rams fans can stick a fork in their season like never before...

Center of attention...

Seriously, didn't you ever think - as a St. Louis Rams fan - that the center position would be at the top of your concerns list? Really? Yet, in 2015, I can definitely say this entire team's 2015 season could very well rest on how the Rhaney/Jones/Barnes/Wang quartet sings. Any klink-er notes will heard load and clear. Right now, Grace Slick singing opera would sound better. Hell, banging on trash can lids would sound better than the position music of this underwhelming crew.

"I am Spartacus..."

Cris Carter's latest advice for players who get in trouble to find a "fall guy" isn't really a revelation. The Rams' coordinators have regularly fallen on their swords after the last few seasons, and some have justly done so. But Jeff Fisher has led this uprising in St. Louis, and I'd like to see him take on more direct responsibility for team stumbles. I'm a HUGE Jeff Fisher fan, and believe he can get this Rams team back to the top of the NFL. But I firmly believe he needs to challenge this team at every level, then step up to the forefront if it fails. He has to say "This is what I did..." and believe in the loyalty of his players to come forward so they'll improve for HIM! I think this is why the Rams have slow starts at the beginnings of the past few regular seasons. Fisher has earned the dubious reputation for obfuscating where things went wrong with set platitudes and side steps. The Rams players need to know the path ahead, and know they're being led, not coddled...

An offensive line with 1 year on its resume...

It's going to happen, so just get ready now to deal with it. Rodger Saffold isn't going to last more than a few games this season, He just isn't... So at this magical point, the St. Louis Rams could very well have an offensive line with Greg Robinson's single year of experience as its benchmark. Eeek! Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau better to be ready to herd this group of young cats in a straight line. Run blocking won't be a problem, but a pass play could turn into a mish-mash may-lay for this young group of tackles, guards and centers. Prediction: The 2015 St. Louis Rams will rank in the bottom 5 teams in passing yardage, and Top 5 in rushing. You read it here first! Now, excuse be a second... There! I didn't want you to hear me groan; let alone have to write what my groaning sounds like. It's kind of a mix of a whale's song meshed with really awful words. At the same time, a certain orange snack food is flung thru the air all around me, while I do this weird, heel-pounding river dance kind of thing...

"Beware the Ides of Defense..."

The Rams can't say much for their offense at this point, but their defense...? See! There in lies the trouble with being a Rams' fan. We turn away from one part of the team, and focus our hopes on another. In this case, it's the St. Louis defense, which by all media accounts should be fabulous? In truth, while this unit does have an amazing amount of talent, it's still very much an unproven entity. Great defense are, well: GREAT. They show it every play, and find ways to win in spite of their offensive counter-parts under-performing. At this point, my hopes lean toward the Rams' defense keeping their opponents from scoring too many points. That's really all I want when it comes right down to it. I'll take wins with final score of 14-9 any day. Hell, 6-3 looks good to me too.

Here's the thing: I believe Rams fans are in for a "Slam the left side" of their defense kind of season, with Alec Ogletree as the focus. Uber-talented, the still young outside linebacker has lapses in his game which have to have opposing offensive coordinators drooling. He gets caught out of position quite a bit, and leaves Chris Long kind of hanging in the air. Ogletree is the linebacker version of Janoris Jenkins. He's a gambler, rambler, with happy-feet at times. He still can be seen watching a play develop, more than re-acting. Teams are going to attack him early in the season, and do so to GREAT effect. He'll make adjustment as the season progresses as he has in the past, but it will be too late for the Rams. Ogletree is the slow start guy who helps paint the rest of the St. Louis defense with the same brush.

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Next up for the Rams will be the Indianapolis Colts in the Edward Jones Dome. After this, they'll host the Kansas City Chiefs in the EJD, then hit the regular season at home against the Seattle Seahawks. I actually like how this preseason schedule fits where the Rams are - as a a team - right now. They'll get to face an elite quarterback in the Colts' Andrew Luck, and a top shelf defense with the Chiefs. All three game will be at home for the Rams, so not having to travel could bodes well for a smooth start to the regular season... Damn, there I go again trying to weave my way toward hope... After all is said and done, I'm a Rams' fan, right?