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The 2015 St. Louis Rams and 2011 San Francisco 49ers Share A Common Bond

Could the 2014 and 2015 St. Louis Rams have something in common with the 2010 and 2011 49ers?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2010 49ers were not a good football team.

Their final record was 6-10 under Head Coach Mike Singletary save for the final game prior to which Singletary was fired. The season saw them in 3rd place in the then-not-good-at-all NFC West. Their defense ranked 16th in points allowed, and the offense was worse at 24th in points scored. Below are the starters for that team via Pro-Football-Reference:


Following Singletary's exit, Jim Harbaugh was brought in during the offseason from Stanford.

It was an immediate 180 degree turnaround for the team's fortunes.

The 2011 49ers finished 13-3, and 1st place in an improving NFC West. They also earned a first-round bye and made it to the NFC Championship game where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The defense ranked 2nd in the league in points allowed, and their offense ranked 11th in points scored. Here's the 2011 squad:

2011 Niners Roster

On offense, the right guard and the center are basically the only positions that changed, but those players were already on the roster. On defense, five total changes were made to the starters, but again three of those (Ray McDonald, NaVorro Bowman, and Tarell Brown) were already on the roster. Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers were signed as free agents during 2011 offseason.

What I'm getting at is the roster didn't change much between 2010 and 2011, especially not through the draft.

Now let's take a look at the Rams in 2014: finished with a 6-10 record, which was bad enough to get them 4th NFC West. The defense ranked 16th in points allowed, and the offense 21st - pretty similar to the 2010 49ers team. The roster of starters in 2014:

2014 Rams Starters

Giving last year's roster an eye test, it doesn't look bad especially on the defense. Of course the offensive line isn't necessarily looking in good shape...which is why the front office addressed the personnel so heavily this offseason. I don't think 10 linemen can typically be on the field at once...but maybe they can. I was hoping that five draft picks can mold into one giant "super tackle" like the Power Rangers, but I was told that's not a real thing. Anyway, with a roster loaded in talent, what does it take to make that step?

Not to drag this out, I'll pose a few questions:

Could a new coach, a Harbaugh-type hire, instantly make this team a playoff contender?

Is there a college coach out there that can make that impact?

Does Fisher need another year to prove that he can extract that talent and potential himself?

On a personal opinion note, I wish Fisher would step into an executive role and the front office will have an actual Snisher. Snead and Fisher can work on building the roster, but let a new coach control the play-by-play, OTAs, training camp and practices. Perhaps since Jeff has coached for too long, he doesn't want to do anything like that. Maybe he does...he did pick St. Louis over Miami because he had a bigger say in building a roster. This wouldn't be the first time a coach would take a front office position; a recent precedent is out there in Bill Parcells - though with different teams in a couple of stints in the front office (Jets 1997-2000 and Dolphins 2008-2010).

The current regime inherited a roster full of holes. If it were a person, it'd be Alex Murphy at the beginning of the original RoboCop. I'll give credit where credit is due; they started filling the roster with talent, eliminating weaknesses, and adding players with a lot of upside and promise. However, I think we have all heard the "potential" story way too much in the last thre seasons.

When is the time going to come to turn potential into wins?

If the 2015 seasons ends-up a typical mediocre Fisher season, I think a coaching change might do wonders for Rams in 2016.