With the ideal bye week coming following this weekend’s game in London against the New England Patriots, it will be the midway point in the schedule for the St. Louis Rams. That seems like the perfect time to evaluate just where the club stands halfway into their first season under Jeff Fisher and see what has changed for the better as well as what still needs some work. Here it is.
While this side of the ball clearly still needs some improvements, they are a far cry from the anemic showing in week one against the Detroit Lions. Quarterback Sam Bradford has started to get comfortable with the young receivers and Chris Givens in particular opens up a whole new dimension for this team. Getting the deep ball flying opens up room for the running game by pulling the safeties out of the box and if the Rams can find some consistency on the ground with Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson, the offense has the arrow pointing up.
Here is the real strength of this team and it’s hard to believe after watching this group just one year ago. Fisher’s imprint is clearly on this side of the ball and the defensive line has been the club’s strong suit. Youth up front with Chris Long, Kendall Langford, Michael Brockers, and Robert Quinn have been getting after opposing quarterbacks with regularity. Quinn is tied for third in the league with 7.0 sacks on the year. The Rams rank 10th in yards allowed per game after being ranked 22nd a season ago. The arrow is pointing way up for this group.
Overall, the Rams may have four losses heading into the game against the Patriots this week, but the losses have all been competitive. Aside from the 23-6 loss to the Chicago Bears, the Rams have had a shot to win in each of the other three defeats on their résumé. The fight that this team has compared to a year ago is remarkable and that is all about a change in attitude. While the offense still has a ways to go in terms of consistency, both sides of the ball are well on their way to a complete reclamation for the Rams.
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