When a team is one of just eight clubs to score less than 300 points during the course of an NFL season and averages just 329.0 total yards per game on offense, it’s safe to say that an offensive makeover should be looked at with optimism. Such is the case for the St. Louis Rams as this team has undergone quite a transformation already on that side of the football with only the first portion of free agency in the rearview. Here’s a closer look at all of the offensive changes that the Rams have made thus far during the offseason.
Obviously this one steals all of the headlines with nine-year veteran Steven Jackson deciding to void the final year of his deal and enter free agency. He is now a member of the Atlanta Falcons as they gear up for what they hope is a run at the Super Bowl, but for the Rams, the running back position is still somewhat murky. Daryl Richardson was a seventh round pick last year and filled in admirably for S-Jax when he was forced to miss time due to injury, but Isaiah Pead was actually taken well before him in the second round of last year’s draft. Although the Rams have those two in house, don’t be surprised if they target a big bruiser to take SJ39’s place as a between the tackles workhorse.
WIDE RECEIVERS, TIGHT ENDS
Another big decision was letting both Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson walk in free agency. This move says a great deal about where the Rams stand on Chris Givens and Brian Quick as they develop into full-time starters in their second years. It also speaks volumes about the addition of Jared Cook who acted more like a wide receiver during his time with the Tennessee Titans. The money that Cook was paid could have brought back Amendola and then some, but Cook’s ability to line up all over the field adds an extra element to the Rams offensively that they have been missing.
The final big offensive move in the offseason is likely the one that excites quarterback Sam Bradford the most about the upcoming season. Adding Jake Long at the left tackle spot will upgrade the Rams line in a number of ways. He will allow last year’s starter on the left side, Rodger Saffold, to slid over to the right side and give the team solid bookends for years to come. Where the team seems primed to look in the upcoming NFL Draft is at the guard position where either Chance Warmack of the Alabama Crimson Tide or Jonathan Cooper of the North Carolina Tar Heels figures to be available with the 16th overall pick. That would allow the team to fill an immediate need first and then look at secondary needs like wide receiver or linebacker with the 22nd overall pick in round one.
In short, the Rams offense is going to look a lot different from 2012 and judging by the numbers shown in the opening, that’s a good thing. This team is building a solid foundation on both sides of the ball. If they can find a way to add some complementary talent at the peripheral positions, look out NFC West.