What’s wrong with the St. Louis Rams?
This is a question that essentially has been asked since the Greatest Show on Turf disbanded. Every year, we keep hearing the same old platitudes about how the Rams are a young team with a lot of talent, and how they’re just putting all the pieces together. I would like to be able to point a finger at one single player or aspect of the game but at first glance, nothing really jumps out at you.
So let’s give the team a closer look.
A quick peek at the defense tells us that last year they finished 14th overall while ranking 15th against the pass and 15th against the run. I’d like to see them do better than -1 on takeaways. Still, some of that has to do with the 29:46 average time of possession last year, which left the defense on the field to be worn down and picked apart. I think if the offense can move the ball, more it will help raise the defense up in 2013.
So maybe we should take a look at the offense to find the source of the Rams’ woes.
This year, we watched hard-running Steven Jackson and talented but brittle Danny Amendola walk away in free agency. They were replaced by a slew of very fast rookies and the addition of one of Jeff Fisher’s back burner projects, TE Jared Cook.
In the run game, we see Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead and rookie Zac Stacy. Pead is the quickest but least disciplined, Stacy is the biggest, thus most likely to run between the tackles, but he has no real natural sense of pass blocking. The whole backfield stinks of a committee approach that opposing defenses will learn to read.
The passing game is captained by Sam Bradford who was the 23rd ranked passer in 2012. Last year, Bradford passed for 3702 yards with 21 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. When Amendola was healthy, he was a reliable weapon in the passing game, otherwise Bradford was throwing the ball to a random assortment of receivers.
The Rams made a solid investment in Tavon Austin during the NFL Draft. He’s lightning fast and has more moves than a greased weasel. With Steadman Bailey and Chris Givens on board, the Rams have a lot of young, fast talent who are going to need time to learn the pro game.
Finally, we look Cook. He’s a versatile, athletic tight end who’s big in traffic and has very soft hands. Fisher drafted him during his time with the Tennessee Titans, but was shown the door before he got the chance to develop Cook to his full potential.
I guess in the end what’s wrong with the Rams isn’t so much one big thing. It’s a lot of little things that all pile up. I can’t help but feel that if there were more veterans on the roster, it would help all the young players develop faster.