Playing a primetime showdown against a divisional rival without your starting quarterback seems like the perfect recipe for disaster. Add in the fact that the aforementioned divisional foe is the 6-1 Seattle Seahawks, and things really look bleak for the St. Louis Rams at the moment. Is the upcoming Monday night clash the beginning of the end for the team’s 2013 campaign?
It doesn’t seem too early to start shoveling dirt on the NFL’s youngest team this season when you weigh the fact that lifelong journeyman Kellen Clemens is the club’s best option under center now in Sam Bradford’s absence. Even last year, however, the Rams were just 3-5 heading into their bye week (the record they would have with a loss against Seattle) and still battled back to have an outside shot at the playoffs.
As mentioned above, though, that incarnation of the Rams had their starting signal caller in place and seemed like a team destined for bigger things. This squad has been lackluster in many lopsided games this season where they truly weren’t even competitive. Pretending that Jeff Fisher’s Rams are just going to flip some switch and come out guns blazing seems naïve. Even veteran teams have trouble doing that at times, so the youngest team in the league’s chances of doing such a thing seem slim to none.
Aside from the game against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers remaining on the schedule, it seems fair to say that the Rams won’t be favored in any other contest from here to the finish line. That leaves fans to wonder about the direction of this team with a potential 4-12 record, a quarterback that just underwent season-ending knee surgery on the books for a huge amount of money for the next two seasons, and a general sense of starting over… again.
The good news is general manager Les Snead will still have the final piece to the Robert Griffin III deal with the Washington Redskins in a first round pick this coming spring. Given the fact that Washington is 2-5 and the Rams appear poised to drop to 3-5, the prospect of two top 10 picks may not be far fetched. While draft currency is always nice to have, it’s essential that the Rams start taking steps forward instead of repeatedly regressing back to a top 10 selection year after year.
The rest of this season is going to be difficult to watch from a fans’ perspective as the Rams just don’t have the potential to do much given the injury to Bradford. Plenty of players on this team are on notice from here forward that they must start showing some promise or wind up searching for a new gig next year. Rebuilding can be rough on players, coaches, and front offices alike, but the Rams have made the process look much more difficult than it needs to over the bulk of the past decade.