The St. Louis Rams – 32 Teams in 64 Days | July 5, 2012
Next on the list of 32 teams in 64 days is the St Louis Rams – originally meant to draft second, they traded down and did not pick until fourteenth. They have only won fifteen games in the last five years and the last time the Rams had a winning season was 2003. For Rams fans, greatness has been a long time coming. 2012 might be an improvement on the five-year average of three wins a year, but St Louis still have a long way to go.
Last Season In Review
In 2010 the Rams posted a seven game winning season – the most wins for St Louis in four years. Any hope to improve on this in 2011 was dashed by a four game losing slide, to enter the bye winless. A strong performance against the Saints, scoring 31 points a season high, got the Rams there first win of the season – but all year long St Louis struggled to score points. They were shut out twice, and scored under fourteen points in 12 of their 16 games. Their -214 point differential was the lowest in the league. For Rams fans, the less said about 2011 the better. How they were not the number one overall pick is incredible.
The 2012 Draft
The Rams just needed the first or second pick in 2011 to be guaranteed a payday. With Bradford, the Rams had the luxury to trade out of the quarterback slots – which they did with Washington. They gained the Redskins 2012 first, second and two future first round picks (2013 and 2014). Not a bad prize for a terrible season.
They then traded the Redskins first with the Cowboys, gaining another second round pick. The Rams turned one pick into five picks over the next three years all in the first two rounds - something for Rams fans to celebrate going forwards. Despite maximising value acquiring picks, it remains to be seen if the Rams maximised value with the picks they made. Brockers at 14 was a reach in the first round and Quick is thought to have been a reach in the second.
While all these selection are the result of one draft pick, giving the Rams a little more leeway on picking players higher than they possibly should have gone – down the line you wonder if they will wish they’d used those picks better. The rams addressed several needs through the draft – and while still having a big hole at WR, they have at least upgraded at the position. It’s hard for a team with so many problems to fully address all needs, but the lack of a LB is a glaring complaint (especially in this new age NFL) and an area that should have been addressed in 2012. Saying that, in 2013 and 2014 the rams will have two picks in the first round – there is plenty of time for this team to find the players to pull them of the bottom of the NFL.
What to expect next season…
I didn’t expect the Colts to do much and, sadly, neither do I expect the Rams to do much more. I would like to think they have a chance at 7 or 8 wins, but the ineptitude of that offense scares me. They averaged a measly 12.1 points per game in 2011 and haven’t really changed much, if anything they could be worse than that in 2012. They have added positions of need through the draft, but to expect these players to instantly contribute is wishful thinking.
Bradford needs to show he is the future of this team and I feel this might be the year the Rams look past aging Steven Jackson. He has broken 1000 yards every year since 2005 but has carried the ball over 2000 times in that period. At some point the workhorse is going to break down – and that offense needs all the help it can get. Losing Brandon Lloyd is not going to help one bit. In the Rams favour is the division. The Seahawks and Cardinals are upgraded, but not massively, on top of that games against the Vikings and Redskins will give the Rams the best chance to win more than three games in 2012 – I predict them to be anywhere between three and six wins, once again picking in or close to the top five.
Between weeks thirteen and sixteen, over four games the Rams scored just 26 points. They had 103 points scored against them in this period.
2012 will be the Rams 75th season in the NFL.
The Rams had two pro-bowlers on defense in 2011. DE Chris Long and LB James Laurinaitis
Steven Jackson needs 907 yards to break 10,000 yards for his career.
Sam Bradford was sacked 36 times in 2011, only five other QBs were sacked more times. He also was seventh is most passes attempted with 35.7 a game – however he was intercepted on only 1.7% of throws. Only Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning bested him in that category.
Steven Jackson had the eight most touches of a RB in 2011 with 302 total.
Donnie Jones punted an NFL high 105 times, but was second for number of yards punted. He also had one blocked.
Chris Long has 13 sacks in 2011.