Why the Rams can be successful and make it to the playoffs this year…
By Jake Cohn (Varg6)
First and foremost, Martz needed to go. It was just his time to leave, because all he did was hurt us with the front office confrontations all the time. It was getting ridiculous; his staff of defense really did not do anything for us last year. Enter Scott Linehan, shortly after the Martz firing; the Rams personnel did a complete 360. Now with former head coach of the New Orleans Saints, our defensive coordinator…We have a totally new approach of defense. We’re going to be aggressive, mean, rough and tough. We’re going to blitz, and show the NFL that the Rams are taking their defense seriously this year, but will stay have a high-powered offense.
What is going to help?
The Rams really went out their way to get some good players on defense this year. First, we added new starting defensive end La’Roi Glover. Then we added Corey Chavous (Safety), and Will Witherspoon (Middle Linebacker), also new starters for this Ram defense. We also added free-agents such as Gus Frerotte, Raonall Smith, Matt Turk, Fakhir Brown, Moe Williams, and more. I think we all get the picture that we’ve revamped our defense a lot! We also added depth to our quarterback position, which we needed desperately.
Overall, our free-agency was one of the biggest factors and reasons as to why we can make it to the playoffs this year, regardless of the experience of our head coach. One huge reason why I believe Linehan will be successful is simply because he has a defensive coordinator with him at games, and this guy happened to be a head coach for many years. He has loads of experience, and has gotten his last team to the playoffs as a head coach. So hopefully, if Linehan needs any guidance, Haslett will be there for him.
Our draft may or may not help us this year in regards to players starting except for the probable Marques Hagans for punt and kickoff returns, and the two tight-ends (Joe Klopftenstein, and Dominique Byrd), but in the future these draft picks will really be extremely important for us. I think the talent that we’ve drafted; we could have a few of them starting this year, but either which way these guys are going to be incredible. This is also one of most successful drafts in recent time here in St. Louis. It seems that as soon as Martz was booted off to Detroit, our front office has really made life easy for Scott in regards to getting players signed, and re-signed. I for one am very excited for this season to finally start. I think we’ll all be surprised at how well we’ll do this season. With or without the playoffs, I think we’ll see sparks of great things to come in the future, and hopefully we will get to the playoffs, but if not, I still think we’ll have a successful year. After all it is Linehan’s first year as a head coach, so we still do have to remain realistic at the expectations.
One thing I know we’ll still have is explosiveness. We’ll still have a great aerial attack, but I think with Jackson entering his third year, it’s his time to show we can have a serious ground attack. I don’t know if we can ever achieve the title “Greatest Show on Turf” ever again, but Linehan does know how to have a high-powered offense, and that’ll show this year. Marc Bulger is healthy again, and hopefully will stay that way this year. Martz’s offense showed no protection for Bulger, and no mercy. Hopefully this year, our offensive line will show be improved, and Bulger will be able to stay in the pocket and have time to throw. Bulger is a great quarterback, but under pressure (obviously, most people under pressure don’t perform as well…), he really can be sloppy, but is that his fault his line can’t protect him for a second? No! Anyways, the key to success is not our Wide receivers, our running backs, but our offensive line. If we can establish a half-decent line, we’d still be unstoppable with the talent we have on offense.
Our new defense hasn’t played a real game yet in the NFL. But, with all the changes made this off-season, how can you not be totally excited and ready to root for the Rams defense? Honestly, I think we’re all going to be surprised at how good our defense will be this year. I’m not sure if we will be great the second they walk on the field, but I think more towards the end of the season, the defense will really get their stuff together, and really make a big impact towards mid-season. With new leader, Will Witherspoon, coming from an excellent defense, obviously he’ll have a mind-set of winning. If he can instill that mind-set into the Rams defensive players of the past (Who only know mediocrity at best.), who knows what can happen! With at least five new starters on defense, this will sure be an interesting year.
My most concerning part of the Rams this year is going to be special teams. I still don’t see that much improvement at all for special teams, although, surprisingly Matt Turk can really kick the ball! Other than that, we haven’t been able to get to the punt/kick return players well at all. We really need to get our act together quick for special teams. Other than that, I think us receiving the punts and kickoff returns seems just fine, hopefully Marques Hagans (If he isn’t cut, which I’d be surprised if he did.) can show that we can have a good special teams.
Next week, Why...Part 2 will be all about how the Rams could easily slide away from victory...