2012 St. Louis Rams: Offensive Keepers (SB NATION BLOG)
SB NATION BLOG
by Eric Nagel 12-28-2011
When you think of what the St. Louis Rams will be next year, not many current players or coaches will pop into your head. It may be a tough sell to keep a player on the offense not named Steven Jackson, but we're going to go for it anyway.
Hit the jump to check out the offensive players that should be kept, and a list of "The Others"
Sam Bradford: No, the Rams should not trade Sam Bradford. It may be tempting to jump on the Luck train after watching this year's offense, but doing so would be financial suicide. What Bradford needs most is talent surrounding him and a good quarterbacks coach. If the Rams can do that, Bradford can snap out of his death spiral and go back to being a productive and exciting young quarterback.
The Others: As far as the backups go, it's a mix. Kellen Clemens might be a good fill in guy, but he is a journeyman at best. AJ Feeley skill set doesn't help him in Josh McDaniels offense, but if Gruden coaches the Rams, he might fit better as a backup. As far as the Brandstater goes, it's probably practice squad or bust.
Rodger Saffold, T: Saffold had a very difficult year. He was plagued with penalties and shoddy play. However, he had a decent rookie year and could find success on the right side if the Rams decide to draft Matt Kalil. Like Bradford, all hope is not lost on Saffold. The Rams should be able to salvage Saffold is they change the offensive system to something quicker (more akin to the WC system from 2010), where his flaws are limited.
Harvey Dahl, G: Dahl is blessed because of his lack of what I like to call 'Ramsification.' Look at the benefits he brings to the table: he's a nasty blocker who dislikes holding, hasn't been coached by Steve Loney for too long and can also play tackle should that need arise. There isn't any reason to think a new coach wouldn't want him on the line.
Jason Brown, C: Whoa there, pump the brakes. Brown hasn't exactly produced at the center spot, but I'm not sold on him being a reminder of Drew Bennett just yet. He was a good guard for the Ravens, and a switch in position might be just the thing he needs to rejuvenate his play.
Tony Wragge, G: Wragge is a good role player who can play any of the interior spots on the line. Like Dahl, he has an edge to him, which is something the Rams so desperately need. Wragge might even have a shot at starting, given that there will likely be a high turnover rate for the Rams offense. Given what we've seen this year, that might not be so bad of an idea.
Adam Goldberg, T: Let's get one thing clear: Goldberg is never going to be a constant starter. However, he is a guy who can play any position on the line, which is invaluable to a team that has had so many injuries in recent years. His chances of sticking around are less then the other players I mentioned, but his utility style may just put him over the edge.
The Others: I really don't see Jacob Bell getting re-signed, as he has done nothing to stand out since he has arrived in St. Louis. Jason Smith won't stay with his inflated contract, but he could be back if he agrees to take a tenth (and I really mean tenth) of his salary next year, maybe as a guard? The Rams certainly need help and yet again we could see the Rams pursue top-tier free agents and top draft picks alike for this unit.
Lance Kendricks: If you haven't heard of future HOF Lance Kendricks, I can forgive you- but just this once. Kendricks had a great preseason, but was largely lost during the year. Of course, the entire offense was largely lost during the year, so I can't exactly fault him for playing like everyone else on the team. He has plenty of potential and there isn't any reason to think he won't be able to reach it next year with an actual off-season under his belt.
The Others: Billy Bajema has been about as inconsistent as it gets, both with blocking and receiving and Michael Uh-Oh is too injury prone to be relied upon at all. Could they stick around? Sure. But at this point, they aren't much more then fill-in bodies. It's too bad with Uh-Oh, as he really showed some promise.
Brandon Lloyd: The Rams would be stupid to let him walk, even if they fired Josh McDaniels. Lloyd was the only constant threat on the team and is easily the best wide receiver the Rams have had since Steve Spagnuolo joined the team. To let him walk after the production he's had in his limited time here would be a huge mistake.
Danny Amendola: A costly injury to Amendola cost the Rams some serious offensive consistency this year. Sam Bradford's top target from 2010 will be looking for a new contract and there isn't any reason to think the Rams shouldn't re-sign him. He's about as scrappy as scrappy can be, but for a Rams team lacking everything in terms of emotional focus...let's just say the Rams should do right by Danny.
Greg Salas: When Amendola went down, Salas began to step up. It took awhile, but Salas certainly impressed me when he started to get the hang of the offense. A leg injury derailed his promising season, but he should hopefully be able to return to form next year. Do the Rams re-sign Danny and keep Salas as well? It all depends on the coaching situation. If they both make a good impression, they could split time and also work in the return units.
Austin Pettis: I'm reserving a slot for Pettis, but I'm concerned about his suspension. If he really did take PED's, then who knows what he'll be like without the supplements. His still raw, but he has some potential. For the love of God though, learn how to call a fair catch man. I'd take PED's too if I got obliterated by gunners on every punt.
The Others: It's a tough call with Mark Clayton, who had some consistency with Bradford, and Danario Alexander, who probably has mush for knees at this point in his career. Is it worth it to keep players who are capable of five snaps a game on the active roster? I'll leave that for the coaches (and you) to decide. Oh, and Brandon Gibson? no chance.
Steven Jackson: Uhm, this is obvious, isn't it? Jackson is the heart and soul of the team and has showed no signs of slowing down. He can't break off 70 yard runs like he used to, but if the Rams actually give him a good offense line, he could have a great season next year. If he can get 1000 yards rushing behind this line, then he's still got it.
Cadillac Williams: Cadillac has accrued almost 500 yards rushing and receiving this year, and has been a good all purpose backup for Steven Jackson. The Rams could definitely use a shifty, quick runner, but they could do much worse with a backup. If Gruden coaches the team next year (as rumors speculate) it might help Williams, who had his best years with the Bucs under Gruden.
The Others: Jerious Norwood has lost a step (or two, or three) from previous injuries. Another off season might help him recover, but it's unlikely he will stick with the Rams given his output this year. Brit Miller has been up and down as a full back, opening up some good holes at times and missing obvious assignments on other occasions. Given the importance thrown to the full back position, which is all but dead to many teams, Miller might stick around as he provides special teams depth and has experience as a ex-linebacker.