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  1. #1
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    The basis for my optimism.

    There is no question that the Rams still have work to do to become a true contender. Nonetheless, I really believe there is cause for optimism.

    Here is the best way I can describe the reason why I feel that way.

    If you were building a team from the ground up, what would be the first position you'd want to fill with a young player?

    I'd say it would be QB. You'd want a player like Sam Bradford.

    Once the QB is in place, where would you turn next? Well, I remember John Madden once saying that the next most important position to fill is cornerback.

    In a perfect world, you'd want an elite, shutdown CB. But, as those types of players are rare, it might be more realistic to try to obtain a couple of young, solid cover corners who can match up with big receivers.

    You might try to find a couple of guys like Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher.

    Of course, CBs can only flourish if the pass rush is solid. You'd want a couple of young, bookend DEs who can pressure the passer. You'd want a couple of guys like Chris Long and Robert Quinn.

    Now, back on the offensive side of the ball, you need to protect your young QB. You need, in particular, to fill both OT spots. If you're lucky, you find a couple of young players to form the foundation of an offensive line. Maybe players like Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold.

    The defense also needs a "quarterback." Someone who can direct traffic and lead by example. Someone like James Laurinaitis.

    Finally, I'd want to make sure I had a RB who can move the chains and carry a heavy workload. Someone like Steven Jackson.

    Once those roles were filled, there would certainly be more to do. You need a receiving corps, and interior linemen. You need to fill out the defense with run stuffers inside and playmakers outside.

    But the foundation is the first order of business, and I think the Rams have done a good job of building that foundation. In 2011, I expect this team to continue to come together and challenge for a division title.

    In 2012, with another draft and a year more experience, I think this team could be "one to watch" for the big game in February.

  2. #2
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: The basis for my optimism.

    Excellent analysis Av. What the rams lack at this point is experience and depth, in addition to a couple of key players. We are not ready for the super bowl, but there is no reason why in a weak division, we can't be fighting for the top spot again. I believe strongly that 9-7 will win the division and who knows, maybe 8-8 will get it done.

    At this point, the primary achilles heal on this team is the risk of injury to Jackson, who has been remarkably durable as running backs go and is not getting any younger. We are an entirely different team without the Big Boy. Of course, hope springs eternal that we will get a decent backup in free agency. An injury to Sam would of be devastating as well, but that is true for almost any nfl team that loses their qb.

    We have a tough schedule, but so does everyone else in the division. 8-8 and on to the big show!

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: The basis for my optimism.

    I agree with GC, excellent analysis by Av. The Rams are definitely moving in the right direction and poised to be a playoff team as an initial step toward the big show. Both Spags and McDaniels have been part of Championship teams and know what it takes win, so there is reason to be optimistic. Especially after watching a young team go from 1-15 to 7-9 and oh so close to a division title in one year. A few more pieces to the puzzle and watch out.

    Now, if those knuckleheads who are warring in the NFL can get their stuff together, we can get down to business.

  4. #4
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    Re: The basis for my optimism.

    I also agree with AV's post. As I stated in a pre-draft thread, we are an up and coming team, but we are not there yet. And even with free agency and the draft, I did not feel that we would be a SB caliber team this year. With the draft, I say we have filled some needs, we'll need to see what we get when / if free agency hits.

    I've always heard that you build your team from the trenches out. Getting an OG and DT (or two of each) in free agency will give us a VERY solid foundation especially with the other General's we have leading this team.
    This space for rent...

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