Defense vs. Offense
The RAMS defense ranked 23rd overall last season and 28th in the points allowed category. For the season the RAMS scored 367 points while allowing 381 points that's a (-14) point differential. Out of the 12 teams that made the playoffs only the Seahawks (-6) and Giants (-7) had negative point differentials. There are alot of areas of concern on our Defense. DE, DT's, SLB, Safety and even cornerback has been brought up. It will probably take more than 1 year to upgrade all the areas of concern defensively.
So let's think outside the defensive box for a minute or two.
Our offense was ranked 4th passing and 17th rushing with an overall ranking of 6th. Considering the offense got off to a slow start last season and Marc Bulger was sacked 49 times.(Only 3 teams allowed more sacks) Also taking into consideration the COLTS won the Superbowl.
How many areas of concern are there on the offensive side of the ball? Imagine if Marc Bulger was sacked 1/2 of the 49 times from last season.
Could our offense be potent enough to overcome some of the defensive inefficiencies. I use the word "some" because I feel like the Rams will be able to address some of the issues on defense for 2007 but not all. Again, the offense could take us to the promise land (playoffs) thus allowing the team to plug the holes on defense intelligently without haste. The key question in my mind is how much tweaking needs to be done on the offense to makes us that potent. Should the RAMS focus on the offensive needs this off season 1st and foremost? Understanding that the defense will get the obvious attention it needs, just not all in one off season.
Imagine making the playoffs in 2007 knowing that there are still a few defense holes to fill for 2008. How would we look for 2009,2010 etc..
A long run of playoff appearances and possibly another SUPERBOWL or 2?
Re: Defense vs. Offense
Seing as what the Colts have accomplished this season, I dont think it is absolutly necessary to have a dominating defense to have success in the playoffs. Last year, the Rams were going into a game knowing they would have to score at least 20+ points in order to have a shot at winning the game. That's alot pressure to put on your offense every game. I heard Nick mention this in another thread, I think if the Rams upgrade the defensive line, the linebackers and secondary will be much better off since we won't be blitzing as much to put pressure on the QB.
The offense is definetly in good shape. The only area I would look at would be a bit more depth on the offensive line and a big receiver.
Re: Defense vs. Offense
I agree that one major key for the offense is to cut the sack numbers roughly in half. The other thing is redzone efficiency, I haven't checked out the stats on this one, but I believe we improved in that area as the season went on and Steven Jackson's improvement shoud go a long way towards improving redzone efficiency next year (less sacks should help here too).
So the one major factor that we need to really do something about on offense seems to be the all too frequent sacks, throw in a few false starts/other penalties (Barron I'm looking at you!) and it's clear that the O-line needs to step it up. I do think we saw a lot of promise from the young guys on the O-line in the late part of the season. It will be very interesting to see whether the coaching staff really feels confident about letting the young guys start next year or wants to try FA/draft to get some new talent. That's the big question for our offense, do we take a chance on the young guys that seemed promising but only played a few games (it could be a fluke) or do we bring in new talent?
Personally I would roll the dice on the young guys and not go after a FA for our O-line, and only add a linemen or two in the later rounds of the draft as we did last year. I may very well turn out to be wrong (a lot of people on the board seem to want Steinbach), but I would take the chance here and hope that it works out - and focus on going defense both in the draft and FA.