John Clayton's view of the NFC West
Clayton still calling NFC West horrible even though it had two representatives in the playoffs. I think the NFC West will be improved but he doesnt really seem to think so.
This is how ESPN has the NFL ranked, they put the Rams 21 behind the likes of the Bengals,Lions,Packers,Jets, and Saints to mention a few.
I guess fans of NFC west teams are the only ones with high hopes for their teams. I mean to rank the Seahawks 13th and the Rams 21st just shows ESPN's distaste for the Rams. I could see them saying Seahawks 13th and Rams 14th or 15 but 21st come on. The Rams beat them 3 times last year and they havn't improved that much more than our Rams. I think this could be good for the Rams though. It looks like they are already being counted out. At least they have something to prove now that everyone is saying they wont be much better than last year.
Also there is an interesting article by Scouts Inc. about the Rams defense possibly being one of the most improved in the league.
Re: John Clayton's view of the NFC West
Here is the Scouts inc write up on our defense.
It was a busy offseason in the NFC West, with all four teams undergoing big changes. Our scouts identify the players who could help shape the division in 2005.
Jimmy Kennedy, DT, Rams
A porous run defense was much to blame for the Rams' failure to meet expectations in 2004. The personnel department addressed part of the problem during the offseason by adding middle linebacker Chris Claiborne and weak-side linebacker Dexter Coakley. Claiborne provides a much needed run-stuffer in the middle, and Coakley is an instinctive pursuit linebacker with terrific tackling skills.
The rest of the improvement must come from the existing personnel along the interior of the defensive line. While Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis are just as much to blame for last season's problems, Kennedy is the most massive of the three, which gives him the greatest potential to make an impact.
Kennedy, who missed 10 games due to injury during his first two NFL seasons, must stay healthy in order to experience a breakout year in 2005. However, after a broken foot caused him to miss the first seven games last season, Kennedy began to show flashes of the rare physical tools that made him the 12th overall pick in 2003. At 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, Kennedy has a unique blend of size, quickness and power. He has the base to anchor when teams run at him, as well as the penetration skills to disrupt in the backfield.
If Kennedy can finally put it all together, it could create a domino effect for the rest of the unit. Pickett and Brian Howard should keep each other fresh at nose tackle, allowing Lewis to relieve Kennedy on obvious passing downs. Tony Hargrove is a player on the rise at right defensive end, and Leonard Little should bounce back after a disappointing 2004 campaign.
With a face-lift at linebacker and some much-needed competition at free safety between Michael Stone and rookie third-round pick O.J. Atogwe, the Rams' defense could be one of the most improved units in the league next season.