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Thread: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

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    NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    NFL Nation: 4 Downs -- NFC West

    May, 29, 2014
    By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com

    By almost everyone’s estimation, the rough and rugged NFC West was the best division in the NFL in 2013. It had the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, two teams in the NFC Championship Game (Seattle and the San Francisco *****) and another 10-game winner in the Arizona Cardinals. The St. Louis Rams were 7-9 but likely would have had a winning season in any other division.

    And now? Other than adding Godzilla and three superheroes to the four teams, they could not get much better. It looks like the big boys on the NFC block will remain out west.

    Most experts believe the Rams had one of the best drafts in the NFL, adding Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, giving St. Louis four first-round picks on what is arguably the best defensive line in football.

    The ***** had 12 draft picks, including seven in the first four rounds, and made a trade during the draft for talented Buffalo receiver Stevie Johnson.

    The Cardinals signed gigantic left tackle Jared Veldheer and blazing kick returner Ted Ginn in free agency. They also added a vicious hitter, Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, with their first draft pick.

    As always happens with Super Bowl champs, the Seahawks lost a few key players to free agency, but they kept the man they really wanted to keep in defensive end Michael Bennett and locked up "Legion of Boom" stars Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman to long-term deals.

    Believe it or not, the best division in the NFL just got better.

    First Down

    As usual, the Seahawks drafted some players other teams would have taken later, if at all. Should people question their choices, or have they earned the benefit of the doubt?

    Terry Blount: Have we learned nothing from the past? Questioning Seattle's draft strategy, along with undrafted signees, now seems a little foolish. Shall I name a few who stand out that other teams passed up or the experts questioned? Sherman, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and Malcolm Smith, for starters. The Seahawks bring in players with specific traits -- unusual athleticism, driving competitiveness and obvious intelligence. Where those players rank on another team's draft board means nothing to them. And at first glance from rookie camp, they found some winners in receivers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood, along with defensive end Cassius Marsh.

    Nick Wagoner: At this point, it's hard to argue with the results the Seahawks are getting from the players they draft. It is interesting that it seems like the first-round picks (such as James Carpenter and Bruce Irvin) are the ones who seem to struggle most relative to draft position. But the thing Seattle does so well is find players who fit the confines of who they want to be on both sides of the ball. Then they develop them and have them ready to go. It is why they never seem to miss a beat when injuries hit or a player is suspended. The results speak for themselves.

    Josh Weinfuss: A little leeway should be given to the Seahawks because, first, they are the reigning NFL champions, and second, their personnel department has been able to piece together a pretty good roster with players who were not highly rated. With that being said, good will should only go so far. Sometimes a general manager and coach think they have the secret recipe and get cocky about their ability to find talent. When that happens, bad decisions are made. Obviously, the Seahawks have a reputation for picking good players, but they won't be right every time. Every team has an off draft and picks who don't pan out. It is also too early for us to know if some of their "rogue" picks will do anything. Their picks should definitely be questioned until they have a chance to show us their stuff.

    Bill Williamson: The glue to the Seahawks is general manager John Schneider. Yes, coach Pete Carroll is a tremendous fit for the franchise and is a big part of the team's success. But Schneider is the architect of this franchise. He built this roster. There is little doubting the way he has drafted. Look at the core of the team -- they were all great value choices by Schneider. The tie goes to Schneider. You can doubt him if you choose, but it would be a lousy idea. Expect these Seattle rookies to develop into players. Schneider always wins.


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    Second Down

    Do the additions of Johnson and Carlos Hyde give the ***** the most dangerous offense in the division?

    Blount: Both players will help, but the real key for the ***** is quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Having enough weapons wasn't really the problem. Using them effectively on a consistent basis and cutting down on mistakes is the issue. Kaepernick's extraordinary talent is unquestioned. But can he be the same type of team leader that Wilson is and make the big play in the most difficult moments? He couldn't do it last year in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game. If he shows he can do that consistently when the big game is on the line, watch out.

    Wagoner: Well, the competition for that crown isn't exactly daunting in a division known mostly for grinding it out offensively and dominating defensively. But the ***** probably do have the most dangerous offense in the division. I don't personally think Johnson or Hyde will be a major difference-maker right away, but they don't have to be. Putting Johnson with a healthy Michael Crabtree at receiver and tight end Vernon Davis should allow Johnson to operate free of the pressure of being a No. 1 wideout. Hyde can learn from Frank Gore before taking over the reins. In terms of top-to-bottom talent across the roster, yes, the ***** look to have the most dangerous offense in the NFC West.

    Weinfuss: It is certainly looking like the ***** have one of the most dangerous offenses in the division, if not the most dangerous. San Francisco has the right pieces at every position, from quarterback to running back to wide receiver to tight end. But the first question that came to mind when going through San Francisco's offensive depth chart is this: Will one football be enough to go around? This might turn into a case of the ***** being better on paper than they are on the field, which has happened many times throughout the NFL. The Cardinals bolstered their skill positions during the offseason, giving themselves a lot of talent at wide receiver and tight end to complement two young running backs and a veteran quarterback who finds ways to win. A team can have all the ammunition in the world, but if the coach doesn't know how to use it, it will be stockpiled for naught.

    Williamson: I think so. There is nothing missing from this offense. We saw how dynamic it can be when Crabtree returned from a torn Achilles last December. Put Crabtree, the clutch Anquan Boldin and Johnson together and that is a great veteran group of receivers. Someone is always going to be open. Rookie Bruce Ellington was added to give the ***** the ability to take the top off of defenses, an aspect they didn't possess last season. We didn't even mention Davis at tight end. Really, how is this offense going to be stopped? Kaepernick looked like a completely different quarterback when Crabtree played last season. Kaepernick with all of these weapons? Oh, and we didn't even mention the bread and butter of the *****' offense -- the running game. Hyde, Gore and a healthy Marcus Lattimore? How do you defend this group?


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Third Down

    After a narrow miss last season, have the Cardinals made enough of the right moves to get into the playoffs?

    Blount: I don't think they needed to make many moves to reach the playoffs. Record-wise, they were a playoff team last season, but a victim of circumstances in the playoff structure. So the real question is can the Cardinals catch Seattle and/or San Francisco? And my answer is yes, especially the *****. Quarterback Carson Palmer will be better after having a full season in the Arizona offense. Bruce Arians might be the most underrated coach in the NFL. The team clearly is on the rise, while San Francisco's offseason turmoil could come back to bite it.

    Wagoner: I like what Arizona did this offseason. The offensive line should be much better with the addition of Veldheer and the return of Jonathan Cooper. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was a nice pickup, and first-round safety Bucannon should be a good complement to the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu. But it is still going to be difficult for them to make the playoffs. The Seahawks and ***** remain at the top of the heap, and until we see otherwise, it's hard to see how they fall from that perch unless injuries strike. That would still leave one playoff spot for the Cardinals. Three teams from the same division can make the playoffs, and it just happened last season, but I expect Arizona to take a small step back and just miss the cut again.

    Weinfuss: The Cardinals have made enough moves to make the playoffs this season. They missed the postseason a year ago by a game, which might have been different if Arizona had been stocked with a better kick returner, left tackle, second cornerback and safety. The Cards addressed those issues in the offseason, which should make them better in 2014. Adding left tackle Veldheer to anchor the offensive line should ease Arians' concerns about Palmer's blind side. One thing Ginn has shown throughout his career is that he can return kicks with the best. But the biggest difference for the Cards will be their improved secondary. Signing talented veteran Cromartie gives the Cardinals two lockdown cornerbacks (along with Patrick Peterson) and drafting Bucannon gave Arizona an instant upgrade against tight ends and big receivers -- which there are plenty of in NFC West.

    Williamson: I really like how well the Cardinals are coached. I think Arians is on to something. His players seem to respond to him. So the program will continue to rise under Arians. Also, I love the defense; it is nasty, aggressive and ball-hawking. Add great defense and a well-respected coaching staff and a team is going to win a lot of games. I think the bottom line with the Cardinals is quarterback play. Palmer had his moments last season, but I'm not a big believer in him. I think he will cost the Cardinals at some point. Maybe this is a playoff team, but I think the Cardinals are a couple of steps behind the Seahawks and the *****. The deficit starts at quarterback.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Fourth Down

    The Rams decided not to draft help at wide receiver and waited until the sixth round to add a young quarterback. Will their offense score enough to make up ground in the NFC West?

    Blount: Sure, it would have helped to add a top receiver, but is there a bigger unknown in the entire division than Sam Bradford? What the Rams, and everyone else, have to find out is whether Bradford is an elite quarterback. Frankly, I have my doubts, but he did play well last season before his injury. Bradford's situation is much different than that of Kaepernick, who is as gifted a player physically as you will ever see. In Bradford's case, it's hard to know how good he really is or can be, because he hasn't had top talent around him. And it doesn't help that he has to play six games against three of the of the best defenses in the NFL. It's time for Bradford to step up, no matter whom he is throwing the ball to each week.

    Wagoner: The Rams are clearly hoping they will be able to win games in classic heavyweight slugfests by playing good defense and running the ball. The Rams did put up points against playoff teams like New Orleans and Indianapolis without Bradford, and most of the same cast of characters returns this season. The question is if they can score enough to overcome teams following a similar blueprint within the division? Adding Robinson and running back Tre Mason and having a full season of Rodger Saffold at guard should certainly help the run game. But until one or more of the young receivers proves himself and Bradford can consistently take advantage of play-action opportunities down the field, I don't see the offense being able to do enough to win games without the help of a special-teams or defensive score from week to week. The Rams should be better against division foes than they were a year ago and might be able to push Arizona, but it still seems unlikely it will be enough to overtake Seattle or San Francisco.

    Weinfuss: The depth of the NFC West makes this the toughest question of the four. The Rams' additions weren't significant improvements to their offense, but will help. Bradford will come back with a vengeance and try to light up the scoreboard. He will have a talented group of receivers, but can they score enough to close the gap from the bottom of the West? Not sure that can happen. Rookie Robinson will take his lumps and bruises and might not come into his own until the second half of the season, so the Rams have to be hoping it's not too late by then. Points will be at a premium in the West, especially considering how good the three other defenses are, so the Rams will have to be even better than expected to make up ground, and I'm not sure they are ready for that just yet.

    Williamson: Points scored? Who needs points with that defense. Man, the Rams' defense is getting silly good. Adding Donald to that defensive front should have been banned. It's simply unfair. The Rams are not going to allow many points this season. So the offense won't have to be overly dynamic. With that said, I am not a big Bradford fan. I don't think he is the answer. Until the Rams upgrade at quarterback, I don't think they will reach their full potential or be able to hang in the division race. But they will dangerous every week because of the defense.
    Last edited by r8rh8rmike; -05-30-2014 at 05:55 PM.


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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Blount: Sure, it would have helped to add a top receiver, but is there a bigger unknown in the entire division than Sam Bradford? What the Rams, and everyone else, have to find out is whether Bradford is an elite quarterback. Frankly, I have my doubts, but he did play well last season before his injury.
    Wagoner: But until one or more of the young receivers proves himself and Bradford can consistently take advantage of play-action opportunities down the field, I don't see the offense being able to do enough to win games without the help of a special-teams or defensive score from week to week.
    Weinfuss: Bradford will come back with a vengeance and try to light up the scoreboard. He will have a talented group of receivers, but can they score enough to close the gap from the bottom of the West? Not sure that can happen.
    Williamson: With that said, I am not a big Bradford fan. I don't think he is the answer. Until the Rams upgrade at quarterback, I don't think they will reach their full potential or be able to hang in the division race.
    Not much love for Bradford from any of these guys, even Wagoner. Sam has a lot to prove this year, to a lot of people. I think he's up for the challenge.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Not much love for Bradford from any of these guys, even Wagoner. Sam has a lot to prove this year, to a lot of people. I think he's up for the challenge.
    I can see how from an objective perspective, Bradford isn't very impressive. I know if he was on a different team many of us would be saying much different things if the Rams were playing his team on a certain week.

    I do think this year is the year Bradford really needs to come into his own.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    I can see how from an objective perspective, Bradford isn't very impressive. I know if he was on a different team many of us would be saying much different things if the Rams were playing his team on a certain week.

    I do think this year is the year Bradford really needs to come into his own.
    I agree to some extent, but objectively, you could argue the opposite when you focus on his impressive rookie season, and the fact that he was ripping it up last year before going down. It seems like many instead, focus on the bad, and are throwing last year out the window in evaluating him. I think it would be fair to say he needs to perform consistently at the high level he's shown he's capable of, as well as prove he can stay healthy.

    There is no doubt he needs to put it all together this year.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by R8rh8rmike View Post

    There is no doubt [SB] needs to put it all together this year.
    "Consider it done." [ ...Daydreaming / wishful thinking statement for our boy Bradford. ]

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Sam needs and deserves a top notch WR. I don't think I've ever seen (recently) a team neglect to help their QB by weaponry as much as we have. The Bills went out and traded for Mike Williams and traded up to grab Sammy Watkins, after drafting Robert Woods and Marqise Goodwin last year. With Luck the Colts gave him an amazing vet in Wayne, great young threat in Hilton, and still went out and acquired former excellent WR in Nicks as well as drafting Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in the same draft as Luck.

    Sure we've tried but not very conventionally. We've taken bad prospects in Austin Pettis and Greg Salas... Over-payed for Tavon Austin who will never be a #1 but is an excellent gadget player, and he has no veteran presence what-so-ever. We actually have spent some picks (Salas, Pettis, Quick, Givens, Austin, Bailey, Kendricks) as well as some FA cash (Cook, Lloyd) and have nothing to show for it. Bradford also still has to "prove" himself. Is there a coincidence here?


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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Sam Bradford needed/needs a lot of things

    First, an OC that can make the most of what the Rams roster can do--Schotty isn't getting the job done nor has he; frankly am surprised he still is with the team after 2013--Rams sent there DC down the road for running a lack luster defense

    Second, how many seasons has Bradford been with the team? How many top WRs, and OL has the Rams brought in to make the best use of their number draft pick and franchise QB? If the answer is less then 5, there is a problem. The Rams organization got a steal at 60 million for his service because even with what he got he made good use of--as a perspective of value and returns on their investment in Bradford, the team might as well have saved the money and had a revolving door of QBs coming and going. Very soon the Rams are going to have to answer the $100 million question, and if where I in Bradford's shoes, I'd get my $100M or walk and hope on finding a home where there is top talent

    As far as WR help goes, where had the Rams acquired one that could get separation and actually catch the ball when thrown to him? Injury prone as D. Amendola was, it still was a mistake the Rams made in letting him go to the Pats. The Rams had a piece to their puzzle that could make plays and in that same short span of an offseason the Rams acquired T. Austin and Cook. Re-think the 2013 season with all three on the field. Its just speculation, but having Cook and Austin might have helped DA stay healthy for the majority of the season since defenses had to pick their poison who to worry about burning them

    Fact is improvements just within that last two seasons in the passing game wouldn't have lessened the running games side of the Ram's offense. Key a more versatile offense that Rams defense and there is a serious debate on reaching the playoffs. Lets face the truth of the matter. The Rams 2013 season ended week 7--for the only way the Rams could have made the playoffs is either the Squawks/49whinners imploded and lost enough games for the Rams to sneak within contention...

    If its the Rams strategy to win enough games and need to rely on the Cards/49whinner/Squawk losing 6 games or more--its a pathetic strategy at best. Football is a game where you go out and WIN your titles; its better to deserve the fruits of victory, then to just be handed it to you

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    When in comes to QB play bottom line is win loss record for most people. People watching from afar that's all they have to go on. Hawks had the 26th ranked pass offense and Wilson is one of the best QB in the NFL. Until we start wining more games then we lose Sam will not be a good QB period, it's time to win.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    When in comes to QB play bottom line is win loss record for most people. People watching from afar that's all they have to go on. Hawks had the 26th ranked pass offense and Wilson is one of the best QB in the NFL. Until we start wining more games then we lose Sam will not be a good QB period, it's time to win.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Sam needs and deserves a top notch WR. I don't think I've ever seen (recently) a team neglect to help their QB by weaponry as much as we have. The Bills went out and traded for Mike Williams and traded up to grab Sammy Watkins, after drafting Robert Woods and Marqise Goodwin last year. With Luck the Colts gave him an amazing vet in Wayne, great young threat in Hilton, and still went out and acquired former excellent WR in Nicks as well as drafting Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in the same draft as Luck.

    Sure we've tried but not very conventionally. We've taken bad prospects in Austin Pettis and Greg Salas... Over-payed for Tavon Austin who will never be a #1 but is an excellent gadget player, and he has no veteran presence what-so-ever. We actually have spent some picks (Salas, Pettis, Quick, Givens, Austin, Bailey, Kendricks) as well as some FA cash (Cook, Lloyd) and have nothing to show for it. Bradford also still has to "prove" himself. Is there a coincidence here?
    You may perceive it as neglect, but the Rams are confident in who they've added to the receiving core.

    In my opinion, everyone's jumping the gun on our situation at wide receiver. Our receiving core is filled with young talent that needs experience, and last year the majority of that experience was gained with a back up QB. Who knows how our receiving core would've turned out had Bradford stayed healthy?

    Also, I'd like to add that, if our spread-type offense that we implemented at the beginning of last year was effective, the Rams may have felt more obligated to spend a high pick on a potential number one. The OL was a bigger question mark to me, so I'm glad they addressed it.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Sam needs and deserves a top notch WR. I don't think I've ever seen (recently) a team neglect to help their QB by weaponry as much as we have. The Bills went out and traded for Mike Williams and traded up to grab Sammy Watkins, after drafting Robert Woods and Marqise Goodwin last year. With Luck the Colts gave him an amazing vet in Wayne, great young threat in Hilton, and still went out and acquired former excellent WR in Nicks as well as drafting Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in the same draft as Luck.

    Sure we've tried but not very conventionally. We've taken bad prospects in Austin Pettis and Greg Salas... Over-payed for Tavon Austin who will never be a #1 but is an excellent gadget player, and he has no veteran presence what-so-ever. We actually have spent some picks (Salas, Pettis, Quick, Givens, Austin, Bailey, Kendricks) as well as some FA cash (Cook, Lloyd) and have nothing to show for it. Bradford also still has to "prove" himself. Is there a coincidence here?
    So tell us how you really feel. Did you prefer Watkins over Robinson? I'd love to know how Bradford feels. I don't pretend to know, but I do know that we couldn't have both (Watkins and Robinson) without giving up the farm and most of the Ranch to boot .. It would be fun to know Bradford's preference, but I doubt I'll live long enough to ever know for sure.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    FestusRam/MauiRam I often like reading your guy's posts since more often then not you both add a perspective that gives food for thought

    To Answer my earlier ram{blings} on this threat. Sam has been with organization since 2010; its now 2014. As with RamAvenger's good thread that started a firestorm of discussion, we are discussing events of the moment and recent history as well as where the Ram's future of a team is going. Speaking for myself, Bradford is a "bust", not for lack of talent, but a lack development and use--why spend the number one pick of a draft if you don't make the most use out of him (the Rams have had 4 YEARS to patch together something).

    Here is where I think we can all agree on with regards to NFL offenses. In general an offense pitfalls are from a game perspective, either not explosive enough should they are 2 scores behind going into the 4th quarter/midway through it or just can't manage the clock and close out a tight game.

    So bearing all that in mind, plus what the Rams currently have on the roaster and have not done, can the Rams in 2014 come from behind against either the 49whinners/Squawks/Cards (or just about anyone else for that matter) with what the Rams have for a WR corps and/or passing game? Please keep in mind if 2013 holds true in 2014 for the Whinners/Squawks its been demonstrated that yes those two teams can come from behind.
    Last edited by Ram Dragoon; -06-01-2014 at 02:38 PM.

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    Speaking for myself, Bradford is a "bust", not for lack of talent, but a lack development and use--why spend the number one pick of a draft if you don't make the most use out of him (the Rams have had 4 YEARS to patch together something).
    "Bust" usually implies lost cause. I'm not sure that applies to Bradford, especially with the way he was playing last year before the injury.

    With a likely improved OL, the emergence of Stacy and Cunningham, the addition of Mason, and another year of experience for the young receivers, do you see no hope for Bradford with the Rams?

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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    "Bust" usually implies lost cause. I'm not sure that applies to Bradford, especially with the way he was playing last year before the injury.

    With a likely improved OL, the emergence of Stacy and Cunningham, the addition of Mason, and another year of experience for the young receivers, do you see no hope for Bradford with the Rams?
    Mike,

    The path is clear for Sam to bestow upon us his greatness, consistently. Watched Kellen last year and we were 5-6 with him at QB. I believe we would have won some games with Sam Kellen could not for us. I see nothing but good stuff from Sam this year.
    Last edited by macrammer; -06-01-2014 at 10:51 PM.
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    Re: NFL Nation: 4 Downs--NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    So bearing all that in mind, plus what the Rams currently have on the roaster and have not done, can the Rams in 2014 come from behind against either the 49whinners/Squawks/Cards (or just about anyone else for that matter) with what the Rams have for a WR corps and/or passing game? Please keep in mind if 2013 holds true in 2014 for the Whinners/Squawks its been demonstrated that yes those two teams can come from behind.
    The Broncos had a pretty good offense last year, but they couldn’t come from behind against the Squawks in the Super Bowl. The fact that they were missing a few key players (like their starting left tackle for one), probably factored in; exactly how much, we’ll never know.

    Can the Rams come from behind against the Whiners and Squawks? I’d say that depends on how far “behind” we are; we won’t really know until we see what we’ve got in this year’s draft class, and how much maturation has taken place among the last couple of years’ draft picks. If our defense can open the season strong, we won’t have to make up huge deficiencies. I believe this is possible.

    On the offensive side of the ball, small incremental improvements can help us enormously. We can start with reducing dead ball penalties. It is horrible to watch a drive stall because of mental errors. Our receivers don’t have to become stars to be effective. They do however need to run the correct routes (especially on hot reads) and then come down with the ball. Watching Sam bounce the ball off the back of Brian Quick’s helmet is a memory I’d prefer to forget. These are issues that can be corrected/reduced through good coaching, diligent film study and practice reps.

    A big part of good coaching is getting through to players how important it is to “play smart.” Dumb mistakes can easily be the difference between winning and losing. One of my pet peeves is seeing a Ram defender get flagged for lining up in the neutral zone, and subsequently converting an otherwise stalled drive into a freebie first down. A defender’s losing his cool and getting flagged for a personal foul after his teammates have successfully stuffed a drive can and will make a coach crazy not to mention us fans. Those sort of mistakes just kill you. The Squawks really got into the Rams’ heads collectively last year in the 2nd game with them. I hope the Rams remember well.

    I don’t see Bradford as a bust - yet. I admit to being worried though, given the beatings he’s absorbed, coupled with his knee injury/rehab. Will he have confidence in his knee? Will he fall victim to “battered quarterback" syndrome?

    The early positives should be our improved running game, and the collective maturation of our young receiving corps. Who will step up and who might not, I can’t even speculate at this juncture. I will say that IMO we do not have to have a true #1 receiver to win. We need contributions from all of our receivers. Spreading the ball around successfully really helps keep opposing Ds off balance.

    Last but not least, we need to have better luck with regard to staying healthy. We are gradually improving our talent and depth, but we aren’t deep enough to absorb multiple injuries. Some good old fashioned luck in this area would help tremendously.

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