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Thread: Outlook for Rams is brighter

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    Outlook for Rams is brighter

    • Bernie Miklasz

    Believe it or not, Rams rookies will report to training camp in 10 days. The offseason flew by faster than Tavon Austin.

    The Rams had a good offseason. Their draft was universally praised — especially the two first-round picks, wide receiver Austin and outside linebacker Alec Ogletree.

    The free-agent market delivered a receiving threat in hybrid tight end Jared Cook, and a pass protector in left offensive tackle Jake Long.

    Running back Steven Jackson — the leading career rusher in franchise history — signed a free-agent deal with Atlanta to take a shot at winning a Super Bowl.

    Away from the field, things were fairly quiet. Only one Ram was arrested, cornerback Trumaine Johnson on a DUI charge. That isn’t good, and I’m not making light of it.

    But according to a data base kept by the San Diego Union-Tribune, there was a 75 percent increase in NFL player arrests this offseason compared to 2012. Put it this way: The Rams got into trouble less than most NFL teams.

    More than anything, this was the offseason that delivered potentially exciting playmakers for quarterback Sam Bradford. There’s the tall and fast Cook, the rookie wide receivers Austin and Stedman Bailey, and a power runner in Zac Stacy.

    The offense will be young and inexperienced, but the skill level is enhanced, and the new toys could lead to a more wide-open, up-tempo offense under cordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Bradford is pleased.

    Head coach Jeff Fisher adjusted his coaching staff and established clarity on the defensive side of the ball by hiring a bright young coordinator in Tim Walton.

    The 2012 Rams defeated three playoff teams and went 2-1-1 against division bullies San Francisco and Seattle. The NFL’s youngest team closed strong, winning four of the final six games to finish with the team’s best record (7-8-1) since 2006.

    The expectations, while not exactly soaring, are on the rise heading into 2013. If anything the Rams will be even younger this season, but their schedule doesn’t appear to be as formidable.

    Can the Rams shock the NFL by moving up, upsetting conventional wisdom and snatching a playoff spot in 2013?

    Forecasts are tricky at this time of year. The NFC West will be tougher. San Francisco and Seattle are loaded, and Arizona finally added a legitimate quarterback in Carson Palmer.

    But the Rams won seven games in the first year of the Fisher regime, and figure to be more acclimated and ready after needing so much time to learn new systems in 2012.

    The roster is stocked with a bunch of players in their second and third seasons, and internal improvement is likely. That was the case last season. In the first 10 games the Rams averaged 17 points and gave up 24. In the last six games they scored an average of 21 points and allowed an average of 18.5.

    The 2013 offense is low on experience at running back but has more surface firepower, and that should lead to more big plays and fewer long-crawl drives.

    A defense that finished tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks and scored five touchdowns is in position to be more disruptive in year two of Fisher’s attacking style.

    History tells us that the Rams have a chance to crash the postseason tournament in 2013. A league known for its systematic parity regularly produces unexpected postseason contestants.

    For nine consecutive seasons — and 12 of the last 13 — we’ve seen a team jump into first place after finishing last in the division the year before.

    In 2012, the 12-team playoff field included three teams that didn’t make it in 2011.

    The 2011 tournament featured seven teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs in the previous season. There were five new playoff teams in 2010.

    Did anyone expect San Francisco to go 13-3 and compete in the NFC championship game in 2011 after getting splattered during a 6-10 season in 2010?

    Seattle went 7-9 in 2011, then won 11 games to make the playoffs in 2012. Did anyone envision Denver reaching the 2011 postseason with Tim Tebow at quarterback?

    Heck, did anyone anticipate the Rams’ outrageous 1999 breakout season that stunned the NFL? No one saw that coming in July 1999, and no one quite believed it really happened until we saw Kurt Warner lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy following the Rams’ fierce Super Bowl victory over Tennessee.

    That’s the thing about these Rams as they prepare to head to training camp: we’re at least asking these legitimate questions now. We’re seeing the possibility of a winning season and a trip to the playoffs.

    There is something building here, something to look forward to. And that’s a major change from the futile-franchise days.

    “You can see that program coming together,” Warner said. “There’s a winning coach, and now the organization has put some talent around Sam Bradford — which to me was the only thing holding him back. And you know that a Fisher defense will be getting after quarterbacks and causing turnovers.

    “With the Rams I see a team that’s developing a personality. And it’s a winning personality. It’s just a matter of time.”


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    Re: Outlook for Rams is brighter

    If you can't get excited about this year's Rams roster and its potential, you should probably follow another sport.
    Varg6 and THOLTFAN81 like this.

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    Re: Outlook for Rams is brighter

    And you know that a Fisher defense will be getting after quarterbacks and causing turnovers.
    When it comes to our defense this year, keep in mind we went five game without getting a turn over last year. The ball seemed to always bounce the wrong way. I can't see that happening again this year.



    Rams' 5-game turnover slump tied for NFL's worst since 1950
    Published November 21, 2012
    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS – An errant pass bounced off hands of the New York Jets' Joe McKnight on the sideline, tantalizingly soaring just out of the reach of St. Louis Rams safety Quintin Mikell and an easy touchdown return.

    In the opening series of last week's loss, Mikell stripped Mark Sanchez, and the ball bounced right back into the quarterback's hands.

    Those are just two of the latest frustrations for St. Louis, which hasn't forced a turnover the last five games — tied for the NFL's worst since 1950. Given turnovers are such momentum changers, it should come as no surprise that the Rams (3-6-1) are 0-4-1 during that stretch.

    In the last 62 years, only the Rams, the 2011 Indianapolis Colts and 2006 Washington Redskins have gone five games without a takeaway. They'll try to end the slump on Sunday at Arizona, which lost a fumble in Week 5 for the Rams' last turnover.

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    Re: Outlook for Rams is brighter

    Isn't it weird to think that, years ago, I wanted Sam Bradford SO BADLY to be the Rams' QB, and alas, here we are. I've always been a Tavon Austin fan, but every year, after the NFL season, is when I really start to watch college highlights and look at players (because, of course, I'm curious to see if they'll be a Ram) and sure enough, how could you not fall in love with Austin? Naturally, I also wanted him to be on the Rams, but how could that be possible? Well, now we have them both, and like the article title suggests, we as Rams fans have a lot to look forward and I think this season is truly when we'll start seeing our climb back into a playoff team that others are afraid of.

    I don't want to jinx it but we had the worst 5 year span of football...EVER. I think the football Gods are going to reverse our extreme misfortunes and change them into something we Rams fans could get used to again: another GSOT caliber team. I'm not saying they are going to be as good as them, has any team really? It's hard to say, but I certainly think we have a lot of talent and as AV said, how can you not be excited to be a Rams fan right now? I haven't been this excited in a long time. 2011 was a tease, but this year is going to be different.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Outlook for Rams is brighter

    Looking forward to the season and hoping we make the impact many of us believe is possible, meaning the playoffs. I'm really glad that there isn't a lot of media hype (that I have seen) surrounding us as I think its a distraction. I just think we'll be winning some games many don't think we'll win. My personal favorite upset will be Atlanta. Not because of SJax, well alright, because of SJax, but to show we're able to win without him.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Outlook for Rams is brighter

    Rams 2013: Let's DO THIS ! ! !

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