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Thread: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

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    Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    If the Rams lost all of their unrestricted free agents, didn’t re-sign anyone and didn’t draft anyone, their roster really wouldn’t look significantly different than the 2013 season outside of having Sam Bradford healthy. The Rams have built their roster with recent high round draft picks who will ideally continue to improve mixed with a few veteran offensive free agents that have panned out.
    In a worst case scenario a lot of these young players don’t pan out and St. Louis has another losing season. In a best case the Rams make the right moves this offseason and can help keep the NFC West the best division in football.

    Key:

    - Player markers are colored per class on a five-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
    - Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
    - Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
    - Red player names suggest injury risks.
    - Click on the image to enlarge.




    Roster Notes

    - The Rams have one of the least diverse rosters when it comes to talent. This is due to the fact that 18 of 24 players are in the average to below average starter category which is tied for the most in the league. This makes them as a team a largely unknown because nearly every projected starter is someone who hasn’t lived up to their draft pick yet but has the potential to improve.

    - By far the best position group is the defensive line. Only three players on the roster are an above average starter or better, and two are their defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long. The two defensive tackles, Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford, are also among the best players on the roster.

    - Over the last three years the Rams have spent five early draft picks on receivers, and to this point none have developed into anything more than role players. While we list these three players as the likely starters, until someone steps up we will likely continue to see a five-man rotation.

    - One of the most interesting positions to keep an eye on this offseason is the interior offensive line. Most of the Rams’ notable free agents are guards including Shelly Smith and Rodger Saffold who both played well as part-time players last year. Regardless of who is or isn’t brought back, look for St. Louis to spend one or more draft picks on offensive linemen. Of the 10 linemen currently under contact, only one was drafted by the Rams.

    - The biggest need is slot cornerback where Cortland Finnegan hasn’t lived up to his reputation. It wasn’t ideal to move safety Rodney McLeod to the slot when Finnegan was hurt and it wouldn’t be surprising if next year’s slot corner isn’t currently on the roster.


    2014 Cap Situation

    At the moment the Rams have very little money to spend on free agents and draft picks, only having roughly $600,000 of cap room per overthecap.com. A lot of this is due to Sam Bradford, Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Cortland Finnegan having a combined 2014 cap hit of over $50 million. Luckily with high draft picks and few 2013 players as free agents, they aren’t as bad off as other teams with that little cap space.

    Potential Casualties

    By far the biggest question is at quarterback, where Sam Bradford is an average player and not playing nearly up to his salary. Cutting him would allow the Rams to draft a quarterback early and use the money gained to build around him. Keeping him would mean not re-signing some of their better free agents and continuing to build around him with the draft.

    At cornerback, Finnegan’s contract isn’t the most friendly to be cut as it would lead to a lot of dead money, but with his age and production it would make sense to let him go.
    The other two possibilities that would save a few million each are linemen Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells. Both were well-paid free agents who have played decently but not up to expectations. Letting them go would give them cap space to re-sign some of their free agent offensive linemen, and also give them opportunities to be full-time starters. Releasing Finnegan as well as these two linemen would effectively make Chris Long, who is currently 28, the oldest player on the roster.

    Opportunities from the Roster

    It wasn’t until Week 9 that third-round rookie Stedman Bailey worked his way into the wide receiver rotation. His playing time went up as the season went on to the point where he was playing in 40 or more snaps in each of the last two games. His PFF pass rating of +1.9 was the best out of the Rams’ wide receivers, and he could earn himself a starting job next year.

    Cory Harkey mostly lines up at fullback, but at times plays tight end or goes out to play like a wide receiver. His receiving numbers on a small sample size looked very good especially late in the season, so he could gain more receiving opportunities in 2014.



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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    I completely disagree with Brockers, Langford's, and Ogletree's ratings. All 3 of those guys should be solid starters at least. I think Stacy deserves a step up too. As well as Joe Barksdale.

    Janoris Jenkins should be downgraded a level.


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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    As far as I'm concerned, PFF is about as useful a tool for predicting the future performance of a football team as a window is for predicting what the weather will be next week.

    Some of those ratings are downright absurd. I'm not going to waste my time going through them.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -02-20-2014 at 02:29 PM.
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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    As far as I'm concerned, PFF is about as useful a tool for predicting the future performance of a football team as a window is for precting what the weather will be next week.

    Some of those ratings are downright absurd. I'm not going to waste my time going through them.
    I actually couldn't wait to see your response AV. I know how much you like those guys over there at PFF


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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    What I find amazing is that PFF is a bunch of guys who created an arbitrary and subjective method of evaluating players, package it as "data" and members of the "media" will quote them as gospel, even if their conclusions are contrary to what GMs and coaches believe.

    For example, if a team signs its top CB to a long term FA deal, and PFF then rates that guy as the No. 57 CB in the league, who are you going to believe? Guys who build and coach NFL teams for a living, or some guy who sits in front of a computer, watches film, and concludes that a TD pass is that CB's fault because it "appeared" that the WR was his responsibility (when, in fact, it might have been the FS's job to pick him up)?

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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    I think my opinion of PFF is best summed up by this comic (PFF is Calvin, I'm Hobbes):

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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    I'm not going to respond to this thread. I don't want any warnings or negative reps coming my way.

    &*(%#!@&*((^&_(!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    What I find amazing is that PFF is a bunch of guys who created an arbitrary and subjective method of evaluating players, package it as "data" and members of the "media" will quote them as gospel, even if their conclusions are contrary to what GMs and coaches believe.

    For example, if a team signs its top CB to a long term FA deal, and PFF then rates that guy as the No. 57 CB in the league, who are you going to believe? Guys who build and coach NFL teams for a living, or some guy who sits in front of a computer, watches film, and concludes that a TD pass is that CB's fault because it "appeared" that the WR was his responsibility (when, in fact, it might have been the FS's job to pick him up)?
    The media does proclaim these guys as "Gods", but a lot of NFL teams actually have prescriptions to their services (or so they say). I did a little bit of work for these guys a while ago and that is why I trust their opinions and work. The amount of detail and time I had to put in to something that was relatively basic was insane. The process they run things through over there is actually quite superb. I do agree at times though they don't make much sense. One year a guy is ranked 3rd out of 79 qualifiers and next year he suddenly is 58th out of 79 but is being paid like a top 5 guy according to the NFL.


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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    I like how Jlau is just an adequate role player in their system. Let's poll some GMs around the league and see if they'd only consider signing him to be a backup.
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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    of course most of the ratings had me nod my head in dis belief...but it is unbiased opinion and nice to how our defense is STILL not getting the respect it deserves

    i feel bad for JLau in stephan a Smith would just call that disrespectful

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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    I subscribe to PFF and generally find their analysis and grading to be very accurate. I'd argue with some of these, but they have a great rep because of their track record of being very close to the mark. Fans of Jason Brown(their worst center in the NFL 2 of 3 years) probably disagree, but where is he working these days? HINT: Not in the NFL. Jacob Bell? The same. Jason Smith? Oh yeah.....

    You look at the dogs in the PFF rankings and most of them are out of football within a year or two, no matter their hype or anything else.

    JL is overrated by Rams' fans....that's one I wouldn't argue with PFF's ratings about.
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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by bradwill View Post
    I subscribe to PFF and generally find their analysis and grading to be very accurate. I'd argue with some of these, but they have a great rep because of their track record of being very close to the mark. Fans of Jason Brown(their worst center in the NFL 2 of 3 years) probably disagree, but where is he working these days? HINT: Not in the NFL. Jacob Bell? The same. Jason Smith? Oh yeah.....

    You look at the dogs in the PFF rankings and most of them are out of football within a year or two, no matter their hype or anything else.

    JL is overrated by Rams' fans....that's one I wouldn't argue with PFF's ratings about.
    Actually, I've read more consistent praise of Laurinaitis from non-Rams fans than from Rams fans.
    For example, at the start of last season, ESPN ranked JL #57 among all NFL defensive players (that's 57 out of 352 starters, or Top 17%).

    Any rating system that would put a player who is the top 5 in the NFL in solo tackles over the past three seasons (first in the league from 2011-2012 before he received help from Ogletree) in the "below average starter/adequate role player" category is a complete joke.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -02-20-2014 at 06:21 PM.
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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    Here's what PFF had to say about Robert Quinn at the end of the 2012 season:

    After a rookie season that provided sufficient promise for Robert Quinn‘s pass rushing prowess, his sophomore season was less than impressive. Despite a slight boost in his raw statistics, Quinn saw a decrease in efficiency in several categories.As I discussed in my article last summer, Quinn’s rookie season was hampered by inconsistency, but showed great potential for the young defensive end. It seemed safe to assume that he would improve in his second season, and as a result many fantasy owners drafted him with a reasonably high pick. While Quinn’s career is still far too young to make any major assumptions, its difficult not to have that small seed of doubt in the back of your mind. This table illustrates Quinn’s decrease in efficiency from his rookie to sophomore season with the Rams:

    Rookie vs Sophomore Seasons
    2011 2012
    Snaps 584 849
    Overall Grade -8.2 -12.1
    Pass Rush Grade -0.7 -5.7
    Solo tackles 13 17
    Sacks 6 11
    Total Pressures 36 45
    Pressure Freq. 10.5% 8.4%
    As you can see, Quinn saw a decrease in efficiency regarding both tackles and sacks/pressures. Sure, he nearly doubled his sack total from his rookie season, but it took him 365 more snaps to do so. His drop in pressure frequency from 10.5% to 8.4% is the primary contributor for his poor pass rush grade, and while the raw statistics are what ultimately make IDP value, a regression in efficiency is a bad sign for the future.
    Again, I cannot stress enough that I am not jumping to a conclusion on the young defensive end’s career, or even his upcoming third season for that matter. I still think he has loads of potential to develop into a fearsome pass rusher, and very well may. That said, regression is regression. Quinn will have plenty to work on this off-season if he wants to improve his -12.1 overall grade. Quinn still holds decent IDP value due to his young age and his pass rushing potential. This point holds even more true for dynasty formats since his age becomes that much more of an asset. I still like Quinn as a DE2 for 2013 due to his athleticism and his tendency to be on the field for the vast majority of passing situations. His fantasy owners will also be delighted when he faces Arizona’s horrendous offensive line twice a year, likely becoming a temporary DE1 for those games.
    For more, follow me on Twitter @PFF_BrianG
    Yeah... those guys are freakin' geniuses.
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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    I didn't read any of the individual write-ups, so I won't comment extensively on this, but in sosa's initial post above, I can't really argue with the general assessment given to the team by PFF.

    I DO take exception to anyone who thinks James Laurinaitis isn't a very good football player. He is not a superstar, but a borderline pro bowler on a good football team. He is productive, durable and often active around the football. You win with guys like Laurinaitis. Any praise thrown his way is deserved.
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    Re: Pro Football Focus Rates the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post

    I DO take exception to anyone who thinks James Laurinaitis isn't a very good football player. He is not a superstar, but a borderline pro bowler on a good football team. He is productive, durable and often active around the football. You win with guys like Laurinaitis. Any praise thrown his way is deserved.
    Muy bien NJ, muy cierto.

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