By Jim Thomas
Monday, Dec. 29 2008

ATLANTA For the second straight season, the Rams are being "rewarded" for
having the NFL's second-worst record. Once again, St. Louis gets the No. 2
overall pick in the draft.

Last season, the Rams chose Virginia defensive end Chris Long at No. 2 overall.
This season, they'll draft behind Detroit, which earned the No. 1 overall pick
by virtue of going 0-16.

The Rams and Chiefs both finished with 2-14 records. But Kansas City barely
had a stronger strength of schedule. As a result of that tiebreaker, the Rams
draft second and the Chiefs third.

A lot could change before April, but for now the Rams could take the best
offensive tackle available with that pick. Although most underclassmen have yet
to declare, right now that's Michael Oher of Mississippi (6-5, 320 pounds),
Eugene Monroe of Virginia (6-5, 315) or Jason Smith of Baylor (6-5, 300).


Although the times and dates won't be set until the spring, the Rams know who
their opponents are in 2009.

At home, the Rams face Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota and New
Orleans, as well as NFC West foes Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle.

On the road, the Rams play Chicago, Detroit, Jacksonville, Tennessee and
Washington, plus their division foes.

Fourteen of the 16 opponents were predetermined entering this season because of
the NFL's scheduling formula. The only games decided based on the Rams'
division finish were the New Orleans and Washington contests. The Saints (NFC
South) and Redskins (NFC East) finished last in their divisions, as did the
Rams in the West.


Somehow, Donnie Jones didn't make the Pro Bowl. But the Rams punter became only
the second player in NFL history to finish a season with a punting average of
50 yards a kick.

Jones finished exactly at 50.0 yards per punt, with 4,100 yards on 82 boots
this season. On a day when Jones dropped two punts inside the 20, he pulled out
the milestone on the last of his five kicks Sunday.

Jones' 64-yard punt with 10 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game rolled into
the end zone for a touchback. It put Jones exactly at 50.0 and he didn't punt
again against Atlanta.


The Rams' 14 losses this season is a franchise record. Only six other Rams
teams have won two games or fewer. Most recently, the 1982 Rams went 2-7 during
a strike-shortened season, and the 1962 Rams went 1-12-1.

The Rams' total of 465 points allowed this season was the second-worst in
franchise history. The high-scoring 2000 Rams, who made the playoffs as a
wild-card team, gave up 471 points.

The Rams' total of 232 points scored this season was the 10th-lowest total in
franchise history. The inaugural Rams team, the 1937 Cleveland Rams, holds the
franchise record for fewest points scored (75).

The Rams' point differential of minus 233 points subtracting the 232 points
scored from the 465 points allowed is a franchise record, easily surpassing
the negative differential of 175 points last season.


The Rams escaped the season finale with no serious injuries. Cornerback
Jonathan Wade missed some time after suffering a first-quarter hip pointer but
returned to finish the game.

Sunday's inactives were: G Jacob Bell (hamstring), CB Fakhir Brown (ankle), G
Richie Incognito (illness), DT Antwon Burton, OT Anthony Davis, DE Eric Moore
and S David Roach.