Hot Button: Rams' Breakthrough Ability

By Mike Sando
May 31

The St. Louis Rams stand out among ascending teams that finished last season with losing records.

They made a six-game jump to 7-9 and came within one victory of a postseason berth.

Are they more likely than the Dallas Cowboys and other 2010 also-rans to break through with a postseason berth in 2011?

ESPN's John Clayton and I considered the matter in our recent Hot Button discussion. He took the Cowboys. I took the Rams. We both painted reasonable pictures, I thought.

The Seattle Seahawks missed the cut because they won the division and won a playoff game, putting them in position to fall off even if they remain on their intended track from a long-term planning perspective.

And what about the San Francisco *****? They've won plenty of offseason championships over the past few years. Perhaps a break from inflated expectations will do them good.

From a perception standpoint, drafting Colin Kaepernick 36th overall gave the ***** a long-range outlook that didn't exist when the team was making shorter-term bets on Alex Smith. It's also plausible to think an extended lockout might hurt the ***** in particular as they implement new schemes on offense, defense and special teams.

The ***** did join the Rams in getting support during a recent "NFL Live."