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Thread: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

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    Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Rams: Dream/nightmare scenario

    By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
    May 25, 2012

    Yes, the start of training camps is two months away, but itís never too early to consider the coming season. A look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the Rams in 2012:

    Dream scenario (8-8): Sam Bradford takes every snap on offense for the second time in three seasons as the Rams protect their franchise quarterback with sensible play calling. It's the sixth time a Jeff Fisher-coached team finishes 8-8, but no one is complaining after the Rams' 15-65 run over the previous five seasons. Trusting offensive line coach Paul Boudreau to salvage right tackle Jason Smith becomes one of the surprise success stories of the 2012 season, and a critical one for the Rams' efforts to re-establish Bradford.

    Turns out the Rams were not fibbing when they suggested Brian Quick, the receiver they took in the second round, ranked up there with first-rounder Justin Blackmon on their board. The constant threat of Steven Jackson and Isaiah Pead out of the backfield creates favorable matchups for Quick and the Rams' underrated receivers. Bradford publicly downplays a Week 2 victory over Robert Griffin III and Washington, but it feels good to win at home against the player St. Louis could have selected second overall this year.

    Watching Janoris Jenkins score on a fourth-quarter punt return in Patrick Peterson's house improbably stakes the Rams to a 6-5 record, stirring visions of the postseason. It's certainly sweet to finally win within the division again. The Rams lose to San Francisco the following week and ultimately finish the regular season with a respectable defeat at Seattle, but the season is a success by any measure.

    Nightmare scenario (3-13): Road games against Detroit and Chicago in the first three weeks expose Bradford to significant punishment as Smith and the line struggle to find their bearings. Bradford doesn't want to talk about the ankle injury he aggravated at some point in the season's first month, but it's clearly a factor. Facing Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Julius Peppers, Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Cameron Wake and Clay Matthews in the first seven games leaves Bradford limping toward the bye week, his confidence shaken.

    Steven Jackson continues to plug away, but we've seen this movie before and it doesn't end well for the Rams. The depth at receiver is indeed improved, but Bradford doesn't have any truly dynamic weapons. Quick understandably needs seasoning, but with Blackmon and Arizona's Michael Floyd challenging rookie receiving records, the Rams look bad for trading down. It's tough finding open receivers with Smith struggling at tackle, anyway.

    First-round pick Michael Brockers and free-agent addition Kendall Langford upgrade the run defense, but life as an every-down defensive end is tough for Robert Quinn. The veteran outside linebackers signed as stopgaps represent only a minor upgrade from last season. Off-field issues dog Jenkins and the defense fails to meet expectations. Critics conveniently blame Gregg Williams' suspension, but the problems are more complex than that.

    The Rams head into the offseason with another high draft choice, one they'll almost certainly have to invest in a playmaker of some sort.


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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    It's always fun to speculate both ends of the spectrum, but he really lost me on two points:

    1. Dream scenario (8-8) --- a much less talented team went 7-9 just two years ago. I'd say he's about 3 wins shy of a "dream" scenario.

    2. Blackmon and Floyd are challenging rookie receiving records --- And exactly WHO is going to be passing the ball to these rookie record chasers? 101 receptions, 1377 yards, 17 TDs.....there's the records. What QB is going to be sending those passes to the rookie receivers? Kolb? Gabbert? Skelton? Henne? I'm just not seeing it.
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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Not much of a dream season. I mean if we're dreaming we're gonna at least want to duplicate the 1999 season right? 8-8 is like settling for the ugly sister.

    Also, if we're gonna dream big we may as well dream that the Redskins go 0-16 to put the cherry on top of our Super Bowl Sundae.
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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    It's always fun to speculate both ends of the spectrum, but he really lost me on two points:

    1. Dream scenario (8-8) --- a much less talented team went 7-9 just two years ago. I'd say he's about 3 wins shy of a "dream" scenario.
    Not sure I'm following you on this one, HUb. What makes you think this years team is all that more talented than the 2010 team?

    Of course, I hope that you are correct but I am not seeing it at this point....


    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by DE_Ramfan View Post
    ...8-8 is like settling for the ugly sister ...
    Maybe the the middle sister of the three, not the ugliest, but short of the prize. but agree, first thing that caught my eye was "Dream scenario (8-8)" talk about lowered expectations. The story was good though ... at least the dream scenario story was



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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Not sure I'm following you on this one, HUb. What makes you think this years team is all that more talented than the 2010 team?

    Of course, I hope that you are correct but I am not seeing it at this point....


    WHAT SAY YE?
    Yeah, agree here. Don't forget the rest of the division has improved over 2010 as well. I have to agree that 8-8 would be a tremendous leap with this team. ...and probably not going to happen. I think it will be somewhere in between the nightmare, and the dream.
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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    Yeah, agree here. Don't forget the rest of the division has improved over 2010 as well. I have to agree that 8-8 would be a tremendous leap with this team. ...and probably not going to happen. I think it will be somewhere in between the nightmare, and the dream.
    That was clearly what the original article was stating. The best case scenerio given the roster upgrades and schedule would be 8-8. Given the wild over expectations some had for last years team and then the 2 win finish you'd think some of those same fans would see 8-8 as somewhat of an over expectation also.
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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    I don't think Sando was unfair here. Suggesting the Rams will go 10-6 or 11-5 would lead to cries of "Sando is delusional" from the average straight-thinking fan. Suggesting they get 1 or 2 wins again would bring the haters out in full force. Either one of Sando's two proposed scenarios is entirely possible.

    My biggest concern- and I've been consistent in this thought- is that a playmaker was not drafted; and in a league where playmakers are needed to consistently win ball games that's a problem. Fisher and company decided to draft for depth because of our many needs and put themselves in a position to miss out on a Blackmon or one of the more heralded players in the draft. Only time will tell whether or not that was the right way to go.

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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    I don't think Sando was unfair here. Suggesting the Rams will go 10-6 or 11-5 would lead to cries of "Sando is delusional" from the average straight-thinking fan.
    I thought Dreams were Delusions?

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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    My biggest concern- and I've been consistent in this thought- is that a playmaker was not drafted; and in a league where playmakers are needed to consistently win ball games that's a problem. Fisher and company decided to draft for depth because of our many needs and put themselves in a position to miss out on a Blackmon or one of the more heralded players in the draft. Only time will tell whether or not that was the right way to go.
    Im not following you here.

    I personally believe we drafted atleast 4 potential playmakers.

    Jenkins will shut down opposing recievers and may contribute as returner. He can be a difference maker on both ST and Defense.

    Peads a homerun hitter and can take it the distance on any given play.

    Givens plays very fast and may prove to routinely get behind secondaries. I love his big play potential.

    Quick is somewhat of a project but if he pans out like Fisher and Co. thinks he will, he will be a playmaker himself. He has a great combination of size and athleticism.

    I love the potential of these guys to come in and light a spark under this dull team. They all have great playmaking potential and Im excited to see it on gameday.
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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by FestusRam View Post
    Im not following you here.

    I personally believe we drafted atleast 4 potential playmakers.

    Jenkins will shut down opposing recievers and may contribute as returner. He can be a difference maker on both ST and Defense.

    Peads a homerun hitter and can take it the distance on any given play.

    Givens plays very fast and may prove to routinely get behind secondaries. I love his big play potential.

    Quick is somewhat of a project but if he pans out like Fisher and Co. thinks he will, he will be a playmaker himself. He has a great combination of size and athleticism.

    I love the potential of these guys to come in and light a spark under this dull team. They all have great playmaking potential and Im excited to see it on gameday.
    You might be right on multiple counts, but there are a lot of "if's" with these guys on offense. I'm not saying they're no good and won't be successful, but are they players who will be difference makers?

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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    its amazing how the dream scenario is not really "dreamy" ( unless he means dream in RAMS eyes) and is a bit farfetched, yet the nightmare scenario sounds too real and also like what he REALLY thinks is going to happen. REAL FUNNY....

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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    You might be right on multiple counts, but there are a lot of "if's" with these guys on offense. I'm not saying they're no good and won't be successful, but are they players who will be difference makers?
    I think we can both agree that Quick, Givens, and Pead all have the potential to be difference makers.

    Will they turn that potential into production? We'll have to wait and see.

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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Not sure I'm following you on this one, HUb. What makes you think this years team is all that more talented than the 2010 team?

    Of course, I hope that you are correct but I am not seeing it at this point....


    WHAT SAY YE?
    Fair question. Obviously, it requires some speculation on my part, but here's the way I see it:

    QB - rookie Bradford vs. 3rd year Bradford (I'll take 3rd year Sammy)
    RB - push
    WR - Amendola had an excellent year, but other than that nothing. If he comes back healthy and the rookies show something, this year's group will be at least as good.
    O-line - the LG spot is up for grabs, but replacing Bell won't be a huge hurdle; coupled with the upgrade of Wells/Dahl over Brown/Goldberg, and I like this year's unit better
    TE - push

    DE - push (yea, Long/Quinn will be a nice combination, but in '10 Long/Hall combined for 19 sacks)
    DT - Robbins/Gibson vs. Langford/Brockers (a lot of speculation but I like the new model better)
    LBs - push
    CBs - Bartell/Fletcher vs. Finnegan/Jenkins (again, speculation that Jenkins is the starter here, but you've got to like the current pair over the former)
    S - push

    Maybe I'm just being too hopeful, but I'd say we are equal or better at ever unit this year over 2010.
    Last edited by HUbison; -05-25-2012 at 09:19 PM.
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    Re: Sando: Rams' Dream/Nightmare Scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    Yeah, agree here. Don't forget the rest of the division has improved over 2010 as well. I have to agree that 8-8 would be a tremendous leap with this team. ...and probably not going to happen. I think it will be somewhere in between the nightmare, and the dream.
    The division improvement is a fair point. You're right in saying that all of the NFC West has improved. So, let's say that this team is neither better inwardly viewing (as Ramarkable asserts) or relative to their surroundings (as you suggest), are we then saying that 2010 was a "dream" season? That 7-9 team was just a few bad bounces from 11-5. Now THAT would have been a dream season. So even if this particular team has gained zero ground, a dream season would look better than 8-8.

    To be fair, 8-8 WOULD be a tremendous leap forward, and I'd be more than happy to see it. I just think it's not the "best" case scenario that a "dream" season would imply.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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