2013 Record: 5-7
For a franchise that has struggled as much as the Rams have over the last half-decade or so, Rams fans must have felt teased by 2012. Even .500 was so close yet so far. A tie against San Francisco kept them from their first .500 season since 2006. Quarterback Sam Bradford had 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his third NFL season. Steven Jackson is gone after a long and successful career with the Rams, but they also identified his replacement last year in speedy Daryl Richardson. The Rams signed Jake Long to shore up the offensive line, and Bradford will need all the time he can get to reach his weapons. Wide receiver is a definite weakness on the Rams. The Rams drafted explosive slot receiver Tavon Austin out of West Virginia to replace Danny Amendola, who left in free agency, but after that there’s Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey, and Chris Givens. Austin would also be most effective in the slot as he was in college, but the Rams may feel desperate and throw him out at wideout. Luckily they did sign Titans tight end Jared Cook Jr. who remains a wealth of unfulfilled potential. But Bradford will probably have to lean on Austin too heavily right from the git-go. If Richardson is effective on his own in the starting role, it could open up Bradford’s options.
The Rams were highly average on defense in 2012. That represents a major improvement from what they had been the few years before. And with many high draft picks to come thanks to the RGIII trade, they’re in great position for future success. They used their second first-round pick to draft Georgia’s Alec Ogletree at linebacker. He’ll start right away next to veteran James Laurinaitis (142 tackles), one of few long-tenured Rams. But the real strength of the Rams on defense is their pass rush, where they were second in the league in sacks last year. Chris Long (11.5 sacks) and Robert Quinn (10.5) are both underrated on the line. Rough Cortland Finnegan brings some necessary toughness to this unit. Although this probably isn’t the first thing on Coach Jeff Fisher’s wishlist, Finnegan even brings buzz and attention. After what seems like a decade of incompetence gaining attention for a tough player may not be the worst thing in the world. Ogletree is sure to make an immediate impact, and the Rams defense could be on the rise in 2013. With Seattle and San Francisco it’s tough to compete in the NFC West but the Rams look to expose their weaknesses in 2013. Get your St. Louis Rams tickets today from Gold Coast Tickets!