Saturday, August 10, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - St. Louis Rams


Head Coach: Jeff Fisher                                         

2012 Record: 7-8-1 (3rd in NFC West)

New Players: TE Jared Cook; OL Jake Long; WR Tavon Austin; LB Alec Ogletree.

Gone Elsewhere: RB Steven Jackson; WR Danny Amendola; S Craig Dahl; WR Steve Smith; CB Bradley Fletcher; OL Wayne Hunter; WR Brandon Gibson; S Quintin Mikell.

Offense: Quarterback Sam Bradford is the lone player back from the 2012 roster as his three main wide receiving targets and running back (Steven Jackson) all are gone away to different teams entering this season.
QB Sam Bradford
Bradford passed for 3,702 yards last year, along with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and will likely be backed up by Austin Davis or Kellen Clemens.
The running game features two youngsters battling it out in training camp as Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead will be the primary backs this year.
Richardson averaged just under five yards per carry in 2012, gaining 475 yards in the process. Pead played sparingly and had 54 yards on ten carries.
The receivers include tight end Lance Kendricks (42 receptions for 519 yards and four TD) as well as top draft pick Tavon Austin (West Virginia), Chris Givens (42, 698, three TD), Brian Quick (11, 156, two TD) and Austin Pettis, who made 30 grabs for 261 yards and four touchdowns. Tight End Jared Cook, who played with  Tennessee, caught 44 passes for 523 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Another rookie draft pick from West Virginia is Stedman Bailey, who will also get a chance to show his stuff at wide receiver.
The line has center Scott Wells, guards Rokevious Watkins and Harvey Dahl. The tackles are Rodger Saffold and Jake Long.

Defense: The D line has ends Chris Long (11 1/2 QB sacks) and Robert Quinn (10 1/2 sacks) along with tackles Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers. Reserve DE William Hayes had seven sacks a year ago.
Rams' sack leader Chris Long
The linebackers will be rookie Alec Ogletree (Georgia), Jo-Lonn Dunbar ( 4 1/2 sacks) and James Laurinitis in the middle.
Cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan (three interceptions) and Janoris Jenkins (four picks, including three brought back for touchdowns) are solid and safties Darian Stewart and rookie pick T.J. McDonald (USC) will likely round out the secondary. Reserves include Trumaine Johnson, Matthew Daniels, Rodney McLeod and rookie Brandon McGee (Miami, FL).
St. Louis finished 14th in the league on defense last season, allowing 343 yards per game and allowed just over 21 points per game. The Rams can get  after opposing quarterbacks as well, getting 52 sacks in 2012, which along with Denver, was tops in the NFL.

OUTLOOK: After averaging just under 19 points per game and 329 yards, the Rams decided to shake things up and clean house on offense, with the exception of QB Sam Bradford.
Head Coach Jeff Fisher is hoping the gamble with so many new players and rookies will pay off. It had better at some point because St. Louis opens with a very tough schedule and playing against San Francisco and Seattle twice won't make things any easier.
The Rams showed they can battle though and did beat and tie the 49ers last year. They also split their two games with the Seahawks.
If the defense can duplicate what they did with pressure on opposing quarterbacks and the secondary doesn't allow big plays, the Rams will be in plenty of games this season.
The big question facing St. Louis is whether the new pieces surrounding Bradford will come together quickly enough for the team to contend in the NFC West, where they went 4-1-1 last year.
If not, the Rams could be in for some tough sledding while rebuilding this season. In today's NFL, one never really knows what to expect, so the Rams will go at it and see what happens on a weekly basis.
A 6-10 finish might seem like a step backward compared to 2012,  but the team is headed in the right direction compared to where they were the past several years.


Sept. 8- vs. Arizona
Sept. 15- at Atlanta
Sept. 22- at Dallas
Sept. 26- vs. San Francisco
Oct. 6- vs. Jacksonville
Oct. 13- at Houston
Oct. 20- at Carolina
Oct. 28- vs. Seattle
Nov. 3- vs. Tennessee
Nov. 10- at Indianapolis
Nov. 17- BYE WEEK
Nov. 24- vs. Chicago
Dec. 1- at San Francisco
Dec. 8- at Arizona
Dec. 15- vs. New Orleans
Dec. 22- vs. Tampa Bay
Dec. 29- at Seattle 

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