They won four of their last six games SU to end the season to finish 7-8-1 SU. Sam Bradford and the young Rams’ offense showed some upside as NFL odds favorites last year, but throughout this summer, the Rams have taken a downhill turn.
While the defensive side of the football was still the story in St. Louis last season, the offense started to show some life. They ran the ball well, while Bradford had some of the best games of his career, finally showing some of that promise that led to him being drafted #1 overall. This is a big year for him. The first three seasons were lackluster at best, but he also had little help around him, and that could still be the problem this summer.
Check out our Rams Season Win Total Odds for more preseason betting info!
The recap was short because the questions for this team remain so large. St. Louis lost more of their offense this summer due to free agency than any other team, and yes that includes the Patriots. The Rams lost Steven Jackson to the Falcons, Danny Amendola is now in Boston, and Brandon Gibson bolted town for Miami. All three of those teams are better than the Rams.
Those three guys accounted for half of the Rams’ offense in 2012. They were able to sign Jared Cook, and if he can produce from the TE slot, they have a capable weapon for Bradford to throw to. I also really like the drafting of Tavon Austin to take over for the loss of Amendola, but he is still a rookie, and unproven. Even with Austin and Cook, the Rams really lack a big receiver to stretch defenses. Austin is 5’8 and a 174-pound speedster who will likely line up at both receiver positions, but Chris Givens is the next biggest guy they have at 6’0. In a division with big and physical secondaries, I fear the Rams may be one playmaker short.
The biggest offensive question mark though is by far the void that Jackson left in the running game. Eight straight seasons (some of them behind awful lines) worth of 1000 yards years are gone, and the void now falls to Daryl Richardson, and Isaiah Peid. Richardson passed up then promising rookie, Peid on the depth chart last season, and was a nice change of pace to Jackson. At just under 100 attempts, Richardson averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
Peid is suspended for Week 1, so that might lend him to the doghouse for a few weeks before he gets put in the game by Jeff Fisher, especially if Richardson is playing well. Both guys match up size-wise, so it’s not like a straight 50/50 carries split would provide some change of pace. However it goes, these two aren’t proven as starting running backs, and a subpar running game could really stunt the growth made by Bradford last season.
For more NFL offseason coverage, read our full NFC West Offense Report here!
It’s tough to give the Rams a pass this offseason, but the signing of Cook and the drafting of Austin is enough to make them move along. However I am very worried about the offense this season. Unless Bradford starts to assert himself into the Top 12-13 quarterback ranking, or he gets a couple of unknowns to step up this season, I fear either regression, or another 7-9 SU season until the Rams can grow, or get some more playmakers on offense. However, if Bradford and the running game are in tact, they have an outside chance of having value as football picks this season.
My Grade: C
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