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St. Louis Rams News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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3/13/14: The Rams are in an interesting spot this draft season. They do not need a franchise QB (though some may argue against that) and they do not need any help on the defensive line. At the same time they own the number two pick overall. That seems like a perfect storm for a trade, especially since they need help in the secondary, at WR, and on the offensive line. Jadeveon Clowney may be the ace in the hole. If a couple teams covet him, then maybe there is a trade to be made. Of course, head coach Jeff Fisher may believe that one can never have too many defensive linemen, and draft Clowney at the second spot.
3/6/14: The Rams continue to explore options for their two first round picks (No.'s 2 and 13). The team says they are open to dealing the second overall pick in the draft, but no one expects them to get the bounty they received two years ago when they traded No. 2 (Robert Griffin III) to the Redskins. Offensive line, wide receiver and secondary need the most help, so if they keep the picks it could be some combination of those needs. Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robertson is an attractive option, as is Texas A&M's Mathews or Clemson WR Sammy Watkins.
2/27/14: The Rams have had to answer the same question several times at the Combine, but they publicly say that they are sticking with Sam Bradford as their QB. Bradford was the last of the old rookie contracts and carries a big cap and salary number with him for another two years. Since he has not developed into an elite QB yet, there is speculation that the Rams may trade or cut him. Not so, says the team. Bradford played well in 2013 until he was injured for the rest of the season. That also gave the team a chance to develop a very effective running game. If Bradford can continue to develop, the presence of a rush attack will make the Rams a tough team to play against in 2014.
2/20/14: With the combine on the way and the NFL draft not too far off, the faithful Rams fans are getting curious about the team's intentions with their two first round draft picks. St. Louis owns the second pick (via Washington) and the 13th pick (via a 7-9 record). While they are not likely to select a QB with either of those picks, there is interest around the league from teams that may want to move up to take a QB. The Rams need help on the offensive line, secondary, and wide receiver. History tells us that head coach Jeff Fisher never uses a first round pick on OL, but that may change this year. Or they may trade out again for another bevy of future picks.
2/13/14: The Rams are the wild card in the early part of the draft this year. The team owns the number 2 pick thanks to the RG3 rights trade two years ago (and thanks to Washington for completely imploding this past season). That is a valuable asset right now. The Rams could use it on a new left tackle or Jadevian Clowney, or even a new quarterback. Past history indicates that the team will trade out for more picks. In any case, any draft board is a wildshot at this point because the Rams have so many options available. Rams fans should be confident though, the current braintrust has been pretty good about draft picks, so you can't lose either way.
2/6/14: It is February, so that means that the Rams' season has been over for a month now, and it is time for St. Louis to panic about losing the Rams to L.A. Rams' Owner, Stan Kroenke (through his real estate investment firm) bought 60 acres of land just outside Los Angeles. The speculation is that he wants to build a stadium there and move the Rams back to L.A. The NFL says there is nothing to worry about and there are no plans for a stadium that they know of. Here's hoping that is true. In other news, the Rams fired DC Tim Walton and re-hired Greg Williams. The team does need help in the secondary.
1/23/14: Rams fans may not be sure if this is good or bad news. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenhiemer (son of Marty) interviewed for the head coaching position at Vanderbilt. He did not get the job and presumably will be back with the Rams in 2014. It is no secret that Rams' fans are frustrated with the lack of offense the team has produced for the last decade or so, and they have frustration with very conservative play-calling. On the other hand, it does not hurt to let QB Sam Bradford have another year with the same offense, rather than switch yet again to a new system.
1/16/14: Two years ago, the Rams traded the No. 2 overall pick to Washington (so Washington could select Robert Griffin III) for a king's ransom. A year ago, that move was somewhat ridiculed as the Rams missed the playoffs with a 7-8-1 mark, while Washington was in the postseason. The Rams have the No. 2 pick again this year, but it is because Washington disintegrated to 3-13. That trade has netted the Rams at least six starters. Now the Rams are looking to trade down again. Its doubtful they can get the same deal, but who knows. Maybe they should call Washington and see if they want to trade?
1/9/14: For the first time in a decade, the Rams have players selected as first team all-pros. Defensive end Robert Quinn and punter Johnny Heckker earned the honors last week as recognition for their great seasons. Quinn was a dominant force on the defensive line all season and set the St. Louis franchise mark with 18 sacks. He and partner Chris Long formed one of the best DE combos in the league and the entire front four was outstanding. The Rams will have the second and 13th pick in the draft, and may look to upgrade their secondary to front four level.
1/2/14: The Rams finished up their regular season at 7-9 with a lifeless loss at Seattle to cap the 2013 campaign. That record would contend in other divisions but not the NFC West. St. Louis may not be behind the rest of the division much longer. They hold the #2 and #13 picks in the draft. The team may well trade one or both of those and try to get another haul like they did two years ago. Of course, they may keep the picks and load up on offensive linemen, which is a weak point after left tackle Jake Long tore his ACL. St. Louis is on the upswing though, and it is very easy to see them making a playoff push in 2014.
12/26/13: St. Louis has a lot of momentum as they head into the final week of the season. The Rams hosted the (one-time) rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday and gave them a lesson in old-time football, winning 23-13. St. Louis scored one of the prettiest touchdowns of the year with a DOUBLE reverse that rookie Steadman Bailey took in for the score. Robert Quinn set the St. Louis Rams record for sacks in a season with 18 (three in the game), as Tampa QB Mike Glennon spent much of his day on his back. The Rams have a chance to finish at 8-8 on the season and still own Washington's first round pick, which should be in the top five.
12/19/13: Wait a second, St. Louis is not supposed to beat the mighty Saints. But again, the lowly regarded Rams rose to the challenge to defeat the high flying New Orleans offense. St. Louis jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and never looked back. Rookie running back Zac Stacy returned to form with over 130 yards on the ground and backup QB Kellen Clemmons tossed two touchdown passes in the 27-16 win. Sure, Drew Brees threw for almost 400 yards, but that is because he had to - and he only had one TD on the day. Maybe its just a moral victory, but the Rams always like beating the Saints. Next week is the Buccaneers.
12/12/13: The Rams slim hopes for the playoffs were torn apart by a 30-10 thrashing at the hands of the team that formerly called St. Louis home, the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams could not mount any offense on the day. They had a nice 56 yard run by rookie Tayvon Austin (who has really come on in the past month), but otherwise could only manage 44 yards on the ground. Shutting down the running game was all that the Cardinals needed. St. Louis goes home this week to face the 10-3 New Orleans Saints and their high flying offense.
12/5/13: The Rams had slim hopes of making the playoffs going into their game against the 49ers last week, and left with slimmer hopes. St. Louis now stands at 5-7 after the 23-13 loss and faces a monumental uphill battle. This game was lost on a botched trick fake punt in the early going, and the Rams could never recover. The good news for Rams fans is that the team is playing hard and has shown they are not afraid of better teams. Also, that trade that sent RG3 to Washington is looking better and better as Washington is stuck on three wins.
11/28/13: The Rams were left for dead a few weeks ago when starting QB Sam Bradford went out for the season, but now there is new life after two impressive victories. St. Louis overwhelmed the Chicago Bears 42-21 with a powerful running game. Zac Stacy had 89 yards and a score before leaving with an injury. Benny Cunningham had well over 100 yards and two touchdowns and Tavon Austin scored on a 65 yard run. The Rams are now 5-6 and have an outside shot at the playoffs. They head to San Francisco this Sunday in a key divisional game for both teams.
11/21/13: The Rams had their bye in Week 11, so it would be a good time to assess the team this season. At 4-6, the Rams probably will not make the playoffs unless they win out. They have to go through the NFC West again, and that is not appetizing on any front. However, the defense has played extremely well as defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn are simply terrorizing quarterbacks these days. The Rams offense needs help, but that probably will not come this season. It will be interesting to see if the Rams draft a QB or stick with Sam Bradford next season and beyond.
11/14/13: St. Louis may have killed a lot of fantasy pools and made the NFL experts look foolish by blowing out the Indianapolis Colts 38-8 in Indy last Sunday. All odds were stacked against the Rams: starting QB Sam Bradford is out for the year, the game was on the road, Indy has beaten Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco already. But the Rams defense continued to be dominant and scored a TD, while rookie WR Tayvon Austin broke on to the scene in a big way with two long receiving TDs and a punt return TD. St. Louis can rest for a week as they enjoy the bye in Week 11.
11/7/13: The Rams started their second game without starting QB Sam Bradford, as Kellen Clemmons again got the nod. Bradford is out for the year and the Rams hope Clemmons can fill in. Clemmons was serviceable with 210 yards passing and one touchdowns in the 28-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans. If there is some good news to take out of the game it is that it looks like the Rams have found a running game. Rookie Zac Stacy carried 27 times for 127 yards and two TDs - the first rushing touchdowns of the year for the Rams. St. Louis now sits at 3-6 and heads to Indy (6-2).
10/31/13: Just moments after the St. Louis Cardinals lost Game 5 of the World Series, many St. Louis fans turned their attention to Rams who were playing on Monday Night Football against division leader Seattle. The Rams defense was outstanding and had seven sacks. The offense, led by Kellen Clemons, was close to non-existent and managed only 9 points. The Rams had a chance to win the game and pull of the huge upset at the end, but were stopped at the goalline by the Seattle defense. The Rams are now 3-5 on the season and host Tennessee this Sunday.
10/24/13: The Rams winning streak (two games) came to a screeching halt against the home Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Carolina's defense was too much for the Rams, even opening up the scoring with a pick-six at the beginning of the game. The 30-15 loss puts the Rams at 3-4 on the season, and looking way up at Seattle and San Francisco. The run game was again a problem with rookie Zac Stacey leading Rams rushers with only 53 yards on 17 carries. No receiver had more than 39 yards on the day and QB Sam Bradford was limited to just 255 passing yards and one TD. St. Louis heads back home for the Monday Night Game against division leading Seattle. Sam Bradford is lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL. Kellen Clemmons will start at quarterback against the Seahawks and the team also signed Austin Davis and Brady Quinn as backups.
10/17/13: The big week in St. Louis continued with the Rams doing their part to bolster city pride. The Cardinals and Blues keep winning, and now the Rams are in on the fun. The Rams visited Houston last Sunday in a game many experts predicted would get the Texans healthy. However, Sam Bradford and company had other plans as they blew out the Texans on the road 38-13. Bradford threw for three touchdowns, the defense scored, and even the special teams added a TD. The upset victory puts St. Louis at 3-3 on the season. The Rams now face Carolina (2-3) on the road.
10/10/13: The Rams played their scariest game of the year last Sunday when they hosted the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags jumped out to an early lead, leading to constant groans from Rams fans. But the Rams came back sparked by a pick-six and a few more turnovers and a lot of sacks. St. Louis actually ran the ball effectively behind fifth round rookie Zac Stacy. Stacy may end up getting the starting running back job because no one else can yet more than a couple of yards at a time. St. Louis travels to Houston to take on the Texans this Sunday.
10/3/13: The Rams do not get on national TV for prime time games often, and the league may keep it that way for a while. Only a year after the Rams were one of the few teams to figure out the 49ers, San Francisco embarrassed St. Louis on their home field in the Thursday night game. The Rams simply could not run the ball, and had almost as many punts as rushing yards. The 49ers were able to defend St. Louis receivers without the threat of a rushing attack and the final was 35-11. The 1-3 Rams can get back in the win column when they host the 0-4 Jaguars on Sunday.
9/26/13: St. Louis did not look like a team that improved at all on Sunday against Dallas. The team was outplayed and outcoached from the onset. It did not help that running back Darryl Richardson lasted only one snap. The Rams only managed one touchdown in the 31-7 loss in Dallas. Sam Bradford and the offense were virtually paralyzed all day. St. Louis does not have much time to dwell on this loss. They return home with a 1-2 record and will host San Francisco (1-2) on Thursday. The Rams were 1-0-1 against the 49ers last season and need to recapture that magic.
9/19/13: The Rams dropped their first road game of the season, losing in Atlanta 31-24. The Rams started off slowly, again, allowing the Falcons to build up a 21-3 lead. The team let loose in the second half, going to a no-huddle offense. The offense, in particular QB Sam Bradford, is far more comfortable in a hurry-up offense and made the game interesting late. The early deficit was too much to overcome, and Atlanta held on for the win. St. Louis continues its tough September, and will face Dallas at Jerry World on Sunday, followed by the 49ers the following week.
9/12/13: The Rams scored a big opening day victory over the Arizona Cardinals, winning 27-24 over the franchise that once called St. Louis home. The new look offense was impressive, especially in the red zone. Quarterback Sam Bradford threw two touchdowns to new tight end Jared Cook, while kicker Greg Zuerline knocked in four field goals. The win keeps them even with the 49ers and Seahawks, who also won on the opening Sunday. The test gets tougher this week when the Rams travel to Atlanta to face off against the Falcons, who lost to New Orleans last Sunday.
9/4/13: The Rams have big expectations this season, even if they are playing in the toughest division in the league. St. Louis went 1-3 in the preseason, but head coach Jeff Fisher has stressed that the team has kept their play calling very bland so far. He does not want to show off the talents and plays for Tavon Austin or anyone else this early. The Rams open up at home against the Arizona Cardinals, and the fans are ready to see some offense after years of misery. St. Louis swept Arizona last season, and all Rams fans want that streak to continue.
8/29/13: To no one in St. Louis' surprise, the Rams named Darryl Richardson the starting running back, essentially the replacement for the departed great Steven Jackson. St. Louis went to Denver for their dress rehearsal game - a great test for the developing team. They led 20-10 after the first half when the starters were in and found out how good rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree is. Ogletree stripped a fumble, which he returned for a touchdown; batted down a Peyton Manning pass in the end zone; and picked off a Manning pass in the two-minute drill. What a find for the Rams.
8/22/13: Rams' fans have been clamoring for offense since the Greatest Show on Turf days, and the hope is that they will get it this year with Sam Bradford entering his fourth year as the starting QB and a slew of new receivers to throw to. That has not been the case in preseason, as the team has kept a bland and predictable offensive scheme. Bradford is hitting multiple receivers, and WR Chris Givens is emerging as a true downfield threat. The running game needs work. Isaiah Pead has been ineffective, so it is likely that this will be Darryl Richardson's job to lose with Zac Stacy as the primary backup.
8/15/13: Rams' offensive tackle Roger Saffold was moved to the right side when the team signed Pro Bowler Jake Long to protect QB Sam Bradford's blind side. Saffold was not particularly happy with the move, but followed the team's orders. They expected the transition to be bumpy, but that road just got more treacherous. Saffold will be out at least a couple of weeks in the preseason due to a dislocated shoulder. The Rams need Saffold to get better in a hurry because they do not have much depth on the offensive line as the season gets closer and closer.
8/8/13: The Rams are trying to make the most fun out of training camp as they can, led by veteran cornerback Cortland Finnigan. The new thing is the "Smack Cam" whereby players smash a plate of whipped cream in the face of other unsuspecting players. The Smack Cam has gone viral with players sneaking up on others during interviews and training sessions. One rule though, do not Smack Cam head coach Jeff Fisher. Apparently everyone is fair game if they are wearing Rams gear - except the head coach. He may have something to say about getting pied in the face.
8/1/13: The Rams are trying to re-establish themselves as a competitive team in both the NFC West and NFL in general. They went a surprising 4-1-1 against the division last season and look to have a more potent offense this season. The Rams defense has been a bit shocked at the aggressive play calling thus far in camp, with Sam Bradford airing it out more than a few times. This is the first time in Bradford's professional career that he has the same offense in consecutive years and finally has some receivers to throw to. Depending on how the offense gels, it could be a fun team to watch this season.
7/25/12: Sadly, the Rams released Terrell Brown - a genuine mountain of a man - from the team this week as they get ready for training camp. Brown was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi. He stands 6'7 and weighed in at over 400 pounds. He played defensive line in college, but the Rams had hoped to make an offensive lineman out of him. He had a pre-existing injury that prevented him from getting on the field. If he can ever get healthy, hopefully he will develop the proper skills and anchor the Rams offensive line one day in the future.
7/18/13: This time of year is good for players to get in their vacations, off-site practices with teammates, get arrested, and make fun video. The Rams' kickers and longsnapper have gotten into the act with a skill video with Dude Perfect. In the video, punter Johnny Heckler punts a ball from the roof of the Rams' practice faculty into a kiddie pool on the field. The longsnapper hikes a ball into a basketball hoop, and Greg Zuerline kicks the football into a basketball hoop from 60 yards. The trick shots are pretty amazing and have been getting national attention for their creativity.
7/11/13: It may be time to worry if you like having the Rams in St. Louis. Despite the fact that the Rams won an arbitration hearing on their proposed $700 million renovation to the Edward Jones Dome (versus the City's version of $125 million), the City says they will not use public funds. That means the Rams can leave St. Louis with no exit fee at the end of the 2014 season. Plenty of cities would like to get the team, and many expect them to return to L.A. (problem is there is no stadium). It does not mean they will leave. They may go to a year-to-year lease with St. Louis or build their own stadium in the area.
7/4/13: There is a running back at the offseason activities that is starting to turn heads. It is not Isaiah Pead or Darryl Richardson, it is 5th round pick Zac Stacy. It looks like head coach Jeff Fisher is departing from his traditional methods of having one dominant feature back for a pounding running game. This time, it looks like Pead and Richardson will split time as speed backs, while Stacy will be the north-south bulldog that can catch passes out of the backfield. Stacy is a short and powerful runner - in the Ray Rice and Doug Martin mold. If Stacy can emerge like Rice and Martin, then Rams may have hit the jackpot with a late round starter.
6/27/13: The Rams offense looks much improved according to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. This is the first time in QB Sam Bradford's pro career that he has been able to operate in the same offensive in consecutive years. He has gone through the one year schemes of both Pat Shurmer and Josh McDaniels, with varying degrees of success and failure. The Rams are expecting their young receivers to step up this year. Danny Amendola and Brian Gibson are both gone, so it is up to Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, and Austin Petty to carry the load. They should benefit from an improved offensive line that includes free agent signee Jake Long.
6/20/13: It was noted among a few outlets that the Rams were the only team to not sign any of their draft picks. It turns out that this was by design. The Rams wanted to hold on to their rookies' money for an extra month to teach them about their personal financial management. It was not like the rookies were suffering. The team had them put up in a nice hotel, fed them regularly, and provided them access to the finest medical resources. It is unorthodox, but if it allows these players to keep their money, then more teams may adopt this process. All the rookies were signed this past week.
6/13/13: Once again, several Rams skill players will be going to 'Camp Bradford' this summer. Like last year, Bradford will host offensive players at his home in Oklahoma for several days of workouts. Bradford pays for their expenses and puts them up in a Sooner-themed hotel (which even has a Sam Bradford Room). It is good to see Bradford displaying this type of leadership to get his team ready to win in the regular season, especially since the team has a lot of new talent like former West Virginia Moutaineers Tayvon Austin and Steadman Bailey at wide receiver.
6/6/13: It could be another rough year for 2012 second round draft pick Isaiah Pead. Pead was selected as the heir apparent to running back Steven Jackson, but was passed up on the roster chart by fellow rookie Daryl Richardson. Pead is now suspended for the first game of the season, reportedly for a substance abuse violation. It is the second such suspension for the Rams in the past few weeks as offensive lineman Rokovious Watson was dealt the same punishment. Pead can still practice and play in preseasons games with the team, but is out for opening weekend.
5/30/13: The Rams are sneaking up on no one this year. A lot of experts are pegging the team as a dark horse in the NFC West. The division is headlined by the 49ers and Seahawks, but most people like what head coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead have done in a couple of years. A lot is also being made about this being a make or break year for QB Sam Bradford. Bradford has improved a lot, though does not get that recognition. This will also be the first time he has worked in the same offense in consecutive years since he was in college. His cap hit escalates next year, but him improvement and the lack of a suitable replacement will likely keep him on the Rams regardless.
5/23/13: The Rams offseason moves were mostly focused on the offense - either protecting QB Sam Bradford and giving him time to throw and stay upright, or providing playmakers to get the ball to. The biggest change is the speed. Austin Tavon and Jared Cook provide more speed on the outside to stretch the field. With the new guardians and new toys, many are suggesting that this is a do or die year for Bradford. While he certainly must have a good showing, this is by no means all or nothing. There are not suitable replacements available and the team can restructure his contract to spread out the cap hit in the future.
5/16/13: With the start of rookie mini-camps, the big name draftees are getting a rude awakening to life in the NFL. For new Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin, that means that people are already hitting him up for money. As Austin tells it, he now has a lot of cousins that he did not know about who want a bit of his paycheck. The thing is, Austin has not made a paycheck yet. Instead, he wants to stay away from the bad influences and let his family deal with the hangers-on. He has a long-time friend in fellow West Virginia wide receiver Steadman Bailey, who was also drafted by the Rams.
5/9/13: The Rams, lest anyone forget, was the only team to contain Colin Kaepernick and have a winning record against the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers last season (until the Super Bowl). The Rams went 1-0-1 against the 49ers and 1-1 against the Seahawks. They have stability in coaching and offensive scheme, and just added weapons and protection for QB Sam Bradford. Las Vegas, though, is not impressed. The Rams are listed at 60-1 longshots to win the Super Bowl. Only eight teams have higher odds, with Jacksonville and Oakland with the longest odds at 200-1 for the 2013 season.
5/2/13: The Rams young General Manager Les Snead is showing he knows how to work a draft board. Last year, Snead traded the number two overall pick to Washington and got their 2013 and 2014 first rounders in return. That left the Rams with the numbers 16 and 22 selection. They traded away the 16th pick to Buffalo and selected West Virginia WR Tavon Austin at No. 8. Then they traded down (recouping the picks they gave up in the first trade) and selected nasty Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, who will likely start right away for the Rams.
4/25/13: St. Louis is not tipping their hand with their first pick at number 16. Head coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead did a good job in their first season in turning over the roster and stockpiling draft picks to build from within. The Rams single biggest need is a break away, true number one wide receiver – so there has been a lot of speculation that the Rams will select Tavon Austin out of West Virginia if he is available. They also need a replacement for running back Steven Jackson, and Eddie Lacy from Alabama would fit that mold.
4/18/13: The Rams have the number 16 and 22 picks in the upcoming draft. Everyone and their mother knows that they need a playmaking wide receiver. The only problem is that no one knows if that exists in this years draft class. The 16th pick was earned by record, and the 22nd pick is courtesy of the Washington Redskins for the RG3 trade last year. St. Louis and their fans are hoping that Washington tanks next season, where they still have the Redskins' pick (and hopefully in the top five). In any case, expect the Rams to take the best WR on the board with their first pick.
4/11/13: Rams head coach Jeff Fisher complemented QB Sam Bradford on his leadership development in the second half of the season. Now that Steven Jackson is gone, this is truly Bradford's team. The Rams hope to pick up some long term starters in the draft. They have two first round picks (No. 16 and No. 22). The second pick is compensation from Washington for trading the No. 2 pick overall last year, which turned out to be RG3. In total, the Rams turned that second overall pick into six picks by trading down again on draft day with the Dallas Cowboys.
4/4/13: Rams fans are getting anxious. Rams Nation may not have the right for high expectations, especially after winning just 15 games in 5 years, but last year's 7-8-1 record, combined with the development of the rival San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks as not just playoff teams, but Super Bowl contenders, leaves Rams fans wondering how they will keep up. The defense is pretty solid, and will only improve. But aside from signing OT Jake Long and TE Jared Cook, the offense is still lacking. Rams fans want to see a play making wide receiver and running back join the team.
3/28/13: The Rams understand that building a championship team does not happen overnight - unless you happen to be the 1999 Rams, but that is a different story. This time, Jeff Fisher is taking the more traditional route to building a competitive football team. He bolstered the defense last season and secured his long term left tackle as well as a dynamic tight end this offseason. With the draft approaching, it seems pretty obvious that the team needs a breakout wide receiver to open up the field for the next few years and make Sam Bradford live up to his number one draft pick rating.
3/21/13: It took some time, but the Rams finally landed their primary free agent target. Jake Long, the left tackle taken number one in the 2008 draft by Miami, agreed to a four year, $36 million deal. Long dominated the offensive line in Miami since he was drafted, and has made several Pro Bowls. He has been hampered for the past two years with injuries, but checked out fine physically by the Rams. Miami wanted to keep him at a reduced rate, but Long was impressed by the Rams vision of the future. Sam Bradford finally will have a special talent protecting his blind side, which may open up the passing game.
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3/14/13: The Rams are staring at losing both Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola, their top two wide receivers. The receiving corps is already among the worst in the league, despite several draft picks spent on receivers over the past few years. But there may be a glimmer of hope. The Rams signed Jared Cook, the top rated tight end, in free agency. Cook has wide out speed and should be able to be a factor in the end zone. He rejoins head coach Jeff Fisher, who coached the Titans and originally drafted him a few years ago.
3/7/13: Last season the Rams made the unusual move of allowing star running back Steven Jackson to opt out of the final year of his contract. Call it professional courtesy, or call it a shrewd business move to save $7 million in salary, but it looks like SJ39 will test the free agent waters. The Rams, meanwhile, are busy trying to re-sign wide receiver Danny Amendola. Amendola has been the most productive receiver for the Rams for most of the past few years, but he keeps getting hurt badly. Sam Bradford would like to have him back, as the two have become the NFC West's version of Brady to Welker.
2/28/13: It is coming down to crunch time for the Rams and longtime running back Steven Jackson. Jackson has the option to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent. Some might consider this a professional courtesy to a long-time Ram who has been through the dredges, but the Rams would also free up some much needed salary cap space if SJ39 decides to finish his career elsewhere. If he does leave, then St. Louis will have to find his replacement, which could be Eddie Lacey from Alabama or a free agent fill in for a year or two.
2/21/13: It did not take the Rams long to right their mistake. Nine days after claiming former Lions wide receiver Titus Young of waivers (they were the only team to submit a claim), the Rams cut Young. Young had been at the training facility meeting with coaches. The team has not given any specific reason for promptly dismissing the mercurial WR, but he must have rubbed some people the wrong way pretty quickly. His football talent is obvious, but his attitude and behavior within the team is getting in the way of Young having a respectable NFL career.
2/14/13: The Rams passed on hiring Rob Ryan as the new defensive coordinator, then brought in Dick Jauron, former DC of the Cleveland Browns for an interview. But the Rams then threw a curve ball by also bringing in Mike Singletary, special assistant of the Minnesota Vikings and now have Detroit assistant coach Tim Walton in for a test drive. The Rams are the last team without a DC at this point, but do not seem to be in any rush to fill the position. In other news, a panel of arbitrators sided with the team and their $700 million renovation plan over the city. Chances are that the discussion will move from renovating to building a new stadium either in downtown or somewhere in St. Louis County.
2/7/13: After flirting with former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Rams announced via Twitter that the two sides were not signing a contract. Though no official explanation has been provided, there may have been a significant difference in defensive philosophies. Head coach Jeff Fisher has run a very effective 4-3 scheme for years, while Ryan runs a 3-4. The Rams defense was much better than expected last year and has the personnel for four defensive linemen and strong cornerbacks. Most recently, Dick Jauron has been mentioned as a possible candidate to fill the defensive coordinator role.
1/31/13: It was reported a few weeks ago that Rob Ryan had interviewed for the defensive coordinator job in St. Louis. That will not happen. The Rams formally released Greg Williams, the DC by name only, a few weeks earlier. Williams is still technically suspended by the NFL for his part in the New Orleans Saints Bounty Program, though Saints head coach Sean Payton has been reinstated and Williams was the only person that actually testified about the activities. Rob Ryan is the twin brother of Jets HC Rex Ryan and son of Buddy Ryan. He has a different scheme than the Rams currently run, but it could make the defense even better.
1/24/13: There is a lot of speculation in St. Louis on who the next defensive coordinator will be. When the Rams hired Jeff Fisher, he promptly hired his old buddy Greg Williams as DC. Then came the New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal and Williams was suspended by the NFL indefinitely. The Rams terminated Williams' contract following the season and are said to be interested in former Cowboys DC Rob Ryan - brother of NY Jets coach Rex Ryan. It may not be a good fit, though. Ryan runs a 3-4 defense and the Rams showed they can play under Fisher's 4-3. Aside from that, Fisher and Dave McGinnis did a fine job on their own this year.
1/17/13: The Rams officially cut ties with suspended defensive coordinator Greg Williams. Head coach Jeff Fisher hired Williams before the New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal punishments were installed, and Williams never coached a game for the Rams. St. Louis went through the regular season without a true DC, and greatly improved on defense. Neil Brockers and Janoris Jenkins were both named to the All-Rookie team, though no Rams were selected for the Pro Bowl. The Rams are said to have interest in Rob Ryan, the twin brother of Jets HC Rex Ryan, who was fired by the Dallas Cowboys last week.
1/10/13: Like every year, the Rams watched the Playoffs from home. But unlike the past, the Rams have a foundation from which to build upon. Jeff Fisher's first season as head coach must be considered successful, as the team improved from 2-14 to 7-8-1. QB Sam Bradford looked more comfortable in his third year, yet still needs protection from a stronger offensive line and a true number one receiving threat. The defense earned strong marks throughout the season, particularly in the secondary where veteran cornerback Cortland Finnigan and rookie CB Janoris Jenkins terrorized opposing receivers throughout the season.
1/3/13: They say you have to win in your division first if you are going to develop a contending team. If that is true, then the Rams have a very bright future. St. Louis entered Week 17 undefeated in division play before heading into Seattle, where the Seahawks have not lost all season. The Rams played the Seahawks very close, but came up a bit short, losing 20-13. By any measure, Head Coach Jeff Fisher's first season was successful. The team finished 7-8-1 on the year and 4-1-1 in the NFC West. Now the Rams must hope that the Redskins lose, in order to improve the value of that first round pick next year.
12/27/12: The Rams continued their resurgance in professional footbal, improving to 7-7-1 after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-13 on the road. Rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins recorded yet another pick six, as the defense again was the story. The Rams have a chance to finishe with a winning record for the first time in years if they can win or tie at Seattle this coming Sunday. Surprisingly enough, the Rams have not lost in NFC West games this year, going 4-0-1 thus far. Had they not gone winless against the NFC North, then the team would be competing for a playoff spot right now.
12/20/12: The Rams playoff hopes essentially came to and this past Sunday, as the Minnesota Vikings came to the dome and rolled St. Louis 36-22. Minnesota dominated the game in the second and third quarters, returning one interception for a touchdown and shutting down the Rams offense. Adrian Peterson ran for 212 yards, including an 82 yard td scamper early in the game. The Rams tried to battle back in the fourth, but could not get closer than 11 points. The Rams take on the Bucs next Sunday, in a rematch of a the 1999-2000 NFC Championship Games, which the Rams won on their way to the the Super Bowl.
12/13/12: Many Rams fans felt that a five or six win season would be a success, especially since the team has won three or less games for most of the past half decade. The Rams went up to dreary Buffalo and gutted out a 15-13 win over the Bills, as the Rams defense was again dominant. It was the first road victory for St. Louis this season, and the first win against an AFC East team. At 6-6-1, the Rams have a slight outside shot at capturing a playoff spot, but need help from teams like Washington, Minnesota, Dallas, and Seattle to do so.
12/6/12: The Rams seem to own the 49ers this season. San Francisco, widely considered to be one of the best teams in the NFC just can seem to solve the Rams and their defense. This past Sunday in St. Louis, the Rams hounded 49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick enough to force a safety, then recovered a fumble for a touchdown, followed by converting a two point conversion to tie the game at 10 apiece. Rookie sensation kicker Greg Zuerline, who had been silent all day, kicked a 53 yard field goal to send the game into overtime. Zuerline then kicked a 54 yarder to win the game. The Rams are undefeated in division play this year and now head to Buffalo to face former quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
11/29/12: The Rams continue their Jekyll and Hyde ways this season. Two weeks after marching into San Francisco and forcing the rare NFL tie (and they had chances to win) and a week after being embarrassed at home by the Jets, the Rams rumbled out to the desert to face the Cardinals and their quarterback du jour. St. Louis' defense sacked Kevin Kolb 7 times in their first game and this time recorded four interceptions (two for touchdowns). The Rams now sit at 4-6-1, though only have an outside chance to make the playoffs. They do, however, get to host the 49ers this coming Sunday and try to damage a division rival.
11/22/12: There was a lot of speculation that the Rams would face a starting Tim Tebow last Sunday, and that the Rams were poised to beat the struggling Jets. Neither happened. The Rams started strong, building a 7-0 lead, blocking a field goal and stuffing a fake punt. But they could not sustain the defense and then could not get the offense going after Danny Amendola hurt his foot at the end of the first half. They lost 27-13. Now they must regroup and head to Arizona. The Rams beat the Cardinals earlier in the year at home, but St. Louis has stumbled since then and need a win to keep any playoff hopes alive.
11/15/12: For all those complaining about the replacement officials earlier in the season, the real refs did not fare too much better in the Rams game at San Francisco. The refs allowed 72 seconds to tick off the clock and bungled several calls. St. Louis actually ended up tying the 49ers, the first tie in the NFL since 2008. Sam Bradford threw for 250 yards and two TDs, in one of his better efforts this season. The Rams head back home so the circus - the New York Jets - can come to town this Sunday. A win against the Jets would give the team hope for a playoff spot, though there is still a lot of football left to be played.
4/12/12 A disappointing 2-14 finish in 2011 has left the St. Louis Rams with a lot of question marks heading into the 2012 season. Quarterback Sam Bradford is entering his third NFL season and has yet to make the strides that the Rams had hoped he would make by this point. Although he missed several games due to injury in 2011, Bradford threw only 6 touchdown passes last season and the Rams have a number of holes that need to be filled on both sides of the ball before the season begins. They hope to address these needs through the upcoming NFL Draft and in free agency.
St. Louis Rams Tickets - Team History
Playing their first full season in 1936, the Rams are one of the oldest franchises in the NFL. Once representing the city of Los Angeles, the Rams have called the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis home since 1995. A 1999 Super Bowl that featured 'the greatest show on turf' ushered in a five-year era where the Rams were one of the most prolific offenses the NFL had ever seen. It's the Sam Bradford show now, and 2011 is a major test on the team's road to recovery.
St. Louis Rams Tickets - 2011 Season Info
With the Rams, it seems like it's going to be all about timing. Sam Bradford was spectacular in his rookie season, and there's no reason to believe he won't be even better in 2011. As fantasy football owners would tell you, running back Steven Jackson has been one of the league's best backs the past few years. Yet Jackson's entering his 8th year, and the job description of an NFL ball carrier does not carry with it the promise of longevity. Hopefully Jackson still has a few years of his prime football remaining. The Rams need help at receiver, and it remains to be seen whether third round selection Austin Pettis or fourth-rounder Gregory Salas will provide any. A season- ending injury to Mark Clayton hurt the team last year, but even a healthy Clayton does not rectify the situation. The Rams are also below average defensively. North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, the team's first pick in 2011, brings potential to a defensive line that includes Chris Long and James Hall, and Ohio State product James Laurinitis is a tackling machine at linebacker. The secondary is weak, however, and losing Oshiomogho Atogwe makes it even weaker.
St. Louis Rams Tickets - 2011 Schedule
The extended offseason is definitely a negative for a team trying to build on its 2010 turnaround. St. Louis opens away against the Eagles, who possess what might be 2011's best overall offense. Games against the Giants, Ravens, Packers, Cowboys, and Saints in weeks 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 give the Rams an incredibly difficult first half of the season. Division matchups in the weak NFC West don't start until week 9 at the Cardinals. Perhaps the early season gauntlet will toughen St. Louis, or perhaps they will already be out of contention by the time divisional matchups start. Only the games can dictate.
St. Louis Rams Tickets - The Players
The good news for the Rams is that they still have Steven Jackson and Sam Bradford who showed he as the ability to be a franchise starting QB. The other good news is that last season division rivals Seattle Seahawks were the first teams ever to make it to the play offs with a record below 500 and beat defending champs the Saints in the first round. Any given Sunday, right?. This means the Rams don't have to have the greatest record. They will probably just have to be slightly above average to get to the play offs. Their defense wasn't too bad but wasn't anything to be proud of. There is still a rebuilding process. Like I said earlier. Steven Jackson will be carrying this team on his back while Sam Bradford develops and gets a viable first receiver to throw the ball to.
St. Louis Rams Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / St. Louis Rams First Game 2013
St. Louis Rams Preseason Beginning 2013
Dec 8, 2013 St. Louis Rams 10 - 30 Arizona Cardinals Dec 1, 2013 St. Louis Rams 13 - 23 San Francisco 49ers Nov 24, 2013 Chicago Bears 21 - 42 St. Louis Rams Nov 10, 2013 St. Louis Rams 38 - 8 Indianapolis Colts Nov 3, 2013 Tennessee Titans 28 - 21 St. Louis Rams Oct 13, 2013 St. Louis Rams 38 - 13 Houston Texans Oct 6, 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars 20 - 34 St. Louis Rams Sep 22, 2013 St. Louis Rams 7 - 31 Dallas Cowboys Sep 15, 2013 St. Louis Rams 24 - 31 Atlanta Falcons Sep 8, 2013 Arizona Cardinals 24 - 27 St. Louis Rams Aug 29, 2013 Preseason: Baltimore Ravens 21 - 24 St. Louis Rams Aug 24, 2013 Preseason: St. Louis Rams 26 - 27 Denver Broncos Aug 8, 2013 Preseason: St. Louis Rams 19 - 27 Cleveland Browns