2012 St. Louis Rams Predictions
Odds to win Super Bowl XLVII: 75-1
The Rams were awful last season so they fired Steve Spagnuolo and hired former Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher has his work cut out for him though the Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade right before the draft that should help them get back to being competitive in the West. They had Washington’s first-round picks in 2012, ’13, and ’14 and also added Washington’s second round pick for the number two pick in the draft. The Rams spent their first pick (14th) on DT Michael Brockers from LSU, then added WR Brian Quick from Appalachian State in the second round. They also acquired CB Cortland Finnegan in free agency from Tennessee and added C Scott Wells from Green Bya to bolster this O-line.
The Rams were a mess last year on offense as they ranked 31st overall and 30th passing. The key is the healthy of QB Sam Bradford, who missed six games due to a high ankle sprain. Bradford threw for 2,164 yards with 6 TDs and 6 INTs (70.5 passer rating) in just 10 games. He also had to play for a new system under Josh McDaniels, which had an emphasis on deeper throws. Bradford is more of a rhythm passer who excels making quick reads. He will now play for OC Brian Schottenheimer, who should help his game. The other problem was lack of quality receivers. Danny Amendola was Bradford’s favorite target and caught five passes in the first game before dislocating his elbow. He’s back along with Brandon Gibson (36 for 431 yards). The Rams need Quick (6-3, 220) and fourth-round pick Chris Givens (5-11, 198) to produce early and often in the rotation. At tight end, Lance Kendricks (6-3, 243) is a work-in-progress, who had 28 catches for 431 yards last year. Steven Jackson (6-1, 236) should also benefit from the new offense. Jackson, now 29, amassed 1,145 yards on 260 attempts last year with five scores. The addition of 2nd-round pick Isaiah Pead (5-10, 193) should help as a change-of-pace back. The O-line returns RG Harvey Dahl (6-6, 305), the only offensive player to start all 16 games. Wells (6-2, 300) was a Pro Bowl center for the Packers last year and offers durability and intelligence. The key will be the tackle spot with Rodger Saffold (6-5, 318) and Jason Smith (6-5, 307). Saffold missed the last seven games with a torn pectoral muscle but he didn’t play well before the injury. Smith has played in just 29 games over three seasons due to injuries. The Rams need both to stay healthy to have a much better offense.
The defense ranked 22nd in the NFL overall and were 31st against the run, allowing an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Gregg Williams was supposed to be the defensive coordinator but he was suspended in bountygate. So Fisher and assistant Dave McGinnis will likely handle the 4-3 scheme. DE Chris Long (6-3, 276) is coming off his best season, recording 13 sacks, while playing through nagging injuries. He also added 16 qb hits and 15 qb pressures. Last year’s first-rounder Robert Quinn (6-4, 265) started slow but ended up with five sacks and three blocked punts. At tackle, Kendall Langford (6-5, 295) is expected to be the new starter next to rookie Brockers (6-5, 322). Brockers is raw but a dominant run stuffer with great explosion. At linebacker, James Laurinaitis (6-2, 247) led the team in tackles (142) for the third straight season. He’s a physical player who should make more plays with better tackles in front of him. On the weak side, the Rams will have a competition between Rocky McIntosh (6-2, 238) and Justin Cole (6-3, 242), who appeared on special teams last year. On the strong side, Jo-Lonn Dunbar (6-0, 226) is the front runner to start. He was a full-time starter on the strong side and in the middle for the Saints. At cornerback, Finnegan (5-10, 188) comes over from the Titans to give the secondary experience and an edge. He also hits and set the tone against the run. The other corner could be rookie Janoris Jenkins (5-10, 193), a second-rounder from North Alabama who started his career at Florida. He’ll compete with Bradley Fletcher and third-round pick Trumaine Johnson for the other starting corner spot. At safety, FS Quintin Mikell (5-10, 206) finished second in tackles with 91, adding two picks. He’s a sure tackler and one of three Rams defender to start all 16 games. At strong safety, Darian Stewart (5-11, 216) and Craig Dahl (6-2, 209) will vie for the starting spot.
The Rams brought in sixth-round rookie Greg Zuerlein as the new kicker replacing Josh Brown (21 of 28). Zuerlein made 21 field goals in a row at Division II Missouri Western. P Tom Malone is the front runner for the starting job to replace Donnie Jones (44.3) who left in free agency. The return game was awful last year though Nick Miller, who averaged 21.5 ypr on kicks did returns a punt 88 yards and averaged 16ypr on just 8 returns. Pead and Austin Pettis should add some spice to the return game this year.
The Rams are rebuilding so expectations shouldn’t be high this year. They are in tough conference and face a tough, but not overwhelming last place schedule. Winning 6 or 7 games this year would be nice.
|Week 1||9/09||at Detroit||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 2||9/16||vs Washington||4:05 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 3||9/23||at Chicago||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 4||9/30||vs Seattle||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 5||10/04||vs Arizona||8:20 PM ET||NFL Network|
|Week 6||10/14||at Miami||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 7||10/21||vs Green Bay||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 8||10/28||vs New England||1:00 PM ET||CBS|
|Week 10||11/11||at San Francisco||4:25 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 11||11/18||vs NY Jets||1:00 PM ET||CBS|
|Week 12||11/25||at Arizona||4:25 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 13||12/02||vs San Francisco||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 14||12/09||at Buffalo||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 15||12/16||vs Minnesota||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 16||12/23||at Tampa Bay||1:00 PM ET||FOX|
|Week 17||12/30||at Seattle||4:25 PM ET||FOX|
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