That’s seven wins in three of the last four seasons for the Rams, who’ve had a different receiving leader in each of the last six seasons, none of them reaching 1,000 yards. They finally let of consistent running back Steven Jackson who played eight frustratingly bad seasons for St. Louis. They still haven’t made the playoffs since the Marshall Faulk days in 2004. At least coach Jeff Fisher has kept them at respectability, but at the same time they haven’t been contending for anything either. Fisher connection TE Jared Cook (671 rec yards, 5 TDs) had a solid first season for the Rams, but their receiving core overall left much to be desired. West Virginia standout WRs Tavon Austin (40 rec, 418 yards) and Stedman Bailey were electrifying at time last year but didn’t get the playing time they need. These guys combined for over 2,900 receiving yards and 27 TDs two years ago for the Mountaineers with Geno Smith throwing the ball; surely Sam Bradford can get them going to some lesser degree. Realistically the Rams have nothing to lose by trying to throw them out there, especially with a year of experience under their belts. At least the Rams are keeping it fresh in the running game, playing the hot hand between Zac Stacy, Daryl Richardson, and Benny Cunningham. Those three speedsters were all younger than 24 last year and Stacy emerged as the starter as the year went on. Bradford is a good enough quarterback but needs to stay healthy; he’s missed significant time in two of the last three years. New backup QB Shaun Hill isn’t going to lead this team to the playoffs.
Chris Williams and Shelley Smith, two of the better members of the offensive line, signed away in free agency, explaining #2 overall pick OT Greg Robinson from Auburn. They also got Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald and signed Alex Carrington from Buffalo to force more pressure on the quarterback defensively, something they didn’t do well last year. Their defense was decidedly middle of the pack, but the pass defense was bad partly because of that. LOLB Alec Ogletree, their top pick last year, had a great season aside MLB James Laurinaitis; linebackers are a strength of the Rams. They also drafted Auburn RB Tre Mason to throw in the mix and Florida State safety LaMarcus Joyner. They didn’t just have great picks, the Rams made the most of their selections, as any struggling team should. And this is one particular franchise that’s been dormant for some years now. A fed up fan base has driven franchise value down. Tickets are cheap, and fans are waiting for a better product on the field. But 2014 should be the year they finally get back above the .500 mark. An explosive offense should be on the field this year to go with an improved defense--there are few reasons why the Rams can’t be better this fall. Both Super Bowl teams from last year visit the Edward Jones Dome this year. Get your Rams tickets from Gold Coast Tickets today!