NFL 2014 Preview – St. Louis Rams

For the second straight year, the St. Louis Rams lost Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury.  Whereas last year, the quarterback went down during the season, Bradford’s injury occurred in the preseason this time.

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For the second straight year, the St. Louis Rams lost Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury.  Whereas last year, the quarterback went down during the season, Bradford’s injury occurred in the preseason this time.

Fortunately, the Rams have amassed talent at other positions, which will help compensate for the loss.  In particular, the team’s defense will arguably be among the league’s best.

The St. Louis pass rush will cause nightmares for opposing quarterbacks.  Defensive end Robert Quinn is fresh off a nineteen sack season and is still on an upward career trajectory.  He and Chris Long form the best DE tandem in the league.  The talent at defensive tackle isn’t far behind.  Rookie Aaron Donald is a disruptive force who will become a standout.  Michael Brockers is another young player with tons of potential.

Veteran James Laurinaitis and youngster Alec Ogletree lead the team’s linebacker unit.  Both players will greatly benefit from the attention the defensive line commands.

St. Louis also has a solid secondary, headlined by corner Janoris Jenkins.  The third-year player has elite potential.  Corner Trumaine Johnson and safeties T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod round out the defensive backfield.

The Rams’ offense will undoubtedly suffer from the Bradford injury.  However, veteran backup Shaun Hill will try to mitigate the loss.

Head coach Jeff Fisher will probably rely on the running game more now, just as he did last year.  Running back Zac Stacy had a strong rookie campaign, rushing for 973 yards.  New rookie Tre Mason will also make an impact.

The team is weak at wide receiver and has been for years.  Free agent signee Kenny Britt is the best player on the unit and it’s probably not close.  Britt, Brian Quick and Chris Givens will help Hill.  Tight end Jared Cook had a tough first season with the Rams, but he is very talented.

Finally, St. Louis’ offensive line should be improved with the addition of number two overall pick Greg Robinson.  Robinson will likely develop into a left tackle, but for now he’s slotted at left guard.  Rodger Saffold, fresh off his new deal, is back at right guard.  Jake Long and Joe Barksdale will be the starting tackles, with Scott Wells at center.

St. Louis currently stands at 66-1 to win the Super Bowl and 33-1 to win the NFC.  Being in the league’s strongest division, the Rams are projected to have the NFL’s third toughest schedule (.564 opponents’ win percentage).