Rams Built for Future Success
In what was a dominating performance, the 6-8 Rams took down the 10-4 New Orleans Saints in a one sided 27-16 affair. The Rams were able to shut down Drew Brees and caused 2 interceptions and sacked him 4 times. Robert Quinn was a force and the secondary did a great job containing their playmakers.
This outstanding performance against a top three team showed how good this team is going forward.
The Rams could have been in the thick of the playoff hunt had they had Sam Bradford. Bradford was having a superb season and was the engine of this offense. Still, even without him, they continue to win games and that’s because of their great running game and their top 10 defense.
Their running backs, Zac Stacy and BJ Cunningham, are two guys with tons of potential going forward, especially Stacy. Stacy only started seeing the field after Week 4, but still has a legitimate chance of getting to 1000 yards. He averages 4.2 yard per carry. They possess a running game that they can rely on going forward and a running game they can use to win them football games. That’s more important than you think, and something every team without an elite quarterback wants to have.
Their defense has risen up this season. Robert Quinn has been the star of the defense with his 15 sacks and 48 quarterback hurries. He’s been a beast and must be double teamed on a lot of plays. Chris Long has also been good, especially at defending the run, and also has 8 sacks. William Hayes also has 5 sacks at defensive tackle. Michael Brockers is impressive as well with his 6 sacks. That’s their defensive line, which is arguably the best in the whole league.
James Laurinaitis anchors their linebacker core and is the leader of the defense. He has 78 tackles and has been on 44 stops. He’s continues to make plays on the field. Alec Ogletree has also been solid with 83 tackles and has also been a good blitzer, being in on 7 QB hurries. There’s a hole at the other linebacker spot that will most likely be filled this offseason. This is another unit that will only get better.
The secondary has been inconsistent this year, but it’s obvious there’s potential there. Janoris Jenkins has 1 interception this year and has been consistent in coverage. Cortland Finnegan is injured, but is also a talented player. They lack some talent at safety, but TJ McDonald is a good player going forward.
That just recaps how talented they are on defense and every play I just mentioned is under 29 years old, which is scary.
On Sunday against the Saints, they were able to get everyone going at the same time, and in turn, they were able to shut down a top offense. They were able to do this because of consistent pressure from the front 7. They’ve been able to get pressure like this, this season. Against the Colts, they were able to get a strip sack and return it for a touchdown. They were able to man handle the Cardinals’ offensive line. They are a scary bunch that teams must watch out for going forward.
On offense, I already talked about how much potential the running game has going forward, and how impressive they’ve been so far. The passng game has just as much potential, but they have more to prove.
The offensive line has improved dramatically this season. Against the Rams, they did not let the Saints get to Clemens, and they allowed only 4 hurries as a whole during the entire game. Jake Long has had a positive season and allowed a respectable 6 sacks all year. Rodger Saffold has made a nice transition to right guard, allowing no sacks this year and only 10 hurries. Their offensive line went from bottom dwellers to middle of the pack in one year.
What really makes them a threat going forward is the fact that they will most likely have 2 top 15 draft picks, one of them being in the top 3 (most likely). That gives the Rams two potentially great players for next year’s team. That RG3 trade is already paying dividends and they could be feeling the first round of rewards this year.
This is a team that has a well built defense with several stars, an explosive running game, and their quarterback returning next year. On top of all of that, they’ll be having two high picks, one especially high, in the draft. All signs point up in St. Louis.