Everyone knows that the Rams are in camp now. Everyone knows the wide receiver issues, the Marc Bulger problems, and the Tye Hill “I think I can” saga. So I thought it would be interesting to take a look the last time the Rams were actually good. Way, way back, three years ago. The first year Scott Linehan coached the Rams.
When the Rams fired Mike Martz, they searched for a coach. I can remember the search, as on the official Rams website, I read about Ron Rivera being a candidate (at the time he was the Bears Defensive Coordinator). I was shocked when they went with Scott Linehan, but the pundit’s analysis reassured me:
“Linehan shuffled Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown successfully at running back, and coaxed a career-high 18 touchdown passes from Gus Frerotte. Also, wide receiver Chris Chambers had his best season and was picked for the Pro Bowl for the first time.” – AP News on the hire of Linehan, via ESPN.
“Players raved about him”- AP News on the hire of Linehan, via ESPN.
I remember when the Rams were 4-1, in first place, and barely lost to the Seahawks, because they scored too fast. Torry Holt’s miraculous catch had me screaming for joy and sadness because there were about five times I thought he had it, and just as many times I thought he had lost it. The Rams started to slip there. They went on a long losing streak and lost another close one to Seattle. Still, they managed to go on a three game winning streak at the end of the season.
At the end of the season, we had promise. Marc Bulger had a career year, as did Steven Jackson. Leonard Little had 13 sacks, and they had promise. If Josh Brown were to miss two field goals, Linehan very easily could have won the Coach of the Year, and the Rams would have made the playoffs. But looking good on paper won’t win games. Rams fans know that perfectly. No one needs reminding of Drew Bennett or Trent Green. Just because David Carr was the most accurate passer in the league that year (68.3%) doesn’t mean he was good. That 8-8 record sure feels like an eternity away.
Flash forward three years. We have a new head coach, new draftees, new players waiting for their chance to prove themselves. What do YOU think will happen? Email me at eric_nagel(at)Verizon.net. Let’s see what you have to say/think about 2009.