The 2012 season has come and gone for the Rams and I think most people feel pretty good about how the season went. But if you’re like me, then you’re still a little bummed we don’t get so see them in the post season. Most weeks I’d be thinking about the upcoming weeks match up, instead I’ve had time to ponder 2013 and here are a few thoughts.
1 Re-sign Steven Jackson – the Rams current offense has been based on the threat of a power run. Steven Jackson is in the latter years of his career, but he isn’t showing any real signs of decline. If the Rams let him go they’ll need to pick up another power RB and will be losing a long standing leader in the locker room.
2 Don’t mess up the defense – Gregg Williams will not be returning to the team. Good? Bad? It’s hard to tell, but the last thing we need to bring in a new defensive coordinator who wants to install a new system. The Rams defense was the best part of the team in 2012. What we need is continuity and tuning. We don’t need another over hall. Whoever Fisher brings in should complement what is currently going on here.
3 Sam Bradford is an average QB – Sam’s not an elite QB. Come on you can say it. It’s been three years and trust me that’s enough time to tell. 18th in the NFL in passer rating, he has limited mobility, and has led an offense that been anemic a large part of the season. Does he bring positives to the team? Absolutely. And he should continue to get better, but I see his improvement as incremental (versus dramatic).
4. We (still) need an elite receiver – Amendola is a definite threat in the slot, but he is not enough. I started writing for RamsGab around 2008 and the first words to hit the paper were ‘we don’t have any good receivers’. The same is true today (Amendola excluded). We have promising receivers, but no one that is so good that teams are thinking about them and game planning for them prior to a match up.
5 Our O-line is finally stable – The first part of the 2012 season the O-line was patched together due to injuries. LT Saffold was in and out for a lot of the season, Turner was at center and then at LT, and our Pro Bowl center Wells didn’t even get rolling until the latter part of the season. Now is a time for incremental improvement. We can slowly upgrade a lot of positions on the line (everything except center and left tackle), but overall these guys did pretty well in 2012 and they ended the season healthy.
6 Fisher has the team headed in the right direction – I’ve screamed at Fisher (well at my TV screen at Fisher) regarding play calling and time management, but with a much improved record of 7-8-1 (versus 2-14 in 2011), a tougher and more mentally resilient team, and after witnessing some good ole fashioned smash mouth football, I’m feeling positive. And you get the sense the players are feeling the same way.
So, going into 2013 the Rams need to draft well (we have 2 first round picks), pick up proven free agency talent (maybe a WR?), and continue to expand the butt kicking mentality that Fisher’s brought to the team this year. We’ll have some pretty stiff competition in the NFC West next year, but the expectation has got to be the playoffs.