December 11, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith (back) creating a fumble during the first quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 21-19. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Fan Commenter Focus: NFC West Power Outrage

Power Rankings, as you may know, are useless tools that get put up weekly throughout the season. They mean nothing, and yet, we drool over each new ranking that is posted, regardless of the author. Power rankings are highly subjective and, typically, it takes the a Resurrection-level miracle for a team to jump or drop more than a handful of spots for the entirety of a season. As Rams fans, most have grown accustom to the luxury of not having to scroll very far down the page before reading about our team holding strong at the number 30 slot. Sometime, but not often, we get pushed into the upper ranking of the mid-20s, although that is typically a short-lived experience.  Well this season is no different! Bleacher Report has just released their Preseason Week 3 Power Rankings and the Rams are… #29 and the rest of the NFC West comes in as follows: Arizona Cardinals (32nd), Seattle Seahawks (20th), San Francisco 49ers (1st).

At the time of this posting there were 580 outraged, complaining fans  comments. So, I wondered through the them in hopes of finding some gems. With such a wide discrepancy between the top and bottom of the NFC West, I knew there would be some good ones, especially bashing the San Francisco based website for putting the 9ers in the top spot, but the here are my top comments,

yeah..the seahawks never get any love, I think wilson is going to do a great job, and the sad part about it is 9er fans still think they have another uncontested shot..HA! hawks have just as good of a D. a great O-line and a running game…and the biggest advantage we have over the niners…..we DONT have alex smith. -Josh Morgan

Josh, you are definitely right, you do not have Alex Smith. What you do have is an injured Marshawn Lynch, who may or may not be ready for the start of the regular season. You also had the 20th ranking passing offense last season, and instead of adding a quality quarterback or some viable receiving help under the age of 30 you added:

  • Russell Wilson, an unproven 3rd round pick that spent a majority of the the offseason splitting the first team reps between three different quarterback, and a majority of the preseason reps between two players.
  • Terrell Owens… cut
  • Braylon Edwards, who has been cut by three different teams in the last 4 years, and is coming off a 15 reception, 181 yards, 0 touchdown season (not game) on the 13-3 San Francisco 49ers

To your second point, you know who else has a pretty good defense, an amazing running game, and a great run blocking offensive line? The Jacksonville Jaguars, and they had the wherewithal to use their top draft pick on arguably the best wide receiver in the draft to help their young quarterback, instead of reaching for a second-round graded DE or picking up any cut veteran receiver looking for a job. Most important of all, to your last point, you have Pete Carroll, not Jim Harbaugh as your head coach. That will cut out any advantage you have over any team. For those reasons #20 is more than a fair rank for the Seattle Seahawks!

Here is another commenter, this time, with some validity to their opinions,

29. St. Louis Rams. This is another work in progress team. They have some very young and very talented pieces in place, but they still haven’t given Sam Bradford the type of weapons on the outside he’s going to need to even make this a mediocre team. I like just about everything Jeff Fisher has done with defensive personnel, and I’m sure this team has people in some circles looking back on his late 90’s Titans teams, wistfully. He’s got a big power back in Stephen Jackson, and a defense that should end up in the top 10. He just doesn’t have anything resembling Steve McNair at QB. -Jake Chapman

Spot on ol’ chap! Other than the “everything Jeff Fisher has done with defensive personnel” and the #29 ranking, I completely agree on all fronts. There are undoubtedly questions on whether the addition of Brian Quick, Chris Givens, and Steve Smith will be enough to help Bradford to become elite, but they are a step in the right direction. Don’t forget that Bradford is also getting back Danny Amendola, who had 85 reception in his first year as a Ram. Given the fact that the Rams have upgraded their offensive line (adding Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells in the last two years, finally getting rid of the waste-of-talent that was Jason Smith,  bringing in competent reserve players that have already played in Schotty’s offensive system, and drafting Rok Watkins), beefed up their defensive, and changed their offensive system to one that can better complement Bradford at this stage in his career, there should be, at minimum, a return to his rookie form, which was a top 15 QB and Offensive Rookie of the Year.

My problem with the #29 spot give by Mr. Chapman is not that we don’t deserve to be at the bottom of the rankings, but, rather, the rationale behind the rankings of the teams ahead of the St. Louis Rams. I will stick specifically with the NFC West and, more specifically, with the Cardinals (22nd). You tell me how this explanation places the Cardinals ahead of the Rams,

Too much is being made of the QB situation. This team has a very good defense, and a RB tandem that could be scary if they can stay healthy. Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, combined with this defense can keep this team in games and minimize the pressure on the QB. They’re ranked this low because their OL is an absolute abomination. They’ll need to run the ball effectively to keep opposing DLs from teeing off on whomever the QB is. This is likely a lame duck year for this staff and maybe even the front office.

If Kolb isn’t worthy of making too much out of the “QB situation” than I do not know who is… Regardless, the rest of the reasoning centers around a good running game, a great defense, poor offensive line play, and the QB. If I didn’t know better I would say that this is the exact same explanation of the Rams ranking with a couple of phrasing edits. This is the overall problem with power rankings, they are useless and typically dictated by a half-bake system that does not logically explain one team being high than the other. I digress…

Anyways, we at Ramblin’ Fan always appreciate our commenters! Keep on commenting and we will keep on looking through the subscript in search of your noteworthy opinions.




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Tags: NFL Power Rankings Sam Bradford Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams

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