The Rams are on a verge of having a breakout season at making some unexpected noise in the NFL. However, in order for the Rams to succeed there are some players that need to step up on both sides of the ball. This will be the first of two segments and this part will be focused on players on offense that need to step up in order for the Rams to have success this season.
Roger Saffold is entering the last year of his rookie contract this season. It has been rumored that Saffold is not pleased with the signing of Jake Long who will be taking over at left tackle. The Rams have the best offensive line that they have had in years, and it is important that Saffold play well to help keep Sam Bradford upright. Saffold also needs to prove that he can stay healthy. After starting every game his rookie season, Saffold played nine games in 2011 and ten games last season. A good offensive line has continuity, and if Saffold is on and off the field due to injury, that continuity would be lost. Saffold is also entering the last year of his contract, therefore if he wants to make a lot of money next season, he needs to perform well. Saffold has been a solid player so far in his career. Last season Saffold only had eight penalties for 50 yards. He had four false starts and two holding penalties. Saffold also only gave up 2.5 sacks last season for a loss of 5.5 yards total.
This one is pretty obvious. In order for the Rams to succeed, Bradford needs to play on top of his game. With the departure of Steven Jackson, this is now Sam Bradford’s team, and the team will only go as far as Sam Bradford takes them. Sam Bradford doesn’t necessarily have to throw for 4,000+ yards and 30TD, even though that would be nice, but Sam does need to come up big in big moments and be the leader of this team. There were too many times last season when the offense couldn’t generate anything for a sustainable amount of time, the offense needs to help out the defense and sustain longer drives and come up with points. Sam Bradford now has decent weapons in Givens, Austin, Cook, and Quick, it is time that Bradford produces. Bradford may just be the quarterback with the most pressure this season.
Brian Quick is a third player that needs to step up this season. The Rams lost two of their best receivers last season in Amendola and Gibson. The Rams front office has put a lot of faith in Givens and Quick to carry the load at wide receiver. Quick needs to prove that he has developed, and can be the Rams number two or maybe even number one receiver. Everybody knows Quick has the capability of doing something special and he can make plays, it is time for Quick to go out and prove it.
Greg Zurlein is more special teams than offense, but he scores points, so we’ll put him in the offense category. Zurlein needs to step up this season.He had a good rookie season going 23/31 and making seven 50+ yard field goals. However, while Zurlein went 14/17 on turf, he went 8/14 on grass/outdoor stadiums. The Rams play a lot of close games, and they are bound to play a lot of close ones this season. Zurlein could play a major key in the Rams success.
Tavon Austin also needs to play well. This is putting a lot on a rookie, but the Rams have been searching for a weapon for a long time, and they see Austin as being that. The Rams lost Danny Amendola in free agency, and although Amendola was hurt a lot, the Rams had a better record with him on the field. Austin needs to prove his critics wrong and prove his size is a non issue and be Sam’s security blanket underneath.
Last but not least, Jared Cook needs to play well. Cook is another weapon the Rams went to get. Cook needs to be a Rob Gronkowski/ Aaron Hernandez for the Rams. Cook has to make plays down the field for the Rams in order to open things up for Tavon Austin. Cook could play a major role in the Rams success this season.
Daryl Richardson/Isaiah Pead. Zac Stacy, whoever is starting at running back, needs to step up this season as they are filling the shoes of one of the all time greats. There is no way that any of these guys will be able to do what Jackson did, but they need to prove that they can carry the load, and back up the front office’s decision to let Steven Jackson walk.
I named over half the offense there, but all of these players are key to the Rams success this season, and it is important that these players step up and put up the numbers that they are capable of. The Rams are on the verge of a breakthrough and if these players step up, the Rams will no longer be on the verge, but will have completely broken through and will be a contender come December.