With OTA’s now officially over and these young players let loose to experience the only true down time on the NFL calendar the reviews of the offseason activity will begin flooding in.
Most outlets give the Rams an average grade based on their particular scale. This review wont be any different. St. Louis had their share of ups and downs from free agency in March, the draft in the Spring and the conclusion of OTA’s just recently.
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The Rams made a huge move when they traded the former 2010 number one overall pick,, Sam Bradford, for Nick Foles from Philadelphia. It appeared for quite some time that the Fisher/Snead era would enter yet another year rolling the dice on their oft-injured star quarterback. However, the Eagles, in what may have been an attempt to move up in the draft to take Marcus Mariota, came calling with Foles and a 2016 second round draft pick for St. Louis. A move that brought in a younger quarterback, and saved the franchise almost $13M this season in cap space. Pairing this move with the promotion of Frank Cignetti to fill the offensive coordinator role vacated by Brian Schottenheimer brings a sense of new life to a stale offense. Fans are excited to see what the pair can do for impact players like Tre Mason, Todd Gurley, Tavon Austin, Brian Quick and Kenny Britt.
This was not an offseason that did not have it’s set backs though. The Rams failed to recognize what
Mar 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Nick Foles is introduced to the media at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
is considered one of the worst offensive lines in the league in free agency. They went all in on a young crop of linemen in the draft. All said and done, St. Louis would draft four offensive linemen with their nine picks, including two in the first three rounds. They expect these rookies to help fill the gaps on a line that will only see two returning players from 2014. Tackle Greg Robinson and guard Roger Saffold will maintain their homes, but they don’t come without issues. Saffold has struggled in his career with injuries, including the highly criticized failed physical that returned him to the Rams last March, and Robinson is only entering his second year and still has growing pains to experience. It will be up to the rookie crop to plug the holes and create the run first offense that coach Fisher will be looking to implement.
The offense in 2015 is not in any position to light the world on fire, and it’s not going to be designed to. Fisher will look to give opposing defenses a heavy dose of the running game and expect Foles to take advantage of play-action and air it out on occasion. St. Louis wont be running the score up on anyone, except for teams that struggle to stop the run. The defense will be looked upon to hold teams to less than 20 points per game, a feat they almost accomplished in 2014.
The Rams didn’t need to make any major adjustments to the defensive unit from last year. However, they did find the money to add defensive tackle Nick Fairley from the Detroit Lions. Fairley was up and down in Detroit, usually overshadowed by former teammate Ndamukong Suh. Fairley struggled with injuries and playing weight but still made a nice impact when on the field. His one-year prove it deal has been praised in St. Louis and he should fill in nicely on an already dominant front four.
St. Louis is looking to break out of their recent stretch of underachievement. All things considered they are trending in the right direction. Now it’s time to execute.