Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What two moves will have the greatest impact in turning around the Rams fortunes in 2012?

The good folks at NFL radio were asking a pretty simple question today.  They phrased it several different ways. 
  1. What two things would you do to make you team more competitive?
  2. What are the highest impact moves your team can make to change their status for the better?
  3. What roster additions would make the greatest impact on your favorite team?

‘Tis a fair questions and the one that every dedicated fan is asking himself this time of year.  It’s business season, afterall.  So here are my answers:
  1. We need two wide receivers, specifically Justin Blackmon and Vincent Jackson.  One via the draft and one via free agency.  {We also need to resign Brandon Llyod, but this is separate issues.}
  2. We need two high quality outside linebackers.  Who those two gents are, I will leave open.  I would take Zach Brown of UNC at the top of the 2nd round, and try to find the best OLB available in the upcoming bonanza of free agency.  If Gregg Williams would prefer to get two veterans he knows personally, I would have no objections.  I would also prefer that we do it this way.

As I see things, the Rams have only two devastating weaknesses:  Wide Receiver and Outside Linebacker.   We’re strong elsewhere.

We could also use a couple of young and strong running backs.  Steve Jackson is turning 30 this year.  This is the notorious age-wall that kills just about all NFL running backs.  However, this is a commodity position.  Let’s exploit this fact.

Our offensive line could use some upgrades, but this is the time and place for Coach Fisher to show us his magic.  Throughout his career at the Oilers/Titans, Jeff Fishers teams were usually amazing strong in the trenches.  Their front 9 were almost always among the 4 or 5 best in the leagues.  Yet, very, very few of the men who manned these positions were 1st-round draft picks.  { Jevon Kearse and Albert Haynesworth are two noteworthy exceptions, but these are only two men among many.}  Jeff Fisher’s staff excelled at finding men in the 3rd through 5th round, and developing those talents.  Some were even undrafted free rookie free-agents.

For Ram-fans, this is the very best news about the hiring of Jeff Fisher.  He does believe in being strong in the trenches.  He can find great men in the middle rounds.  His staff will grind & polish these diamonds in the rough.  He does not believe in the pure Darwinian philosophy of “throw ‘em in and cut ‘em if they don’t work out immediately, and without coaching.”  It is an odious, egregious & despicable fact that the Rams have held to this philosophy for many years now.  Good riddance to this bad ideology.  Let’s cultivate some players.

So, to restate my thesis point:  We need two killer receivers and two killer outside linebackers.  Those are our high priority items.  If we can do that much, the Rams can make the Playoffs in 2012.  Why would I say that?  Aren't we pretty far from the playoffs?  Let me give you a list of reasons I have sketched out before:
  1. There is nothing wrong with the Rams defense that cannot be repaired by fixing our wretched offense.
  2. I know the Ram defense showed pretty poor stats during the season, but I am telling you the stats lie. 
  3. Time of possession in 2011 was crucial to the Rams failure, both offensively and defensively.   Top rarely favored us.  We frequently lost the TOP battle by 5 minutes or more.  It got worse as the season went on.
  4. With our offense going three-and-out all the time, it is incredible that TOP was as close as it was.  The TOP figures should have been much more lopsided than they were.  This is testimony to how many punts our defense forced.
  5. If we can simply hold the football, flipping the TOP figures 2012, our defense will be vastly better.
  6. Scoring is a huge issue for the Rams.  For the second time in just 3 years, the Rams were rock bottom of the league in offense.  Incidentally, offense is measured by points scored, not yardage.  I don’t know who the fool was who established that yardage was the measure of offense, but it is time for this egregious error to be corrected.  Yardage doesn’t win the game.  Points do.
  7. The Rams scored only 193 total points in 2011.  This is just 12.06 points per game.  I don’t care how good your defense is, this is not enough to win games in the NFL. 
  8. It should be noted that the Rams scored only 175 points in 2009, averaging 10.9 points per game.
  9. It is absolutely clear that the Rams need massive upgrades at the offensive skill positions.  We are dying because we have lousy skilled-players on offense.
  10. Of those lousy skilled-players on our offense squad, our receivers are the worst of the bunch.
  11. The Rams have had the worst receiver corp in the NFL two years running.  I’m talking about 32nd out of 32 teams.  I am talking about a crew of guys with hands of stone.  Dudes who couldn’t catch a cold running barefoot and naked through an Alaskan blizzard… soaking wet.
  12. This is not a question of availability or health issues, as Devaney tried to spin it.  No friends, the quality of our guys are pretty low.  I only want Danny Amendola and Brandon Lloyd to return.  The rest can go. 
  13. The main reason we can't score is that our receivers can't catch.  
  14. With that said, a couple of Outside Linebackers will help.