7-15-14: The Rams have gone back and forth over the course of the summer on a supposed “battle” at running back, but at least for now it looks like starter Zac Stacy’s job is safe. Rookie running back Tre Mason may get a chance to cut into Stacy’s role once camp opens, but fans will have to wait until July 22nd (when rookies report) for that to happen. Fellow rookie Christian Bryant (ankle) may not be ready when camp rolls around, as he is nursing an ankle injury. He’ll need to get back to 100% as soon as possible if he wants to compete for a roster spot.
6-5-14: The Rams have been in the news a decent amount since what figures to be a successful 2014 NFL Draft showing, as new running back Tre Mason made waves by saying he expects to compete for the starting running back job. Zac Stacy may have something to say about it first, but even the remote possibility of competition at the position should only help the offense. Speaking of helping the offense, Sam Bradford is expected to be ready to operate at near full speed for the Rams’ minicamps, while veteran offensive guard Davin Joseph was brought on at the end of May to strengthen an already improving offensive line.
5-19-14: The St. Louis Rams were another team caught up in the Johnny Manziel rumors, but ultimately Jeff Fisher and co. knew their plan and stuck to it. The Rams started the draft with two first round picks and despite rumors of trading up or down, they stood pat and grabbed the best guys available. Let’s take a look at how the Rams did with those first two picks, as well as the rest of their stay in the 2014 NFL Draft:
Round 1. Pick 02 Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Round 1. Pick 13 Aaron Donald, DL, Pittsburgh
Round 2. Pick 09 Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida St.
Round 3. Pick 11 Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Round 4. Pick 10 Maurice Alexander, S, Utah St.
Round 6. Pick 12 E.J. Gaines, DB, Missouri
Round 6. Pick 38 Garrett Gilbert, QB, Southern Methodist
Round 7. Pick 26 Christian Bryant, S, Ohio St.
Round 7. Pick 34 Michael Sam, DL, Missouri
St. Louis needed offensive line help going into the draft and they stood pat at the second overall spit and made sure they got the help they needed. Greg Robinson isn’t the most polished tackle, but he’s a great athlete for a tackle and arguably has the most long-term upside. He should slide in right away and make a struggling o-line a strength for the Rams.
Aaron Donald was a major steal, as the Rams didn’t necessarily need a defensive tackle and Donald was a potential top-10 talent. Ultimately, he was just too good for St. Louis to pass up, while suddenly an elite pass rush gets even stronger.
The Rams weren’t done there, however, as they went on to add some much needed safety help with versatile defensive back LaMarcus Joyner, and also spiced up their offensive backfield with running back Tre Mason.
Quite possibly the Rams’ most popular pick, however, came when they drafted the NFL’s first openly gay player, Michael Sam. Should Sam to prove to be worth the selection, he could give an already stout pass rush an extra boost as a defensive end.
5-9-14: The St. Louis Rams made excellent use of both of their first round picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, shoring up their offensive line with stud tackle Greg Robinson, while also beefing up the interior of their defensive line with defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Robinson can slide in at either tackle spot and give a once troubled offensive line loads of versatility, while Donald was more of a luxury pick that will only strengthen an already stout pass rush.
4-28-14: The St. Louis Rams will enter the 2014 NFL Draft with some clear needs. While GM Les Snead has suggested their current crop of wide receivers are good to go, the popular opinion is that they will still add another big-play option. Whether they aim high with Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans in round one or just grab a sleeper in the second or third round, however, is anyone’s guess. Safety is arguably their biggest hole and absolutely needs to be addressed. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a sensible pick with their second of two first round picks (13th overall), while guys like Dion Bailey and Jimmie Ward would be solid consolation prizes in round two. St. Louis may also inch closer to moving on from franchise passer Sam Bradford, who has been nothing but hurt and/or inconsistent. If St. Louis is done with him, they could surprise everyone by drafting a quarterback early. If they merely want someone to light a fire under him, they’ll take a quarterback prospect in the second or third round.
4-18-14: The St. Louis Rams were extremely competitive without quarterback Sam Bradford in 2013, but should get him back in time to take on the New Orleans Saints at home in week one. Bradford and the starters likely will only play a series or two, but it will be a nicely hyped battle to kickoff the Rams’ preseason schedule. Bradford should see more time on the field one week later when an equally tough opponent in the Green Bay Packers come down to Missouri. Things get slightly easier on the road at Cleveland, as Bradford should play at least two quarters as he and the offense try to get on the same page against the Browns. St. Louis caps their 2014 preseason with another road game, as they try to end things on a high note against the Miami Dolphins.
After competing at a very high level with no real quarterback for half of 2013, the Rams arguably just needed Sam Bradford back and some slight improvements to take the next step in 2014. St. Louis acted accordingly in free agency, refraining from overspending while bringing in wide receiver Kenny Britt and re-signing offensive tackle Rodger Saffold. In the event of Bradford going down due to injury yet again, the Rams will be as prepared as they’ve ever been, as newly signed backup Shaun Hill is arguably one of the league’s top backup options. The Rams still need help at safety and could also take a stab at another wide receiver in this year’s draft.
3-21-14: The St. Louis Rams somehow stayed very competitive despite playing half of 2013 without their starting quarterback. They made sure early in free agency they wouldn’t have to again. From a protection standpoint, at least, the Rams improved on the surface by holding onto stud tackle Rodger Saffold, while wisely not over-paying to keep guards Chris Williams and Harvey Dahl. St. Louis did bid farewell to starting cornerback Cortland Finnegan, but due to age and regressed play, it was a move that had been in the making. With a fairly quiet presence in free agency this year, the Rams march into the 2014 NFL Draft with two first round draft choices and few gaping holes. They still could use more help on the offensive line, a new safety and a go-to option at wide receiver, though, and Rams fans shouldn’t be shocked if their team targets players at those positions in the early rounds.
12-31-13: The first time the Rams took on the Seattle Seahawks the game came down to the final play. In week 17, St. Louis wouldn’t be so lucky. Kellen Clemens struggled even more this time around, as he took two sacks and threw two picks en route to a rough 27-9 road loss.
12-24-13: Zac Stacy ran 33 times for 104 tough yards and found the end-zone once as the Rams held things together at home in a 23-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Robert Quinn beasted out on defense for three sacks, as the Rams terrorizes Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon on the day as a whole, sacking him seven times and forcing a fumble.
12-17-13: Kellen Clemens somehow out-dueled Drew Brees and the St. Louis Rams dominated the line of scrimmage all day on defense en route to a huge 27-16 home win over the New Orleans Saints. The St. Louis defense had Brees rattled early, as they sacked him four times and forced three turnovers.
12-10-13: Running back Zac Stacy found the end-zone early in the fourth quarter to help keep things interesting, but the Rams were too careless on offense to survive a deep hole that turned into a 30-10 road loss. Quarterback Kellen Clemens continued his ineffective play, tossing two picks and taking four sacks for St. Louis’ eight loss of the season.
12-3-13: Kellen Clemens and co. made it close late, but the Rams were ultimately no match for the determined 49ers in San Francisco, dropping their week 13 clash, 23-13. Zac Stacy ran hard for 72 yards on 19 carries, but St. Louis dug themselves too big of a hole and fell to 5-7 on the season.
11-26-13: Tavon Austin scored the game’s first touchdown as St. Louis was hot out of the gates against the visiting Bears, jumping out to a 21-7 lead. Chicago got this one to within just six points late, but St. Louis pounded in a rushing score and returned a late turnover for a touchdown to deliver the final blows in a 42-21 home win.
11-12-13: The St. Louis Rams were major underdogs heading into a tough road matchup with the impressive Indianapolis Colts. Someone forgot to inform them. The Rams balled out on defense all day, limiting Andrew Luck and co. to just eight points, while rookie wide receiver finally had his huge breakout game everyone was waiting for, as he scored three long touchdowns in a 38-8 shell-shocking performance.
11-5-13: For the second week in a row, the Rams fought hard remained in a game that they probably shouldn’t have been in. Unfortunately, for the second week in a row, they lost a close game at home. Running back Zac Stacy topped 100 rushing yards for the second straight week and scored the Rams’ first two offensive rushing scores of the year, but the Rams simply couldn’t stop Tennessee running back Chris Johnson down the stretch in the 28-21 home defeat.
The Rams were supposed to be dead on arrival when the Seattle Seahawks came to town in week eight. They had other plans. Chris Long and Robert Quinn registered three sacks a piece as the Rams notched seven sacks on Russell Wilson and stayed in this one to the very end. Zac Stacy paced the offense with 134 rushing yards, but the Rams couldn’t convert on fourth and goal and fell in week eight, 14-9.
10-22-13: The St. Louis Rams lost both Sam Bradford and the game in week seven, as Bradford sustained a torn ACL late in a 30-15 road loss to the Carolina Panthers. Bradford tossed his 14th touchdown pass of the year before exiting with his season-ending knee injury, and the closest the Rams ever got in this one was 27-15 late in the third quarter. Carolina simply took what St. Louis gave them on offense, while the Panther defense stuffed the Rams’ ground game, recorded four sacks and forced two turnovers in the week seven loss for St. Louis.
10-15-13: The Houston Texans were supposed to rebound from two straight losses and whoop up on the St. Louis Rams. Instead, they got a butt-kicking, themselves. Sam Bradford picked apart the Houston defense all day to the tune of three touchdowns. Rookie running back Zac Stacy paced the Rams on the ground, working his way to 79 rushing yards on 18 carries. The St. Louis offense was efficient, but the real story of week six was the Rams defense, which had previously been gashed on a weekly basis, but recorded five sacks and two interceptions in a dominant 38-13 road win.
10-8-13: The St. Louis Rams may finally have figured out a solution to their ineffective running game; to start Zacy Stacy or face the Jacksonville Jaguars every week. Rookie running back Zac Stacy put up the Rams’ best rushing day of the year with 78 yards on 14 carries and likely earned himself a starting gig going forward, as St. Louis exploded on offense overall and held off the winless Jaguars, 34-20. Sam Bradford was arguably the true star of the day, however, as he connected with his offensive weapons for three passing scores. Wide receiver Austin Pettis, who already had caught two touchdowns prior to week five, hauled in two of those passing scores to help St. Louis snap a three-game losing streak and get to a respectable 2-3.
10-1-13: The St. Louis Rams had the San Francisco 49ers’ number in 2012, tying one game and winning the other. They couldn’t take that momentum and run with it this past Thursday night, however, as they struggled to move the ball consistently at home against a spirited and hungry 49ers team. The lack of an effective rushing attack was more obvious than ever in this one, as Rams top running back Daryl Richardson fought his way to just 16 yards on 12 rush attempts in the losing effort. Quarterback Sam Bradford didn’t throw an interception in this one, but wasn’t as effective as he could have been thanks to tight coverage throughout the game. The Rams found a way to score late, but this one was over by half-time, with the 49ers ending up taking it, 35-11.
9-19-13: Things got ugly early for the Rams as they fell behind 24-3 to the Falcons on Sunday. However, Sam Bradford and the Rams had other ideas, however, as St. Louis stormed back to make a game of it before eventually falling 31-24. Sam Bradford ended up completing 32 of 55 passes for 352 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, while the Rams really couldn’t get much going running the ball. Next week, the Rams travel to Dallas to take on the 1-1 Cowboys.
9-10-13: The Rams ruined Carson Palmer’s introduction to the NFC West, picking him off once, forcing a fumble, and sacking the Cardinals new quarterback four times. More importantly, they won the game 27-24 with 14 unanswered fourth quarter points. The comeback was capped off when Greg Zuerlein kicked a 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds left. It was one of four field goals on the day for Zuerlein on the day. Sam Bradford threw for two touchdowns and 299 yards on 27 of 38 passing-141 of those yards were racked up by Jared Cook. Daryl Richardson ran the ball 20 times for 63 yards. Next week the Rams head to Atlanta to face the Falcons.
9-5-13: Here are the Rams final roster cuts: WR Emory Blake, DE Mason Brodine, LB Sammy Brown, QB Austin Davis, S Cody Davis, DT Garrett Goebel, S Rashard Hall, OT Sean Hooey, LB Josh Hull, WR Nick Johnson, OL Ryan Lee, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, DE Andre Martin, OL Ty Nsekhe, TE Zach Potter, FB Eric Stevens, CB Drew Thomas, WR Justin Veltung, DE R.J. Washington, CB Darren Woodard, OT D.J. Young.
8-20-13: St. Louis fell to 0-and-2 on the preseason with their 19-7 loss to the Packers last week. The Packers defense held Sam Bradford and the Rams starters off the board, but Bradford was 8 of 12 on pass attempts for a game-high 156 passing yards. He did come close to getting the Rams in the end zone, completing a 57-yard pass to Chris Givens that set the Rams up at the Packers' 4. However, Bradford later fumbled the snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Austin Davis completed 7 of 15 passes for 114 yards and the Rams only score, a 21-yards TD pass to Nick Johnson with less than a minute left in the game. For the game, Johnson caught three balls for 58 yards. On Saturday, the Rams travel to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
8-11-13: The Rams opened up their 2013 preseason schedule with a 27-19 loss to the Browns in Cleveland. Sam Bradford was 5 of 8 for 102 yards and a TD. Kellen Clemens was 6 of 13 for 116 yards and a TD, but also threw 2 interceptions. Rookie WR Stedman Bailey caught 2 balls for 27 yards, while rookie RB Zac Stacy carries it 7 times for 23 yards.
The Rams will host Green Bay next Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome.
7-10-13: Jeff Fisher’s return to coaching went pretty well last year, and a solid season in St. Louis in 2012 now has Rams fans thinking playoffs for 2013. Losing Steven Jackson hurts the offense a bit, but solid additions across the board in Jared Cook, Tavon Austin, Jake Long and Zac Stacy should have the St. Louis offense on the up and up. On the other side of the ball, the Rams were already one of the better defenses in the league, but now could be a truly elite unit with the addition of athletic linebacker Alec Ogletree.
The Rams have already proven their worth with two down-to-the-minute battles with the mighty San Francisco 49ers in 2012, and will now aim at a trip to the playoffs in 2013. St. Louis said good-bye to long-time veteran running back Steven Jackson this off-season, potentially making the offense hostage to an ugly back-field. However, it could also just force young quarterback Sam Bradford to finally take over and put the Rams on his back. He’ll have a stellar (and improving) defense backing him, but 2013 may be the perfect time for the Bradford Show to be in full production.
Rams 2013 Draft Overview:
Round 1, Pick 8 (from Buffalo): Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
Round 1, Pick 30 (from Atlanta): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Round 3, Pick 9: (from Buffalo): T.J. McDonald, FS, Southern California
Round 3, Pick 30 (from Atlanta): Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
Round 4, Pick 16: Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama
Round 5, Pick 16: Brandon McGee, CB, Miami
Round 5, Pick 27 (from Houston): Zac Stacy, RB Vanderbilt
12-4-12: The most impressive thing the Rams have done all year is beat the 49ers once and tie them another time. They seem to be a San Francisco bugaboo. Young Quarterback Sam Bradford will take his 83 rating into Buffalo for what should be a winnable game for the Rams. Since they hold the tie-breaker against the 49ers the Rams still have a chance, but a bumpy schedule could derail their playoff dreams in a hurry. After playing the Bills they will face the Vikings, Bucs and Seahawks.