Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
This week, the Indianapolis Colts return home, to face the St. Louis Rams. For more info from the St. Louis side of things, I reached out to Nathan Kearns, from Ramblin Fan.com. Listed below is the first part of our discussion, concerning Sunday’s game.
Naptown’s Finest – What is your opinion of head coach Jeff Fisher, since he came to St. Louis?
Ramblin Fan – Jeff Fisher has completely changed the “swagger” and mentality in St. Louis, giving the team a proven leader and genuine sense of direction. The combination of Jeff Fisher, his delicately assembled coaching staff, and GM Les Snead have also completely turned over the roster in their two season in St. Louis, with only a handful of “pillar” players (Sam Bradford, Chris Long, Robert Quinn, James Laurinaitis) remaining from the previous regime. So far, it has been tough sledding, working the Rams back to semi-relevance in 2012 and making a big slash in the 2013 NFL Draft. Even with the injury to Sam Bradford, most in the Lou believe that Fisher is the right man for the job, and has set this team up for sustainable success in the near future.
NF – Do you think Sam Bradford is the quarterback of the future for the Rams?
RF – Absolutely! In Bradford’s first year with “real weapons,” he was on pace for 30+ touchdowns, fewer than 10 interceptions, and 3,500+ yards. Even having not played in the last two weeks, he is still ranked in the Top 10 in passing touchdowns this season. Obviously, that had not been reflected on the scoreboard, with the Rams posting a 3-3 record heading in the Carolina game. However, even with explosive players around him in Jared Cook, Chris Givens, and Tavon Austin, there was/is still little-to-no NFL experience at the skill positions. As a results, miscommunications, drops, and blatant mental errors (fumbles, cutting routes short, etc.) often stalled the Rams offense. As Bradford and these rookie and sophomore players grow over time, the St. Louis Rams offense, and Sam Bradford himself, should elevate to the next level. There are few in Rams Nation that don’t believe Bradford is our man for the foreseeable future.
NF – Even though they did well in 2012, what do the Rams need to do to get over the hump in their division in 2013 and beyond?
RF – Well the “hump” in 2013 is nearly insurmountable at this point, with the St. Louis Rams already posting a worse intra-divisional record this season (1-2) than last season (4-1-1). With Kellen Clemens likely manning the offense from now until January, it would be surprising to see the Rams take wins over the Seahawks (in Seattle) and the 49ers (in San Francisco).
In the future, the Rams are obviously “built” for the NFC West. The “keys” to winning appear to be: 1) efficient quarterback play and a strong running game, 2) getting pressure from the front-four, 3) the ability to play man-coverage on the outside, and 4) taking advantage of all potential scoring possessions. A perfect example of that was the Rams-Seahawks Monday Night Football game in Week 8, where a missed 50-yard field goal attempt and poor play calling on the final play of the game were the only things that kept the hapless Rams from upsetting the “vaunted” Seattle Seahawks.
“Time” is also favoring the St. Louis Rams, with both Seattle and San Francisco coming up on some massive contract years for players at “big-contract” positions. Both are played with a narrow window right now, paying their starting quarterbacks with table scraps, and using the excess money to bolster their defenses. That will all change in the next two seasons. That is, unless players like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Richard Sherman are going to continue to live on sub-$1.0M deals…
Stay tuned to Naptown’s Finest for the final part of my discussion with Nathan Kearns, about the Colts and Rams. You can also view more of our topics ar Ramblin fan.com.