The highlight of the Rams’ 2008 season was their stunning win over the Redskins in FedEx Field, the first chink in Washington’s armor that its offense may be in for a second half worth of struggles. Here’s how St. Louis shapes up this year.
30. St. Louis Rams
Coach: Steve Spagnuolo (first year)
Last year: 2-14 (one of the wins was the stunner at the Redskins in Week 5).
NFL rankings: Offense — 27th in yards, tied for 30th in points; Defense - 28th in yards, 31st in points.
Additions: C/G Jason Brown, FB Mike Karney, DT Orien Harris, QB Kyle Boller and two rookies - OT Jason Smith and LB James Laurinaitis.
Substractions: WR Torry Holt, OT Orlando Pace, C Nick Leckey, WR Dante Hall, WR Dane Looker, LB Pisa Tinoisamoa.
Overview: If it weren’t for the presence of QB Marc Bulger and RB Steven Jackson, the Rams would be in complete start-over mode. But St. Louis faces a long road back to respectability in the NFC West. Spagnuolo, formerly the Giants’ defensive coordinator, is a good choice to spearhead the project and adding Smith and Laurinaitis in the draft provided two building blocks.
Fantasy pick: RB Steven Jackson will be run into the ground. He had 293 carries/catches for 1,421 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Offense: QB Marc Bulger, FB Mike Karney, RB Steven Jackson, WR Donnie Avery, WR Keenan Burton, LT Alex Barron, LG Jacob Bell, C Jason Brown, RG Richie Incognito, RT Jason Smith and TE Randy McMichael.
Defense: LE Leonard Little, LT Adam Carriker, RT Clifton Ryan, RE Chris Long, OLB Chris Draft, MLB James Laurinaitis, OLB Will Witherspoon, CB Tye Hill, SS James Butler, FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, CB Ron Bartell.
Specialists: K Josh Brown, P Donnie Jones, KR/PR Derek Stanley.
Projected record: 4-12. A glance at the schedule reveals the Rams might not be favored in any game - even their Week 8 game at Detroit. If Jackson gets hurt, St. Louis will really struggle. Spagnuolo’s aggressive mentality may allow the Rams to steal an additional win.