2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: Scott Linehan
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Olson
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Haslett
Pro-Bowl: Torry Holt(WR), Marc Bulger(QB) and Steven Jackson(RB)
The Ram's offense is led by one of the most explosive trio's in a long time. With the most underrated quarterback, Marc Bulger, the beast at running back, Steven Jackson and the best route runner in the game, Torry Holt. Jackson had a great season rushing for 1,528 yards and 13 touchdowns, he also caught 90 balls for 806 yards and 3 touchdowns. Marc Bulger had by far his best season of his career throwing for over 4300 yards, 24 touchdowns and just 8 interception. Holt had once again a very impressive season, grabbing 93 receptions for 1,188 yards and 10 touchdowns. Also Isaac Bruce had a very quite 1,000 receiving yard season. The only real problem with the Ram's offense was the offensive line, they couldn't stay healthy. They lost Pro-Bowler Orlando Pace and Andy McCollum. If the O-Line can stay healthy for the entire season the offense could be even more potent next year.
St. Louis had a very deceptive defense, overall they ranked around the middle due to their very good pass defense but they ranked 2nd to last in rush defense. Obviously their problems with the run continued in 2006, they gave up 145.4 per game. To go along with their horrible run defense, they allowed close to 24 points per game, ranking 28th. Individually Will Witherspoon had a nice season, leading the team with 113 tackles, he also had 3 sacks. Leonard Little tallied his second highest sack total of his career with 13 sacks. Cory Chavous wasn't bad in his first season with the Rams, making a career high, 86, 1 sack and 1 interception. Rookie, Victor Adeyanju showed some promise at defensive end, but I don't think his 34 tackles and 1 sack are going to be enough for him to stay as a starter.
In my opinion the Rams have the worst special teams in the NFL. They are horrible at kick return, they aren't good at returning kicks themselves. But they do have a very good veteran kicker in Jeff Wilkins. Wilkins hit 86% of his field goals. Matt Turk was right in the middle of the rankings, with a punt average of 43.5, he also had 26 punts inside the 20 yard line but he was really bad at getting touch backs, with only 5. Returning game was abysmal, with Willie Ponder, who is a good return man, only getting 605 yards and Shaun McDonald only getting 172 punt return yards.
Defense, defense, defense. They need help on their defensive line, both outside and inside. Ever since Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis left, they have struggled to fill the need in the interior. Also they could definitely use another pass rusher to compliment Leonard Little. But with those two positions aside another major need is an outside linebacker. Brandon Chillar was just not effective. The Rams might also look to pick up another receiver in the mid to late rounds because Kevin Curtis is going to be leaving for free-agency.
Positions that must be filled during the draft.
1. Outside Linebacker
2. Defensive Tackle
3. Defensive End
4. Wide Receiver
5. Running back(back up)
This position has been one of the biggest weakness for the Rams for many years. They could possibly use their 13th overall pick on Florida State's very talented OLB, Lawrence Timmons. If they decide to go with the defensive line with this pick then they will likely look to get a linebacker in say the 2nd or 3rd round. KaMichael Hall(GT), Tim Shaw(PSU) and Juwan Simpson(ALA) could all be viable picks in the 2nd or the 3rd rounds.
In a perfect world, the Rams are hoping that Amobi Okoye will still be available at 13. I don't think he will, but there is still a possibility. If he isn't there then they will take Timmons and use their 2nd round pick on a defensive tackle. Some guys to look at in the 2nd round are Quinn Pitcock(OSU), DeMarcus Tyler(NCST) and Brandon Mebane(CAL).
Other than Little, the Rams struggled to pressure the QB. Victor Adeyanju showed some promise but he only had 1 sack. Someone like Charles Johnson out of Auburn would be great, but he is projected to go within the first few picks of the 2nd round, meaning the Rams would have to either trade up or go a different route. Dan Bazuin out of Central Michigan has been one of the best pass rushers for the past two years and he could really help out with his good speed and quickness of the snap.
With Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald leaving for free-agency the Rams are going to need someone to fill the slot position and someone who can help with the return game. Chansi Stuckey of Clemson would be a great fit. He is extremely fast and is the top return man in this draft. Or they could get someone like David Clowney(VT) or Yamon Figurs(KSU) to help in both the receiving and return game.
Obviously they don't need someone who can start, but St.Louis has no depth at running back. Someone who could come in and give Steven Jackson a break every so often would do wonders to help the offense for the Rams. Also someone who could help in the return game at the same time would be ideal. I see someone like Garrett Wolfe(NIU), Danny Ware(UGA) or Ramonce Taylor(TEX CO) would all help fill that need.
The Rams are one of those "teetering" teams. They have all the talent in the world on offense to be a playoff contender but their defense really drags them down. They are the type of team that can easily win the division and just as easily come in last place.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
2006 season: 8-8