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What can we realistically expect from the St. Louis Rams in 2014?

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. -X- Not into the whole brevity thing.

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    By Ted Bryant
    June 02, 2014 9:15 am CDT
    http://cover32.com/rams/2014/06/02/what-can-we-realistically-expect-from-the-st-louis-rams-in-2014/

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    To begin my column with a vague and general statement about life in the corporate world, the term “success” and how it’s applied to any undertaken task often solely comes down to the expectations for the task’s outcome and how closely they were met or surpassed. Managing those expectations from a client is a crucial part of how they’ll review one’s final output related to what they’d hoped it would achieve. Does the phrase “under-promise and over-deliver” ring a bell?

    The thing is, it’s impossible for NFL coaches and execs to “under-promise” what their team can deliver when ticket sales hinge on their ability to excite the fan base for the upcoming season. Team officials don’t have the ability to lean on their limitations like corporate professionals often do. For example, a final business presentation to client can begin with something like, “Well, based on the budget we were given, the man power we had at our disposal, and the amount of time given for completion, what you see here is how we achieved our project goal to the best of our abilities given the limitations in place.” That’s how you manage expectations, by keeping them realistic.

    However, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher can’t stroll up to the podium tomorrow and tell everyone, “Listen, we still don’t know what we have in our quarterback and the majority of our skill players, our secondary is remarkably young, our schedule is brutal, and we play in the most difficult division in the NFL. If we manage to go 8-8 or better, you’re welcome and I want a raise.” Can you imagine?

    That’s what leads to all the cryptic coach-speak that’s become commonplace in the sports media landscape. Team officials have to keep fans hopes up without explicitly promising anything that they can’t deliver. This (finally) leads me into the subject of today’s column: what can we realistically expect from the Rams in 2014? This is something I’ve been stewing on and finally decided to write about after a similar question was posed in Nick Wagoner’s Friday chat over at ESPN. After a great on-paper draft, the team is finally headed into OTAs with training camp to follow in July. Expectations, at this point, can only be made based on projections of 2014 player ability and not their actual ability, which is important to note.

    After two seasons under the Fisher regime, the team seems to have found an identity with last year’s revelation of running back Zac Stacy and how his style translated into production for the entire offensive unit. The defensive line, led by PFWA Player of the Year Robert Quinn, has become a force to be reckoned with and looks poised to become a generationally profound unit when factoring Chris Long, Michael Brockers, 13th overall pick Aaron Donald and an impressive amount of depth filling in behind them. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been brought back into the fold to help the defense evolve and level the playing field in the NFC West. Additionally, year three of any regime – especially one that is generally trending up, like St. Louis – is when judgments start being passed and success can start really being measured. For these reasons and others, expectations seem to be high for the Rams going into the 2014 season.

    I took to Twitter last week to gather some opinions on what the base-line expectations are for this team as it stands currently. The question I asked dealt specifically with Sam Bradford, but the responses I received revealed a bit more about general team expectations and what would be considered a successful year. It was a small sample size, but here are a few of those responses:





    I tend to agree with these assessments, that the team (specifically Bradford, Fisher, and Snead) need to break the winning-season barrier sooner rather than later to ensure their jobs, but given that tough schedule and the dominance of the NFC West, is it realistic for them to achieve that this season? The Las Vegas Hilton has had their 2014 projections for team wins posted for just about two weeks, and the odds-makers are on the opposite side of the fence. They have the team bar set at 7.5 wins, which ties them with the win projection for the Cardinals and has them a handful of games behind the 49ers and Seahawks, who they’ve given 10.5 and 11 wins, respectively. The full list is right here.

    What’s even more revealing about the “expectations vs. reality” debate is that, in their coverage of the Hilton odds, our friends at Turf Show Times asked readers if they believed the Rams would go over or under that 7.5 projection. See for yourself, but the outcome was an absolute landslide in favor of the over. It’s clear that Rams fans are hoping/believing/dreaming/praying that this will be the year the team finally smashes through that .500 wall, and Fisher and Snead likely are as well.

    However, if they do have another 8-8 season or worse, given the schedule and the division and the youth and their other limitations, how mad can we really be? From a realistic standpoint, it’s an interesting question to consider.

    I expect those expectations to get adjusted even further once the players take the practice field together very soon.
     
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  2. HE WITH HORNS Well-Known Member

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    I think its absolutely realistic to expect a winning record this season. To think the SheHawks and the 69ers will both stay as good as they were and both make the playoffs is the fairy tale that most people believe in. One or both of them will be worse, it's almost guaranteed.
     
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  3. RamzFanz Well-Known Member Pit Boss

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    I'm pretty concerned about the passing game with bailey out for what could be the easier wins. I REALY think it boils down to that.

    I would have said 9-10 wins but now, I think 9 is the high side.

    With this schedule and division, I can live with 8 and a post season 2015 if they manage to keep the stars.

    I'm glad they are going to prove me wrong!
     
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  4. Yamahopper Well-Known Member

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    With Williams remaking the defense in his image and the greatly improved O-line giving the Rams one of the top rushing, clock management offenses 12 wins should be the minimum.
     
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  5. Mojo Ram On double secret probation

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    Gotta go at least 9-7
    and 3-1 thru the first five weeks :whistle:
     
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  6. OnceARam Well-Known Member

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    We can expect them to be better than they were last season. Now, how one measures that is arbitrary. But I think when things are said and done, it will be obvious - one way or another.
     
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  7. RamsOfCastamere Active Member

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    We can expect our defense to keep us close in games. As long as this happens, especially in unfavorable matchups, anything is possible in a one score game. Our line should be favorable in most short yardage situations, and that's a recipe for moving the chains -- gimmicks can't work on 3rd and short/goal forever. As long as we control turnovers and penalties, I expect us to be competing in the last few minutes of every game.
     
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  8. shaunpinney Well-Known Member

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    it all starts up front, and I don't mean the O or D lines, i mean the first 5 weeks - we have to be 5-0 going into week 6. Am i being optimistic? I don't think so...
     
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  9. brokeu91 Well-Known Member

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    I think that if we don't lose Bradford we would have gone 9-7 at least. This year, we should be even better. I do absolutely believe it is realistic to win 10 games this year and in doing so, make the playoffs. The fact that no one thinks the Rams are capable of doing this also helps, since we'll be able to catch a lot of teams napping.

    Plus, the fact that our schedule is the easiest in the first few games of the year also helps. It will give the Rams time to get Long and Bailey back and allow our rooks some time to get up to speed. We had the youngest team in the NFL last year and went 7-9 without Bradford. We have good, young, ascending football players all over the field. This team is really primed to make a huge splash.
     
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  10. Rams and Gators Well-Known Member Pit Boss

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    A winning season, anything beyond that we're relying on a number of players to make major progress which whilst not unreasonable is maybe unrealistic to expect it.
     
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  11. Memphis Ram Well-Known Member

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    Hard for me to expect anything as key injuries can vastly alter the landscape, IMO. I'm just hoping for the best and believe that a winning season is possible.

    Now if they had gotten a #1 WR, then I'd agree with this guy:


    But, since they didn't get a #1 WR, I have to go with this guy:

     
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  12. Bluesy Reppin' the Rams since 2000

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    I think it's realistic to expect a winning season, which means 9-7 at the very least in my opinion. If that's the best they do though, I'm not sure that's going to be enough to gain much respect. If we want respect from the rest of the league as a legit contender we need to be in the 11 win range.

    We have a brutal schedule so it won't be easy, but if we can pull of a double digit win season it'll be impressive. I'm hoping for 10-6 or 11-5. I see the team only getting to 9-7 or 8-8 though. I guess I'm jaded by recent seasons and taking into account the difficulty of our schedule.
     
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  13. Ramhusker Well-Known Member Pit Boss

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    The sky is the limit. Being Rams fans, we should be predicting 12 or more wins because, well, we are Rams fans. Reality is we don't have a clue. We don't know how tough our schedule is going to be because every year is a new one. Teams surprise and teams disappoint. Injuries happen. Players get suspended. Players emerge that were previously buried on the depth chart. Like already stated, we are going to be better than last year based on skill level of players and depth. Does that translate to a better record? It should considering we gave away a couple of games last year and easily could of gone 9-7. I think double digit wins is in the forecast for our Rams. 19 wins is always a possible outcome before the season starts! (y)
     
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  14. Bluesy Reppin' the Rams since 2000

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    That's called being an arrogant homer, aka niners fan. Lol. But really, I think it's important to not say "oh we're gonna win the superbowl this year" every single year. Yeah you can say it jokingly to exude confidence, but any more than that makes a bad impression in my opinion. Of course, if you truly believe that then that is fine. I don't think anyone else would see that this year though haha. No one like obnoxious fans.

    On topic, like I said, I think 10-11 is a decent possibility taking into account factors from last year, but 12 might be pushing it. I'd be glad to be proven wrong though. :sneaky:
     
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  15. DaveFan'51 Well-Known Member

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    Pete Carroll's record in Seattle his 1st 3 years was 7-9,7-9, and 11-5. He's no were near as good a Coach as Fisher. IMO. Harbaugh walked into a Team with plenty of Talent that needed a good head coach. He didn't have to Totally rebuild his Team, as Fisher has had to. Fisher and Company WELL put on a Great show this year, and Will do at least as well as Carroll did in his 3rd year!! And Win the West!! Bank on it!!!!!
     
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  16. Bluesy Reppin' the Rams since 2000

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    I sure hope so. Keeping my fingers crossed that this year or next is the year.
     
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  17. ChrisW Well-Known Member

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    I think the best you can really say is to be in every game with a chance to win. You can't really predict blowouts, and as long as we aren't on the receiving end of these blowouts and are within a touchdown in the 4th of any given game, I'm confident that Sam will give us a chance to win..he's shown that ability before.

    If we remain in games or are leading going into the 4th Q, 10-11 wins is a real possibility.
     
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  18. fearsomefour Well-Known Member

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    A winning season realistic? Yes. Expected? Not there yet.
    They need a fast start. The problem with a fast start is all the youth. A couple messed up assignments in a new D and you're giving up big plays.
    Being a pure optimist is not in my DNA....the team is closer than this time last year.
     
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  19. mr.stlouis Well-Known Member

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    Realistically? Injuries bury us, again.
     
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  20. ZigZagRam Well-Known Member

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    I see 8-8.

    If the defense learns quickly under Gregg Williams and the offensive line gels and stays away from any long-term injuries to Jake Long or Rodger Saffold, there's no reason we can't push that to 10-6.
     
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