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NFC West Breakdown: St. Louis Rams

ROTB would like to welcome a new author to the group, Pyromnc who will be previewing each of the NFC West teams in the upcoming weeks and he might even take a crack at each of the 2009 opponents on the Cardinals' schedule. Once the season kicks off Pyro can will help ROTB cover even more ground than we did last season and bring more content to this ever growing community ~ ROTB Admins

Key additions for 2009: C Jason Brown (Ravens), S James Butler (Giants), FB Mike Karney (New Orleans), WR Ronald Curry (Lions) , and WR Laurent Robinson (Falcons) and QB Kyle Boller (Ravens).

Key players lost for 2009: TE Anthony Becht (Cardinals), S Corey Chavous (FA), DT La'Roi Glover (Retired), QB Trent Green (Retired), OL Orlando Pace (Bears), WR Torry Holt (Jaguars), and LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (Bears).

Drafted Players: OT Jason Smith (1st), LB James Laurinaitis (2nd), CB Bradley Fletcher (3rd), DT Dorell Scott (4th), WR Brooks Foster(5th), QB Keith Null (6th), and RB Chris Obgonnaya (7th).

For the past few couple seasons the St. Louis Rams have been one of the worst teams in the NFL. In 2007 they went 3-13 and in 2008 they went 2-14. Those aren't very good records but things are starting to look good after the signing of former defensive coordinator of the Giants Steve Spagnuolo to be the head coach.

Over the past few years Spagnuolo had created one of the top defenses in the NFL with the Giants and he hopes to do the same with the Rams. He created these defenses by collecting lots of talented players to create depth at every position. He has already started doing this by drafting James Laurinaitis, Bradley Fletcher, and Dorell Scott, all of whom he hopes can contribute in a big way. He also went out and got one of his own from New York by signing James Butler to go along with Oshiomogho Atogwe at the safety spots on defense. Other notable players returning for another year that will help this defense become what Spags was known for in New York are Leonard Little (DE), James Hall (DE), Will Witherspoon (LB), Tye Hill (CB), Adam Carrker (DT) whom has not lived up to expectations yet. Last but certainly not least is the number two pick in last year's draft Chris Long who has Rams' fans hoping that he can play like his dad did for the Raiders.. With the new and returning players this unit has the potential to become one of the best in the league but will most likely need some more seasoning to become just that. As for the offensive side of the ball, well that's another story.

When you think of the Rams past offenses you think of Kurt Warner and that high powered offense that won the team a Super Bowl and came awfully close to winning a 2nd one. The current offense however is no where close to being mentioned in the same breath. Since that last Super Bowl this team has had a makeover on the offensive side and they have lost Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Orlando Pace, and Marshal Faulk. Kurt Warner was replaced by Marc Bulger in 2003 and at the time was looking like the right move as Warner looked like he was on the downside of his career. Now that is looking like a bad move as Warner is back to being one of the top QBs in the league and Bulger can't stay healthy, and when he does he has trouble with turnovers. This could be attributed to the awful offensive lines that the Rams have had the past few seasons. This line has been unable to stay healthy which makes it hard for Bulger because the backups couldn't really create a pocket for Bulger to throw in. This should be fixed, at least a little bit, as they drafted Jason Smith to replace Pace and then went out and signed Jason Brown who played well for the Ravens last season. The losses of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce leave the team with question marks at the receiver spots as the team really only has Donnie Avery and he has just 1 year experience, which means he still has a lot to prove. Steven Jackson was drafted to replace Faulk and he definitely is a very good RB and probably their best player on offense but his problem for the last few years has been staying healthy. Jackson absolutely has to stay healthy if this unit wants to do anything on offense as they are not very deep at the position. As you can see there are tons of question marks on this side of the ball.

Spags definitely has his work cut out for him as this team still needs some work on defense and a lot of work on offense. The biggest thing Spags really needs to do on defense is just continue creating depth and make sure the younger players continue to progress. On the offensive side of the ball he just needs to keep upgrading that line, making sure everyone stays healthy, and try to add some more playmakers. If he continues doing this than this Rams team should get back to that dominating team we all remember in 1999-20001.

Record for 2009: 4-12
Record Vs the Cardinals: 0-2
Record Vs the NFC West: 1-5