Rams building for return to greatness

Marshal Herrmann, Columnist

Although the golden days of “The Greatest Show on Turf” are behind us, a promising future awaits for the St. Louis Rams. The Rams haven’t had a winning season for over a decade. However, they were not dead—just dormant. The dark ages are over and a rebirth is underway. Years of mediocrity have led to high draft picks and created one of the best young teams in the league.

Defensive ends Robert “Black Lightning” Quinn and Chris “White Thunder” Long anchor a prolific pass rush. The pair teamed up for the most sacks in the league last year, combining for 27.5. After all, the New York Giants showed just how powerful an elite and dominant pass rush can be in the playoffs, as evident by their two super bowl titles.

The talent is on both sides of the football. Tavon Austin, the first skilled player drafted last year, displayed great talent (as witnessed by Bears’ fans) and Zac Stacy proved his ability. Quarterback Sam Bradford is also looking to prove himself after several injury-shortened years. It is not his talent or injuries holding him back from becoming the elite quarterback he is capable of; rather, his team. Bradford has faced a revolving door of coaches, a crapshoot of offensive linemen, and a joke of a receiving corps. However, the Rams will shore these holes up in the draft.

The Rams currently have the second (thanks to the ransom from Washington) and 13th overall draft picks. Although Houston is in the driver’s seat, the draft class is deep and the Rams are in a favorable position. Defensively, the Rams could solidify their claim to the league’s best pass rush with either Clowney or Mack. They might also look for secondary help with Clinton- Dix. Having Clowney and Ha-Ha would make for some good headlines. Offensively, the Rams will likely draft a lineman in an effort to keep Bradford alive or perhaps look for another target in Evans or Watkins. Tough to predict without knowing what Houston will do, but don’t be surprised if they trade down again.

Rebuilding is a process and the Rams know this—Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Rams could have signed a bigname free agent like Byrd, Revis, etc. and finished the season with an alright record. Instead, they saved their cap space and are looking at being able to retain all this talent in the long term.

After all, the Rams play in the best division in the league (Richard Sherman called the 49ers the second best in the league and deemed the NFC Conference Championship the real Super Bowl) and will likely miss the playoffs this upcoming season. Eventually, those teams will soon no longer be able to afford their star players and in a couple years the Rams will surge to the top.

Bradford will finally have a team around him and he will thrive, reminding everybody why he was a #1 overall pick and Heisman trophy winner. A worthwhile offensive line paired with a talented receiver corps, all under the helm of Jeff Fisher, will culminate in a reinvigorated offense reminiscent of “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Add in the aforementioned elite pass rush and you have a recipe for greatness.

Cut out this article and save it: in a few years, the Rams will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy amongst falling confetti as Bradford collects his Super Bowl MVP trophy.