A question mark headed into the offseason for many, with the health of Jake Long in question, the questions following Greg Robinson, but when you sit back and look at the talent on the line, it stands out. The line figures to look (from the left to the right) Jake Long, Greg Robinson, Scott Wells, Roger Saffold, Joe Barksdale. Saffold excelled once he moved to guard. Long easily enjoyed his best season in the last two years until his ACL injury. Joe Barksdale played surprisingly well. Scott Wells needs to step his game up, however, or else youngsters Tim Barnes, Demetrius Rhaney, or Barrett Jones could take his job.
Pass Catchers: B-
This grade could easily be a C for some folks, or some could be screaming that it should be higher. That is precisely why it is where it is. The young pass catchers, while extremely talented, lack consistency. Some will say this is because of lackluster play calling, others will say Bradford is nothing but a checkdown machine.
I, however, believe this unit is primed for a big year. Lance Kendricks is an underrated tight end who has the speed to hit the seam as well as the size to be used as a blocking fullback. Jared Cook, the leading receiver from last year, should take a big step forward with Bradford back as well as another year in the system. Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey (after his suspension) should break onto the scene in their second years as long as Schottenheimer can utilize their skills like Gregg Williams can with his defense. The jury is out on whether or not Brian Quick will solidify himself as a viable option on the outside, but we need to remember that Les Snead and Jeff Fisher drafted him knowing full well he would take some time to develop. Quick’s rare size and speed make him an intriguing figure on the outside, but it’s time he elevates his play. Lastly Kenny Britt, on his one-year deal, is looking to rebound his career. Of similar stature to Brian Quick, these two should give opposing cornerbacks nightmares should they be on the field at the same time.
Running Backs: B+
With the second year bruiser Zac Stacy in the backfield, and new incumbent Tre Mason, this backfield is built for one purpose, yards after catch. These two are built to run the smash-mouth football Fisher and Schottenheimer like to run, and have the bulldozer lineman they need up front to do it. Expect Stacy to eclipse 1,000 yards this year even while splitting carries with Mason.
Signal Caller: B
As with the pass catchers, this grade could easily be higher or lower. The Bradford comments range wildly from the “cut him now” to, “he’s still our franchise QB.” I reside somewhere towards the latter, but, it is time for him to perform or take a pay cut. I think Bradford has all the tools and makeup to be “the guy” for the Rams. The obvious question that holds his grade at a B, is his health concerns. Can his knee hold up? Will he continue to thrive in the run heavy scheme of last year? I believe both answers are a yes. Bradford can easily have Joe Flacco-like numbers this year and take this team to the playoffs just as Flacco did in 2012.