The St Louis Rams have already proven they have a defense that could finish in the top ten when the season ends, but they have shown in the past few seasons that having a solid defense doesn’t necessarily translate into wins. The team still needs play makers on offense to score some points for them.
The Rams made significant signings during the offseason to help move the ball more effectively and score some points. They passed up on Robert Griffin III and let Amendola and Jackson walk away during free agency. This now puts pressure on five players on offense who are under pressure to perform well this upcoming season.
1. Jake Long
Since bringing in Sam Bradford to play quarterback for the team, the Rams have struggled to keep him upright in the pocket. This offseason the Rams felt enough was enough and signed left tackle Jake Long, a proven lineman to protect Bradford’s blindside.
The Rams already had a formidable left tackle in Rodger Saffold, but they felt Long brings more security to the position.
Although Long has been marred by injury over the past two seasons, the organization put the former No-1 overall pick through a series of medical test to ensure he was healthy before signing a new contract.
There is some pressure behind him to perform this year not only because of his four-year $35 million deal, but because the Rams may have caused a little rift with their former left tackle Saffold as he heads into the final year of his contract.
Long was once considered the best in his position and is looking to regain that form. He will look to prove to the Rams he is worth every dollar they are spending on him.
2. Daryl Richardson
In his rookie year, Daryl Richardson shined as the change of pace back behind Steven Jackson. He was taken in the 7th round by the Rams and was expected to be behind Isaiah Pead in the depth charts.
St Louis Rams Daryl Richardson (AP photo/ Jeff Roberson)
In the preseason, Richardson made most of his opportunity and made the coaching staff consider giving him more minutes
This season Richardson will not have the security blanket of Steven Jackson to play behind, as he will be the week one starter. Last season in 98 attempts he rushed for 475 yards, but was unable to reach the end zone.
Although he had a respectable rookie season, the Rams will expect Richardson to have a better sophmore season. The running game won’t solely be placed on him as Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy will be fighting for playing time as well, but Richardson will still need to show an improvement.
The Rams believed they had enough in Richardson based on his rookie performance and believed in Pead’s potential enough that they let Jackson sign with the Falcons.
The last time the Rams replaced their starting running back with a second year player was when Jackson replaced Marshall Faulk, hopefully the Rams gamble will pay off in a similar fashion.