This was to be the year for the St. Louis Rams' resurgence. Coming off a 7-9 2010 season with a core of young players led by quarterback Sam Bradford, the Rams were the consensus pick to emerge from a rather ordinary group of teams in the NFC West. It hasn't quite worked out that way.
Instead, the Rams enter Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals at 2-11. With San Francisco's torrid pace this season in the division, any post season hopes for St. Louis fans were pretty much over before the Cardinals won the World Series.
Injuries have ravaged the Rams' roster in 2011. They've lost three starting offensive linemen, two starting receivers and five total defensive backs including starters Al Harris and Ron Bartell. Additionally, offensive mainstays Bradford and running back Steven Jackson have played hurt all season.
The result has been an inconsistent offensive attack under first year offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel that has employed four different quarterbacks. They had to trade for WR Brandon Lloyd from Denver after losing Mark Clayton and Danny Amendola. St. Louis enters Sunday with the NFL's 30th ranked offense, ahead of only Indianapolis and Jacksonville and the worst scoring offense in the league. The defense isn't much better, ranking 25th in the league.
All this has put a lot of pressure on third year Ram's head coach Steve Spagnuolo. There is speculation that he could be gone after this disappointing season. As if things weren't bad enough, both Bradford and standout DE Chris Long are questionable for Sunday.
So while 2011 has certainly been full of bad news for the Rams, there's a lot of promise for the future if they can get their injured players healthy and return to their 2010 form. This bad season will also set up another high draft choice for them to go with Sam Bradford and Chris Long as well as a last place schedule for 2012. The Rams very well could turn it around next season. The only question is whether Spagnuolo will be there to see it.
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