Opponent: St. Louis Rams

2010 record: 6-7, tied for first in the NFC West. The Rams have beaten Washington (by 14 points), Seattle (17), San Diego (3), Carolina (10), Denver (3) and Arizona (13). They lost to Arizona (4), Oakland (2), Detroit (38), Tampa Bay (1), San Francisco (3 in OT), Atlanta (17) and New Orleans (18).

Last year’s record: 1-15, last in the NFC West and the worst record in the NFL.

Record for the last five seasons: 20-60, with three last-place finishes in the division and a pair of second place finishes.

Last appearance in the playoffs: came in 2004, when they were an NFC wildcard with an 8-8 record. The Rams beat Seattle 27-20, but then lost in the next round to Atlanta 47-17.

Owner: E. Stanley Kroenke is now the majority owner of the franchise, although some 60 percent of that apparently is in the name of his wife Ann. She’s from the Walton Family, yes those Waltons of Wal-Mart fame. Her father was Bud, brother of Sam who founded the retail giant. Kroenke’s purchase of the majority share of the franchise was completed on August 25, 2010, when his acquisition was approved by the NFL owners. He bought the rest of the team from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriquez, who were the heirs of Georgia Frontiere’s estate. Kroenke bought his original 40 percent in the team in 1995 and facilitated the movement of the franchise from Anaheim, California to St. Louis. Kroenke is chairman and owner of The Kroenke Group, a real estate investment and development company headquartered in Columbia, MO. He also is owner of the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Rapids of the MLS and the Colorado Mammoth, a franchise in the National Lacrosse League. Kroenke is also the largest single shareholder of the Arsenal Football Club in England’s Premier League soccer.

General Manager: Billy Devaney is in his third season with the Rams and his 26th season in pro football. The 55-year old Devaney studied at the knee of Bobby Beathard, working for him in San Diego as his pro personnel director. He’s also worked for the 49ers and Falcons. He was hired in January 2008 to run the Rams draft as VP of Player Personnel. He was promoted in December of that year to the general manager’s position.

Head coach: Steve Spagnuolo is in his second season as head coach and now has a 7-22 record since taking over after the 2008 season. His background is defense and he coached eight seasons with the Eagles and then two years as defensive coordinator of the Giants, including New York’s Super Bowl season of 2008. Spagnuolo spent 18 years coaching in the colleges and in NFL Europe. He’s a native of Massachusetts and played college football at Springfield College.

Coordinators: Offense, Pat Shurmur in his second season with the Rams; Defense, Ken Flajole in his second season with the Rams; Special teams, Tom McMahon in his second season with the club.

Roster overview: The Rams are a bit of a patchwork roster, something that’s not unusual for a team that’s had the troubles they’ve had over the last few seasons. Only 24 of the 53 players arrived on the roster through the Rams. That’s a fairly low number compared to most league teams. There are 20 draft choices and four college free agents. Among the Rams draft picks there are only 11 quality picks (1st-3rd rounds.) They have four players acquired in trades and nine through restricted or unrestricted free agency. An indication of how shallow the roster is there are 11 players that entered the league as seventh-round draft choices. There are 11 rookies and 22 players that are in their second-year or less. They have 10 players who are 23 years old or younger, with nine that are 30 and older.

Quarterback: Sam Bradford was the first player selected in the 2010 NFL Draft after his Heisman Trophy winning career at Oklahoma. Bradford has started all 13 games in his rookie season and has a passer rating of 79.1. He’s thrown 17 TD passes and 12 interceptions, completing 60.3 percent of his passes for an average of 6.08 yards per attempt. Bradford has been sacked 27 times.

Offensive threats: RB Steven Jackson is one of the most productive offensive performers in the league, having run for over 1,000 yards in each of the last six seasons; right now that’s the longest such streak in the league, although Thomas Jones has a chance to match. Jackson has 1,369 yards in total offense with four touchdowns on 310 touches. Bradford has found targets in WR Danny Amendola (68 catches for 567 yards and 3 touchdowns) and WR Brandon Gibson (44 catches for 492 yards and 2 TDs). The tight end position (Billy Bajema, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui) has produced 38 catches for 568 yards and seven TD catches.

Defensive stars: MLB James Laurinaitis is the Rams leading tackler with 100 total stops, three sacks and an interception. CB Bradley Fletcher has four interceptions and 77 total tackles. DE James Hall has 7.5 sacks, nine QB hits and forced four fumbles. DE Chris Long (Howie Long’s son) has added 6.5 sacks and 15 hits on the QB. The Rams have 36 sacks from 13 different players.

Special teamers: P Donnie Jones is one of the best in the league – of course it helps that he gets to punt half the season inside. This year Jones is averaging 45.9 yards a punt and a net average of 41.3 yards. Jones has kicked the ball 70 times. K Josh Brown is 26 of 32 on field goals, but he’s hit two from 50 plus. Second-year man Texas Tech WR Danny Amendola is the returner for the Rams, averaging 11.6 yards on punt returns and 21.5 on kickoff returns. LB Chris Chamberlain leads the team in special teams tackles with 15.

By the numbers: After 13 games, the Rams are No. 23 in offensive yards getting 315.6 yards per game. They are sitting at 19th in rushing and 20th in passing yardage. Defensively, the Rams are No. 13 in yards allowed, giving up an average of 333.9 yards per game. They are No. 12 in rushing and 21st in passing yardage allowed. They are plus-5 in the turnover ratio, minus-23 in point differential, minus-9 in sack differential. On special teams they are seventh in punt returns, 25th in kickoff returns, 13th in punt coverage and 28th in kickoff coverage.

Top ’10 draft picks: 1.) QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma – He’s been the team’s starter since the season opener. 2.) OT Roger Saffold, Indiana – Moved into the tough LT position and he’s been there all season protecting Bradford’s back side. 3.) CB Jerome Murphy, South Florida – He’s played in 11 games this season and has contributed 30 tackles and one interception, along with five tackles in the kicking game. 4.) WR Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati – In his rookie season he’s started two of the 11 games that he’s played in. He’s caught six passes for 63 yards and one touchdown; that came last Sunday against New Orleans.

Familiar faces: Rams quarterbacks coach Dick Curl was part of the Chiefs personnel and coaching staffs for nine seasons (2000-08). The secondary coach is Nolan Cromwell, a native of Kansas and an All-America performer with the Jayhawks. On the roster is rookie WR Danario Alexander, who went undrafted out of Mizzou because of a knee injury.

One Response to “Opponent: St. Louis Rams”

  • December 15, 2010  - JB says:

    the Colorado Mammoth, a franchise in the National Lacrosse League.

    Professional Lacross… really? hmm I’m thinkin sparsely attended sport..kind of like WNBA without the PC….

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