The CSC Interview series heads out west! I'm going to try and get the 4 NFC West teams bloggers to answer some more questions before finishing up the NFC.
Today, we have Vanram from Turf Show Times who was able to answer some questions about the Rams. Please read on to see what Vanram had to say.
Jon: After the Rams past few years of struggles, what were your expectations heading into the 2010 season?
Vanram: Improvement was a must, but few expected the Rams to contend for a division title. That says much about the direction of the franchise as well as the quality of the NFC West.
Jon: Did you expect Sam Bradford to have the season he did?
Vanram: Not at all. I don't know too many that really believed he'd start the whole season. Bradford didn't play enough to notice at OU in 2009, and the shoulder injury had everyone a little nervous.
Jon: What do you think the Rams could have done differently to win the NFC West?
Vanram: Coming that close to winning the division, it literally comes down to a play or two over the course of the season. Having had healthier receivers, i.e. Donnie Avery and/or Mark Clayton, would have made a big difference. A little better production from the linebackers might have made a difference too. The fact is, against teams like the Saints or the Falcons, the Rams were just plain overmatched. In terms of things that the Rams could actually control, I really would have liked to see them take some more risks with the offense. Check down after check down frustrated fans. The coaches, especially Spagnuolo, were cautious with Bradford, putting his development above a better record. That should change this year with addition of Josh McDaniels as the OC.
Jon: Who was the Ram’s most underrated player in 2010?
Vanram: I would have to say our cornerbacks, Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher. They did an excellent job smothering opposing receivers and locking down the big plays. If they can stay healthy, they'll have a big impact for this team.
Jon: What is your opinion of the Rams 2011 draft class? What was your favorite pick? What was your least favorite pick, if there was one?
Vanram: I learned to like it, not love it. The thing to remember is that a team like the Rams could not have addressed every need in one draft, and counting on rookies to fill all those holes would be folly anyway. However, I think the decision to go with a tight end in the second round and receivers in rounds three and four surprised people given some of the other talent on the board, especially at positions like running back. Overwhelmingly, the favorite pick is DE Robert Quinn, their first rounder.
Jon: What are the Rams free agency needs?
Vanram: A solid backup running back and/or a complementary guy to pair with Steven Jackson is at the top of my list. Jackson has seen a significant number of touches over the last two seasons and lost some of his effectiveness last year. After that, you have to put safety. The Rams let Oshiomogho Atogwe go rather than pay him $8 million this season; Spagnuolo doesn't put high value on safeties. Still, they need to find a capable replacement or risk having a big hole in the secondary.
Jon: What do the Rams need to do in 2011, to win the NFC West?
Vanram: They have to win games, bottom line, and the easiest place to do that is versus their division mates. The NFC West plays a tough schedule, facing the NFC East and the AFC North. As daunting as games against the Steelers and Eagles are for the Rams, it looks a lot worse for the other teams in the division. I also think the Rams need to pick up some high profile wins, beat one of those heavily-favored teams to finally earn some respect and a place among the legitimate.
I would like to thank Vanram for taking some time out to answer these questions. And for more on the St. Louis Rams, check out Turf Show Times.