Here’s a look at the St. Louis Rams who open the season Sunday (Sept. 7) against Minnesota at the Edward Jones Dome.
Last year: 7-9.
New faces: WR Kenny Britt; rookies G-T Greg Robinson, DT Aaron Donald, RB Tre Mason, DB Lamarcus Joiner, DB Maurice Alexander, DB E.J. Gaines, DE Michael Sam; defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Key losses: CB Cortland Finnegan, G Chris Williams, QB Kellen Clemens.
Strengths: OL, DL, LB, TE.
Weaknesses: DB, WR.
What’s New: They’re reeling from QB Sam Bradford’s season-ending torn ACL to his left knee _ the same knee that sidelined him the final nine games last year _ in the third preseason game. Williams is putting stamp on defense that aspires to top 10 status. System hasn’t changed much but there will be more blitzing, taking pressure off unproven secondary. It’s hoped Britt, entering his sixth season, can settle down, avoid off-field problems and be veteran leader of young group at wide receiver.
Expectations: Coach Jeff Fisher has returned respectability to franchise with consecutive seven-win seasons, capitalizing on draft pick bonanza from Robert Griffin III trade with Redskins. Fisher and GM Les Snead get social conscience kudos for drafting Michael Sam, the first openly gay player. It’ll be up to 34-year-old backup QB Shaun Hill to capitalize on best supporting cast since Bradford was taken first overall in 2010. Rams must rally everywhere else to post first winning record since 2003, plus thereÕs always stiff competition in NFC West.