Thursday, March 21, 2013
How quickly Rams can win the NFC West
By Mike Sando
Got a question during the latest NFC West chat asking whether I envisioned the St. Louis Rams winning the NFC West in the next three years.
It's going to be a challenge given the projected state of quarterback play elsewhere in the division, but as I said during the chat, there's a good chance the Rams will break through in the next few seasons.
ESPN's Chris Sprow has written about this very subject at length. His latest piece for Insider expands upon a subject we've discussed quite a bit lately: the impact cheap labor at quarterback can have on a team's ability to build a roster.
The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are benefiting from having low-cost quarterbacks playing at a high level. The Rams are not benefiting from that dynamic, but their 2012 trade with the Washington Redskins will give them cheap labor for years to come -- all part of a plan to build with young talent.
The Rams have 17 total players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. Those players average 24.5 years old (24.4 median). Backup tight end Matthew Mulligan, 28, is the only one age 26 or older.
"No team is bound to improve more over the next few seasons than the Rams," Sprow writes. "If Fisher is right, they'll get improvements from a deep 2012 rookie class in 2013, then a good 2013 rookie class in 2014, and another good 2014 rookie class in 2015."
Most of those players remain unproven and that can be scary for fans.
I sensed excitement, not trepidation, from the Rams' leadership during my interactions with coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Snead and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff during the recently concluded NFL owners meeting. They are stocking the roster with young talent. We'll find out over the next couple seasons whether they've stocked wisely.