NFC West: Clfton Ryan

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Brandon from Bellevue, Wash., writes: Am I the only one that can see the Rams having a really good offense in 2008? Al Saunders was the mastermind behind the NFL?s #1 offense from 2002-05. However, he was unable to really get things going with the Redskins from 06 and 07 but that can be directly attributed to the Redskins' QB play. For instance, when the Chiefs were dominating on offense Trent Green had an average QB rating of 92.6. Conversely, Brunell and Campbell had an average rating of 80.2 under Saunders. The only QB in Washington to have success w/Saunders is Collins, who learned the system in 01 w/ the Chiefs. Furthermore, when he took over for Campbell in 07 he helped the Skins to the playoffs w/ a 106.4 rating. On the other hand, Bulger has an 87.8 QB rating over the last 4 years and that is including the disastrous 07 that saw him sacked 37 times. If you remove last year as a fluke his rating jumps to 93.7 (over a full point higher then Green?s when his team was leading the NFL in total offense). W/ improved line play, Jackson in the back field, Holt as a better WR then Saunders has had, and Bulger throwing the ball I can see this offense becoming really, really good. Your thoughts? PS-I am not even a Rams fan. I am just calling it like I see it.

Mike Sando: Saunders also had to work within the Joe Gibbs framework at Washington. I go back and forth on the Rams in my mind. They don't have depth at receiver any longer, and I wonder if Torry Holt's knee can hold up. They do have a top-flight back, one dangerous receiver (when Holt is healthy) and a good tight end. A healthy offensive line could help the Rams make a big jump offensively.


Daryl from Alberta, Canada, writes: The standard pub revolves around the leagues stars, as it should, but I'm always far more concerned with how lesser known players are performing and developing. In the NFC West, I'm quite curious to know about Rams DL Clifton Ryan. How has he looked so far and will he be a factor in his second season like he was in his first? Fans can find information about star players almost anywhere, I think you guys should focus more players like Ryan.

Mike Sando: I'll keep an eye out for Ryan when I'm at Rams practices beginning Friday. And I definitely agree with your point about focusing on more than the stars. I've got some roster-related analysis planned, but first I need to finish hitting these NFC West camps.

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