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Thursday, October 29, 2009
Rams: Will they go winless?


Unbeatens: Colts | Saints | Broncos Winless: Rams | Titans | Bucs

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Analysis: The Rams knew they would struggle some after releasing so many veteran players from a team that went 2-14 last season. They probably didn't expect this level of futility, however. The Rams were smart to focus their initial investments on upgrading the offensive line. They haven't yet realized the desired results for a couple reasons.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Rams rookie Jason Smith remains in the early stages of his transition to the NFL.

One, the Rams lack sufficient talent at receiver to scare defenses. Injuries, limited resources and questionable planning have conspired to render that position a disaster. Two, first-round rookie tackle Jason Smith wasn't ready to step in right away and play at a high level.

The Rams also are not seeing enough return on substantial investments along the defensive line. Recent first-round defensive tackle Adam Carriker is on injured reserve. Recent first-round defensive end Chris Long isn't a dynamic player at this point. Investing heavily in the offensive and defensive lines makes sense in theory. At some point, though, the production must follow. This team really could go 0-16.

Rams remaining schedule
Nov. 1: @Detroit
Nov. 8: BYE
Nov. 15: New Orleans
Nov. 22: Arizona
Nov. 29: Seattle
Dec. 6: @Chicago
Dec. 13: @Tennessee
Dec. 20: Houston
Dec. 27: @Arizona
Jan. 3: San Francisco
Best chance for a win: This is it. The Rams visit the Lions in Week 8 before heading into their bye week. First-year coach Steve Spagnuolo should promise players a full week off if they can find a way to beat Detroit.

Repercussions: Spagnuolo and second-year general manager Billy Devaney are just getting started. Current owner Chip Rosenbloom will likely give them a few years to get things right. The team is for sale, however, and a new owner could conceivably head in another direction. Either way, quarterback Marc Bulger might very well be in his final season with the team.