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Morning Ram-blings: Make or break?

8/19/2014

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Hold on, stop right there. I know what you're thinking. You saw the headline and thought that we were once again going to lead the Ram-blings with a story written by someone talking about how this is a make or break season for St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.

Well, it's not what you think. Earlier this week at Grantland, Robert Mays put together his "All Make-or-Break Team" for the 2014 NFL season. But this version means something a little different than a quarterback trying to solidify his spot for the long term. Instead, Mays is looking at it as players who are vital to the success of their respective teams.

And yes, there's a Ram on the list. In fact, linebacker Alec Ogletree is the second player to appear on the team.

From Mays:

"Nickel defenses are base defenses at this point, and having two linebackers that can cover goes a long way. St. Louis needs Ogletree to be that type of player this year. If he can, he can be for the Rams what Thomas Davis was for Carolina years ago."

Ogletree is just one of the many young players the Rams are counting on to produce in 2014 but he's also one of the most important. His progression as a rookie was clear as he started off with some struggles but was able to improve noticeably as the season went on. By the end of the year, he was much more instinctive and far better against the run.

But to Mays' point, the Rams could use better coverage from Ogletree, something he's capable of providing. In many ways, Ogletree can be the secret weapon of this defense because he can be used in so many ways. I'm not sure his progression alone will determine the Rams' fate but it certainly will play a prominent part.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we opened the day with a look at Bill Barnwell's rankings of the fastest teams in the league. ... Next, we examined coach Jeff Fisher's attempts to eliminate penalties against his team in 2014. ... From there, we took an in-depth look at right tackle Joe Barksdale's evolution since his arrival in St. Louis. ... Then we pondered the possibilities of what the loss of running back Isaiah Pead could yield on the roster. ... We closed the day with a camp report from the team's 16th day of practice.

Elsewhere:

Slightly off topic but a good read from fellow St. Louis ESPNer Anna McDonald on the Cardinals' team chef, who also used to work for the Rams.

Big news from within the division as the Arizona Cardinals lost defensive lineman Darnell Dockett to an ACL injury for the season.

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas wonders whether this is the year receiver Brian Quick takes the next step.

Joe Lyons discusses the versatility of offensive lineman Mike Person.

Thomas also participated in his weekly chat.