Morning Ram-blings: NFC Best ... ever?

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- It's no secret that the NFC West has emerged as the toughest division in the NFL over the past couple of years.

In the cyclical world of the NFL, a group that once went by the nickname "NFC Worst" is now being dubbed the "NFC Best." Eventually, the tide will shift again and it will revert back to landing somewhere in the middle of the pack and on and on it goes.

But for now, the St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers form the toughest quartet in football. On Thursday, our friends from Football Outsiders offered a piece on Insider wondering whether the NFC West could be the best division everInsider.

There's plenty to chew on in the piece but one thing I wanted to point out is the argument discussing the strength of the West from top to bottom. It's easy to see Seattle and San Francisco and label the division as tough, but it's realistic to think that Arizona and St. Louis would be favorites in a few other divisions around the league.

As for the Rams, Football Outsiders believe what many will agree with: the Rams chances of making a leap this year will hinge heavily on the performance of quarterback Sam Bradford.


A roundup of Thursday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we took a look at Mike Sando's list of 50 players who could be poised for a breakout. ... Next, we discussed the Rams' move to designate running back Isaiah Pead as waived/injured. ... From there, we heard from linebacker James Laurinaitis, who is close to returning from an ankle injury. ... Defensive tackle Michael Brockers, meanwhile, is even closer and looks like he's ready to go this weekend. ... Offensive tackle Jake Long checked in at No. 63 on the #NFLRank list of the top 100 offensive players in the league. ... Finally, we wrapped up the team's 18th preseason practice with a quick report on the day's activities.


Thursday's edition of #NFLRank takes us through Nos. 70-61 on offense and defense.

A great read from Tommy Tomlinson on former NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen.

At stltoday.com, Jeff Gordon looks at who is trending up and who is trending down for the Rams.

Gordon also explored the Forbes' ranking of the Rams as the NFL's least valuable team.

Jim Thomas offers his take on the Ferguson-area high schools visiting Rams Park.

At 101sports.com, Kevin Wheeler discusses the development of the Rams' secondary.