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The St. Louis Rams Are Making A Case To Be Worst NFL Team Of The Decade

The Rams’ best record in the past decade was in 2006 when the team registered an 8-8 mark and a second-place finish in the NFC West.

Sam Bradford

There are class-act organizations like the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers, where every year it seems like a team is in contention and there are amazing decisions made in regards to personnel. There are poorly run franchises like the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders, where the owners at times have gotten head strong and subsequently the team on the field has suffered.

And then there’s the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams’ best record in the past decade was in 2006 when the team registered an 8-8 mark and a second-place finish in the NFC West. Back then, Marc Bulger was tossing passes to Torry Holt, and Steven Jackson was getting handoffs.

But since that magical .500 season back in 2006, the Rams organization has made some of the worst personnel decisions in all the NFL. A Marc Bulger on the last legs of his NFL career was the best quarterback to start a game since, followed by Gus Frerotte, Brock Berlin, Trent Green, Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, Kellen Clemens, Shaun Hill and most recently Austin Davis.

Nine quarterbacks and five last-place finishes.

But while the quarterback position garners the most attention in the sport, the Rams have also whiffed with their first-round picks, getting it right about 50 percent of the time, which is a way-too-low batting percentage when it comes to first-round picks (especially high ones the Rams have had — an average of the No. 10 spot overall in 11 first-rounders the past nine years).

For the Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers and Chris Long selections that actually worked out well, there are the picks of Tye Hill and Adam Carriker and Jason Smith. Sam Bradford may have set the franchise back six or seven years, while the bill is still out on Tavon Austin and Greg Robinson, as of today both their stocks are down.

Quinn, Long and Brockers are a part of arguably the best front four in football, but hitting on three of 11 picks is substantially low for first-round talents. Hill last played for an NFL team in 2010, while Carriker and Smith are borderline journeyman talents. Alec Ogletree is an average linebacker, and last year’s first-rounder Austin looks like just a really fast player who was drafted too high. As for Robinson, he couldn’t beat out Rodger Saffold or Davin Joseph for a starting guard spot. Yes, he was the No. 2 overall pick this May.

During that span, the Rams have had four different head coaches, so it’s not a surprise that four different coaching philosophies led to this disastrous roster construction. Aside from the front four, the linebackers are all average and the secondary’s best bet was once free-agent signee Cortland Finnegan and the ultra-inconsistent Janoris Jenkins. In the post-Steven Jackson era, no running back has proven to be effective, and the wide receiving corps features a collection of No. 3 receiver talents, without former first-round bust Kenny Britt leading the way and Austin continuing his acclamation to the pros.

This season, injuries derailed what may have been St. Louis’ most promising season since 2006. Bradford, the former No. 1 overall pick, was finally healthy and ready to lead what seemed to be a crop of potential-laden offensive players behind a rock solid offensive line. Defensively, one of league’s top sack artists — Long — looked to anchor a defensive line which included a handful of first-round picks, setting the tone for a physical front seven.

Instead, Bradford’s season was over before it began. Long got injured Week 1 against Minnesota and will miss at least two months. Robinson watched from the sidelines, and promising players like Austin and Zac Stacy are shaping up to be the team’s biggest disappointments.

The future for the Rams doesn’t look all too bright. The past draft the team had two first-rounders thanks to the Robert Griffin III trade, but opted not to select a quarterback. So 2015 is all about the Rams finding a quarterback among a crop that includes Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, UCLA’s Brett Hundley and possibly Florida State’s Jameis Winston, again putting the franchise’s future at stake with a draft pick. It’ll be about finding that quarterback a real wide receiver, because it doesn’t seem like Brian Quick or Chris Givens is reminding anybody of Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green. And perhaps it’ll be about finding the right fit on the sidelines, because while Jeff Fisher is not to blame for injuries up and down the roster, he still hasn’t done anything to convince management he has what it takes to turn this ship around.

The Raiders have been a laughing stock, with players like JaMarcus Russell being drafted and trading for Matt Schaub. The Cowboys are letting the inmates run the asylum, with Jerry Jones wearing 14 different hats and only hindering the franchise’s abilities. But the Rams are continuing to make the case as the NFL team with the worst decisions made year after year, with regards to player selection and productivity on the field.

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