I am rarely exhilarated by a loss by any team in any sport, but the Rams 17-13 loss to Arizona at the Edward Jones Dome was just that.
In the last three seasons, during which the Rams have gone 6-42, there was rarely an occurrence in which the Rams would lose and we could look to brighter days ahead. During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, the Rams had one of the oldest rosters in the league. So when they went 5-27 during those two seasons there was virtually no reason to celebrate a loss. Scott Linehan wasn’t exactly George Allen with his Over the Hill Gang, and was completely overmatched as a head coach. There’s nothing worse in sports than a bad, old team…and that’s what the Rams were.
Last year, they just didn’t have players. In losing 28-0 on opening day in Seattle last season, the Rams didn’t show a pulse. They had one player on offense and one player on defense…Steven Jackson and O.J. Atogwe. It was easy to see than in cleaning out the aging veterans, the Rams went to the bottom of the talent pool. They simply didn’t have enough good players to compete at a high level.
Now, Steve Spagnuolo and his staff have a year under their belts. The talent level, with the additions of quarterback Sam Bradford and receiver Mark Clayton on offense, and linebacker Na’il Diggs and tackle Fred Robbins on defense, is enhanced. We should see improvement from 2009 draftees Jason Smith and Bradley Fletcher, and ascent from Bradford, Rodger Saffold and Jerome Murphy from this year’s class.
Whereas we know the Rams were terrible at this time last year, right now we’re thinking about Cliff Ryan’s fumble as he rumbled toward the end zone, about Clayton’s dropped pass that would have resulted in a touchdown, about the Rams inability to stop Cards’ receiver Steve Breaston.
We can find reasons the Rams should have won, and we can find reasons they should win in the future. The crowd at the Dome was fired up, as it should be.
The Rams aren’t great…but at least there ARE positives. And I find that exhilarating.