1. Sam Bradford hurts that shoulder!
That shoulder. Oh that precious, precious Bradford joint. How just months ago you were the consternation of the universe; how now you are 193 percent healthy. We don’t know you, but we’re scared to death of you. We trust you, but then again, we don’t trust you at all. You seem to be fan-friendly, but you’ve never had 275 pounds of twisted, juiced (probably) steel come at you with the fury of a thousand scorned Bieber fans and try to gnaw at you like a chew toy.
This worst-case scenario for the Rams is actually, if not probable, at least on the table.
Bradford, the future franchise and soon-to-be newly-minted highest-paid rookie in football hasn’t played in a real football game since injuring his shoulder at Oklahoma nearly a year ago. Good thing blitzing linebackers won’t be jealous of the last guy before the new collective bargaining agreement to get an insane amount of cash for proving nothing, right?
Bradford getting injured may not kill a poor team in 2010 … It probably WILL kill a franchise. FOREVER.
Any semblance of hope for the future of the St. Louis Rams lies on the shoulders of their marquee first round pick and new face of the franchise. If he starts out his career carrying a clipboard in one hand with a sling on the other? Let’s just say Ari Gold will be setting a meeting up with Rams ownership to see about their interest in Los Angeles.
No one is really 100 percent confident that the Rams can survive in St. Louis. We’re all hopeful they can, but in order to prosper, Joe 6-Pack has to give a crap.
A.J. Feeley does not get Joe 6-Pack excited. Keith Null will be Joe 6-Pack soon enough. If you’re locked in for $50 million-plus in guaranteed money for a guy that can’t play in a stadium with no fans and a city with no interest … well, that sounds like the recipe for the dirtiest four letters in STL Sport: M-O-V-E.
2. 0-16 becomes reality!
They’ve teased us with it the past few years. But 2010 may finally be the year where the Rams get that elusive perfect season. No wins, all losses!
Almost as tough as going 16-0, 0-16 takes more than sheer incompetence. You need horrible luck, putrid coaching, no slip-ups from the other teams—they have to be perfect, too—and a real dedication to mailing it in. Remember, Richie Incognito is no longer around to get those critical 15- yard personal fouls that you really need to throw in the towel week in and week out!
The Rams' schedule appears to be front loaded with land-mines to this achievement, most notably the Seahawks at home and a game in Oakland. Two fairly week teams. But if they can get through week six without a single W, then perfection can be realized week 17 at New Orleans.
The defending Super Bowl champs putting the final touches on a winless season for the Rams.
3: Stan Kroenke demands a new stadium!
The Edward Jones Dome may not be the worst stadium when it comes to game experience in the NFL...
I KID. I kid.
It's the worst by far. Or at least tied with Jacksonville. (Side: Remember when they thought they were going to need that space for conventions and stuff? Ah, the good old days.) And even worse, the stadium doesn't print money like some of the new NFL palaces popping up all over the country.
The Rams' lease ends after the 2014 season, and if the EJD isn't in the top 25 percent of all stadiums in a number of criteria, well, the Rams can pretty much do whatever the hell they want.
In short—the No. 1 priority for the new Rams ownership group after finalizing the deal to buy 100 percent of the team is to figure out how to either screw the CVC for an even more sweetheart lease or demand a new stadium that would pretty much be a toxic bomb for any local politician talking up that cross.
Kroenke has cryptically indicated that he's willing to work with the city and the CVC on an amicable resolution. But 2015 is creeping up on all of us and once this issue is broached, this year or the next few, it's going to be the line in the sand where the Rams are either getting something new or leaving town.
4. Steven Jackson requests a trade!
I mean, one star player can only take so much.
Another lackluster start and all those whispers about SJ39 wasting his prime toiling for a crap team in a small media market start to get louder in his ear. Or perhaps he realizes that never playing on a team with a winning record is just not acceptable after eight years in a league that does everything it can to have parity.
Whatever the reason, Jackson looking for a life raft out of town will not only cripple a bad team on the field immediately, it will undermine the credibility of the front office, deter future free agents from coming on board, and allow Rams fans to see a top 5 running back dominate for another team as he gushes about how happy he is now to be out of St. Louis.
I miss him already.
5: Jason Smith busts!
Jason Smith had a stinky rookie season.
Mmmm… smells like BUST!
Mr. Smith was the No. 2 overall draft pick for the Rams in 2009 and was addled with various ailments, including a concussion, that kept him from developing into a stalwart on the offensive line. To put it more succinctly: the man is making us all worried that the Rams have done it again. They’ve gotten themselves a real, live shot at another bust.
Chris Long, while far from worth the money of top five pick, at least showed a little spunk in the second half of 2009. But if Jason Smith doesn’t pick up his game to the level expected when you have a super-premium draft pick? Disaster baby.
Bad teams and franchises simply can’t have anything less than Pro Bowl-caliber players when they draft in the top three. It’s so important not to miss that sometimes real sure-things, like Jason Smith appeared to be, become settling. And settling becomes the foundation for several more years of eating bad salary and hoping for a turnaround while the rest of the league passes you by.
There’s time. He’s young. But 2010 is all the Rams can afford to give Jason Smith if he doesn’t bring the wood.
6. The Rams hire a mascot!
All traces of the heinous idea that was the Rams Drum Corps have been scrubbed from the Internet.
This is probably a good thing.
But that doesn’t stop the marketing machine that bleeds blue and gold from deciding that one gameday experience all Rams fans couldn’t live without was… wait for it… a MASCOT!
ZOMG! I know, right? Aren’t you totally stoked to buy season tickets RIGHT NOW? Can we get pictures of it and love it and hug it forever and ever? Can we give it a name?
New mascots are so lame. Either you’ve got a chicken or a Fredbird and you’ve had it forever, or you don’t. So that actually makes one of these horrible things true—we’ve only got five to really watch for in 2010.