The St. Louis Rams have spent the entire Steve Spagnuolo era building up to 2011, a season in which the franchise player is comfortable within a new offense and Spagnuolo's vaunted defense is coming off its best season yet; a season when the NFC West is still weak and the Rams are getting stronger every year. They didn't expect it to come with the Philadelphia Eagles attached in Week 1, readying all their post-NFL-lockout free agent gains and consolidating Mike Vick's comeback from his dog problems, which was once just the title of a wonderful album by The Format.
So the Rams have Sam Bradford's sophomore season, a newly dense wide receiver corps, Steven Jackson with legitimate backup running backs, and Josh McDaniels's distinctly un-Shurmur offense to look forward to; they have Robert Quinn's debut and Chris Long's emergence to watch on defense.
But they also have the Eagles. It's not the best possible draw for the first game of the rest of the Rams' lives, but it's the one they have.