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2011 Predictions: St. Louis Rams Get Better, Begin Frustrating

It's that time of year when people who should know better (like me!) begin to harbor the suspicion that they can see even a little bit in the future, and begin to make 2011 predictions. SB Nation St. Louis's Season of Predicting begins this morning with a look at the St. Louis Rams. In short: I think Sam Bradford will look better but not worldbeatingly so; that Danario Alexander will be day-to-day with knee problems at least once; and that the Rams will be a better team but not as better as we think they ought to look. 

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I know, these are all really out there, right? Sam Bradford hasn't been outstanding but he's been outstandingly competent, and he's done it with almost nothing in the way of weapons. Next year, at a minimum, he'll have a full year of Danario Alexander being confusing, as well as Donnie Avery and Michael Hoomanawanui coming back from injury. Now that the Rams know what they have, they can't go into a second consecutive season with Bradford expected to throw to Danny Amendola ten times a night. That said, everything's gone pretty well for Bradford, all things considered; lots of outstandingly competent freshmen experience growing pains as sophomores on the way to outstanding. 

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Meanwhile, Danario Alexander... what can be said? I feel like being contrarian and saying he'll play 16 games, but I have no reason to believe that. So long as he's a Ram and effective he'll be the piece we're wary of taking for granted—and the one we point to as missing when things don't go right. 

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Finally, the St. Louis Rams could well be a better team in 2011 without winning any more games. The NFC West won't stay this terrible forever; the Arizona Cardinals could find a quarterback, the San Francisco 49ers could settle on one. And the Rams have played over their heads in getting to the possibility of eight wins already—it's hard to predict two major jumps in a row. I expect the 2011 Rams to be better, but those expecting 10 or even nine wins are putting a lot of pressure on a team that's already taken the leap to adequacy. 

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