The St. Louis Rams closed out their home schedule with a 23-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. The Rams improved to 7-8 on the season while the Bucs dropped to 4-11.
Here are 10 thoughts on the Rams’ victory:
1. Congratulations are in order for Rams DE Robert Quinn. He sacked Tampa Bay QB Mike Glennon three times and broke the franchise record for sacks in a season (18). The Rams better start clearing some cap space because it’s going to take a lot of money to keep Quinn in St. Louis long-term. Meanwhile, it will be great to finally see a Rams players earn a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Quinn more than deserves the honor.
2. Play-calling was a mixed bag. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer made a great call on the Stedman Bailey double reverse in the second quarter. However, his decision to run QB Kellen Clemens on a draw inside the Tampa five-yard line made absolutely no sense.
The Rams also chose to keep pounding the ball between the tackles against a Tampa Bay defensive front that was putting eight men in the box. Schottenheimer did nothing to make use of the space he was given on the edges. There was nothing wrong with running a sweep or something like it late in the game.
3. Defensive penalties continue to be a problem. The Rams’ coaching staff has done a solid job with this team since Sam Bradford’s injury, but it has still failed to fix the team’s lack of self-discipline.
4. The Rams look great in their old blue and yellow. I don’t have a problem with the team’s current color scheme, but the 1973-1999 colors are a better fit for the franchise. I hope the Rams consider going back to their old uniforms soon. Some teams are never meant to change their colors, including the Rams.
5. The Rams have a lot to be excited about with Stedman Bailey. He has taken a back seat to Tavon Austin for much of the season, but his outstanding hands and route-running are leaving a mark on the offense. Look for the Rams to involve him even more next season.
6. General manager Les Snead has done a solid job drafting over the past few years, but there have been some failures. For example, WR Brian Quick and RB Isaiah Pead made very little impact on this game. I’m becoming convinced that one or both of these players are busts. Furthermore, I can think of better ways of spending $5 million per season than having Jared Cook doing almost nothing for this team.
That said, Snead has done an excellent job filling many of the holes on the Rams’ roster. It’s impossible to be right on every personnel decision, but it’s clear that a majority of Snead’s personnel decisions have panned out.
7. I appreciate the job that Clemens has done running the offense. He deserves all the credit in the world for stepping into a rough situation and holding his own. However, the Rams are missing something with Sam Bradford out of the lineup. Opposing teams simply don’t respect their passing game with Clemens in the game, which is why the Tampa Bay coaching staff had no problem putting eight men in the box. Bradford has more than his fair share of detractors, but the offense has suffered in his absence.
8. The Rams are expecting the worst with OT Jake Long’s knee injury, and that means we could see a change in the team’s draft strategy. St. Louis was expected to at least consider drafting a quarterback and letting Bradford go, which would have freed up about $10 million in cap space. Now the Rams will likely go after Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews with their first pick. Granted, they may have already been eyeing Matthews to play at right tackle, but now they will also have to think about re-signing Roger Saffold as well.
9. Speaking of Saffold, he has quietly played well since recovering from his early season injuries. The once-disgruntled Saffold has proven himself as both a right guard and right tackle in 2013, which might make him nearly impossible to re-sign him in the offseason. He did a solid job protecting Clemens’s blind side against the Bucs.
10. Janoris Jenkins may be the Rams’ biggest playmaker in the secondary, but I grow tired of seeing him take penalties. He may be better off as a no. 2 cornerback.
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