Now that the league's free agency period has started, we need to bring our reviews of the 49ers' upcoming opponent to a close. Fear not, though, we will return to our future opponents to review what they did in free agency and in the draft. Additionally, we have an exciting slate of opponents to review this week: the NFC West. We start today with the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams had a disappointing season. I think it's fair to say that Jeff Fisher continues to put together a strong coaching performance, only to be undercut by random injuries. Or, perhaps not so random. This last season was hurt by QB Sam Bradford's injury before the season even started, dooming the Rams to play the QB-carousel game. In the modern NFL, that's essentially a recipe for failure. The Rams were also hurt by injuries to Jack Long and Chris Long.
But, the issue for the Rams has always been the QB. With inconsistent QB play last season, the Rams finished last in the NFC West with a record of 6-10. But, the Rams may have taken steps to fix this issue, making two trades for QBs. First, they traded for Case Keenum, sending a 2016 7th round pick back to the Texans. Second, they traded Sam Bradford himself along with a 2015 5th round pick and a 2016 3rd or 4th round pick for Nick Foles, a 2015 4th round pick, and a 2016 2nd round pick. To be honest, I have no idea what the Eagles were thinking. The Rams seem like clear winners to me here.
Free Agency (courtesy of NFL.com):
Unrestricted Free Agents: Davin Joseph, G;
Kendall Langford, DT (Signed with Colts); Shaun Hill, QB (Signed with Vikings); Alex Carrington, DE; Kenny Britt, WR; Lance Kendricks, TE (Re-Signed); Joe Barksdale, OT.
Restricted Free Agents: Austin Davis, QB; Rodney McLeod, S.
The Rams had little in the way of free agents before free agency started - and numerous players have already been snatched away by other teams. As 49ers fans, it's always interesting to see where Shaun Hill ends up. He is now a Viking. Bundle up, Shaun! Soon WRs will start saying, "it came down like a snowflake!"
I have always found Britt to be an intriguing player. He has never played at an elite level, but also he's had to play with the Ram's QBs. The rumor mill, however, suggests that he will be back with the Rams.
Fooch's update: The Rams are bringing in defensive tackle Nick Fairley for a visit. That strong defensive line could get even better.
The most important need is unfortunately one of the direst: basically the entire offensive line. The Rams need to start with center, but also look at guard and right tackle. The offensive line last season needs upgraded. Do Foles a solid, guys.