In what’s arguably been the NFL’s toughest division over recent years, the St. Louis Rams are a forgotten team.
They aren’t the Seattle Seahawks, or even the San Francisco 49ers, winners of the past three NFC titles. They aren’t the Arizona Cardinals, who have made three playoff appearances over the past decade. No, the Rams have gone 11 years since their last playoff appearance. They aren’t exactly “The Greatest Show on Turf” anymore.
There isn’t much to suggest things are going to change, either. Yes, the Rams have been scrappy the past couple years. They’ve pulled themselves up from the doormat. Still, they haven’t finished with a winning record since 2003. They haven’t avoided a losing record since finishing 8-8 in 2006.
In all, the Rams’ .308 winning percentage (49-110-1) since 2005 ranks No. 31 in the league. Only the Oakland Raiders are worse at .294 (47-113). Which is to say the Green Bay Packers will gladly anticipate the Rams’ arrival this October.
Three things to know about the Rams
»Gone fishing: Jeff Fisher has proven to be a successful coach. He turned the Tennessee Titans into a winner, and that’s not exactly an easy feat. When Fisher came to the Rams following his falling out with the Titans, it seemed like the kind of hire that can change a franchise. So far, it hasn’t. The Rams have three straight losing seasons under Fisher, and there are rumblings this offseason about him potentially being on the hot seat. That may be extreme, but eventually Fisher will need to do in St. Louis what he did in Tennessee. And he probably has less time, not more.
»No offense: Kurt Warner was a hall of famer. Marc Bulger was a two-time Pro Bowler. Since Bulger’s career ended in 2010, it’s been a consistently shaky quarterback situation in St. Louis. Sam Bradford is the distinguishable bust. The former first-overall pick of the 2009 draft was supposed to be the Rams’ next franchise quarterback, but he never hit those heights. Bradford is one of five quarterbacks to start a game for the Rams in the past four seasons, joined by A.J. Feeley, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis and Shaun Hill. Desperate to find a quarterback they can win with, the Rams traded for Nick Foles this offseason.
» A stone wall: The Rams might not be able to score, but they’ll be a good test for the Packers’ offensive line. St. Louis has compiled one of the best, young defensive lines in football: DE Chris Long, DT Aaron Donald, DT Michael Brockers and DE Robert Quinn. They added free agent Nick Fairley this offseason, providing good depth inside. For a team that hasn’t had much positive, the Rams’ defensive line gives them something to build on.
Packers schedule glimpse
Week before: at 49ers, Oct. 4
Next week: Chargers, Oct. 18
On the horizon: Bye week, Oct. 25
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood
St. Louis Rams
Coach: Jeff Fisher (20-27, fourth season)
2014 record: 6-10, 4th NFC West
Scoring offense: 20.3 points per game (21st in NFL)
Total offense: 314.7 yards per game (28th)
Scoring defense: 22.1 points allowed per game (T-16th)
Total defense: 351.6 yards allowed per game (17th)
Series: Packers trail 18-19 (1-1 in postseason)
Last meeting: The Packers last met the Rams on Oct. 21, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. The game ended with the Packers winning 30-20. Aaron Rodgers was his typically sharp self, completing 30-of-37 passes for 342 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.