This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
After the team failed to top the .500 mark for the 10th straight season, some might deem 2013 a failure for the Rams. Yet despite playing in the toughest division in football and losing their starting quarterback in Week 7, the youthful Rams were able to remain competitive, compiling a 7-9 mark under coach Jeff Fisher.
GM Les Snead evidently felt that the franchise was on the right track, as the team was relatively quiet in free agency, apart from taking a flier on wideout Kenny Britt, signing backup quarterback Shaun Hill and adding offensive lineman Davin Joseph.
If the Rams are to vacate the basement of the NFC West, they'll do so on the back of their defense. Defensive end Robert Quinn warranted Defensive Player of the Year consideration with 19 sacks and seven forced fumbles in 2013, and rookie Alec Ogletree led the team with 119 tackles. The front seven should be one of the best in football, especially with the addition of 13th overall pick Aaron Donald to an already fearsome front line. If the defensive backfield can improve and force more turnovers, St. Louis will be tough to score upon.
There is no dearth of potential in the St. Louis offense, but the failure to realize said potential has kept the Rams middling in mediocrity. Few NFL quarterbacks will face more scrutiny in 2014 than Sam Bradford, who returns from an ACL injury that prematurely ended his 2013 campaign. Fans