Here at Shutdown Corner, we want to help. So once a week, we'll go in and examine a team coming off a bad week, bad month, maybe a bad decade (you're in luck, Cleveland), and see what fixes can be made to turn around the season. So step aside, we've got this. Next under the microscope: the St. Louis Rams.
Where they stand: 3-6, five games back of first in the NFC West
What's gone right: Look, we would never ever say that an injury is a good thing. But Sam Bradford's season-ending injury in Week 7 instantly snuffed out any possible flicker of hope the Rams could have had for a good season. Why's this listed under what's "gone right"? Why, expectations diminished into nothingness, of course. If nobody expects anything from you, it's impossible to disappoint.
What's gone wrong: The Rams do many things, none of them very well. The team averages 20.7 points per game, ranking 23rd in the league. But their 310.3 yards per game ranks 30th in the NFL. Those numbers are only going to decline as the Rams continue their who-the-hell's-QB'ing-us-this-week rotation. Defensively, St. Louis isn't awful, but isn't amazing either, ranking mid-pack in yards per game (16th) and points surrendered per game (25.1, 20th). The Rams do rank in the top 10 in pass defense (9th), but their run defense is abysmal (28th).
What we'd fix: At this point for the Rams, it's just about keeping the team comfortable. There's not much more that can be done at this point. The team has to keep Kellen Clemens healthy for the rest of the year, because Brett Favre ain't walking through that door. The defense has to tighten up against the run, because if the Rams are able to keep the game close late, they can't be letting opponents bleed the clock with ground-attack first downs.
The road ahead: Still in the future: Indianapolis, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle. That's rugged. The only game for the rest of the season in which the Rams might be favored is the Week 16 game against Tampa Bay, and if the Bucs are still without a win at that point, they're going to be trying to infect opposing teams with the Ebola virus.
Is there hope?: No. Even better, St. Louis fans, you have the constant threat of a move to Los Angeles dangling over your heads. Still, bear in mind that the Rams very nearly beat Seattle on a Monday night game that pretty much nobody remembers, even though it happened just a couple weeks ago. The potential is there for an out-of-nowhere win. The potential is not there for anything more than that.
But take heart, best fans in baseball ... it's less than 100 days till pitchers and catchers report.