NFL

SCOUT'S HONOR: Scouting the Rams

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Offense

It's all about . Faulk must prove last season was an aberration — not the beginning of his decline. His presence in the backfield and ability to create matchup problems for opposing defenses make the ' offense special. Adding makes a huge difference in pass protection that should allow the to find their timing again in Mike Martz's offense.

Defense

Lovie Smith will find a way to get his defense on the right track again. Many people talk about the Rams' offense, but their defense is a big factor. They must find more consistency against the run. Former high-round picks — tackle and linebacker — need to solidify themselves here. But the big problem for the last season was in the secondary. They gave up too many big plays and failed to generate many turnovers. Counting on veteran to play at a high level is risky at this stage following an injury. Losing for the first several weeks of the season is a blow. simply hasn't provided enough big plays at free safety.

Special teams

Adding punter was a solid move. Rookies , , and should provide more punch to the return units.

Coaching

There's a sense of urgency from Mike Martz this summer. Martz is more determined than ever to prove his critics wrong. Lovie Smith has the same determination with his defense.

The bottom line

The will return to the playoffs if and rebound. But the defense will need to play with more consistency if they want that Super Bowl ring again.
Tagged: Cowboys, Rams, 49ers, Kim Herring, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Damione Lewis, Sean Landeta, Kevin Curtis, Shaun McDonald

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