(FootballStl) - At this point in the season just about every team knows whether it's headed to the playoffs or not. If they are, they're just positioning themselves for the best possible draw to try and make a run at the Super Bowl.
Those that aren't, however, are simply looking ahead to next year and what needs to be done so they can join the previous group.
The Rams are once again in the latter as we all know. What started off with such promise soon turned into turmoil due to an inability to both run the football on offense and stop the run on defense. For 2013's purposes, it mattered little that they turned those around later on in the year. By then it was too little, too late.
So what, then, will the Rams need to upgrade to make 2014 a much better season? Remember, they have two first round draft picks again courtesy of the Washington Redskins.
I could break this up into offensive tackle, guard and/or center but let's be honest. This group as a whole just needs to be better. Left tackle Jake Long just went down with a torn ACL and MCL (though Jeff Fisher says they're optimistic he'll be back for the start of next season) so that complicates matters. Rodger Saffold is a pending free agent and should generate a lot of interest on the open market due to his versatility. It's no sure thing he returns. A tackle is almost certainly required. A guard probably is, too, because no one really stepped up next to Long this year. Les Snead and Jeff Fisher's priority this offseason should be stabilizing this unit.
Again, this could be both safety and cornerback but, again, both need help. A free safety to play center field and direct the defense is a must. So is a corner to play opposite Janoris Jenkins. Cortland Finnegan showed he's no longer the same player he once was and Trumaine Johnson showed he's not what the Rams hoped he would be. Could Johnson emerge next year with more experience under his belt? Sure. But the Rams can't bank on that and not bring in some help. With the NFL squarely a passing game nowadays it's almost necessary to have an above average secondary to compete.
Anything else the Rams do would simply be to either A) add depth or B) not pass up on a unique talent. Both of which are very possible at other positions.