|Re-signing RB Steven Jackson should be one of the Rams' priorities. (US Presswire)|
The Rams made major strides in 2012, especially on defense. To make the playoffs in 2013, St. Louis must become more explosive offensively.
The Rams finished 25th in scoring (18.7) and 19th in red-zone TD efficiency, scoring touchdowns 51.4 percent of the time. It would be interesting to see what QB Sam Bradford could do with a legitimate No. 1 receiver and a sturdier offensive line.
Free agents who must be signed:
- RB Steven Jackson -- Voted the team MVP, Jackson showed he can still be productive (1,363 yards from scrimmage) given a reasonable workload. Jackson’s presence shouldn’t hinder the development of rookie RBs Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead.
- WR Danny Amendola -- Bradford’s safety blanket, Amendola was on pace for a monster season before he went down with a separated AC joint. The slot man caught a team-high 63 passes despite missing nearly six games.
Positions needing improvement:
- Wide receiver -- The Rams have a few quality wideouts -- Amendola, rookie Chris Givens (team-high 698 receiving yards) and free agent Brandon Gibson -- but no one who demands double-teams. Rookie Brian Quick (6-4, 220) was projected as a dominant player; he caught just 11 balls and it’s unclear how quickly he’ll develop. Look for the team to sign a veteran free agent.
- Free safety -- Craig Dahl’s 1,063 snaps need to go to someone else. He ranked 78th among safeties, according to Pro Football Focus. Dahl tied for the fifth-most missed tackles (16) and allowed QBs throwing at him to post a 98.5 passer rating.
- Offensive line -- RT Barry Richardson is a decent run blocker but a subpar pass blocker (44 combined QB sacks, hits, hurries allowed). The Rams also could use help at LG, where backup C Robert Turner filled in. Rookie Rokevious Watkins, who was placed on IR with an ankle injury, would benefit from strong camp competition.
Get more Rams updates and analysis from Larry Hartstein on Twitter @CBSRams.