While the offensive coaching staff remains intact, former Detroit Lions defensive backs coach Tim Walton will oversee the defense after the Rams used a committee to coordinate last season. The Steven Jackson era could be coming to a close, as the tailback plans to test free agency after voiding his contract.
Biggest free agents
» RB Steven Jackson: After closing out the 2012 season in strong fashion, the 29-year-old Jackson is expected to have plenty of suitors on the open market, including the Atlanta Falcons. Jackson reportedly has designs on finishing his career with a Super Bowl contender.
» WR Danny Amendola: Amendola became more than just a check-down slot receiver in 2012, making more plays down the field and after the catch. Sam Bradford is a more effective quarterback with Amendola on the field, but the latter has played just 12 of 32 games during the past two seasons. He won't be hit with the franchise tag, which means the Rams stand a chance of losing him on the open market.
» RT Barry Richardson: Previously a turnstile in Kansas City, Richardson surprisingly held his own as one of the few steady pass blockers in his first season with the Rams. His ideal role is swing tackle on a team that has designs on contending for the playoffs.
What they need
It starts with offensive playmakers, particularly at wide receiver and tight end. In fact, head coach Jeff Fisher attributes Bradford's failure to meet expectations to the mediocrity surrounding him on offense. The secondary should be a priority on defense. An upgrade at strong safety is needed, and free safety Quintin Mikell's salary counts $9 million against the cap. The Rams also could use an athletic outside linebacker to team with James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
Offseason crystal ball
Fisher sounds confident that 2012 draft picks Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson can handle the backfield load if Jackson flies the coop. The Rams should look to add an experienced wide receiver regardless of whether Amendola returns. Getting the offensive line back to full health should help, but there still is a need for at least one tackle and an upgrade at left guard.@ChrisWesseling.