LA Rams seek to stabilize quarterback position

By Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange  |  Updated Feb. 25, 2016 at 8:13 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS -- There are numerous significant free agents to try and re-sign. Then there are the inherent distractions and logistics of being part of a move of a football organization.

However, at the end of the day, Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead is sure of one thing: For the team to seriously contend for a playoff spot and a possible division championship, he said, "Getting the quarterback position stabilized is the key."

In the four years that Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher have been with the Rams, there was only one season, the first, that a quarterback started all 16 games. Sam Bradford did that in 2012. The next year, it was Bradford and Kellen Clemens. In 2014, it was Shaun Hill and Austin Davis. Then, last season, the starters were Nick Foles and Case Keenum.

And while Snead acknowledges position stability is crucial, he also notes studies the team has done showing that even with consistent quarterback availability, the teams with winning records are the ones that allow fewer than 20 points per game.

"Winning," he succinctly said, "is a direct correlation to how many points you allow."

Which is why the focus will continue to be on keeping the defense strong, and why trying to bring back three members of the secondary that are scheduled for unrestricted free agency on March 9 is "priority A at this time."

At the Combine, the Rams are meeting with the agents for cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson as well as free safety Rodney McLeod. There has been speculation that Johnson will be the most sought-after in that group leading to the possibility that he might receive a franchise or transition tag by the March 1 deadline.

Snead wouldn't tip the team's hand but admitted putting the tag on someone was being considered. "It's a tool we can use," he said. "We've got a few hours to figure that out."

What they also have to figure out is whether quarterback Case Keenum is a bona-fide candidate to continue being the starter, or whether Nick Foles can rebound from a season in which he lost his job to Keenum, or whether 2015 third-round pick Sean Mannion can be developed.

For Snead's part, he is impressed with Keenum. He said, "We were 3-1 down the stretch with him and we like what he brings to the table and that's why we traded for him."

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