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Morning Ram-blings: Defense rising?

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams have been consistent in their praise for new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and what he can do to elevate their defense to the next level.

In taking over a unit that has no shortage of talent but needs guidance to reach its immense upside, Williams could be the team's biggest offseason addition. Over at NFL.com, Bucky Brooks took a closer look at how Williams will fit in with the Rams and, more important, how the team's defensive players will fit in Williams' scheme.

As the Rams offense struggled to consistently put points on the board in 2013, especially in three road games against NFC West division opponents, the defense never reached the level of production many expected. Outside expectations had pegged the defense for a rise to a top 10 group after finishing near the middle of the pack in 2012. Although the defensive line again generated pressure and played well, the Rams secondary struggled in coverage and the group as a whole had a few dreadful games against the run.

With Williams in place, the expectations will again be sky high, perhaps even higher than they were in 2013. It's up to Williams to help that group reach its potential. For the Rams to compete in 2014, it will have to.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... We began the day with the Ram-blings by taking a look at how John Clayton views the Rams' rebuilding project similar to what the Rams have done. ... Next, we looked at what's left in free agency and potential veteran additions the Rams could still make. ... Finally, we examined the fit of sixth-round cornerback E.J. Gaines and how he's hoping to prove he was drafted later than he should've been.

Elsewhere:

Columnist Ashley Fox writes that coaches need to be in the locker room more to keep their fingers on the pulse of their team.

Great read from Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher on Kansas City offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif's journey to the NFL.

It wouldn't be a day ending in Y if it didn't have news from around the NFC West:

Niners reporter Bill Williamson reports that San Francisco is opening up contract talks with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

With Daryl Washington suspended for at least one season, the Cardinals added veteran linebacker Ernie Sims.

At stltoday.com, Joe Lyons previews the Rams' organized team activities.

Stlouisrams.com looks at quarterback prospect Garrett Gilbert.