In 2012, both Jeff Fisher and Les Snead were hired as head coach and general manager, respectively, for the St. Louis Rams.

In those three years since, however, the Rams have failed to qualify for the playoffs and have yet to post a winning record. There was marked improvement in Year 1, with Fisher guiding the team to a 7-8-1 record after a 2-14 finish in 2011. In 2013, the Rams finished 7-9; in 2014, they were 6-10. You could argue injuries factored into their struggles, namely the loss of Sam Bradford, who played in just seven games in 2013 and then missed the entire 2014 campaign.

But entering 2015? Snead believes there is a real chance his squad could be special, citing it's the most talented roster under his watch thus far.

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"We're close," Snead said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I can feel it. . . . I anticipate us contending for the West. I'm planning on it, expecting it, and not scared."

Contending for the NFC West might be a stretch, however. But if there's one thing the Rams can hang their hat on going into each week, it's their defense. Snead expects them to be nothing less than dominant, particularly after their performance over the second half of 2014.

"They did a heck of a job last year, when they tipped and turned and got to gel," he said. "It was fun to watch. The goal is to carry that over into this year, and sooner rather than later. . . . I don't know if I've been around a defense like this one."

The defensive unit will likely have to carry the Rams, at least in the early going. Nick Foles is still getting acclimated and rookie running back Todd Gurley is working his way back from ACL surgery.

The talent is certainly there in St. Louis. Whether they have enough to take down Arizona and Seattle in the division is a tall task.

Regardless of what the people think, Snead believes it's possible.

(h/t St. Louis Post-Dispatch)