Are the fans in Los Angeles happy to have football back or are they happy to have the RAMS back?
Simple question but the answer might not be that easy. We are talking about a team that turned their back on a community, a loyal fan base to play in a city that is baseball and hockey dominated. To make matters worse they achieved some success, won a Super Bowl, lost one but then the bottom fell out, attendance dropped, free agents chose other cities and the ones that did come could not live up to expectations.
Something had to change.
A decision was made to return the Rams back home, not Cleveland but back where they made their bones, back where Eric Dickerson, Kevin Greene, Henry Ellard and even Jim Everett put the Rams logo up there with the like of the Raiders, Giants and 49ers. Welcome home Rams but what will you give the fans in return is the question?
To start off they have the ROY in Todd Gurley on the offensive side of the ball who will easily make older fans whisper to the younger generation of past great Rams RBs. The receivers still have a ways to go if they wish to mirror any past greats but the speed of Tavon Austin could make life a bit easier for Gurley and their young QB, Jared Goff.
The QB position has been the cancer for this team the past several seasons. The Rams slogan for last year should’ve been “What If”. What if they had a true #1 receiver, what if injuries didn’t happen, what if they had a reliable QB? They play in a tight NFC West division but when focused the Rams can be mentioned in the same sentence as the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. They swept the Seahawks last year and split with the Cardinals so to think they can’t take the division is not showing enough respect.
Here’s how things could get more interesting. The NFC West was basically 3 West Coast teams and a Mid-West team, now the Rams are back out West where travel will be fair to them. No more time zone difference, no cross-country flights if they have the Cardinals at home one week then the Seahawks on the road the next. This is now an even playing field.
Now it all comes down to the play on the field and this is where Jeff Fisher will earn his check. It looks as if the keys will be handed to the young QB. Anytime your starter plays 11 games and yet throws 11 TD’s with a completion percentage of 56% it’s clear you made a mistake. I hate to be the one that says it but they may have been better off with Sam Bradford at the helm last year.
The defensive side of the ball could be great but instead they are straddling the average side of the fence. The NFL knows who Aaron Donald is but imagine how much of a force he can be if players like William Hayes and Michael Brockers stepped up and demanded a double-teams leaving Donald with a clear path to the QB. But the help doesn’t stop on the line, the CB’s must hold coverage and this is where Trumaine Johnson must make a name for himself. He is in perfect position to be mentioned with the likes of Josh Norman, Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson and the other elite shutdown corners. The pieces are in place they just need a few tweaks here and there and the return could be a glorious one.
There are too many intangibles to name here but the Rams are not an after-thought for the division. They are much capable, maybe they just missed home.
The Los Angeles Rams are back.