The Rams are a Good Football Team in 2017 and I Love It

When I started TSTOS in early 2007, the St. Louis Rams had just signed wide receiver Drew Bennett and I was convinced they were going to feature a super team. Bennett was a tall receiver that I felt had the tools to complement Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. The Rams began the 2006 season with a pretty good record before faltering and finishing the season 8-8, missing the playoffs. The silver lining was that quarterback Marc Bulger had the best year of his career and was handed a nice, little contract in reward for it.

I hyped those bastards up.

The Rams went 3-13.

They followed up by going 2-14 in 2008 and in 2009? 1-15. They let Bulger go, and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford put together a rookie of the year worthy season in 2010 with the team barely missing the playoffs in a pitiful division, once again sparking my hopes for 2011, when they went 2-14. 2012-2015 was full-on mediocrity brought to you by Jeff Fisher. There would be times you’d think, “Man, this team is full of grinders!” but then you’d become annoyed (as a fan) when you understand that Fisher was always more about winning a game 9-7 than blowing a team out.

This team, this year? Surpassed all my expectations for this team, and I’m blown away.

Yes, I’m writing this after a loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, when the Rams fell 24-7.

But I’m still blown away by how good this team is, and the Vikings are a damn good team themselves, if you’ve been paying attention.

Eleven weeks into the season, the Rams are 7-3 and sitting in first place in the NFC West. I would have never in a million years predicted that. I expected Sean McVay to be a positive for Jared Goff, but I never imagined they would have the highest scoring offense in the NFL at one point this season.

We already knew the Rams’ defense was fantastic.

But that offense? Holy shit.

I haven’t watched a competent Rams offense since at least 2006!

It’s good to be a Rams fan right now, but they have two huge tests coming up: the Saints this weekend and those damn, league-best Eagles next weekend.


The Rams Actually Have an NFL Offense, Ladies and Gentlemen

I’ve been involved in sports blogging since about 2005. I started this one up in March 2007, and ever since, the St. Louis — now Los Angeles — Rams have been a piss poor franchise. Back in 2007, going into that season, the Rams had so much hope for a potential Super Bowl appearance (it might seem crazy to you now, revisionist historians, but it was a big thought). The 2006 season was a rollercoaster, but by and large, the team finished the season on a winning streak and with an 8-8 record; the season was derailed by a 5-game losing streak starting when the Rams were 4-1, facing the Seahawks. Torry Holt had seemingly caught a game winning touchdown catch only for the Seahawks to quickly march down the field and have Josh Brown kick a game winning field goal. I digress.

Yesterday the Rams defeated the Indianapolis Colts 46-9, with 14 points coming from two pick-6s on defense.

I think, off the top of my head, that was the most I’ve seen a Rams offense put up points since the dismantling of the Oakland Raiders in 2014 when the Rams beat them 52-0.

I’m trying not to be too hyped up for the remainder of this season for the Rams, because let’s face it…

The Colts are quietly one of the worst organizations in the NFL. They are a sour franchise. Colts fans are like spoiled teenagers or young adults; they had Peyton Manning for thirteen years and have had Andrew Luck for the last five. They haven’t appreciated Luck, though. If you heard any of the Colts’ radio guys last year, you’d understand. That offensive line for ’em was putrid last year and didn’t help in preventing his lingering shoulder issues. I wouldn’t blame Luck for sitting out this season if he wanted to, to rehab that shoulder some more, because that Colts front office didn’t hurt themselves by trying to get him some help on offense.

When I found out that Scott Tolzien, perhaps one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, was starting for Indy, this was my reaction:

I told a couple of my friends that if the Rams were to lose this game, they might as well drop out of the NFL. I knew that the Colts’ pass defense was awful, given their low quality defensive backs, but they made Jared Goff look like a perennial Pro Bowler. Thanks, Colts.

I know Colts fans are eager about their head coach Chuck Pagano eventually being canned. They should have let him go after last season. I know what it’s like when your team won’t hurry up and get rid of an abysmal head coach. I wonder how things would have been had they retained Bruce Arians after 2012 and made him the head coach? I know that would have been a terrible look at the time, given the circumstances that Pagano was tragically dealing with in his life, but I think it’s fair to say the Colts would have fared much better over the last few years.

Hell, Pagano didn’t even know which team the Colts were playing against yesterday.

I can’t wait for the Rams to inevitably disappoint me. Prove me wrong, LA.

The Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers, Celtics Trade Fiasco

I’ve just exchanged with you a Toyota Corolla for a Chevrolet Corvette.  In addition to the Corolla, you’ve been dealt a motorcycle, a moped and a Powerball lottery ticket that will be valid in about a year. However, the main point in this trade is the Corolla. You’ve just switched jobs, and while the Corvette has been your baby for a few years and has served you fine, it needs a new home and you must downgrade to another vehicle, but at the same time you seek compensation if you are exchanging your Corvette for something else.

You ultimately find somebody willing to give you an offer you can’t refuse. The Corolla has had a few good years of performance; it’s still running! At the same time, it experienced a hiccup in operation a couple of months ago. There’s a likely chance it will be repaired and could be on the backburner for a few months. There’s also a possibility it won’t run the same as it used to. But you must switch out the Corvette for something else, and other offers aren’t willing to give you the same things the person with the Corolla is giving you.

So, you agree to trade. Everything is going good, until you take the Corolla out for a spin, and then you realize that — despite knowing of the ramifications of acquiring such a vehicle with potential repair issues — you are fearful of the future for this newly acquired Corolla of yours! Even though you understood the consequences before and during the exchange process, you are now seeking additional compensation, more than what was agreed upon, and you are also considering ixnaying the whole damn deal! Eventually, after playing around and being a weasel, the other person pitches in a scratch-off ticket that won’t even be valid for another three years.

That’s the best metaphor I can come up with to describe the dipshit frenzy that was induced by the good ol’ Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that will soon be mentioned as LeBron James’ former team yet again.

Y’know, this information about Isaiah Thomas and his hip wasn’t exactly a concealed piece of knowledge. Haven’t you noticed Danny Ainge skirting around questions from the press in regards to Thomas’ future?

I don’t think the Cavs are intent on keeping Thomas around for the long haul. He’s an undersized point guard that’s almost 30-years-old and seeking a max contract. I know that a lot of Celtics fans are still hiding behind their emotions and crying about the absence of ol’ “I hustle and play hard!” I.T., but they are more than likely better off in the long haul, especially if they can build around Irving as Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown reach the potential they might be capable of.

The Cavaliers have done well in this trade, though, not only securing the Toyota Corolla (Thomas), but getting the motorcycle (Jae Crowder). They can sell the moped for scraps. The powerball ticket (Nets’ first round draft pick) could be useful! Who knows about the scratch-off.

But it’s clear they sucked the Celtics dry.

I doubt this Celtics team will defeat the Cavaliers in the postseason. Not this upcoming year. I just don’t see it. I doubt anybody is even defeating the Warriors. But in due time, if Tatum and/or Brown reaches gold standard fruition, we can see it happen. Especially if the reports are true about LeBron getting the hell out of Cleveland (again) next summer.

And We Are Back to Regularly Scheduled MMA Programming (I Hope)

I’ve always been a big time Conor McGregor fan; you can search back to 2012-2013 on my blog to find this out, way before he reached half the fame he has today.

Last night, Floyd Mayweather toyed with McGregor and TKO’ed him in the 10th round. As I expected, McGregor was out of his element, but again, I don’t blame him for going after this fight, because he showed us all that you can be anything you want to be in this life, and you can talk yourself into a hell of a whole lot of things in this world. He earned a shithorde of money, more than most people will ever make in their lifetime, and I think that’s something to admire.

A lot of people are praising McGregor for lasting ten rounds with Mayweather. I guess that’s an OK accomplishment, but as a seasoned boxing fan, the only reason this fight went on for as long as it did is because Mayweather allowed it to. If you’ve watched previous Mayweather bouts, he fights differently. In this one, he walked McGregor down, took his best shots and let him swing away, something he has never done in the past. After Mystic Mac wore himself out and became exhausted, Mayweather tee’d off on him.

Simple as that.

Now, hopefully we’ll be back to regularly schedule MMA programming… I want to see McGregor defend his Lightweight title against the likes of Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmagomedov. Or both, eventually. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that will happen. Who knows. McGregor might ride this boxing money train and we’ll see an unnecessary fight between him and Paulie Malignaggi in six or seven months. I hope that’s not the case, but damn it, I can imagine it.

I don’t care to see boxers or mixed martial artists switch sports like this. I enjoy both sports, but I believe you should stay in your lane. Again, I can’t blame McGregor for taking the boatloads of cash from this bout, but oftentimes you attract idiot fans from both sports who have cheeto dust on their fingers and chicken wing grease stains on their t-shirts who exclaim the opposite sport sucks. Example: “man, all MMA is 2 dudez humpin’ one ‘nother. Real men stand’n’bang!” by boxing fans and “Real fighting involves kicks and ground’n’pound!” by MMA fans. Those are vociferations echoed by simple minded dumbasses. I’m sick of nonsense like that. What’s wrong with being a fan of both sports?

Jon Jones popped for steroids for the second time last week. He’ll probably be forced to relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title soon enough. What a bummer. Maybe it was ‘tainted’. Probably not. This makes me disappointed. Daniel Cormier is one of the all-time greats, and could be considered in the “greatest of all-time” discussion, but now he’s lost two fights to a potential steroid user, and in this last fight he was knocked out and humiliated in front of the entire world from being concussed. That is utter bullshit.

I know that anabolic steroids run rampant throughout all professional sports. In some cases, in some sports (like Major League Baseball, which I’d prefer to see amphetamines legalized…), anabolic steroid usage does not bother me, but in contact sports like MMA and boxing, when you can seriously injure your opponent in a sanctioned fight, it sickens me.

I hope, in my heart, that it was simply just a tainted supplement ingested by Jones, because I enjoy watching him fight, but if he absolutely intended to take ‘roids for recovery, strength and weight cutting purposes, then that’s a damn shame.

Jon Jones Recaptured the UFC Light Heavyweight Title at UFC 214 by Knocking Out Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier is suffering from what happened to Junior dos Santos — the second best that would otherwise be the best if not for the man ahead of him. Sure, JdS defeated his worthy adversary (Cain Velasquez) in a matter of a minute, but Cain went on to take JdS’s soul in ten combined rounds in their next two fights. Cormier has now lost twice to Jonny “Bones” Jones.

When people would speak about the first fight between DC and Jones, I’d keep hearing so many of them clamor that DC was in the fight the entire way and that it was extremely competitive. I don’t know what they were watching, because to me, it never was. DC landed some nice shots in the first couple of rounds, but Jones took him to town in the final three rounds of that fight. It was never close in my eyes.

I didn’t know what the hell to expect last night. If you would have told me the fight was going to end in a knockout, I would have been sure as anything Cormier would have knocked Jones out, but nope, Bones Jones was the one to deliver the knockout blow, and it was artistic, if anything. The entire fight, all the way leading up to the knockout, Jones had been throwing low kicks at Cormier, and in this fight I believe it was competitive (unlike the first bout) and more even than anything else. However, it goes to show that Jones’ fight IQ is on another level, because the head kick that rocked Cormier happened when Cormier was expecting another low kick.

In another words: once again, Jon Jones in the UFC light heavyweight champion. What a comeback. And genuine or not, how can you not appreciate Jones’ classy remarks towards Cormier post-fight? Speaking of which, it broke my heart to see Rogan interview a concussed Cormier; I wish the UFC would stop interviewing fighters who have just been concussed via a knockout moments earlier.

I don’t know what’s left for DC. Maybe he moves back up to heavyweight and eventually challenges Stipe Miocic for the title? What else is there left for him to do at light heavyweight other than confirm his status as the second best light heavyweight of all-time? His record is unblemished, sans two losses to one man.

The rest of the card was good outside of two stinkers:

1.) Cris Cyborg vs. a human punching bag.

2.) Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia.

I’d hoped, so badly, to see Maia become the welterweight champion by way of being a human backpack. This fight was atrocious, because Woodley — having several chances and windows to land a TKO blow to Maia — played it safe, while Maia failed, over and over again (23 times, yeah?), to secure a takedown. Woodley is producing stinker after stinker as the welterweight champion of the world. He claims it’s because he’s fighting specialists, and he has a point, but it’s no excuse for not pulling the trigger in these bouts. This was also Maia’s probable last shot at a title, as he’ll be 40-years-old soon.

I don’t want to hear idiots make excuses for Woodley, though. That fight broke the record for the lowest amount of strikes in a UFC bout. That is pitiful. Woodley is clearly fighting not to lose, and I hate that shit. I already miss Robbie Lawler’s — albeit short — violent run as welterweight champion.

Woodley also said in the post-fight conference that, if Georges St-Pierre doesn’t fight him, then he (Woodley) is the greatest.


It’s a shame that Rory MacDonald is in Bellator these days, because he would wreck Woodley just as he did three years ago.

Last Minute Thoughts on UFC 214: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier II

I’ve been beyond excited for this rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. This is my “most hyped” fight of the year. I couldn’t care less about the money-motivated debacle that’s going on in boxing. You can tell the rivalry, or disdain, between Bones Jones and Cormier is legitimate. If you think that claim is dubious, help yourself to a few minutes of Googling.

So much has happened since January 2015, especially in the UFC. Jones lost his title and battled numerous personal issues. This is the third time the Jones/DC rematch has been rescheduled, and by all accounts, it looks like a go (finally). While we might never get Jones vs. Rumble Johnson, at least we have this rematch.

A lot of Bones Jones detractors like to say he didn’t dominate DC in their first bout. I disagree. I reckon he did. He controlled the entire fight from start to finish and outwrestled DC. Yes, DC landed a few clean shots, but Jones was never in danger of relenting the dominance of that bout.

In this second fight, there are so many questions that have arised.

Which Jones are we getting? He didn’t look good in his return fight against Ovince Saint-Preux last April, so how will he look tonight? What will DC do differently?

There are so many questions waiting to be answered!

I think it’s comical how many people out there are so sure in their prediction for tonight. Just like any bout in the octagon, it can go either way.

I see it as one of these two scenarios happening: DC either wins by a resounding first and second round knockout or TKO after she lands a monster shot on Jones in the clinch, or Jones dominates DC to a decision. I have a weird feeling about this fight. Every time a huge fight like this comes around, I get so nervous! You just don’t know what might happen! That’s why MMA has been my favorite sport in the world for several years now. The adrenaline rush is incomparable to anything else.

Two and a half years ago, for the first fight, I picked Jones by unanimous decision, and was correct. But all this time now, I’m so unsure. I have no clue. Just as I was two and a half years ago, I’m unbiased in my thoughts. I’m a big fan of both Jones and DC. Part of me wants to see Jones win his title back, because I feel like DC was never the champion, but on the otherhand, DC defeating Jones will solidify not only his status as light heavyweight champion of the UFC world but also his place in the echelons of UFC greats. DC is already known as one of the greatest to ever do it, because you can’t dispute his resume!

I just wonder if Bones Jones will use his range like he always does, and jabs, oblique kick and open hand range-finds (complete with eye pokes) to neutralize DC, or if DC will get him against the cage and batter him with dirty boxing-influenced uppercuts.

Call me naive. Call me silly. But I think the only way DC wins is if he knocks out or TKOs Jones early within those first couple of rounds. Otherwise, I see Jones using his reach as an advantage and comfortably settling in the longer the fight goes. I know that DC has the ability to grind out a 5-round, dominant victory via wrestlefuck, but never forget Jones’ abilities and skill enrooted in his Greco-Roman background.

Oh, by the way, this card is loaded! Three title fights (just to be clear, I’m rooting for Demian Maia vs. Tyron Woodley) and Robbie f’n Lawler vs. Donald Cerrone.

Will the Jets and Browns Overcome Long NFL Odds to Win Division Titles?

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Two NFL teams enter the 2017 season facing uphill climbs to win their respective divisions. However, if they are successful, those who had bet on them prior to the season starting will receive quite a return as the odds are 33-1 for these clubs, the New York Jets (AFC East) and Cleveland Browns (AFC North).

New York Jets

Clearly, hopes are not very high for those supporting this franchise and with good reason. And much of that lack of confidence is out of their control thanks to being in the same division as the New England Patriots, who have advanced to at least the AFC championship game in each of the past six seasons. However, the Jets would also struggle to win the division title in any other division.

But there are positives.

One is that the Jets have bounced back-and-forth between .500-or-better records and pretty lousy marks the last six seasons. Since 2011, the Jets have gone 8-8, 6-10, 8-8, 4-12, 10-6 and 5-11. If that trend continues, the team should expect a winning campaign and being able to compete for a division title. It may not be clear where that success will come from, but it wasn’t all that clear how the 2013 or 2015 Jets were going to get back to the .500 mark either.

Otherwise, the defensive line is expected to be solid, which would help keep scores close. Elsewhere on that side of the ball, the linebackers and secondary will need to be comprised of players having career or near-career seasons in order to give the team a realistic chance of winning every week. Offensively, there are glimmers of hope on the line, but the rest of the offense is one huge question mark. Even the quarterback position is wide open leading into camp.

Cleveland Browns

Probably the biggest thing that this team needs to overcome is the perennial-loser culture that exists here as Cleveland last had a winning record in 2007 when that team went 10-6. However, their last playoff appearance came in 2002 when the 9-7 Browns reached the wild card round before losing by 30 points to the Pittsburgh Steelers. And hopes are obviously not high this year either given their odds.

But, as with the Jets, positives do exist. After going 1-15 last year, there is nowhere to go but up, meaning that if the team can get off to a decent start, it may be able to build momentum as early wins can spark a snowball effect.

Probably the most important factor will be stability at the quarterback position. In 2016, six different players took the ball from the center. Cody Kessler will probably begin the season as Cleveland’s starter. A year ago, he completed 128-of-195 passes for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns. He also entered the penultimate game of the season and rallied the Browns past the Chargers, 20-17, the team’s lone win.

Another question will be how much protection the offensive line will give the quarterback and many holes they will provide the running game. The impact of Gregg Williams, the team’s new defensive coordinator, will play a significant role too as far as Cleveland’s hopes of competing for titles.

Bottom Line

When considering long shots, it’s important to remember that they do not need to pay off that often for it to still be a good bet. If a 33-1 selection comes through once every 20 times, that’s great. Which of these two teams has the best chance to overcome those long odds? It has to be Cleveland. The Browns appear to have more in their cabinet than the Jets do, and they don’t have the Patriots to overcome.