A Few 2018 NFL Reflections and Questions

In September, I admitted that my Rams actually wielded an NFL offense after they spanked the Indianapolis Colts. Even though the Colts have the worst roster in the NFL asides from the Green Bay Packers (you may want to dog the Cleveland Browns, but they played hard under Hue Jackson this season in spite of their 0-16 record), watching that game told me the Rams have something to build on. It’s called the eye test, and every true Rams fan watching that day saw a glimpse of hope.

Nobody, and I don’t care who, truly thought the Rams would turn around from a 4-12 season into NFC West champions this year. This season was a blast and I can’t wait until this September for some Rams football to return to my television screen. Just a few objective NFL thoughts and reflections going forward:

Can we stop judging football teams by how well they are doing in September and October and pay more attention to what is going on in November and December? I know the media needs headlines and storylines to make money, but it blows my mind how many people were crowning the Kansas City Chiefs the quasi-Super Bowl champions and Alex Smith the second coming of Tom Brady after the drubbing of the New England Patriots to open the season. Don’t get me wrong — I loved the bitch slappin’ the Chiefs gave the Patsies to open the year, but the way they faltered and ultimately limped into the playoffs, blowing an 18-point lead to a mediocre Tennessee Titans squad and losing… yeah, how about we stop the horse shit early season prognostications and give the season a little bit of time to bake?

I can’t believe the Cincinnati Bengals have given Marvin Lewis an extension. He’s been the coach for so damn long, so much so that woman who are poppin’ out offspring left and right from multiple fathers were just little babies themselves when he was first hired. This guy is like the Jeff Fisher of the AFC North. I understand that he stabilized the Bengals’ franchise and turned them into mediocre from the laughing stock they once were, but… this feller has not even won ’em a playoff game despite the Bengals being in favorable postseason positions multiple times. I love the argument, “Well! Replace he’em and see what happens! They’ll go back to being the Bungles!” As opposed to what? Making the playoffs and losing in the first round every year or missing the playoffs every other year nowadays? Lewis gets more chances than a suicidal cat.

~ Why in the world is the AFC so weak nowadays? Back in the early days of TSTOS, the AFC was the best conference in football. Now, there’s the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and then everybody else.

In 2017, we found out how truly important it is for an offensive minded head coach (or quality offensive coordinator) to teach a young, rookie quarterback. Look at Jared Goff under Jeff Fisher, and now look at him under Sean McVay. Night and day. A detractor I know — a supporter of Fisher — says that Goff naturally improved from year one to year two, but come on, he went from being a veritable bust to a formidable franchise quarterback, and that is not a natural progression by proxy. I’m excited to see what the new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy does with Mitch Trubisky & Co.

~ The biggest thievery of the season happened when the San Francisco 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo during the regular season. This is why I have my doubts with my Rams going into next season. Repetitive success in the NFL is never guaranteed (unless you are the impressive Patsies), and I can imagine that division being an absolute battle.

~ The Colts should look to hire Josh McDaniels from the Patsies. Hell, in hindsight, they should have kept Bruce Arians around and ditched Chuck Pagano after the 2012 season, but that would have been a horrible look considering how Pagano was fighting cancer at the time, but after the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, look at the Colts now. Disarray. And many idiots are writing off Andrew Luck.

~ Finally, and this isn’t an NFL reflection… I used to troll my buddies (just because I loved riling them up) over the SEC in college football. Aaaaaaaaaaand then I ended up with an Alabama gal who reminds me all the time about the SEC and Alabama’s dominance. Holy shit. This is some kind of crushing karma. To add insult to injury, my Hokies lost their bowl game to Oklahoma State. Also, the team I cheer for in the SEC — the Tennessee Volunteers (hey, I was born in Tennessee and have always cared for them as if they were a second team as long as they aren’t playing the Hokies) — had an abysmal year and I doubt they’ll change their ways anytime soon. To be frank, the SEC isn’t that great. Outside of Alabama, they are virtually meh. Georgia had an anomaly of a year, but so what? It’s the most overrated conference in college football, but that means jack squat when you listen to an Alabama gal have the right to talk trash with her team winning yet another national title.


Experience is the Best Teacher: The Rams’ 2017 Campaign is Over

I feel strongly in my heart that this season’s Los Angeles Rams squad is better than the Atlanta Falcons. Last night, the final result of the wildcard game between the two did not reflect that opinion, but I still hold it. The Falcons won due to their calmness and poise backed by their playoff experience.

The Rams dropped a couple of passes and turned the ball over twice in the first quarter, setting the tone of the game and giving the Falcons 10 free, easy points in the process. No matter how good a team’s defense is, the Rams were wore out by the end, and the Falcons held on.

Am I disappointed? By the way the Rams offense played, yes. They did not maximize their potential or play up to snuff. While I feel that Atlanta’s defense is pretty good, the Rams’ receivers dropped catches and quarterback Jared Goff was off more than he ever was in the regular season. When they didn’t score on their first two offensive possessions, I knew they were in trouble, and when the first punt was muffed, ohhh boy…

Hats off to Atlanta. They aren’t that great of a team this year, but they don’t have that bad of a road, only facing the Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles next week. I can only hope the Rams will come back stronger next season with this new experience under their belt, avoid serious injuries and ran the gamut in the NFC West again.

The 10-4 Los Angeles Rams: Evolve or Perish, Adapt & Overcome

The Los Angeles Rams stomped the Seattle Seahawks — in Seattle — by a score of 42-7 the other day. While I texted a barrage of comical — albeit friendly in a football fan rivalry sense — insults to a couple of Seahawks fans I’m friends with, I’ll refrain from bashing that squad on here.

That game on Sunday felt incredible as a long-suffering Rams fan. Even though the Rams posted 42 on the scoreboard, they left some points on the board in the first quarter. That is incredible to me. They are 10 points away from doubling the total amount of points scored last night, and there are still two games left.

I have said it in previous posts, and the same sentiment will reverberate loudly here: I am so proud of this Rams team, from being the laughing stock of the league to being the impending 2017 NFC West champions.

This was a long time coming, and it almost feels like the 1999 season when the Rams trumped the 49ers in an absolute thrashing that became the team’s statement game of the season. Watching the Seahawks sweep the Rams from 2005 to 2009 was painful enough. 2010, from a personal standpoint in my life as well as an entertainment/fan standpoint, is a year I would love to erase and redo (in a heartbeat). That was Sam Bradford’s rookie campaign, and in the last game of the season the Rams were set to finish with an 8-8 record and win the NFC West with that .500 mark. They had already beaten the Seahawks, snapping that horrifying five season streak of losing to them, by a score of 20-3 and all they had to do was beat ’em one more time, aaaand they didn’t, which catapulted a 7-9 Seahawks team into the playoffs which saw that crazy Marshawn Lynch run happen vs. the New Orleans Saints.

I haven’t watched the Rams win a playoff game since January 2005. 13 years ago.

That was just a couple of years before I started TSTOS.

Hell, in the entire existence of TSTOS, the Rams have never made the playoffs.

For this team to make the playoffs this year, it will be a groundbreaking experience. I forgot what it was like. I forgot what it was like to be a fan of a winning football team. I love it.

Jeff Fisher would have never won that game for the Rams in the way they did. He preferred long, drawn out slugfests that would have resulted in a 12-10 victory or a 21-7 loss. That is bullshit.

Evolve or perish. Adapt and overcome.

Sean McVay is BARELY older than me and he’s the head coach of the LA Rams. With that said, he’s a new school guy and he retooled the Rams’ offense in an explosive way. He had help from Wade Phillips for the defense and John Fassel for what might be the best special teams unit in the league. But the biggest difference between him and Fisher is that he is more open minded, younger, accepts change better than that old curmudgeon (Fisher). When Fisher was hired in 2012, a fellow Rams fan warned the fanbase that Fisher was oldschool, resistant to change, relied on old football dogma, would produce a stagnant offense and produce average results at best.

That Rams fan was a prophet, because that is exactly what happened.

I have not witnessed these remarks (surprisingly), but Seahawks fans and Rams’ doubts may state the following: “The ‘Hawks were injured and banged up! Russell Wilson has no help from his piss poor offensive line! The Rams need to face a healthy ‘Hawks squad!”


Simple counters:

– Seattle is the hardest place for any team to play at in the NFL. The Rams walked in and stomped them by 35 points, making it the worst loss the Shesquawks have suffered since 1997. That is a big deal.
– Russ Willy and the ‘Squawks have had a piss poor offensive line for a couple of years now.
– Every team in the NFL is banged up. Whether or not one team is more banged up than the other is a relevant conversation piece, but losing by 35 points at home to your divisional rival dulls this shitheel argument that could be made by ‘Squawks fans.

Whether the Rams go to the playoffs and lose by 50 or not, I love this team, and the prospect of the Horns going into the postseason and the ‘Sqquawks being left out warms the cockles of my heart.


No Matter What, I’m Proud of this Rams Team

I had to step away from the internet after Sunday evening’s game against the Eagles. I was beyond frustrated that the Rams let an opportunity slip from their hands.

However, I thought the Rams played a pretty complete game on Sunday evening and they know they can compete with the best teams in the conference. Injuries didn’t just hurt Philadelphia; they significantly hurt the Rams as well. Jared Goff played a pretty good game — not great, but good enough to win for sure. Todd Gurley was in full-on beast mode. Cooper Kupp was amazing and Sammy Watkins was effective as well. The Rams fixed a lot of things defensively in the second half; they have proven they have the best second half adjustments in the NFL.

In the end, it just wasn’t meant to be. You can blame it on the refs. You can blame it on injuries. You can blame it on play calling. You can blame it on time management. Whatever. The Rams had their chances and didn’t execute late in the game. It happens and I know they will be a better team because of this learning experience.

Because the Rams have had so much success this season, it’s easy for us fans to sort of forget where they were and just want so much as to where we want them to be. Good things are happening for this franchise.

I don’t want to dwell on this game too much, because this Sunday is a much bigger and important game. They will be playing the Seahawks in Seattle for what will most likely decide the winner of the NFC West.

The Seahawks are devastated with injuries on their defense, and maybe I’m just full of shit, but I feel like the Rams have a decent opportunity to step up and beat them on Sunday, even if the game is in Seattle and their overly noisy fan base is up to snuff. The Rams need to exact revenge on them from the first outing this season, in which they narrowly lost.

Besides, I need the Rams to win this meeting, as I have a seasoning/spice/rub wager going on with the Shesquawks fan on Instagram!

Here’s a funny story before I end this post: if you know me, you know I’m all about outdoor cooking, particularly grilling and smoking (barbecue)…

My girlfriend is a Christmas fanatic, and while searching for Christmas gifts, she found this grillmaster Los Angeles Rams ornament from the website Fanatics to put on our tree. It fits my interests, and well, had the right team been on it, it would have been cute.

I had no idea she had even ordered it until the package came in. She was super stoked to give it to me. She ripped off the packaging tape, opened the box and boom.

I had just finished taking a leak when I heard her say “We can’t use it… ” I thought that whatever it was must be broken. I saw the Seahawks logo and just busted out laughing.

Mistakes happen, but this one was a hilarious error from Fanatics. My little lady is furious. Figured I’d share this little story.


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.