Should I Be A Fan of the New Los Angeles Rams?
An important question from a young LA sports fan.
Tuesday it became official: the Rams are coming to Los Angeles. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t the biggest supporter of the move. I personally felt there were more reasons a move to LA would be detrimental rather than beneficial. However, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t feel excited once it sank in that there will be finally be football in the city I live in. I know they were here before, but that was before I was born, so all I have are youtube videos & stories from my dad. And the more I thought about it, the more excited I got as a football fan & overall LA sports fan. Once I calmed my nerves, I began to think about the team coming to play in LA & whether or not I’d be ok with being a fan of this team(I’ll always be a die-hard Raiders fan, but more importantly, I’m a football fan). From what I’ve seen from the Rams for the last couple years, they are a talented team that have a lot of potential & can grow as a team with this city. With that being said, there are still things they need to work on in order to successfully grow & not just hold, but keep the attention of the short attention-span that is the general LA sports population. Here are a few things that I like & don’t like about the Rams & what they’re bringing to LA.
WHAT I LIKE
Todd Gurley is the obvious choice to be excited for the Rams coming to LA. He finished 3rd in NFL in rushing with 1,106 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry, & 10 TDs. And that was in just 13 games. Gurley has the three attributes you want in a runningback: the strength to get through the defensive front, the elusiveness to make linebackers miss, & the speed to breakaway from the secondary. He does all three of those things very well not just as a rookie, but as someone coming back from a torn ACL. Not to mention he’s already been in a national commercial, so marketing him shouldn’t be a problem either. The sky is the limit for Gurley, & as long as he keeps doing things like this, he should do just fine in LA.
Being able to see other teams will be huge for Los Angeles. LA is a huge melting pot of people from all over the country who have had to relocate for work, school, family, etc. You walk around anywhere in LA & you’ll find hats, shirts, & jackets of other teams. Basketball & baseball fans always had a chance to see their favorite hometown teams & now football fans will finally be able to do the same without having to make the trip to San Diego or the Bay Area or all the way back home. It of course all depends on who the Rams will play, but this is a great opportunity for transplant fans to not have to worry about FOMO.
The Rams defense this past season wasn’t great if you go by the numbers. They finished 20th against the rush, 23rd against the pass, & 23rd in total yards allowed. However, I still love this defense. Injuries have hurt them over the last couple seasons, but you cannot deny all that incredible talent. Chris Long, Robert Quinn, & Aaron Donald are monsters in the trenches, James Laurinaitis & Alec Ogletree hold down the middle, & Janoris Jenkins, TJ McDonald, Mark Barron, & Trumaine Johnson are all good defenders, with Johnson finishing third in picks last year with 7. This is a young, talented, & hungry defense that looks ready to take the leap to the next level, & maybe a change of scenery can help with that.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE
The QB situation is not a good one. Despite a contract extension, Nick Foles was benched after throwing 10 INT & just 7 TD with a through 11 games. He also posted a Passer Rating of 69.0, which was second worst this past season. I’m not a big fan of the Passer Rating system & how it works, but anytime you finish second worst in anything that’s not a good sign. Foles was replaced by Case Keenum, who didn’t set the world on fire, but was still a good, competent replacement that kept the Rams afloat. This puts the Rams in a tough spot going into this season on who their QB will be. Do they go with the guy they traded for & gave an extension, but had a rough start? Or do they go with the career backup who posted relatively better numbers, but in a small sample size? Or do they look for someone else all together? Their offense has lots of weapons, like Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, & Jared Cook, that can make for a strong passing attack to go along with Todd Gurley & Tre Mason. All they need is someone to get them the ball successfully & consistently. LA is also going to want to have a marketable quarterback to sell as the leader of the team, so they have to find out who that’s going to be & should probably figure that out pretty quick.
Now when I say Jeff Fisher, I’m not saying that I don’t like him personally. He’s an LA guy who is a USC alumni(who I actually thought was going to be highly considered to be their next head coach)& was even defensive coordinator for the LA Rams in 1991. I always liked him during his time with the Titans & overall felt he had been a very successful coach. But ever since Bill Simmons mentioned in his pod about how mediocre he’s been as a coach, I decided to take a look into his claim. And sure enough, he’s been slightly above average, but average nonetheless. Now whether Fisher or the Rams like it or not, LA fans won’t settle for just average & will be quick to let you know about it. Just because you’re a big name who’s had success in the past wont give you a free pass. I know it’s much easier said than done, but if he wants to stick around in LA, he has to win early & often or else he might find himself out of here sooner than he’d like to be. And if you don’t believe me then just ask Vince Staples.
After weighing all the options, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t mind accepting the Rams as a team I can take in & root for. And it’s not just the team I’m excited about. It’s the whole experience of having a football team in my city, since this is something that I’ve never had the opportunity to experience. I’m not expecting Super Bowls right away, but I can expect to have fun cheering for this new hometown team.