If you have some religious knowledge, you might know that Christians have been waiting for the second coming of their savior Jesus Christ for thousands of years. Now how does this relate to football? In the 1960’s and early 1970’s the Rams had one of, if not the most dominant defensive lines in NFL history that got the nickname the fearsome foursome and in 1999-2001 the Rams had one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history which got the nickname the greatest show on turf.
Ever since these eras ended fans have been longing for something remotely resembling either one. Unfortunately that hasnt been the case, the Rams have been sort of a disaster in recent years. However, times have changed and the Rams could just have the second comings of the fearsome foursome and the greatest show on turf at the same time on the same roster.
Some may not know this, but the defensive line of the L.A. Rams was not the first defensive line to get the nickname the fearsome foursome. In the late 1950’s the defensive front of the New York Giants that consisted of Andy Robustelli, Jim Katcavage, Rosey Grier, and Dick Modzelewski were nicknamed the fearsome foursome by the New York Daily News. However, it was the defensive line in San Diego that got the nickname on a regular basis. That defensive line consisted of Ron Nery, Bill Hudson, Ernie Ladd, and Earl Faison. In the early 1960’s the defensive line of Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Darris McCord, and Sam Williams in Detroit were also given the nickname. Finally in the mid-late 1960’s the defensive line of Rosey Grier, Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olson, and Deacon Jones were given the nickname and it was seen as an insult to give any other defensive front the nickname. These four players became known as THE Fearsome Foursome.
The Fearsome Foursome became famous as the Rams went from a yearly second division, under .500 team to a NFL powerhouse. It is honestly a shame that the NFL didnt keep sacks back in the day, because it would be truly interesting to know just how many sacks and tackles for losses these four players made. It really shows just how good these guys were when one of them is the reason the sack is now a stat and now there is an award given to the player with the most sacks because of him, Deacon Jones. Those four players would be the original fearsome foursome, but the next era of guys were almost just as good and got the name as well. That line consisted of Jack Youngblood, Merlin Olson, Fred Dryer, and Larry Brooks. Teams dont retire numbers very often, however Deacon Jones, Merlin Olson, and Jack Youngblood all have their numbers retired in St. Louis/Los Angeles. That shows just how great those players were. Sometimes you have to look beyond the stats to determine how great a player was, and that is certainly the case here as there are no official stats to back up what these players did just dominant play.
Now it probably is too early to come to any conclusions, but the four guys the Rams have right now that consists of Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, and Chris Long could be the second coming. They are all young players and still have a lot to prove, but what they have done thus far is pretty good. Robert Quinn is only in his third year and last season,as a sophomore, he managed to grab double digit sacks, 10.5. Quinn needs to get better guarding against the run, but if he can fix that, he could become a dominant player. Michael Brockers was only a rookie last season and proved that he can be a dominant force in the middle. After missing some time early on in the season due to an ankle injury, Brockers struggled. However once Brockers got back to full strength Brockers made a significant impact stopping the run. Brockers has gained more muscle weight this offseason which should only help him get even more push up front and be even more dominant. Langford is probably the weakest player in the group as he struggled last season switching from the 3-4 to the 4-3. Langford however says he feels more comfortable this season and could break out in 2013. Now the best for last, Chris Long. Other than Laurinaitis, Long has been the heart and soul of this defense since he got to St. Louis. Long has had double digit sacks the last two seasons and with three other guys that deserve blocking attention, Long could very well contend for the Deacon Jones Sack Award.
This line is no where near what the other two were just yet, but they could get there at some point. Ian Rappoport of nfl.com said that he asked other team coaches about the Rams and the first thing that they said was you have to be careful of that defensive line. This group has gotten attention around the league and they helped the team tie for the league in sacks last season, its only a matter of time before they get a nickname of their own.
The seven guys that made up two Fearsome Foursomes were legends of the game. It is probably too early to compare the four players on the Rams now to them and it may even be impossible because the original Fearsome Foursome played in a different era and we know what they did throughout their career. The Rams defensive line right now is still young, however in their first year together they were one of the most dominant defensive fronts in the NFL and they should only get better in their second year together. Who knows they could just be the second coming.