Earlier this week, Los Angeles Rams safety T.J. McDonald was arrested on suspicion of DUI. It is said that Mcdonald was under the influence of something else other than alcohol, but nonetheless he was under the influence and could receive suspension from either the team of the NFL.
McDonald is a big part of the Rams defense and with the team’s depth issues at safety, if McDonald does get suspended by the team or NFL, it won’t be an easy hole to fill even if it is just for a few weeks.
The Rams have had their share of issues off the field under Jeff Fisher in years past. Whether it be Stedman Bailey being suspended four games last year or Trey Watts being suspended indefinitely, the Rams have had their issues.
Now, that was in St. Louis where getting into trouble, while possible, isn’t easy. The Rams have now moved to Los Angeles where they will be under the spotlight and there are certainly more distractions. They will be featured on Hard Knocks this season which will put them even more under the spotlight.
Twice this offseason, Rams players have had interactions with law enforcement that often carries the kind baggage into a season teams would always want to avoid. Tre Mason was arrested in March for resisting arrest, reckless driving and possession of marijuana in Florida.
Head coach Jeff Fisher has shown that he isn’t afraid to draft players with off the field concerns as proved when he drafted Janoris Jenkins in 2012 and then Tyler Higbee just this past year. While sometimes the risk is worth the reward, these players can cause distractions and bring negative attention to the team which is something that you never want.
Fisher and general manager Les Snead have put together the youngest team in the NFL which means mental mistakes are going to happen on and off the field, however, it is up to them to keep those mistakes at a minimum, and given that the team has been in LA two months, so far they are failing.
The Rams are now in LA where avoiding these distractions is going to be difficult. At the end of the day it will be up to them to make the right decisions off the field which as proved by McDonald, a lot of improvement needs to be made.