The Los Angeles Rams begin the 2017 reset looking to improve on not just a 4-12 record from last season, but a decade below the Mendoza Line.
The Los Angeles Rams 2.0 will have a tough row to hoe this coming season. Besting a 2016 record of 4-12 will require second year quarterback Jared Goff and first time head coach Sean McVay to deliver at a higher level than at any time in their respective careers. For better or for worse, both guys are now tethered at the hip.
Fair or not, that isn’t an understatement.
For the optimist, it’s easy to point to a complete regime and culture change in Los Angeles and say by virtue of that, the Rams should be better.
I won’t disagree entirely with such analysis.
For the long suffering pessimists like me, I’d remind you that Goff is still Goff until his performance says otherwise. I’d point to a remake of the offensive line, lack of depth at skill positions like tight end and receiver, and a 31 year old freshman head coach.
One more thing, the Rams will AGAIN be one of the most traveled teams in the National Football League, and unless frequent flier miles are your thing, the insane travel isn’t a net positive.
Still all that said, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that change for the sake of change, can often render better results.
The Jeff Fisher era being ended as it was last season, was a year past due. His expiration date occurred in St. Louis NOT in Los Angeles, and that is important to note. While Kevin Demoff was quick to point to the former coaches’ stewardship of the team’s move out west and other factors as components for an extension in 2016, his regression as a head coach does link directly to the regression of the Rams as well.
So yes, change for the sake of change can lead to better things.
As former NFL coach and now ESPN QB guru Jon Gruden accurately points out, energy and optimism will mean something in LA, as it was missing the second half of last season.
Missing energy and optimism simply isn’t the case today in Los Angeles, and McVay is reason one, two, and three.
So, does that mean we’ve seen the last of 4-12 attached to the Rams in any retrospective moving forward?
That’s hard to predict, as the glass half empty guy will remind you of this team’s current makeup and history.
But the glass half full guy sees optimism, positive energy, and enthusiasm as having a tangible result on this still young football team.
Still I ask, will the ‘good feelz’ really be that tangible?
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Come New Year’s Eve, we will know just how much optimism, energy, and enthusiasm can truly affect an NFL team.
But I’ll say this: if the Rams can wrangle just one more win than last season, and it feels good come the New Year 2018, then Los Angeles may have hit the jackpot with young McVay.
Which will leave most of us wondering, who knew 5-11 could project to feel so good?