I didn’t think that there was any way for the LA Rams to make me concerned about their Week 8 trip to take on the Houston Texans. But here we are, and they have found a way to do so. Yes, that’s right. The LA Rams, the team that has defeated all opponents save the Arizona Cardinals, appear to be taking the Week 8 contest against the Houston Texans far too lightly. Appear, mind you. But appearances can be just as unsettling.
So what has triggered the nervous-nelly’s this week?
From sitting veterans to starting rookies, the LA Rams appear to be treating the very important Week 8 contest against the Houston Texans like a preseason game. While sitting veteran Andrew Whitworth makes perfect sense, the LA Rams have made it a point to manufacture reasons that create havoc.
In seven games, inside linebacker Kenny Young piled up 46 tackles, two quarterback sacks, one deflected pass, and one fumble recovery. While he is not putting up a Pro Bowl season, he was certainly good enough to remain in the defensive rotation.
When the Rams leaned upon DeSean Jackson when facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he responded with three catches against the Bucs for 120 yards and a touchdown. He also hauled in a 68-yard bomb against the Seattle Seahawks that put the Rams in a position to punch it in from the five-yard line for the score. In both games, Jackon’s contributions were vital to ensure a win for the Rams.
Win-now teams do not do this
Trading away a starting inside linebacker, namely Kenny Young, to go cold turkey on starting rookie Ernest Jones, who the team appears to want to start seems a bit over the top. The organization could accomplish the very same results simply by sending Jones onto the football field. If Jones struggles? Then Young is there on the bench ready to take over in a tight spot.
And then, putting veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson on the trade block because he has asked several times for more playing times is kinda over-dramatic as well. We lobbied for the very same thing in September 2021. Why not simply throw to the guy more often?
The moves so far walk like a trade, quack like a trade, and look like a trade. So it’s fair to believe that everything will make sense after the Rams have made all required personnel moves. But if the Rams do not end up there? Then trading linebacker and a wide receiver just for kicks seem very counter-productive to the efforts to win Super Bowl LVI.
The Rams have one vacancy on the roster, and may soon have two. Who the Rams choose to fill those positions will go a long way in calming concerns or elevating them. For now, the team has a game to win in Houston against the Texans in Week 8. Unfortunately, not one of the moves made this week has done anything to improve the team’s chances of victory.
Will the Rams win Week 8? Hopefully. But if they do, it will be despite all of the off-field distractions. If they do not? Well, in the words of the late-Desi Arnez to his then-wife Lucille Ball:
“You got some ‘splaining to do”