The LA Rams playoff discussion we need to have right now…
Sit starters? Con argument
One of the most basic rules in competitive sports is to compete. Give it your all. Leave everything on the field. There is an endless supply of cliches that hold some intended meaning that athletes must strive to compete regardless of the situation or circumstances. Unlike an on/off switch, competing is like the engine of a race car. You can idle it for a moment or two, but you never switch the engine off.
Winning in the NFL comes in clusters. While teams strive to earn a BYE week in the NFL Playoffs, how often do teams that sit a week win it all? The Green Bay Packers sat out Week 1 of the NFL Playoffs but lost to the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.
Sitting starters for the last game or two of the season may prevent injuries to players by placing them on the bench, but it does nothing to prevent injuries to those players when they retake the football field. The LA Rams removed starters in blowout wins against the New York Giants and the Houston Texans. After the Giants, the Rams struggled to defeat a winless Detroit Lions team the very next week. After the Texans, the Rams were defeated handily by the Tennessee Titans the next week.
Injuries are unavoidable
Rested players can still lose games rather easily. Think back to the 2020 NFL season after the LA Rams faced the Seattle Seahawks after the BYE week. The LA Rams were ‘rested’ entering the game, but emerged with plenty of banged-up bodies. The Rams lost LT Andrew Whitworth, DB Taylor Rapp, LB Micah Kiser, and PK Kai Forbath in that Week 9 contest.
In a COVID-19 plagued world, we’ve grown used to hiding in our homes, self-quarantining ourselves from the risks of a dangerous world and an uncertain future. We’ve grown accustomed to safe spaces, and believing that bubble wrapping players will protect them from injury. It’s a fallacy, folks.
Ultimately, professional football players must play professional football. You cannot protect players who are paid to play. Like it or not, running from injury seems to make those injuries all the more likely. The LA Rams need to show fortitude and integrity. This team cannot earn the respect of other NFL teams by sending out the platoon players until the game is ‘important enough’ for the stars to perform. The LA Rams need to play every game to win, and let the chips fall where they may.