LA Rams fan guide: Which ‘RE’ category do you fall into?
By Bret Stuter
We know that the LA Rams’ 5-12 record in 2022 was a huge letdown for fans who finally had a taste of a Super Bowl victory, and loved how that felt. But how can the LA Rams shake off that bitter disappointment, get back in the saddle, and compete for a chance to play in Super Bowl LVIII?
It all depends on the type of fan you are, I suppose. What do I mean? Comments and discussions over the LA Rams 2022 season results, and what the Rams need to do to accomplish a successful 2023 NFL season, have been a hot topic among fans in comments sections and in Rams forums of late. And in reading through those comments, I’ve noticed commonalities and differences among the Rams fans. What types of categories?
Like the Eagles’ song Seven Bridges Road, the Rams’ spectrum of pessimism to optimism for the 2022 season into the 2023 season has seven different categories. They are:
This is the group that insists that the sky is falling and that the Rams need to blow it all up. When the Rams had to await the decision of LA Rams head coach Sean McVay to return, they had already bought into Mike Florio’s tired old narrative that McVay wanted to retire after winning a Super Bowl. He was wrong when he first pitched the idea in 2022, and he’s recycling the same notion this year:
This is a narrative that fans who are exhilarated by the demise of other simply cannot resist. Blow it up? Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and more suddenly traded away for ‘make me an offer,”? Um… I don’t think so.
This is the group that thinks that the Rams have a solid core, but the challenges of 2022 revealed fall too many shortcomings in the Rams roster as constructed. Some of the points are quite valid. The Rams walked too close to the edge, and the 2022 season exposed some of the shortcuts taken by the team at quarterback, offensive line depth, edge rusher, and more. It’s a bit on the pessimistic side in that there is no thought of performances getting muddled due to injuries or lack of time to coordinate and communicate effectively.
V: Re-group and refocus
This is the group that believes that most of the pieces are in place, but that the Rams coaching staff was remade in haste, and as a result, the team was led down the wrong path. Once again, some of the points are quite valid, as illustrated by the number of coaches released by the Rams.
The team can only be as good as the coaching staff, as shown by the performance of running backs and their surge after Thomas Brown returned to oversee that position group. The Rams have cleared their coaching house. So for this group of fans, improvements may be on the way.
IV: Re-hab and return
This is the group that believes that the team’s struggles were almost entirely born of an injury-ravaged Rams roster and that as players heal, rest, and rehab, the team will organically be competitive in 2023. And that has some valid points. In a recent article assessing the LA Rams roster, we tried to take an LA Rams perspective on the players who will be back for 2023, and gauge how likely the team will be to start them in 2023. While some positions on the Rams roster are frighteningly thin, some of the areas fans are most insistent upon addressing in the 2023 NFL Draft are already rather robust. Uneasy? Yes. But this group is less demanding of the team in terms of specific positions to draft.
This is an even more optimistic perspective, in that it simply calls upon others to remember the team’s recent history. A team that struggled in 2019, with a 31st-ranked offensive line, won the Super Bowl two years later. In short, this is the group of fans who are indeed nervous and disappointed, but whose faith in Rams GM Les Snead and Rams HC Sean McVay has never faltered or been shaken. These are the fans who stand by the “In Les We Trust,” motto, and they mean it.
This is one of the most optimistic views. Injuries happen, as do bad seasons. It’s all part of doing business in the unpredictable world of the NFL. This is the group of fans who have been with this team for many years, in good times and in bad times, and are not the least bit shaken by a down year. It’s like rain in the spring, an ice storm in the winter, a blustery fall day, or simply oppressive heat in the summer. It’s just part of the package.
Perhaps the most optimistic of all perspectives, this group of fans does not get disappointed, or angry. They want the team to go out and get even. And not just wishing, but this is the fan base that truly expects the team to deliver the ultimate performance in 2023:
What places this group of fans atop the optimistic pile? Simple the fact that a rebound in 2023 is not even a question mark. The only question in the minds of these fans boils down to how the LA Rams will make their opponents pay in 2023.
Now the only question is, which category of LA Rams fans describes you most closely? Be honest, as we are all supporting the team in our own unique way.