Bland. Mediocre. Vanilla. Dull. Uninspiring. Humdrum. Intermediate. Grey.
I think we can all agree that all of these words are synonymous with Jeff Fisher’s career, no? The man is a living, breathing 8-8 record. It has even gotten to the point where I get physically frustrated simply when the camera’s cut to him on the sideline. I mean, does Stan Kroenke even realize that his team is no longer in the 23rd ranked market in America?
This is Los Angeles. The city of Angels. Movie stars and silver screens. Beverly Hills and Hollywood. If you think that the fans out in La La Land are going to sit idly by and stand for this lethargic, flat, lackluster product you march out there every week then you are highly mistaken. Trust me… I was born and raised in New York City. Here if you do something as minuscule as sneeze the wrong way during a post game press conference the Daily News will be calling for your head on a pike.
But there is hope, Rams fans. The bright minds here at Going for 2 have a perfect solution for your weekly woes and they both have a high probability of booking the next flight to LAX as soon as the Super Bowl as concluded.
Drum roll please…
Jon Gruden and Tony Romo will be your quarterback/coach tandem in 2017.
As fun as the Cowboys have been this year, you have to feel some kind of empathy towards Tony. Just when Dallas had built their offensive line to be the best in the league, drafted the #1 running back out of college and arguably in the NFL so far and solidified a serviceable defense, Romo gets afflicted with, yet again, another debilitating injury. Common sense tells you to retire after suffering as many IR trips as he has, but the man doesn’t seem to want to hang it up just yet. At 36, Romo, if healthy, can maybe give you 2 more years of pro bowl caliber quarterback play.
The key to a successful last hurrah for Tony is a run-heavy offense with steady protection under center. The good news is that LA currently has a goldmine of a running back in Todd Gurley. The bad news is that his O-Line ranks 31st in the NFL.
Stacking up on offensive lineman should be Ram’s GM Les Snead’s first priority in the Draft – perhaps using their primary picks to select Ohio State Guard Pat Elflein, Florida State Tackle Roderick Johnson and/or Connor McDurmott, tackle out of LSU. Keeping Romo on his feet and establishing the run is vital to his success and allows him to test secondaries down the field. If there’s one thing we love about Tony that Dak or Goff doesn’t possess it’s the ability to launch the deep ball without cracking a sweat.
Romo will also need a competent receiving core. With Tavon Austin recently signing a 4 year, $42M extension, Los Angeles looks to have him be the main focal point in the passing game. However, he is simply not a threat down the field. Tavon is eerily similar to Percy Harvin in that they are extremely reliably 10 yard receivers who can also run the bubble screens and jet sweeps as good as anyone in the league. If there’s any hope for Romo to have his Dez, if you will, on the line of scrimmage they will either need to sign someone in the off season (cough cough DeSean Jackson) or roll the dice with Kenny Britt to be that big body deep threat. Either way, this is another facet of the Rams offense that is certainly rectifiable.
It is also important to consider the division the Rams are in. With Arizona taking a gigantic step back and the 49ers being, well, the 49ers, their main competition is the Seahawks.
Seattle, once again, looks like the second or third best team in football and should be on a comfortable ride to the NFC Championship game in 2016. However, one has to think how long this magic is going to last. Being a team that usually gets off to a slow start, the Seahawks are certainly a team that can be had if you jump early a la the Arizona Cardinals of last year.
If the Rams are going to have any shot of winning the division they will need to have a 2016 Carson Palmer like performance out of Romo and proficient qualified coaching on the sidelines which brings me to part two of this formula, Mr. Monday Night Football.
The Rams have not had a winning season under head coach Jeff Fisher so let’s all assume that LA knows what they’re doing and cans his sorry you-know-what.
Let the search for a new coach begin!
Sure, there are a few names out there that are appealing. Atlanta Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan has proved to be one of the brightest offensive minds in the league. Shanahan has an extensive history with the Rams and looks like he’s earned his chance to lead an NFL team as we enter 2017. Stanford HC David Shaw is also a probable candidate for the job next year. Since Harbaugh left, Shaw has valiantly guided the Cardinals to two Rose Bowl titles & has won PAC12 coach of the year awards three times since his tenure.
Both are viable options, to that there is no doubt, but when it boils down to choosing between a new project or an experienced Super Bowl winning coach, the ladder is exactly what the Rams need if they plan on bringing in a veteran pro bowl quarterback to establish a win now mentality.
It seems like we in the media seem to fall in love with the idea of Jon Gruden ditching his commentating gig to rejoin a promising NFL franchise every year. Remember the rumors swirling around him earlier this year?
When approached about whether or not he would consider the Eagles HC job if the opportunity arose, Jon responded eagerly that he would take it into serious consideration. Little did we know at the time Philadelphia was bent on hiring Doug Peterson to replace the failed Chip Kelly experiment, thus the rumors were exactly just that. Regardless, Gruden’s thirst to return to the NFL sidelines is hard to go unnoticed.
The question then turns to this: why would he leave his cushy job at ESPN?
According to various sources, Gruden was pretty rattled by ESPN’s failure to negotiate fairly with Mike Tirico resulting in his departure from the network. Instead, Tirico fled to Fox Sports and was replaced with Sean MacDonough, a man with the personality of a pallet of sheet rock and the enthusiasm of a 96 year old.
ESPN has quickly and recently gained a new reputation of under appreciating its most prized television/radio assets such as Colin Cowherd, Bill Simmons and Skip Bayless. Don’t think this isn’t incentivising a more rapid exodus for Gruden. Not to mention the word on the street is how badly the network wants to bring in Peyton Manning for commentary either to replace MacDonough or in the even Gruden leaves.
With the right approach, a team such as the Rams – an organization run by Stan Kroenke who has a close relationship with Jon – an organization centered around it’s defense, one of Jon’s fortes – an organization located in a major warm weather market (just the type of environment he loves) could be able to land him with more ease if they present themselves with a promising situation. Trading for Romo assures Gruden that he will have a competent and extremely talented field general in his arsenal along with the ability to allow Jared Goff’s maturation process to elevate their investment for the future.
Sounds extremely appealing to me…
As of today, the Rams as a whole are heading in a complete downward trend. Whatever could be going wrong, seems to be going wrong for the struggling 4-7 team and it’s only going to get worse if they remain dormant. All you really need to do is read up on yesterday’s curious feud between Jeff Fisher and former Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson to paint a perfect picture of the current state of the franchise. The more and more stories like this drag out coupled with inept play on the gridiron is only numbering the days of Fisher and exacerbating the decision for management to make some big changes.
Acquiring Tony Romo and Jon Gruden is the perfect formula for molding a successful culture and putting the past in the past. Have faith LA! Help will be on it’s way sooner than you think and if I’m right in my prognostication, that logo ya’ll recently inherited from St. Louis will be one worth showing off on one of those perfect California days.
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