Rams Fans: Take a Deep Breath and Relax
by Howard Balzer
There is a sort of collective amnesia that engulfs the emotional reactions that are commonplace in pro football more than any other sport. It's in large part a product of the number of games played and the obvious emphasis that exists on every game played in the NFL.
Now, as we all attempt to get a handle on where this Rams team is headed, that amnesia makes many forget what was said during the empty period when no games were being played.
Suddenly, despite obvious upgrades on a roster that was scuttled after the 2008 season, three losses without the team's best player now have many questioning the very moves that were being credited for putting the team on the road to improvement.
An offensive line that was showing growth in 2010 with two green tackles is now talked about as an underachieving group after being handled by three of the tougher defenses in the game on teams that won a total of 33 games last season.
Taking it a few steps further, Philadelphia, the New York Giants and Baltimore have won a total of 98 games over the last three seasons and 157 over the last five seasons. In those five seasons, the Giants missed the playoffs twice and Baltimore and Philadelphia once.
Don't forget, the Rams are one year removed from 6-42.
Say what you will about these first three games, and the performance was certainly horrific on Sunday, but this roster is still one filled with players that haven't been together very long.
And when that team loses four months of working together, it's not easy to overcome, especially when a new offense is being installed. Yes, that is part of the amnesia, too.
It was said often throughout the lockout, that the young Rams would potentially be a team adversely affected by the lost time. Remember? Now that it's coming true, those words are forgotten in the rush to put coaches on the hot seat, question personnel moves that previously were considered good ones and even wonder if hiring Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator was the right decision. After three games.
Every team in the Rams' division made significant changes in their coaching staffs, but, of course, the Rams haven't had the benefit of playing any of those teams yet. The only major change on the teams the Rams have played was the Eagles' defensive coordinator, and the Rams exposed that on the first play of the season when Steven Jackson ran 47 yards for a touchdown.
Of course, Jackson was injured on that play, and to believe that hasn't had an effect on what's happened since is the ultimate in putting one's head in the sand.
Perhaps the most ironic comment is one repeated often: "Well, it's not that the Rams are 0-3, but how they played that got them to 0-3." Yes, that is discouraging. But let's be honest here. Had each game gone down to the wire and the Rams still lost all three, the conversation instead would be, "Well, it's nice to play those teams close, but this team has to learn how to win. Someone has to make a play in the fourth quarter."
It would just be a different conversation.
The reality of the current NFL is that the Rams certainly don't have the market cornered on sloppy play. Heck, the Cowboys couldn't even get their players lined up correctly Monday night much less have their center execute a shotgun snap consistently.
What should be the case this year is that no owner, after signing off on the lockout and then agreeing to put their own teams at even more of a disadvantage with changed practice rules in training camp, should even consider putting their head coach on a media induced "hot seat."
That amnesia, and surely some owners will likely be afflicted by it, likely extends to the fact that even when new players were signed after the lockout ended, they weren't allowed to practice until training camps were almost a week old. Yeah, build chemistry on a team overnight.
Still, having said all that, it is time for the Rams to get angry. It's time for the leaders to step up and hold each other accountable.
As defensive end Chris Long said, "we have been through a lot of low times. If you've been here a few years, you've seen a lot of ups and downs, more downs than ups. We got some guys that are going to be resilient, because we've been in bad situations before. We're not down with it. Believe me, people in here are really frustrated with the way we are playing, but that's on us. We have to hurry up and get a win."
What they also have to do is keep their heads up because all the statistics about making the playoffs with bad starting records don't apply in the NFC West. San Francisco is 2-1 with wins over Seattle and Cincinnati. Last season, the ***** started the season 0-5 with road losses to Seattle and Kansas City and home losses to New Orleans, Atlanta and Philadelphia. They then went 6-5 the rest of the way and still had a shot at the division with two weeks left in the season.
The Redskins come to town on a short week after losing to Dallas Monday night. The Rams were 0-2 when they defeated Washington last season for their first win of the season.
Of course, two games later, the Rams lost to Detroit, 44-6, and the sniping was really raucous then.
Oh, did you forget that game? Amnesia can sure be a funny thing. Just take a deep breath and relax.
Re: Rams Fans: Take a Deep Breath and Relax
I think Howard brings up the biggest point I have than any other. This team is still young and full of:
Rookies that have a short lockout effected offseason.
1 year inexperienced players.
2 year semi experienced players.
With a couple of Vets sprinkeled in there.
I just don't see us having the leadership to get us on the right track or correct the ship when it's starting to spring leaks. Or maybe not enough of them? Point is think alot of fans are over reacting thinking since we have had 3 years to correct the roster which is true the new crop is still young, and only have a limited number of top tier successful FA's. Remember it took a while to get out of the financial mess the FO got us in that Spags and Devaney had to take care of that is still effecting us to this day.