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Turf Show Times - All Posts #7and9bullshit...has ended!
OPINION: What’s a Rams fan doing in Los Angeles?by Joey The Jerk on November 18, 2019 at 10:10 pm
Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images The art of cheering for the home team, surrounded by transplants from the opposing team’s city. Attending a Los Angeles Rams game at the Coliseum, especially against a team from a big market like the Chicago Bears, is quite the trip. Walking around Exhibition Park before the game feels like Halloween for sports fans. Everyone’s clothes indicate their home town in a way that begs the question: are we attending a sporting event or participating in a fan pageant? After the 17-7 victory, it makes you wonder where these teams are headed after Week 11. The Bears seem like they’re at the crossroads and headed for another reset. I like talking to people from Chicago. They tell it like it is. And for the most part, they love living in LA — this is a great city. But their heart is based in chilly Chicago, which means they’re gonna pay a small fortune to get dressed in Bears garb and root for the visiting team, even if they hate their QB. And they hate their quarterback. Every piece of Rams merch you see at home games goes to declare that there are people from LA who care about this team. However, probably more than any other NFL city, there is a whole mess of gear from the opposing team. Sunday night’s game felt as if a John Hughes movie barfed all over Exhibition Park. Does it feel like this at a Lakers game? Or a Dodgers game? LAFC? Nope. But fans of the other team show up at Clippers games, for sure. And if you ever dared to show interest in seeing the Chargers play, you’re probably there for the other team. I have lived in Los Angeles for the past 25 years (and Orange County before that) and I’ve found the Rams’ relocation to Southern California to be fascinating. When I met someone in this city, it’s almost instinctual that I’ll ask where they actually call home. I have this text chain with seven of my friends from college (based in LA) and not one of us share a favorite NFL team. I think this is normal for most people in Los Angeles — you can live here, but your family probably doesn’t. What has been brutal for the NFL fan base in LA is the notion that someone who moved to LA anytime after 1994 has no connection to the Rams. So, in all likelihood, they kept their allegiance to whatever NFL team that was closest to their hometown. And here is the kicker: even though these transplants still follow the, say, the Chicago Bears, they have, over time, become Los Angeles Dodger fans and Los Angeles Lakers fans. And why not the Rams? Well, just showing up in the past five years hasn’t helped much to battle multiple decades of allegiance to the Bears. Right? I mean, if a Bears fan is gonna turn to another team, the Trubisky era is a hell of a time to do it. However, inconsistent play from QB Jared Goff might be a dealbreaker for a fan looking for a comfy seat on a bandwagon. As the Rams continue their struggle to miraculously snag a wild card spot, they aren’t playing in exciting games right now. Goff is completing some beautiful but easy deep passes, but the rest of his game isn’t fun to watch. If you weren’t already emotionally connected, would you really watch the Rams’ offense and be like, “yeah, give me whatever this is every week. This is awesome. Goff forever!” The Rams are on the verge of moving into SoFi and I have mixed feelings about it. It’s going to be expensive to go to a game. And the Rams could very likely be a team on the outside of the playoffs without any first-round picks for a couple of years — GM Les Snead mortgaged the future to build an instant contender — a plan that has a realistic chance of blowing up in his face. Moving into a flashy new stadium with a major rebrand while the team suffers some lean years wasn’t in the script. But life comes at you pretty fast. Being a fan of an NFL team is complicated. Every moment you’re watching your favorite team means something, it’s all part of the experience, yet you know deep down that lean years will absolutely happen and you have to keep reminding yourself that even if the dreams of a Super Bowl fall apart, there’s always the future. A future that I can hope for in ten years: the Los Angeles Rams host an NFC Championship game at the packed SoFi Stadium as thousands of young fans in DE Aaron Donald gear cheer them on. And not an opposing jersey in sight.
POLL: Does Havenstein get his job back automatically?by 3k on November 18, 2019 at 7:52 pm
Los Angeles Rams RT Rob Havenstein blocks San Francisco 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa in Week 6, Oct. 13, 2019. | Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports The Rams’ coaching staff will have a huge decision on their hands soon. A year ago, the Los Angeles Rams started the 2018 season with starting RG Jamon Brown suspended for two games for marijuana. They went to OL Austin Blythe to fill in for those two games. Blythe ultimately played well enough to hold on to the spot leaving Brown sidelined. At the same time, the Rams started the year without ILB Mark Barron. While the role and snap counts didn’t exactly correlate, ILB Ramik Wilson filled in admirably with Barron dealing with an ankle injury. At right guard, the mantra was clearly “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yet at inside linebacker when Barron came off injury, he immediately went back into the starting lineup. The inconsistency wasn’t necessarily surprising though it reflected a coaching staff that was willing to treat those situations independently and not commit to a precedent of not fixing that which wasn’t broken. And now, here we are again. RT Rob Havenstein missed the Rams’ Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears with a knee meniscus issue that he picked up in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Havenstein, who has had a rough 2019 season after four solid years since being drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, was replaced in this game by rookie OT Bobby Evans. The Oklahoma product was taken with the 97th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. While interest was high having played on OU’s 2018 line which won the Joe Moore Award, given to college football’s best OL, Evans struggled mightily in the preseason. Last night going up against EDGE Khalil Mack, he did not. So now the Rams are back at the decision point. Hav was made the long-term solution at right tackle when the Rams gave him an extension last year that made him a Ram through 2022. Evans was made the short-term solution midweek. The results between the two, albeit in wildly different sample sizes, is stark. Allow TST Deputy Editor Brandon Bate to summarize the decision via his beloved Twitter platform: pic.twitter.com/ehRzqWVBoU— Bate™ (@NoPlanB_) November 18, 2019 If Havenstein heals up for this week or even if he doesn’t beyond that when he does if Evans can continue to play well, the Rams have a tough decision to make at right tackle. The right decision is the one that works. Which one is it?
Week 12 NFC playoff pictureby 3k on November 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm
Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald and EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo celebrate after sacking Chicago Bears QB Chase Daniel late in Week 11, Nov. 17, 2019. | Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Week 11 didn’t do the Rams any favors... While the Los Angeles Rams got their W in Week 11, they didn’t get any help in terms of the developing NFC playoff picture. None of the top six in the conference lost with four teams picking up a win and two on the bye. Here’s the current NFC playoff picture: San Francisco 49ers (9-1) Green Bay Packers (8-2) New Orleans Saints (8-2) Dallas Cowboys (6-4) Seattle Seahawks (8-2) Minnesota Vikings (8-3) Los Angeles Rams (6-4) Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) Carolina Panthers (5-5) Chicago Bears (4-6) San Fran, New Orleans, Dallas and Minnesota all won to match the Rams while Green Bay and Seattle were on a bye. The three teams behind the Rams all lost. We’re not far off from cutting this down to a seven-team race, but even then the Rams are going to need help. Here’s what’s on tap for Week 12: San Francisco 49ers v. Green Bay Packers Kind of a big one on Sunday Night Football this weekend. We’ll have to see what happens with the Seahawks before we get here. With the Vikings out, not a ton to glean in terms of rooting interest before this. New Orleans Saints v. Carolina Panthers Can Carolina play spoiler in the Big Easy? Hard to see it happening, but it’s the NFL. Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots Massive one here with the Pats picking up a close win over the Eagles yesterday. It’s a huge challenge for the Cowboys on the road, but it’s a huge opportunity as well. Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles The Rams could really use a pick-me-up from QB Carson Wentz and his crew in Week 12. Minnesota Vikings - bye It’s the last bye week in the NFL with the Vikings one of four teams not in action this weekend. Los Angeles Rams v. Baltimore Ravens If the Cowboys are dealing with an AFC behemoth in the Pats with a chance to extend their lead atop the NFC East, the Rams have a similar setup with less wiggle room. The Ravens are playing fantastic football. They’ve got wins over the Seahawks, Patriots and Houston Texans in the last four games. Demonstrable wins at that. Hands full. New York Giants at Chicago Bears I suppose I’ll keep Chicago in here for at least one more week. A loss here though would cut them out moving forward. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Rams just an 18.5% of making the playoffs right now. It’s going to take some help from our NFC West & North duos in the weeks ahead to open the door. The Rams still have to handle business on our end. Starting with Week 12.
Week 11 perspective recapby 3k on November 18, 2019 at 5:50 pm
Los Angeles Rams RB Malcolm Brown celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears in Week 11, Nov. 17, 2019. | Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images Here’s how things look coming out of the win on Sunday Night Football. The Los Angeles Rams put on a defensive clinic in Week 11 beating the Chicago Bears, 17-7. It was a much-needed win after the disappointing loss in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a very similar game. Here’s some perspective on the major outcomes as we get ready to gear up for a massive Week 12 clash on Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens. Injuries Seemingly, no big ones from yesterday. We’ll have to see when we get to Wednesday if guys were playing through some smaller stuff, but we might be looking pretty good. And of course, we’ll have to see where WR Brandin Cooks, RT Rob Havenstein and DB Darious Williams are at in their recovery. There’s also the nature of WR Robert Woods’ absence. While not an injury, Woods missed the game “due to a personal issue.” Whatever it was, here’s hoping the best for him and his family and that it’s not significant enough to keep him absent heading into Week 12. Performance Issues The offense here revolved around three major performances: QB Jared Goff, RB Todd Gurley and the new look offensive line. Lets start with that last group. What a fantastic performance. With LT Andrew Whitworth the only veteran past his rookie deal (by quite a bit...) leading LG Austin Corbett, C Austin Blythe, RG David Edwards and RT Bobby Evans, this group looked very good throughout the night leading to quite a bit of praise from Sunday Night Football Analyst Cris Collinsworth. pic.twitter.com/mMB19xgUDF— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 18, 2019 Just a fantastic night for that group. We’ll have to see if that keeps up heading down the stretch, but it surely was a welcome sign for a position group that has struggled throughout the season. Perhaps worringly then that this removed the consistent excuse the line has offered Goff on a night where he struggled for the majority of the game. While Goff looked very sharp on the final drive of the game to get a second touchdown and seal the game, prior to that he was 8/15 for just 109 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Goff did have two low-difficulty long-range strikes, but the throw of the night was a rope to sideline that WR Mike Thomas dropped. As for Gurley, the quality may not have been the highest of the year, but the quantity absolutely was. His 28 touches and 25 carries were a season high by a mile. If anything, that output as a response to his lack of a single touch in the fourth quarter in Week 10 just confuses things more, but it’s been a plan of confusion from the jump for Gurley this year. Expect him to get 2 carries next week. As for the defense, it was another spectacular performance. They’re going to have their hands full next week with MVP contender Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, but they’ve played fantastically the last month-plus. Standings While the Rams are still within striking distance, Week 10 didn’t offer any help. None of the top six in the conference lost with four teams picking up a win and two on the bye. So while the Rams are in striking distance, we need help from one of the two pairs in the NFC North and/or West: the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, and the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. Right now, you’ve got three 6-4 teams in the playoff seeds in the AFC. Just the Rams’ misfortune that the NFC has been so strong at the top this year. The bottom line is that the Rams need to stack up wins down the stretch. A loss to the Ravens won’t drop the Rams out of contention, but unless we get help from at least one of the teams in those two duos it won’t matter.
Rams-Bears: Matchups to watch revisitedby Sosa Kremenjas on November 18, 2019 at 2:10 pm
Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images The Rams came back home and rebounded with a big win over the Bears. After a disappointing loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Los Angeles Rams headed back home and rebounded with an important 17-7 win over the Chicago Bears. The win kept the Rams’ slim playoff hopes alive and effectively ended the Bears’ season. Let’s revisit the matchups to watch: Rams’ offensive line vs. Bears’ defensive line Last week’s matchup to watch: The Bears are not the same defense they were in 2018, but they’re still a strong unit that poses a lot of issues for offenses with their front-seven. The defensive line possesses the ability to disrupt a lot of what the Rams do in particular. Players like DT’s Roy Robertson-Harris and Eddie Goldman, and EDGE’s Leonard Floyd, and obviously Khalil Mack are as good of a front as there is in the league. The Rams are starting a brand new offensive line as both C Brian Allen and RT Rob Havenstein are out for the contest, and the replacement players in G’s Austin Corbett and David Edwards and T Bobby Evans have a combined four NFL starts. The offensive line needs to ensure some sort of stability, otherwise the Rams may very well put together another offensive stinker. The running game will be important, but protecting QB Jared Goff has to be of the utmost importance. The defensive lineman of the Bears oughta be licking their chops as they have the clear advantage in this battle. There aren’t enough good words in the dictionary to explain how much of an impressive performance the offensive line put together. Goff was not sacked once on the night and the rushing attack gained well over 100 yards on the ground. The new offensive line was helped a lot by scheme and chip blocks, but when they were called upon to do their job, they executed well. QB Mitch Trubisky vs. Rams’ secondary Last week’s matchup to watch: Trubisky may actually be the worst starting QB in football, though he is coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Detroit Lions. Still, the signal caller is a highly mistake-prone, inaccurate, and bad decision maker, giving the entirety of the Rams’ defense the edge. Trubisky is averaging only 5.8 YPA. This contest would be a great time for CB Jalen Ramsey to secure his first interception in horns. The Rams’ secondary did a marvelous job limiting the Bears and their weapons as Trubisky didn’t do much of anything on the day. The only positive play the Bears really had was a 20-yard touchdown to RB Tarik Cohen, but the coverage by ILB Cory Littleton was good on the play, he just didn’t get his head turned around in time to play the ball. CB Troy Hill pulled down an interception and CB Jalen Ramsey was locking every opposing receiver up. QB Jared Goff vs. FS Eddie Jackson Last week’s matchup to watch: The regression has hit Goff nearly as hard as it’s hit Trubisky as both QB’s are among the worst in QB rating this season. Goff is deserving of some context though, because the performance of his offensive line has been putrid. Generally, when given time, Goff has been solid, but those times have been few-and-far between. Going into this week, the offensive line has managed to downgrade further, leaving even the most optimistic with only the slightest amount of optimism for the Rams and Goff to get going offensively. Jackson has yet to secure an interception after pulling in six in 2018. Jackson actually picked off Goff in 2018. He’s not performing at his peak right now, but Jackson determines a lot of the coverage on the backend for the Bears. His range and closing ability as a single-high safety can make or break the day for the Rams’ passing attack. Jackson had a solid contest as he collected eight tackles and a forced fumble, but Goff got the best of the Bears’ secondary on multiple occasions. Unfortunately for Goff, he had two 51-yard deep touchdown bombs reversed, one completely wiped due to penalty and one ruled out at the one-yard line. It was a clear win by the Rams’ weapons. WR Robert Woods vs. CB Kyle Fuller Last week’s matchup to watch: Even though the Rams struggled offensively in Week 10, Woods — aka Mr. Consistent and reliable — managed to secure seven receptions for 95 yards. Cooper Kupp remains Goff’s favorite target, but teams would be wise to continue to double Kupp and force Goff to look elsewhere. Woods is likely to draw a lot of coverage on the boundary from Fuller as he’s developed into one of the best cornerbacks in football. Woods was a surprise inactive due to a “personal reason”. Fuller had an up-and-down contest as he nearly had a pick-six, but he also got smoked by WR Josh Reynolds for a 51-yard touchdown on a deep post that was wiped out due to an illegal formation penalty. Fuller is one of the top cornerbacks in football, but he also got-got by Goff and TE Gerald Everett on the final scoring drive when he jumped an out route to Reynolds that left a big open gap for Everett behind in the vacated area. CB Jalen Ramsey vs. WR Allen Robinson Last week’s matchup to watch: Robinson is one of the best receivers in the league, unfortunately being held back by his quarterback. Still, Robinson managed to put together a strong Week 10 performance, pulling down six receptions for 86 yards. The Rams are likely to allow Ramsey to shadow AR12. The matchup between the two is going to be incredibly entertaining as both players are emotional between the white lines. One thing to note: Ramsey and Robinson are relatively similar in stature, which could pose as a positive for Ramsey as he won’t have to deal with a small and shifty receiver. Ramsey proved yesterday under the bright lights on Sunday Night Football why the Rams traded so much for the superstar cornerback. Ramsey had a fair share of coverage on all three receivers from the Bears, but Robinson was absolutely locked up by #20. ARob had four receptions on six targets for 15 yards. Ramsey also had a big and beautifully clean hit against Robinson.