Posts tagged Los Angeles Rams
79th and Halas - Pick your poison

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Monday Morning Glory: I told you Sam Darnold was trash

I told you!

Didn’t I say that shit?

Didn’t I tell you niggas Sam Darnold was trash?

I’ve been saying it since his very first game at USC, a loss to Utah which ironically became his only loss that season. He set school passing records that season and led the Trojans to a miraculous win over Penn State in one of the wildest Rose Bowl games of all-time. Darnold was immediately pegged as a Heisman favorite for 2017 and a surefire first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, while the country was busy hugging Sam Darnold’s jock strap, I tried to warn you…

“He’s just another USC quarterback,” I said.

How many times have y’all fell for the great jig in the sky before? Carson Palmer put together a solid career, but THAT is the benchmark for Trojan QBs in the league in the modern era. Matt Leinart had the hype of John Henry’s hammer but never lived up to it in Arizona. In fact, his backup, Matt Cassell, who threw all of 33 passes in four years of college, went onto have a more successful pro career than the former Heisman did.

Mark Sanchez made it to back-to-back AFC Championship games, but the highlight of his NFL days was the butt fumble.

buttfumble-2.gif

John David Booty won a couple of Rose Bowl’s but with a name like JOHN DAVID BOOTY it was clear NFL success wasn’t in his future... Matt Barkley somehow is still on an NFL roster while owners, execs and media members alike are still lying to themselves about Colin Kaepernick… and Cody Kessler is…. Cody Kessler.

Simply put, the track record of success for USC quarterbacks in the pros is not that high, but regardless Darnold was expected to go first in the draft. The Browns shockingly knew better, that’s why they went with Baker Mayfield. Saquon Barkley to the Giants, no matter how bad Eli Manning is, was a slam dunk for the one true team of New York, but of course, that other team paying rent at Metlife couldn’t keep from making the same mistake.

You’d think the Jets would learn from past experiences, seeing that they traded up to draft Mark Sanchez nine years earlier. But nope… insanity reared its ugly green head again as they traded up and selected Darnold in April’s draft. A turnover-prone quarterback being stuck under the bright New York City lights in year one with unreal expectations of leading a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in eight years? What could go wrong?

Despite throwing a pick-six on his first NFL pass, Darnold shined in his NFL debut in Detroit. Since then, the Jets have gone 2-6, and Darnold is regressing badly. He’s eclipsed 200 yards passing in just three of his last seven games, has four multi-pick games this season (a league-high 14 in total), and has led the Jets to only 33 points in the last three games. He’s having a hard time reading pro defenses too, as evident here in whatever the fuck kind of pass that was..

The Jets were the worst possible environment for Darnold, and his continued regression could cost head coach Todd Bowles his job soon. Another coach could come around and save him, but in a city like New York that crowned him before his scepter was made, the damage could already be done.

Sam Darnold might end up being the best USC QB to hit the league since Palmer, but after Sunday’s FOUR-INTERCEPTION performance, I’m gonna take my victory lap, smoke my cigar and pour some henn dawg as I gloat and accept your apologies.

Maybe you’ll listen to me next time I call a quarterback trash.

QUICK HITS

LEONARD FLOYD FINALLY DID SOMETHING! IT’S ABOUT FUCKING TIME!

Honestly this was all Kyle Fuller. All Floyd needed to do was not drop the ball and get tripped up, but at least he’s on the stat sheet. Also… funny to see Leonard Floyd has scored more touchdowns in his career than “healthy scratch” Kevin White.

The Saints took down the last undefeated Sunday, beating the Rams in a Superdome shootout. I don’t care if we get this game in LA or New Orleans… Roger Goodell better get on his David Stern, make some calls, and make sure we get this game in January.

Michael Thomas is a bonafide top 5 receiver in the league. If that wasn’t clear before, it certainly is after he paid homage to the O.G. Pope Joe Horn with the flip phone celebration in the endzone to seal the game.

Double the points for the Snoop shirt in the postgame presser.

Since we’re staying in Louisiana, let’s shine a spotlight on those losers from Baton Rouge.

LSU, welcome to your tape.

ESPN spent the better part of the last week hyping the shit out of the big clash between #1 Alabama and #3 LSU. There was that wonderful promo about Tua’s greatness, and how he hasn’t seen an atmosphere quite like Death Valley. There was College Gameday and Alex Bregman’s proclamation that Tua wouldn’t even be in the game in the second half cause the Tigers were gonna blow em out!

Then there was pregame… the world fell in awe at the Fehoko family and their Haka. Man white people love making shit their own…

…and then there was Odell, happy as a clam he doesn’t have to run routes for Eli Manning this week.

Death Valley was HYPE! The world was HYPE! THIS was the year LSU finally takes down the mighty Crimson Tide!

LOL.

29-0. At the crib. Don’t ever tell me another goddamn thing about LSU. They are the OKC Thunder of college football… the hype seems fun to buy into early, but in the end they’ll always leave you unsatisfied like this poor girl.

NFL Week 7 Power Rankings: Rams have a new team to worry about

1) Los Angeles Rams (6-0)

Last week’s top team holds true. They’re now the lone undefeated team in the NFL but may not stay that way for long. The Rams face the Packers, Saints, and Chiefs all before their Week 12 bye.

2) New England Patriots (4-2)

Not even in my top ten two weeks ago, they’ve shot all the way back up to where we’re accustomed to seeing them. Sony Michel put together his third straight 100-yard performance of the season against the Chiefs and Josh Gordon is getting more snaps and targets every week. When Kansas City puts up 40 points and you still manage to outscore them, there’s not much your opponents can do.

3) Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

I’m not worried about them in the slightest. There were multiple instances in their Sunday night game against the Patriots where they could have pulled out the win. Their game against the Bengals should be another close one but they wont need to put up 40 points again.

4) New Orleans Saints (4-1)

The Saints were on bye this week so the only thing I could have done was move them down a slot to make room for the Patriots. The last time we saw the Saints, they were setting records and running Washington off the field. There is some cause for concern, however. If their defense doesn’t return to last year’s form, the next month of the season could be nightmarish. They get BAL (4-2), MIN (3-2-1), LAR (6-0), and CIN (4-2) in their next four.

5) Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)

This may be a little higher than they should be. The Chargers have one of the most consistent offenses in the league but they only have wins against teams they were supposed to beat. Their four wins have come against the Bills, 49ers, Raiders, and Browns. I’m still waiting for that signature win. Unfortunately, they wont have real competition until the final quarter of the season so they need to keep rolling if they want to be taken seriously.

6) Baltimore Ravens (4-2)

When looking at the current standings across the league, I noticed the Ravens have the second highest net point differential in the league with a +76. The only team better is the Rams with a +78. They’re in a similar situation as the Chargers. The Ravens have been getting the job done but the Steelers are their only notable win. They’ll need to be a little more consistent to remain near the top.

7) Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)

8) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1)

I’m keeping the Bengals ahead of the Steelers for now. The Bengals have a better record and the Steelers only won their game because of an illegal pick play that wasn’t called. The Steelers are on bye this week and will need to look more formidable upon their return.

One Big Mess

Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1), Chicago Bears (3-2), Green Bay Packers (3-2-1), Carolina Panthers (3-2), Miami Dolphins (4-2), Cleveland Browns (2-3-1)

The Vikings have one of the best passing attacks in the league but the running game and defense aren’t nearly what they used to be. Latavius Murray ran all over the Cardinals but it was the Cardinals. The same goes for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers mounted an incredible comeback against San Francisco but the Niners were in the driver’s seat for most of that game.

Brock Osweiler and the Miami Dolphins defeated the Chicago Bears Sunday in what I expected to be a bloodbath with the opposite result. After that game finished, I wanted to erase it from the history books. From what I saw, the Dolphins didn’t beat the Bears, Albert Wilson did. The Dolphins only had 13 points in the 4th quarter until Albert Wilson took two short passes to the house.

The Panthers were looking solid until they allowed a Washington team to beat them without throwing for 200 yards. That shouldn’t happen coming off a bye week. According to my logic from last week’s article, the Browns should be a 5-1 team. But when you have a losing record and get beat by the Chargers in that fashion, you become increasingly difficult to defend.

“Prove It” Games

New England (4-2) vs Chicago (3-2)

The Patriots are coming off their best game of the season and the Bears are coming off of their worst. This is the perfect chance for Chicago to swing the pendulum back in their favor. They will need to be careful as 3-3 will be hard to bounce back from in their division.

Detroit (2-3) vs Miami (4-2)

The Lions’ loss against the Jets on Monday Night Football is still fresh in some minds but more people should be taking notice of when they handled business against the Packers and Patriots. Detroit had a whole bye week to prepare for the Dolphins and Miami needs to prove that the Bears game wasn’t just a fluke.

New Orleans (4-1) vs Baltimore (4-2)

If the Ravens want to show the league that their defense is for real, this is the game to do it. They held the Tennessee Titans scoreless but this is Drew Brees and the Saints. Baltimore couldn’t even put up more than 9 points against Cleveland so something has to give.

Cincinnati (4-2) vs Kansas City (5-1)

Here are two teams looking to rectify losses that probably should have never happened. Cincinnati has been on both sides of nail-biters this past month. They beat Atlanta on the final play of regulation and lost to the Steelers on a controversial touchdown. This is the chance to show the league they’re the real deal. Unfortunately, they may need to score upwards of 30 points in primetime to do it.

NFL Power Rankings: Rams, Chiefs the class of the NFL

We’re a little past the quarter mark of the season and now a better feel for where all 32 teams in the league are at. Regardless, this was fairly tricky to pin down. Offenses are producing at record paces and less than a handful of teams have separated themselves from the pack. Teams are changing every week and there’s still plenty of football left to play.

1) Los Angeles Rams (5-0)

Nobody can really argue this one. They have all the talent for a run at the Super Bowl. However, their defense hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype. They’ve given up 31 points in each of the last two weeks. If you want to beat them, you’re going to have to outscore them. However, the offense has been downright unstoppable so good luck with that.

2) Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

Not far behind are the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs. It looks like an NFL version of a college style offense and nobody can seem to stop it - not even the Jaguars. KC is coming off of their most impressive team win of the season while the Rams dodged a bullet against the makeshift Seattle Seahawks. The Rams lost some weapons to concussions this week so we could be looking at a new top dog very soon.

3) New Orleans Saints (4-1)

I was worried about them for a little bit. Their defense wasn’t looking anything like it did last year and barely escaped with wins against the Falcons and Browns. My worries have recently faded as they looked like the Super Bowl contenders I knew they could be on Monday Night Football.

4) Cincinnati Bengals (4-1)

It looks like they’ve finally gotten their groove back. AJ Green is off to a rocket start after he felt he didn’t play up to his standards last season. This looks like a completely different team from last year. They finally realized Tyler Boyd is their true #2 receiver so the offense is moving well enough to be ranked 4th in points per game. Cincinnati also ranks in the top half of the league in time of possession, sacks, and interceptions. Star RB Joe Mixon now gets to rejoin the party after being injured the last several weeks.

5) Chicago Bears (3-1)

The last time we saw them was before their bye week when they ran Fitzmagic out of town. Although they lost to the Packers in Week 1, the Chicago Bears have bounced back in a serious way and look like the most complete team in the NFC North. Their defense ranks in the top 3 in sacks, picks, and points allowed. If Mitchell Trubisky can continue to look like the guy that dropped six touchdowns on Tampa Bay, the Bears will be a handful.

6) Carolina Panthers (3-1)

The Panthers continue to churn out the most consistent defenses and running attacks in the league every season. As long as Cam Newton keeps the efficiency up and the turnovers down, they’ll remain a constant threat to New Orleans.

7) New England Patriots (3-2)

The Patriots could easily be #4 on this list but their losses against the Jags and Lions really stand out. I didn’t even have them in my top ten at this time last week but their Thursday night game against the Colts changed everything. Julian Edelman is back, Sony Michel looks like a first round talent, and James White is finally getting the touches he deserves. Josh Gordon made the most of his minimal playing time and has every reason to push Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett for snaps. When that happens, defenses wont be able to double-team Rob Gronkowski anymore. The Patriots face the Bears in Week 7 in a game that will determine the future of this list.

8) Cleveland Browns (2-2-1)

I know I’m going to regret this one. They weren’t going to be on here but I thought about it. Then I thought some more. Just look at their games. In Week 1 they tied with the Steelers when they should have won. In Week 2 they lost to the Saints in overtime. That’s another game they would have won with a more accurate kicker. Week 4 they lost to the Raiders in the worst officiated game I can remember. The Browns have done everything in their power to be a 5-0 team.

9) Los Angeles Chargers (3-2)

Their three wins have come against lowly teams but their only two losses were dealt by the top two teams on this list. They still have a lot to prove to me. The defense has been shaky at best but the offense can compete with anyone. Their upcoming schedule is far from intimidating. All they need to do is stay afloat before Joey Bosa gets back and a playoff spot will be theirs.

10) Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1)

Similar to the Chargers, one of their losses came against the Rams and the tie came against the Packers. They should have lost the Packers game but what they did in the fourth quarter and overtime of that game was still incredible. Unfortunately, that game against the Bills is still weighing heavily on me. The Vikings are currently third in the league in passing yards per game but the defense hasn’t looked nearly as intimidating as years past. The absences of Everson Griffen and Dalvin Cook certainly don’t help. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt for now but they’re on a short leash.

Tough to Rank

Green Bay Packers (2-2-1), Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2), Tennessee Titans (3-2), Baltimore Ravens (3-2), Miami Dolphins (3-2), Atlanta Falcons (1-4)

The Packers and Steelers could easily take the place of the Chargers and Vikings but their losses left a bigger impression on me than their victories. The same goes for the Jaguars. They have the ability to beat anyone but they can also be defeated by anyone.

When I was planning this list a week ago, the Titans were #5. They were winning close games and the defense was suffocating everyone. But when you lose to the Bills and Josh Allen’s 82 passing yards, you plummet down every list. The Dolphins and Ravens were also in my top 10 last week but each took losses in the worst way last weekend.

I absolutely hate that the Falcons are 1-4. They’re in a similar situation as the Browns but luck swung even worse for them. Three of their four losses were one possession games and came against quality teams. The Falcons have still managed to have one of the best offenses in the league even without Devonta Freeman or a Julio Jones touchdown. The defense has been one of the worst in the NFL but that;s what happens when you lose Deion Jones and Keanu Neal on opening night.

Quarterly Superlatives

MVP: Todd Gurley
Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes
Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Denzel Ward

2018 NFC Playoff Outlook

Every season we tend to see around five new teams emerge during the season and make their way into the playoffs.  Most of them are surprises too. 

Last season the Rams and Eagles took two giant premature steps forward.  I didn't expect much from either team last year but now they both have the appearance of perennial contenders.  An injury to Aaron Rodgers allowed for three NFC South teams to book a playoff ticket. 

A lot can happen so let's take a look at a few certain contenders along with some of those potential surprises.   

Tier 1: Locked In

New Orleans Saints
Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Rams

The Saints were one Stefon Diggs touchdown away from having a real shot at winning the Super Bowl last year.  No more wonders of how Adrian Peterson is going mesh with the offense. Mark Ingram will be suspended for the first four games but they have no problem making Alvin Kamara the focal point of the offense until then. Michael Thomas, Cameron Meredith, and Ted Ginn Jr. are already a solid foundation but rookie Tre'Quan Smith adds even more raw speed.

Speaking of rookies, first round DE Marcus Davenport makes his way onto a stout defense led by sophomore CB Marshon Lattimore. 

The Vikings made all the way to the conference finals on the back of Case Keenum before getting embarrassed by the Eagles. They've been contenders for the past several seasons thanks to their elite defense so they have no concerns on that side of the ball. Their offense has gotten better every year and now it takes another step forward.

Replacing Keenum is Kirk Cousins, who's is a more willing runner and deep ball thrower. Dalvin Cook returns from an injury that derailed his rookie season after four games.  He possesses the best traits of both Jerick McKinnon and Latavis Murray and was actually on pace to lead the league in rushing at the time of his injury. 

Sean McVay was the blessing that Jared Goff and Todd Gurley needed. New life was injected into the Rams' passing game and the addition of Andrew Whitworth at left tackle gave Gurley some actual lanes to run through. Sammy Watkins was a great asset in the red zone but I think Brandin Cooks is an upgrade for the type of uptempo offense they run.

The defense lost Trumaine Johnson but added Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Sam Shields, and Ndamukong Suh so they should be all set. 

Tier 2: Not Far Behind

Philadelphia Eagles
Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers
Atlanta Falcons

The only reason I have the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles right here is because Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffrey are currently working their way back from injuries. If they're forced to missed time then that may cost them a couple of games. Regardless, their defense alone should win them games. I'm not concerned.

The Carolina Panthers have one of the most consistently disciplined defenses in the league regardless of who they plug in there. The offense tends to be a tad on the inconsistent side but everything is currently aligning. Greg Olsen and Curtis Samuel are back and healthy. Christian McCaffrey is expected to take a big leap this year as the projected three-down back.

On top of that, first-round rookie receiver DJ Moore was viewed by many as the most talented prospect in his position's draft class. If everything clicks, they could beat anybody.

Green Bay still had a chance to make the playoffs even with all of the time that Aaron Rodgers missed. Ted Thompson is no longer the GM so now they'll actually participate in free agency going forward.  Brian Gutekunst made that apparent with the signings of Muhammad Wilkerson and Jimmy Graham this offseason.  Graham has surely lost a step but he'll have no problem hauling in all those red zone targets that Jordy Nelson left behind.

From a fantasy perspective, their RB situation is messy. From a real-life perspective, they have three guys (Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams) that can start and produce on any given week. We all know their offense is a threat but their defense is sneaky good and is loaded with talent at all three levels. 

The Falcons' offense looked watered down in 2017 as they transitioned from a Kyle Shanahan offense to a Steve Sarkisian-led side.  Despite the step down, they still made the playoffs in a difficult division.  If they can get a better grasp on Sarkisian's scheme then they have all the pieces to return to form.  

Tier 3: Don't Be Surprised

New York Giants
Chicago Bears
San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals

In 2016 we saw the emergence of a stingy Giants defense that paved a way to the playoffs.  We didn't see that same defense in 2017.  The offense couldn't help them at all.  The entire receiving corps was depleted with injuries and there was zero semblance of a run game.  Now that 2016 team gets Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley.  I'm sure they're excited about a healthy Odell Beckham too. 

The Bears had a top 10 defense last year which a lot of people don't realize.  It's pretty impressive considering their offense was at the bottom of the league in terms of total plays ran. Jordan Howard has managed to be successful in vanilla schemes but now the training wheels are off in Matt Nagy's new offense.

Just like the Giants, they didn't have anybody to throw the ball to last season. Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller hope to aid Mitchell Trubisky make a leap similar to Jared Goff with his revamped team.

If I wrote this a couple months ago then I might have had the 49ers a tier higher. The hype surrounding them has been immense so I've tried to temper my expectations recently. The once elite defense has been a place mat in recent years but the front seven is young and promising. Richard Sherman also provides a type of intelligence and star power the team hasn't seen since Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman were together. Jerick McKinnon isn't as good between the tackles as Carlos Hyde but has a better knack for catching the ball which is what Kyle Shanahan is looking for.

The Cardinals could hover around 8-8 or even 9-7 this season, but they face a similar problem to the other teams in their tier. If everything goes right for the previous teams then the conference may be too crowded to let everyone into the playoffs. The Cardinals are probably one more year out from returning to prominence.

Their defense always lands in the upper half of the league, David Johnson is back, and they have a Hall of Famer in Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver. The glaring problem is the quarterback situation. Sam Bradford is talented enough to lead a playoff team but can never stay healthy for a full season.  Even if he is healthy, they may be too eager to get Josh Rosen on the field. Rosen will probably have the QB position set in stone by next season but Larry Fitz may be gone by then.

The Rams making a run for the Super Bowl, but can they keep all that talent?
(Photo: Otto Greule Jr., Getty)

(Photo: Otto Greule Jr., Getty)

Oh Shit!” is probably the best phrase to sum up the 2018 NFL off season. Many blockbuster trades Big Contract free agency signings has kept football fans on their toes. Particularly, the Los Angeles Rams have made the biggest splash. Most notably, they have acquired:

CB: Marcus Peters (2015 Defensive ROY, 2X All-Pro 2x Pro Bowl)
CB: Aqib Talib (2x All-Pro 5x Pro bowl)
DT: Ndamukong Suh (2010 Defensive ROY, 5x All-Pro 5x Pro Bowl)
WR: Brandin Cooks (eclipsed over 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past 3 seasons)

In short, all these niggas are like REALLY FUCKING GOOD.

Bringing these elite players to an already up-and-coming elite team arguably makes the Rams the most dangerous team in the NFL.

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Offensively, Brandin Cooks speed and ability to take the top off the defense will open up the run game, making the 2018 Offensive player of the year Todd Gurley even MORE dangerous.

Defensively, Ndamukong Suh  (Who is probably the 2nd most unblockable linemen in the NFL) is paired up with AarronDonald (Who IS the MOST unblockable linemen in the NFL) creating a brick wall up front. With two lockdown corners (Peters & Talib) there is literally no way around this defense on paper.

Do I smell a dynasty brewing!?

……no, Here’s why

Most of the Rams superstars have one BIG thing in common: This is the final years of their rookie contracts.

Unlike the MLB, the NFL’s cap space is one big thunder cloud that hovers over teams. Being that the rams have 3 of the most promising NFL superstars in Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, & Aaron Donald, Their salary cap room is gonna get REAAAL tight next year because nigga tryna get PAID. Aaron Donald will probably seek be the highest paid defensive player in the history of the NFL, Todd Gurley would more than likely seek to be the highest paid running back, and if Jared Goff has a slightly above average season, He’ll be paid as a top 5 QB.

Amongst the New free agents, Marcus Peters & Brandin Cooks are both in their final contract years as well . Peters will seek to be the highest paid CB and Cooks will want top 5 WR salary.

Theres NO WAY IN HELL the Rams will be able to pay all 5 of these niggas. At best, they will keep Donald and Goff. Depending on his production, Cooks may stay as well. Everyone else will be donning other jerseys in the upcoming years.  The 2018-2019 season is a “All or nothing” year for the Rams, and if they don’t win it all then, they will be back at square one.