As the Rams reach their bye week of this NFL season the question I ask is why now? I would have taken a bye week at many points earlier in the season, but now? Please NFL Gods not now! Not now Tavon is up and running, not now the twin beasts of Quinn and Long are clicking, not now our running back (yes we have a running back again) is finding his groove and being added to the Pro Bowl Ballot.
But Bye week it is, and what do we know now about our Rams that we didn’t 10 weeks ago?
Firstly, that the stories of our vanilla offense in pre-season being a disguise for the coming season were just stories. Leading to the questions coming back about whether we were right or not to trade that 2nd pick that led to RG3 in Washington (yes we were, by the way).
Secondly, on draft day 2013 most experts said we have a sure-fire contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year, (step forward Mr Austin). We do have a contender for Rookie of the Year, and Tavon may well force himself into the reckoning now, but step forward Zac Stacy. He has turned the focus of the team back to being a credible running team, and with opposition respecting the run comes space for our wide-outs. It is almost like Jeff Fisher had a word with the OC and said enough is enough. For a while our wide-outs looked like they belonged in an Al Davis Raiders selection, give them a baton and let them run the relay; big play potential beckoned but you need to keep the QB upright, it helps apparently.
The change of focus has come about in part due to the season ending injury to Sam Bradford, (this may well go down in NFL lore as the injury year) who with 14TD to 4 interceptions was working his way to a very nice season. This however leads me to the next point, who amongst us thought Kellen Clemens would prove to be serviceable? Hands up now… Go on be honest! Who knew! He has come in and done a good job, maybe we have a decent backup after all?
Jared Cook has potential to be a good Tight End in a league where the Tight End position is becoming more and more important, but like much of our offense we need to see more consistency now.
Going into this season what did we really expect? Everybody raves about the Seahawks and 49ers in the NFC, and oh yes they are both in our division. The Cardinals are no mugs; Bruce Arians is doing well even with Carson Statue Palmer at QB, goes to show how good their defence is.
And the Rams, who sit at 4-6 right now, are basically one play against the 9-1 mighty Seahawks, of all teams, from being at 500 right now (with a bit of luck could have been above 500 you could argue), coming off the back of a win, no, not win but Slaughter of the Colts.
The same Colts, who beat up the 49ers, beat Seattle and who even had the balls to beat Peyton Manning. They got an old fashioned butt kicking from us, no other way of describing it (yes they were without Reggie Wayne, year of the injury remember) but this was the team that bullied San Fran.
Now watch Tavon Austin’s TDs again, and count how many Colts even got close to touching him on any of the TD’s. Not even the Punter, and he is so famous for hitting now that the league put a drugs test on him. What happened Indy? Is this the real Rams? Or indeed, the real Tavon Austin? We would like to think so, but any given Sunday and all that.
The Given Sundays we have to come are the Bears, 49ers, Cardinals, Saints, Buccaneers and Seahawks. Not easy on paper, even the Buccaneers seem to have forgotten how to lose (is nothing sacred this year?! Even the state of Florida is winning games again, as I write Florida teams combine for 7 wins this year. Are Miami trying to identify with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premiership? … Lots of money spent, same performances so far.)
First up for us, the Urlacher less Bears. Not as fearsome on the defensive side of the ball are they? And with Cutler (likely to be a London Jaguar next season apparently) doubtful, what is there to fear? Well Forte is good, and our run stopping not so much, so look for Forte to feature. Marshall and Jeffery are both quality wide-outs and Bennett at TE is useful. But in all honesty Josh McCown should not be feared, let’s get after him; the passing threat should go with him. And when we have the ball, Run Zac Run!
But this could come to special teams and returns, and their D Hester is not bad, you might have heard of him. But we can counter with Tavon, confidence is high, and if we were playing tonight off the back of that Colt smacking performance I’d back us to win no doubt (that blasted bye week). However with a week to heal and prepare we can take this one.
Let’s cheer on the Redskins opponents for the remainder of the season as well. Saying well done tonight to the Eagles, and come on you 49ers, Giants, Chiefs, Falcons, Cowboys and Giants again ( not impossible for 0-6 start to take that division yet). But the 1st round pick owed for RG3 (said we were right to trade the pick) is looking like it’s worth a higher and higher pick by the week, and maybe worth something next May (possible trade alert, not like us is it). Because we need help in the secondary and linebacker, and we need to know what we have in Sam, is he going to be able to be the guy next year?
I’ll finish with this thought; now that we are in the month of Movember, (Rams fans know this I am sure) at this time of the year you have to say in Jeff (the Mo-father) we Trust! Bears beware! Go Rams!
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