The Arizona Cardinals take on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Turf Show Times and their editor, 3k, were kind enough to answer some questions about the Rams, their expectations and if things will be coming crashing back to earth soon.
1) The Rams offense has gotten better each week, but have they found an actual offensive identity yet?
Haha, oh Seth. That is funny. The Rams are in Year 5 under Jeff Fisher. There is no offensive identity. There will not be an offensive identity. The Rams' offense under Jeff Fisher is a combination of the faded memories of Austin Davis and the Rams' sad attempt to hashtag-market him as #TheKid, Brian Quick's Wikipedia entry and Todd Gurley's smile. The Rams' offense under Jeff Fisher is non-biodegradable. The Rams' offense under Jeff Fisher can only be measured in bitcoins. The Rams' offense under Jeff Fisher is best described with a bunch of Moog synthesizer noises.
2) Two bad games defensively, one phenomenal game defensively. What is this team on defense?
Well, it's talented. And it's physical. And it's inviting. Between the three, it's enough to find intermittent success. The Rams aren't going to be a top 10 defense with as much yardage as they give up (by design). What they can do, though, is disrupt teams' aggressiveness and hope that disruption either leads to defensive touchdowns, as it did last week, or the field position to help out the offense. When they struggle to disrupt the passing game, things can fall apart. And if you've got a disciplined QB and OC, which you guys have shown in years past, you can rack up yards and take full advantage of the Rams' defensive invitation to attack the middle of the field. But if you don't and you try to test the sidelines and the deep ball, the Rams are dedicated to making that process fail. They do a good/very good job at that.
3) Todd Gurley may be the best running back in the NFL, but he has not gotten off to a great start yet, is that because of the overall offensive issues, or is he just trying to do to much?
It's more of the system. The offensive line's not great. The passing game is so limited it doesn't space opposing linebackers and safeties. And the creativity level of the playcalling is very low. That so many people, yourself included, can suggest that Todd Gurley is possibly "the best running back in the NFL" while Gurley has just one 100+-yard game in his last 11 contests means one of two things: either he's not possibly "the best running back in the NFL" or nearly everything around him is deficient. I'm obviously biased, but I'd lean toward the latter. One things definitely true -- the Rams have done a phenomenal job selling the idea of Todd Gurley's excellence in spite of some very pedestrian numbers since Week 9 of the 2015 season.
4) The Rams are 2-1, after game one, I don't know anyone that thought they would be here, is this team for real or does the game one debacle keep fans from buying in too much?
If by asking if they're "for real" you mean "are they going to win a bunch of games and make the playoffs", the answer is "probably not." This is a team that isn't any different from the 2015 team on offense and is potentially worse on defense and started 4-8 a year ago. They're 2-1 for the first time under Jeff Fisher and this is Year 5. They haven't gone 3-1 since 2006. They haven't had a winning record at the end of a season since 2003. It's not the first game that's keeping fans like myself from buying in. The sample size is much, much, much, much, much larger.
5) How does Sunday play out and with a win does it make the Rams the NFC West favorites?
A win on Sunday would challenge the entire concept of the Rams under Jeff Fisher. This is the exact kind of "back to earth" game we've seen from the Rams every year under his management. Every piece of evidence we have from 2016 as well as 2012-15 suggests the Rams are going to lose this game. And yet...here I am, the Rams fan, finding ways to be hopeful.
If I'm predicting this game and trying to come up with something accurate? The Rams have lost four of the last five against you guys, and I don't see that trend being overturned. Honestly, I'm more worried that it gets entirely out of hand.
If I'm offering a word jumble just to try to twist fate towards what I'd prefer? Rams football win joy Fisher smile dance Gurley yards Tavon touchdown Robert Quinn Aaron Donald sack sack sack sack sack sack sack sack sack sack sack sack happy me