The 2017 season is huge for the Los Angeles Rams franchise. To be honest, the reality is scarier to the organization than what fans realize. Stop for a second and really dissect what has happened this past offseason. With everything in mind, the Rams are truly battling for Los Angeles.
It’s odd to make that kind of statement considering that the Rams just relocated back to Los Angeles a year ago. Is it really time to push the panic button? In truth, the button was pushed when the Rams conducted a blockbuster trade for quarterback Jared Goff. The reason is justified, and the battle for Los Angeles isn’t about the Chargers, it’s about the entire NFL.
Los Angeles is a city of diversity, and much like the people, the fandoms vary. The NFL market in L.A. is still divided primarily between the Rams and the Raiders. Expect the die-hard Raider fans to remain loyal to their team, because although they are moving out of state, they are actually closer to Los Angeles than they were in Oakland.
There will be Charger fans, but there will be steady flow of 49ers and Cowboys fans into the area. The biggest issue is the Rams need to work overtime to establish the “Mob Squad.” Lucky for owner Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles was hungry for a team for over two decades. But this fan base is comprised of an older generation. Currently, the plan is to have these older fans pass along the traditions to a younger generation, and it will work, short-term.
So why the urgency now? Because for a city of skepticism, the Rams haven’t brought anything to the table to believe in. Last season was proof that former head coach Jeff Fisher and his vision for the future was not the answer. The “Goff project” didn’t provide results. As a result, Kroenke and general manager Les Snead conducted a coaching overhaul and changed the team chemistry.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting these moves were unnecessary, but much faith is being placed on the coaching staff. It reeks of desperation, but Kroenke and Snead will look like heroes if this season is even mildly successful. Consider this process as “accelerated redemption” for the fans. Yes, Kroenke does need to sell improvement, because as last year’s 4-12 record indicated, the Rams are far from being a playoff team.
Yet the Rams have new blood! The Rams have young blood! Don’t forget about Jack Youngblood!
That’s right, gone are the old concepts of the Jeff Fisher era. Instead the Rams are paying tribute to glory days by returning to the colors of the past. By doing so, Kroenke appears to be reaching out to the old school fans that have stuck by the Rams through thick and thin. Kroenke needs the loyal Los Angeles Rams fans. He needs them to be hopeful, he needs them to be nostalgic, and he needs them to recruit. The problem with recruiting is you need results on the field.
Cue in Sean McVay and Wade Phillips. Both of these coaches play a huge role into the grand scheme of things. McVay is the young, exciting offensive guru that will coach up Goff. He’s mysterious, he’s respected and has shown some modest success. Any questions of McVay are immediately dispelled with mention of one of the most respected defensive minds of this generation in Phillips.
In other words, if this plans falls flat, it still buys the front office some time. If this plan succeeds, the Rams will be placed back on track for supremacy in the Los Angeles market. The Rams cannot afford to lose any more of the market.
The Raiders have seen a remarkable amount of success recently, and arguably were a broken leg away from a Super Bowl run last season. If they continue to succeed and the Rams continue to be, well the Rams, take a guess where the market will lead to. Of course, other teams factor in, but the Raiders are in the driver seat with the fan base and the recent success. The Chargers could threaten too if they turn things around, but they too have much work to do.
If this season appears to be more exciting than the overly-hyped, Hard Knocks produced Rams squad, there are reasons. Just remember that Kroenke needs you to buy into the hype at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum in order to see any form of profit in Inglewood. The Rams’ success we’ve witnessed so far is temporary, and Kroenke knows it.