Oh how we’ve suffered, Rams fans. If it weren’t for the miraculous emergence of a grocery store shelf-stocker, a mad scientist offensive coordinator, and four future Fall-of-Famers, we might have even more bitterness towards the last 15 years. At least during the lean years we could look back on the oasis of the Greatest Show on Turf and dream – the same can’t be said for Browns or Lions fans. Still, we’ve been one of the losingest franchises in the last 20 years, and just last year watched (with one eye closed) what was rated the fourth worst offense in NFL history. Coming off a tough loss at Minnesota, it’s prudent to remember that we’re sitting atop the NFC West at 7-3, and have plenty to be thankful for.
- Sean McVay
Perhaps we should be thanking Kevin Demoff, or even Stan Kroenke, for the foresight and vision required to tab a 31-year-old offensive coordinator with zero head coaching experience for the job. Few could have predicted a complete 180 for the organization, but we’ve seen a dramatically improved offense, a playmaking defense and a far more disciplined, accountable and competitive team. All the credit in the world to McVay, who one day will shed the “Baby Gruden” moniker and spawn a legion of “Mini McVays.”
- Andrew Whitworth
Alex Barron. Jason Smith. Jake Long. Greg Robinson. The Rams have been looking for Orlando 2.0 for an eternity, and finally found him in free agency in the form of all-world left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The guy’s been almost perfect and has allowed our second-year quarterback to go from bust to baller in one offseason. His pass protection is immaculate, and his downfield run-blocking athletic and ferocious. If only he was 27.
- The Tennessee Titans
Thank you, the city of Nashville, for allowing us to trade up with you and select a franchise quarterback. Yes, we gave you a lot of picks (many of which you squandered), but we needed a real NFL quarterback, and it looks like you’ve given us one. A year ago, this would have looked like a landslide in favor of Tennessee, but through the additions of #1 and #2 above, #3 Jared Goff is a blossoming talent and will be our quarterback for many years to come. With Mariota regressing alongside Jameis and Dak, you have to wonder if LA and Philly will have the last laugh.
- The Buffalo Bills
Andrew already gave you proper thanks a few weeks back with his column “Dear Buffalo”. But it can’t be overstated. Allowing Robert Woods to leave in free agency right after you polished him for success was generous. Then sending us Sammy Watkins via trade for a pick you’ll use on a second-round bust was also simply KIND of you. In fact, if you want to gift us Tyrod Taylor to back up Goff or run some wildcat, feel free! Thank you, the city of Buffalo, and not just for the wings.
- Aaron Kromer
When “Snisher” spent almost an entire draft class on offensive line “talent,” the hope was that they’d hit on a few guys who could play and develop some depth behind the starters. Unfortunately, Fisher and his craptastic cast of characters never coached a single player up to potential, and current starters like Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein were designated for the scrap heap. Adding Whitworth and Sullivan at two critical positions has made the entire line better, but Kromer deserves a ton of credit for creating cohesion from chaos and fielding a top-10 unit from the ashes of last year’s high school offense.
- The Seattle Seahawks
Every champion needs a rival. Every hero a villain, every pretender a contender. By beating us in week five, Seattle, you’ve remained the team to beat (despite falling a game back in the standings). In order to win the NFC West crown, we’re probably going to need to beat you in Seattle on 12/17, and while we certainly can’t look ahead to that matchup, thanks for being there, ready for us, and for giving us the opportunity to vanquish you. No, we won’t care that you lost 75% of the Legion of Boom to injury, that your Coach made a crackpot call to cost you a game or that you may not even be in contention when we face you. We care that you’re there, ripe for the picking and that if we continue to play good ball we can win the division in your house. Put an “X” on this your calendars, Rams fans, and be thankful that we’re going to be playing meaningful football in mid-December.