It’s been a difficult, maybe even terrible, homecoming for the Los Angeles Rams. They have won only four of their 15 games so far this season. The head coach who shepherded the team from St. Louis, MO to La La Land is gone and the special teams coordinator, John Fassel has taken over for the last three games of the season as the interim head coach. Before all of that was the big splashy entrance into the season with HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Los Angeles Rams.
Oh, and they have this rookie quarterback starting the game: Jared Goff. The QB that began the season as the starter, Case Keenum, has been benched and the third man on the depth chart, Sean Mannion is now second on the depth chart.
The 2015 Rookie of the Year, running back Todd Gurley, hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing game all season. On the other hand he only needs 155 yards today to reach the 1,000-yard mark. That’s achievable for a back like Gurley.
On Friday interim head coach John Fassel spoke about the struggles Gurley has had this season and being so close to 1,000 yards., “To still say ‘I got 1,000 yards,’ that would be a pretty spectacular feat. That would be one of the cool things to see guys achieve – a goal that, obviously, has been a real struggle to get.”
Today the Rams play another 4-11 team, the Arizona Cardinals. Their top running back, David Johnson, tied Barry Sanders (Detroit Lions) record of 15 straight 100-yard rushing games and today has the chance to break that record with a 16th straight 100-yard game. And his pretty close to have 1,000 yards receiving as well.
Then of course there are quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. That’s about as good a passing combo there is in the NFL right now. Think Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant; Tom Brady and anyone he passed a ball to this season. Of Palmer and Fitzgerald, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said, “They’re very, very, very tough, veteran players, both of those guys. There’s not a lot of things that you can do to trick them anymore, it just comes down to a battle of wills, a battle of discipline. They’re both outstanding players. The fact that we’re playing in the same division — they know us, we know them. They’re two of the very top guys in our league.”
Interim head coach John Fassel will have his dad, former head coach Jim Fassel walking the sidelines with him today, as he had the previous two games. “He’ll be there just like he was the past two games.” John Fassel said. “That’s been a really cool part of these last three weeks — have him be a little bit more involved with just what I’m doing, which has been cool.”
Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt, who has a 1,000 yard receiving year already, will miss the game with a shoulder injury. Right tackle Rob Havenstein and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner will both be out due to ankle injuries.
Both of these teams will be spectators during the playoffs so today it’s all about pride. Doing the job they are paid to do: play professional football and win games.
It’s nearly kick off so get ready for some football.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
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