It’s the final week of the 2005 NFL Season. And plenty of teams are jockeying for playoff berths. This can also be a frustrating week for handicappers. It’s a week when handicappers have to figure out who’s going to play hard and who’s given up.
That brings us to the Rams. Who are the Rams? Well, they are a team that can still move the ball and score some points. But you know what? I wonder how much heart this team still has in Week 17.
Look at their season, they lost their head coach. They’ve lost a lot of games. They’ve lost a lot of emotion. So, what crawls into Texas Stadium Sunday night?
There is an aspect of this football game that is dramatic. Absolutely dramatic. The Rams are usually a terrible defensive football team. They are also terrible on special teams. But, inside the defensive numbers there is something that Bill Parcells must be drooling over. The Rams give up 4.9 yards per carry.
Defensively your aim is to get into the 3’s (3.6, 3.7). At 4 you start saying, “…I’ve got a problem with my defense…” The Rams are close to 5. That is staggering!
If this game means something, Julius Jones will go for 200 against this team. This might be all and all the absolute worst run defense in the league. And a reborn Julius Jones coupled with a Coach who loves to run the ball could spell disaster for St. Louis.
If you are a Rams fan, even with all of the problems, you can look back at some awful losses against some awful teams and think “…how did we lose to them?”.
This is the National Football League and in the NFL some teams just fall into a downslope. The Rams are definitely on the downslope.
The Rams have lost their identity. They have lost their heart. The Rams used to scare you. The Rams had the most aggressive offense in the league. They could outscore anyone. If you fell behind against the Rams, you knew that you would never catch up.
Things have changed. This Rams team doesn’t scare anybody. If you have anything that resembles a running game you are going to run all over this team. The Rams need their identity back.
They remind me of the Cowboys of the late 90s. In the span of 3-4 years, the Cowboys completely lost their identity as an organization. The team that dominated most of the decade had fallen on hard times. They would spend the first part of the millennium trying to find their identity.
When Bill Parcells took over, the Cowboys were a ship without a rutter. They had no direction. They were a team in search of a heart. Parcells has given this team direction. He has given Cowboys fans a reason to be optimistic.
Whatever you think of the Cowboys now, be thankful that you are not a Rams fan. The Rams have one of the hardest off season tasks. Not only do they need to make some big personnel moves, they need a heart transplant.