After watching practice at Rams Park last Thursday, I saw a team that was focused and went about their business on the field with one mission in mind – the San Francisco 49ers. Coaches were coaching, Sam Bradford’s passes were crisp, receivers were snagging balls, SJ39 was running with burst and the defense was flying around with desire.
On Friday it was my understanding from several sources, that the Rams practice was again crisp, but the attitude in the locker room after practice was extremely upbeat, a confident almost cocky swagger. This was the same attitude this team carried after the win against the Washington Redskins – they had a bounce in their stride. Then they went to the Motor City and were embarrassed with a 44-6 shackling by the Lions.
This is a young team, and they are struggling to learn how to win on the road, and how to carry themselves after a win period. Having swagger is a fine line. You want the team to have fun, maintain their drive, and feel good about themselves, but this team isn’t there yet. They are not good enough, or talented enough, for swagger and being overconfident is never a good thing when playing in the NFL.
When I was the Director of College Scouting with the Carolina Panthers, we had a saying “the other 31 teams are not going to come to our rescue, and nobody gives a damn about us. No team is going to throw you a life line, you’re on your own at home and on the road”.
Along with avoiding swagger, overconfidence issues, the Rams are dealing with other issues. The difference in this game and the remaining seven is TALENT, TALENT, and TALENT! The Rams are close because of Sam Bradford, who is making the receivers look better than they are. Pro Bowler Steven Jackson is working to carry the load, and the scrappy defense brings pressure and competes hard. The Rams fan base is getting teased with a few big wins and several close loses. The Rams battle hard, but lose the WAR. Close doesn’t count.
Hang in there Rams fans, the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train, but a very bright future, as long as they continue to acquire TALENT, TALENT, and TALENT. Oh yah, forget the swagger, it’s not a good thing!