Change in Culture Already Noticeable in Los Angeles

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Updated: September 7, 2017

If asked to describe the Rams since their Super Bowl XXXVI loss fans would probably say words like boring, stagnant, or awful. After becoming patient zero to the Patriots dynasty, the Rams continued to try and maintain their “Greatest Show on Turf” status while allowing that foundation to deteriorate due to the rot going on behind the scenes. They had that one fun year in 2003 when Marc Bulger revived the offense and the team would lose in double overtime to the Panthers. After that fans were treated to a brutally schizophrenic season that saw them becoming the first 8-8 playoff team to win a playoff game (over Seattle). That season ended by getting run over by the Falcons and then they hit rock bottom more times than 90s era Robert Downey Jr. Fans kept waiting for a change and it never came.

Sure, management tried by hiring a slew of successful coordinators to be their coaches but Scott Linehan and Steve Spagnuolo weren’t the right fit. They went the veteran route with Jeff Fisher and at first they seemed poised to be a hard nosed defense and were content to run the ball with Steven Jackson but they couldn’t make the playoffs. Fans in St. Louis reasonably stopped going and the culture around the team remained inert. Once the team moved to Los Angeles and experienced a truly putrid 4-12 season management finally realized that something had to be done. Jeff Fisher essentially got himself fired after picking a fight with Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson just after signing an extension.

Les Snead knew he need to change things both on the field and within his own office if he was going to both make a better second impression in Los Angeles and salvage his job. Snead’s style of management with the Rams has been taking big bets and later building around them. He gambled by trading with Washington for a handsome pick package and that was hit or miss. He then gambled on Goff and this year he gambled on first year head coach Sean McVay. McVay is the youngest head coach in the league but due to his family’s history in the league he seemed wise beyond his years.

McVay acknowledged that when it comes to defense he knows about as much as Jon Snow so he hired Wade Phillips who has forgotten more about defense than many will ever know. Phillips will maintain the aggressive blitzing scheme that former coordinator Gregg Williams had only with an emphasis on discipline which that unit desperately needed. Snead overhauled the offense both on the line and with Goff’s weapons and in his own office recognized he needed to change things up as well. Prior to the draft he reorganized his scouting department and named former Broncos GM Brian Xander to run his player personnel department. Snead acknowledging his short comings is a massive sea change from the way the front office had been run even during the Super Bowl years. These changes haven’t proved effective one way or the other yet but its a welcome approach all the same.

All of these moves have actually bore fruit on the field. The preseason gave fans flashes of a fast paced offense that actually moves the ball up field. It’s a work in progress but it looks vastly different than what fans have been treated to these last five years. After over a decade of ineptitude the Rams seem finally poised to move their team culture going forward. That may sound like a buzzword but as fans across all sports know, its hard to win a championship if the culture is toxic from the top down.

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