Tag: Football

Nick Foles makes a grand entrance with Rams

The mark of a great quarterback is refusing to give in when the stakes are set high against your team and the momentum isn’t pointed in your direction. The great ones create their own momentum and bring their team back against adversity. On Sunday in front of a fiery St. Louis crowd begging for something to hang their pride on, Nick Foles brought the Rams back, steering them towards a 34-31 upset victory over the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks.

Instead of taking to Twitter to promise victory like Russell Wilson did, Foles just went to work when the whistle blew. After a few hiccups early including a sack strip and fumble return for a touchdown and a few ill-advised throws, Foles was dynamic in the second half in reversing another fate that would have been labeled “Second Half dooms Rams again.”

For years, that has been the Rams motto. Start fast and deflate quicker. Foles wasn’t going to have any of that Sunday. He went 18-27 for 297 yards, throwing the game tying touchdown to Lance Kendricks late in the 4th quarter and also rushing for a touchdown earlier in the game. He completed 66 % of his passes and didn’t think twice about the Seahawks aggressive defense. Some young players may have let the early troubles get to them and mentally shut down, but it seems like the harder the situation became Sunday, the tighter the focus Foles showed.

This is a quarterback driven league and every team treats their QB like a general, rather they are a star or not. The defense can play a great game, but if the quarterback can’t do something with the ball in their hands it all goes to waste. The offense needs him to guide them down the field. Be their navigator at all times. If the QB fails, the operation is finished. Forget the flags, the coaches, the head sets and the practice.

It hasn’t been easy for Foles. He was set up behind Michael Vick in Philadelphia and had to wait for his opportunity to shine. When he did in 2013, winning 8 games and throwing for 27 touchdowns, the credit was given to Chip Kelly’s offense and not Foles. He came into his first game with St. Louis with a 15-9 record but little respect and credit given. He was looked at as injury prone for damage taken to his shoulder in 2014. Any Rams fan that had reservations about the trade for Foles isn’t holding them today. The 26 year old has turned heads with his performance.

Sure, it’s only one game. It’s just a blip on the schedule for most NFL teams. For the Rams, it was oxygen to the brain and blood flow to the heart. The fans needed this. His teammates needed him to be sharp. Foles’ unsung hero work in the second half against the Seahawks may not make the Sportscenter highlight reel or get a four minute speech from Jon Gruden about mental toughness, but it will be remembered by anybody who was in attendance Sunday. Along with a stout defense that stopped Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson when it mattered, Foles was the X-factor in the Rams first win.

His postgame Twitter comments was more team oriented.

The rest of the schedule won’t be easy but the Rams have all the confidence in the world at the moment. To them, the possibilities are endless. That is the power of a huge Week 1 victory. The fanbase is energized and the rest of the schedule doesn’t look at tough. Nick Foles will probably have a few bad games and rough moments with the Rams. It’s a team pre-requisite to suffer through harsh times. However, Sunday’s play showed a taste of what the man brings to this team and why the Rams extended him before the first snap.

Nick Foles has something to prove and that is he can produce results in any offensive system and with any team. He’s off to a good start in St. Louis.

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Meet Todd Gurley, the Rams new running back

Since I am not your average college football addict, when I heard the name Todd Gurley this spring, I wasn’t completely aware right off the bat who the Rams got with the 10th pick in the 2015 draft. And since I am a George Carlin fan, I immediately thought, “Well, Todd sure is a weak name for a boy.” However, if you heard my neighbors down here in Little Rock, Arkansas, you got all the analysis a man could need. In other words, sounds effects.

“Whoooa!” “Oh mannnn!” “That guyyyyyy!” Gurley, who collected touchdowns at the University of Georgia like you collect diet cokes on a long day at work, put the Arkansas Razorbacks through the trenches during his time in college. So when my neighbor told me months ago, “your Rams got a great running back,” I couldn’t help but smile. His shoe prints were still being felt down south.

The 21 year old Gurley came into Rams camp fresh off knee surgery in the offseason, which has slowed his development this summer and will keep him out of preseason games(a good thing when you think about it). Gurley has started to practice with the team and looks as imposing as his draft card read back in April. The 6 foot 1 231 pound back drew comparisons to Marshall Faulk at the draft, and NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock liked the comparison a lot. His description of Gurley for NFL.com puts it bluntly why the Rams took this kid.

“I like the Marshawn Lynch comparison. St. Louis wants to win games the same way that Seattle and San Francisco do in the same division, that is by running the football and playing great defense and special teams. Gurley has Olympic-type speed. I love this pick for St. Louis, which already has a great defense and Gurley will help out Nick Foles.”-Mayock

Gurley doesn’t come with the wrapper untouched. He was suspended for four games for accepting 3,000 dollars to autograph memorabilia and his knee had other teams wondering if he could get that burst of speed back post ACL surgery. However, it has been nine months since Gurley’s surgery, and his limited participation in practice drills continues a normal rehab. An injury at an early age does project a healthy return.

There’s a lot to be excited for. Gurley was the second freshman in Georgia history to run for 1,000 yards and set a new record with 17 touchdowns. In a head to head clash with Clemson, Gurley ran for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2013. Watching the man work in videos, Gurley has a unique blend of speed and power. This bulldog has some bite. He can barrel through you or spin away. In 2014, he collected 62 percent of his yards after contact so his motor doesn’t stop when he is hit, it’s just getting warmed up. Instead of getting wrapped up by linebackers, Gurley will shred them like a house of cards and can cut back to the outside. He’s a multi-dimensional back who will fit right into head coach Jeff Fisher’s offense.

With Nick Foles driving the offense downfield yet needing that safety valve in a reliable back, Gurley should get plenty of action when the knee is stable and ready to roam. Together with Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham, Fisher is building a Game of Thrones type kingdom with his running backs and that is how the Rams will run for years. Gurley is a Fisher prototype.

The silver lining in Gurley’s suspension and injury is that he has plenty of football life in him. Unlike a guy like Jake Locker, Gurley didn’t lose a lot of his impact talent and tenacity in ugly college football battles. He’s still a brand new toy with some of the plastic attached. Unlike quarterbacks, running backs like Gurley don’t need to digest an entire system or adapt from shotgun to under the huddle. The transformation is apparent but not overwhelming. Gurley, when healthy, should be a force in this offense and an impact talent.

When it comes to young players in the draft, look at the tape and forget the combine. I don’t care how he did when the stadium was quiet and he was jumping, sprinting and moving without anyone around him. I want to know how he did in a packed house in Georgia with the pressure of the SEC barring down on him. That’s where the true analysis is dug up. From what I’ve seen, Gurley looks like a weapon of mass destruction. A healthy knee and discipline is all the kid needs. Todd is no “girley” man on the football field.

Under the tutelage of Fisher and company, Todd Gurley should run a long way for the St. Louis Rams.

Who Is The Rams QB Of The Future?

Forget the location of the Rams games in 2015 and beyond. Let’s talk about the quarterback position. Who plays this spot after this year? Another year where three different quarterbacks are slotted in as the lead arm and neither of them impress or survive long enough to make us ponder their contract situation? The Rams are mind boggling and inconsistent, but the biggest leak exists at quarterback. In this day and age, in this game, a solid quarterback is needed. You can be a ball moving runner like Russell Wilson, a management guy like Joe Flacco or Alex Smith or you can be a gunner like Peyton Manning. If you want to make it to the playoffs or the Super Bowl, a team must have confidence in their quarterback. The Rams don’t have it on the field right now and may not have it on their roster at all. It’s a depressing state to be in for so many seasons, especially after the drafting of Sam Bradford in 2010.

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