My apologies everyone, as Christmas (or your selected holiday) draws near, I find myself *gasp* slightly less focused on the Rams and more focused on getting everything ready. I must say however, I was wondering about what to write about today.
Originally, I was going to look at how our team has been so unlucky with injuries, and what could be the cause of that. They've changed coaching staff (including the strength coach position, who, I might add, is filled with a qualified and experienced coach- not to say it isn't his fault but merely to point out that he has done the job with success before). They still play on the artificial field at the EJD, but from what I have found on the web (again, not exactly the most accurate source of information, but for the sake of argument, let's assume it is right) is that it is the same type of 'turf' that is used by many other teams, including the Seattle Seahawks (I've been to Qwest Field before, from what I have heard, the 'turf' is quite high-tech). I've also found studies that show injuries are no more likely then those on real grass and it appears it's merely a choice amongst those who play football to which they prefer.
So quite frankly, I was stuck thinking, well, what the hell is the problem?
What I came up with is that this team is cursed. Not in a Chicago Cubs way (it's not like we couldn't see this downward spiral coming) but it seems that when things can go wrong, they will. Most obviously, it has been the injuries. For no explicable reason, this team has had so many injuries it makes my head spin. It's one thing when you have players like Adam Carriker or Marc Bulger, (two players who've dealt with injuries in the past) get injured. But then you see freak occurances- the Bradley Fletcher (a nuclear bomb to the knee), the Jason Smith (a concussion from hell, apparently) or a Gary Gibson (dirty plays go on all the time, but of course it happens to be a Ram that gets knocked out for the season). There are almost as many starters on the team playing right now as there are on the IR.
Secondly, look at the drafts. Now, obviously, the previous front office wasn't keen on seeing talent. But truth be told, any player that they picked wasn't a monumental reach. Sure, their were some headscratchers, but it can be fair to say that if they picked someone in the first round (Barron, Tye Hill, etc.) they had been deemed a first round talent by quite a few people high up in the food chain. Not to say they were on the tops of the boards, but nobody let out a giant, "WTF?" when their names were called. When Mike Martz coached, all six of the Rams receivers had notable talent (even Mike Furrey had a great year in Detroit, and he led the team in INT's one year as well). Even Devaney's first draft is still a wait and see (Chris Long, Donnie Avery, John Greco). Sure it is still too early to tell, but passing on players like DeSean Jackson grow more and more questionable as the days go on. I'm not saying they are all busts, but surely you can agree they aren't all panning out as we have hoped (blame whoever you would like on this one).
It just seems like everything that can go wrong for this team is going wrong. This team could have easily been in the 4-6 win range with a little luck. Games like New Orleans, Washington, Jacksonville (even last week against Houston, and shoot, even the Minnesota game) were all winnable to say the least.
So the question I find asking myself is this: Is this team a few playmakers away from being respectable again, or are we looking at a sad, injury prone bunch that has a massive unlucky monkey on it's back? Being from Seattle, I've witnessed my fair share of unlucky-ness. I watched the Seahawks lose the superbowl to some shoddy calls, I've watched the Mariners (bats, playmaking, you name it) fall silent in the playoffs after torching through the league with 116 wins.
Leaving it with baseball, do the Rams have a unfortunate habit of leaving all their men on base (meaning they have the worst luck you've ever seen), or are they the football equivalent of the Pittsburgh Pirates (ala, they suck- just chalk up their misfortunes to that).
Feel free to find a catchy name for our curse.