Sometimes I try to imagine what it would be like if the local football media covered other things, like the Pentagon or Congress or something like that. After three different radio station beat guys and someone from one of those freebie newspapers at the quick stop asked the same question, another would break the loop with an inquiry about the Cardinals or Provel cheese.
The question on everyone's mind at Rams Park this week is how the team doing in light of its effective elimination from the playoff race, i.e. are the players still motivated. Head coach Jeff Fisher answered that question back to back on Wednesday, and everyone else that the team's media department allowed in front of the microphone was asked the same.
And the answer, surprisingly enough, is that the Rams are as highly motivated as ever, not ready to quit with two games to play.
"Winning this next game is what's simply motivating us right now," Fisher said when asked whether a winning record motivated the team. "We're not looking ahead. Everybody's in the building walking around with the attitude not, as I mentioned, not that we lost the game to Minnesota, but rather we've won three out of the last four, so let's go win the next one."
That's been the line all year, understandably so. Because that's what coaches and players say, and in this case we can most definitely believe it. This isn't a lame duck head coach that's lost the locker room. Oddly enough, when the Rams were in that situation, this question was never asked ... making up for lost time, I suppose.
Steven Jackson explained the situation when he too was asked about the team's motivation.
"This team and all... it's a whole new roster, a whole new team," Jackson said. "The chemistry, the excitement, the guys, it doesn't feel like work. It actually feels like you're hanging in the locker room with your buddies and because of that, guys are going to go out and play for each other, regardless of what may happen or what may transpire to postseason, that guys are going to play these next two games all out."
Assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, a guy with decades of NFL coaching experience and who's, like, Fisher's father or something, put the matter to rest ... since asking the same question multiple times the day before apparently didn't secure enough bullet points for drive-time talking heads.
"Motivation should never be an issue," McGinnis said. "I've never been around a team in 27 years, defensively, that motivation has been an issue. There's so much on the line for you, professionally, as a player and as a coach. You only get 16 chances at it in this league. The years fly by. I can attest to that, that after 27 years it's so fast. You know how fast this year has gone. It just seems like yesterday that we were just starting this thing out. You can't afford to waste any chances. If there's any twitch towards a lack of motivation, then you've got the wrong person and you're in the wrong business."
If McGinnis' answer didn't put the issue to bed, I don't know what will.