When looking up the definition of the word ramification, you would find this:
1a - consequence of an action or event, especially when complex or unwelcome.
1b. A subdivision of a complex structure or process
I would offer this to you my Rams family, the word Ramification sums up how we have been, who we are and what we will become of the 2013 season.
The event was the 2011 season in which we held the record of 2-14 yet still holding onto the four pillars introduced to us by then head coach Steve Spagnuolo, in hopes that character would win games. It did not and that failed ROI like many other things that season, lost a lot of folks their jobs in the Rams organization. It was a long and drawn out event that seemed to last forever.
I remember so many Sundays during that season where I would simply surf by the channel of the scheduled Rams game in hopes of hearing that the Rams had turned their on field mockery of game play into actual competitive football play during the Channel 4 Sports news segment or even something good on NFL Network. Most times, it was just embarrassing footage shown on how badly the Rams were beaten as a team and seat attendance in the Dome showed just how badly the city had been beaten over the years by continuous losing seasons. Most had lost the faith and others held on to blind hope that maybe "Punt" the magic football Ram would jump down the Ozark mountain on to the 50 yard line and give us a "chance in hell" of winning more games than 2 that season.
By the way, below is what I would expect Punt to look like:
Anyway, that was the event, so what was the ramification of that event?
In a word; change. Massive change through one man's hiring into an environment of autonomy to build a winning product on the american football field! Jeff Fisher had taken a year off from football after working a certain way under certain conditions for quite some time. That in itself could be viewed as an event. A coach who has done it consistently for well over a decade as a head coach and much longer as a coach overall decides, I need to step away for a bit. Like an adult time out. I'm with that.
After a year, he is courted by two teams. Rams and Dolphins head to head for this coach. Frankly I have to admit that I was shocked that St. Louis had the guts to go after Jeff Fisher to start. I mean it was so different from the norm that we as fans had been accustomed to. For years the Rams were the proving ground for coordinators trying to be head coaches, not a true club with the guts to have a real coach again. Last one we had was Dick Vermeil. Yeah you know him, that guy who coached us to our most recent Super Bowl win?
Yet what also got me pumped was the way in which they went after him. They went after him in a serious way, which told fans all they needed to know about how Stan Kronke was about to handle business as new majority owner.
Jeff Fisher Introduced as Rams Coach - 101ESPN (via 101espn)
Jeff Fisher comes to the St. Louis Rams!! Holy Sh&t!! Is this real? Yes it is Rams fans! Oh and we grab a wheeler dealer GM from Hotlanta and hence, the Ramification! That first season, the top notch coaching staff and Jeff Fisher turned the sinking ship around and we gave the NFL hell most game days! We were no longer the pushovers. We were no longer a team that you did not have to study hard to plan for. We had become a headache! In his first season, I watched on Sundays with anticipation and delight at being competitive. The losses are always a little easier to swallow when you see your team fighting and competing. It's when they are playing junk ball is when it makes you not wanna watch the game or pay for tickets, parking, t-shirts or anything else having to do with the team.
The St. Louis Rams made a splash in the 2012 NFL Draft with most media outlets giving them praise for the trade that put the organization in the driver's seat for how they grew over the next 3 years!
As a team, everyone's play elevated beyond what most expected. The players executed and we stormed the challenging NFC West like a freight train in comparison to years past.
The Defense was beastly, our Offense was just barely coming along and special teams was more like special ops (I mean that as a compliment to the special teams play from last season).
By the way, I must say, the best game for me last season was the homer against the Cardinals and Kurt Warner picks the Cards to win that night against St. Louis in the pre game show! Here was the post game show. Drop them zeros and stay with these St. Louis Rams heros Kurt! NFL link
TNF Recap: Rams vs. Cardinals - SportsCenter (10-04-2012) (via SportsCenterJSA)
New event, 7-8-1 record for the 2012 season comes and due to the amazing feats of our new GM Les Snead "the Footballer", the St. Louis Rams just happen to have 2 first round pick in the upcoming 2013 Draft.
Additional Ramifications occur as a result of this 2012 season, which should be considered an event.
What Ramifications you might ask? Well, to start, we finally have a named and titled Defensive Coordinator. Steven Jackson is gone, I can't believe it. We currently are still the youngest team in the NFL, but there is still a chance that we could see the playoffs. Our QB Sam Bradford has the consistency of being in a system for the second season straight. Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and Quentin Mikell are all gone.
Next event would be considered the 2013 Draft. There were plenty of mock drafts that had the Rams taking plenty of different wide receivers and cornerbacks in the first round, but no one could be prepared for what was about to happen. Neither were they ready for how it would happen.
The above are the St. Louis Rams Draft Class of 2013. A strategic bunch that present depth and contribution. All possess a skill or characteristic that we have not had before as a team.
We have heard the rumors of what is happening with our new free agent Jared Cook connecting with Sam. We hear the reviews of amazing catches in OTA's from the old head, Austin Pettis. Over the spring we even heard of our receivers taking the opportunity to study and get themselves to another level by training with those who have done this before them. Jake Long is a healthy Rams O-Liner?!!
The Defense is already a feared squad. They have already placed their stake in the league as dangerous and lethal. Just ask Alex Smith.
Dunbar Crushes Alex Smith (via Anthony Bafaro)
We have some work to be done at safety and linebacker. Yet this year I would say that the tools being used to perform that work this offseason are better than last season. So what was lethal will now become just that much more.
Also I've learned that when looking at the UDFA's each season, I've started looking at them not only as potential contributors or possible depth, but also Special Ops candidates. Yeah I said it, Special Ops. Why? Because I noticed that a lot of them this year had special teams exposure while in school. I see what Les Snead, Jeff Fisher and the staff are doing. It's better to have an entire roster full of "Swiss Army knife" types of players than a roster full of specialists. So many rookies start out their minutes on that side of the game and the potential for many of ours to get their playing time on special teams is high. Imagine having Alec Ogletree who has experience on special teams, Terrell Brown, Tavon Austin plus standouts from last season contributing on special teams?! That would be a special teams squad so dangerous you would HAVE to call them Special Ops. A band of few to do the amazing in the shortest amount of time.
That is where we are today. During the off season we have seen articles, although few, significant enough to show that the rest of the world is already seeing what the Rams family has known since the first event to initiate the ascension of our team back to where it should be; Elite!
Yeah I see you, some of you veteran fans looking at this right now wanting to laugh at that last statement, but be careful. You, more than any of us, can appreciate the fact that various events in the league over the last 5 years have led to quality coaching being infused into the NFC West and now our division is considered the toughest in the NFL. You do remember a time when the NFC West was considered the weakest in the league right? No more. That in itself is a ramification of the quality coaching that has come into this division.
Now we look towards the upcoming season with hope as Rams fans. Some with more doubt than hope, others with more expectation than concern. Many with apprehension at the thought of believing that our team is back to being a respectable ball club. Yet none of us can truly say that anyone on our schedule "scares" us or makes us feel like there is no way we could win that particular game. We as fans now look at the schedule with more confidence and analysis. So instead of just a "W" or a "L" for potential wins or losses on our upcoming schedule, we should now use "S" for smash and "C" for close. The Rams now compete. We now stand a chance of winning. Some think we even stand a chance at the playoffs. Ramifications!!