It’s been an interesting week in sports for me. I just got done watching the Los Angeles Kings wrap up their second championship season in three years. At the same time I have witnessed The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s (dumbest team name ever) closer blow a four run lead in the ninth on Saturday and a 2 run lead just three days later. I could give two shit’s about the NBA Finals that just ended but I’m glad the Miami Big Three’s lost. What does any of this have to do with the Rams? I’m glad you asked internet friends…
The L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter is the man. I’m an L.A. boy so I’m sure many of you Blues fans can’t stand my hockey allegiance. It’s something we deal with at TST times because of the very strong support from Los Angeles fans. What makes him the man? Well first, have you seen his interviews? I can watch that shit 24 hours a day. What’s even more impressive about the man is his ability to shake things up in his locker room. He’s not afraid to make permanent adjustments to his roster. Jordon Nolan played a decent role in 2012, but was never seen in the 2014 playoffs. Youngsters Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli were huge this year and were brought up after the Olympic break. The youngsters played alongside veteran center Jeff Carter and the second line was one of the biggest reasons the Kings won the Stanley Cup.
Sutter is also not afraid to make in game adjustments. He switches players on his lines in the middle of the game to shake things up. Teams that ran into the Kings this post season had a difficult time keeping up with change in pace. Overall, the organization has made great moves the last seven years. They have built through the draft and made some really wise moves to attain veteran players via trade.
The other team in Los Angeles (actually Anaheim but I don’t have time for that shit show at the moment) near and dear to my heart is the Angels. This team has done the exact opposite of the Kings. Their farm system, most closely related to building though the draft in football, is abysmal. They have spent metric tons of cash on aging veterans including but not limited to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Gary Matthews Jr., Torri Hunter etc. The Angels can score for days, but their relief pitching is shit. The pile of excrement that loosely resembles a closing platoon has blown 10 saves; the most in Major League Baseball. I have no problems with Pujols, Hamilton, or Hunter. They are great players. Matthews Jr. was a disaster. The other three, although great, have not helped the Angels succeed in the playoffs, let alone the regular season the past three years.
The Angels skipper since 2000 has been Mike Scioscia. Scioscia is like Kurt Warner to me. I appreciate what he did to bring the Angels out of obscurity, but his time is done. The difference in Anaheim is…He’s still managing. In my heart I fell like Warner needed a change of scenery. I think Scioscia needs the same thing. I fully expect him to be a successful manager again, but not wearing an Angel’s uniform. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Jeff Fisher is also a great example of this. He has new life in St. Louis and is determined to make them winners.
The NBA… The NBA is dead to me. I love the Lakers but I have too much shit to tend to on a given day to follow. The Spurs won this year with team basketball which is rare in that league. Often times a star player can take over the series. I have no NBA/Rams comparison.
I will again ask what does this have to so with the Rams? Will the Rams follow the model of the Los Angeles Kings or will they follow the path of the "Geographically Confused Angels of Anaheim?" I think the Rams are on the right track. The draft has looked good the last few years. It really is too early to tell but it appears the RG3 trade has returned star caliber talent. Defense wins championships in every major sport. The Kings Defense is disgustingly good and the Rams appear to be heading down the same path. They have a host of young talent much like the Kings. Fisher showed he’s not afraid to shake the roster up. Cortland Finnegan and Darryl Richards looked poised to start for the long run last year. Finnegan was hurt, but he would have stayed in given the opportunity. Nobody on the roster aside from Sam Bradford, Chis Long, James Laurinaitis, and Robert Quinn has locked in spots. There is a host of young talent on the team that can swoop in and steal a spot. I won’t bridge the Bradford debate. I admittedly, am a Bradford guy. He may or may not be the guy but you can put his starting spot in stone considering the guys behind him.
Fisher and Snead have said they felt this was the year it will all start to come together. Tim Walton was fired and Gregg Williams was brought in. It’s what the Angels should have done last year with Mike Scioscia and their pitching coach Mike Butcher. If the Rams stumble on offense again this year under Brian Schottenheimer will hey stick with the status quo like the Angels? Will they continue to misuse Tavon Austin? This kid has some fire power. I don’t believe he will ever be a "#1 type" but the kid is quick and he can score. So far the Rams have done an outstanding job of signing the "right" free agents. There have been a few misses, but that is bound to happen. Jake long, Roger Saffold, and Jo-Lonn Dunbar all looked poised to be leaders, baring injuries of course. Kenny Britt was a good sign. He was cheap and his upside is massive. It could be the most under-rated off season move the Rams made.
The Rams are building the team with the philosophy of good defense and sound drafting jut as the Kings in the NHL. Fisher cannot be afraid to shake things up. If someone struggles, pull his ass out. Fisher made a bold move and fired a coordinator after only one year. Yes, the defense was a disaster, but firing somebody after one year shows balls and it shows his commitment to win. Stedman Bailey screwed up huge and it may hurt him because Fisher was starting to give him reps late in the season. Fisher also made a great move by switching to Zac Stacy early in the season last year. Those are the gambles I want to see from my head coach. Fisher needs to be a Sutter, not a Scioscia.