Forget the fake mustaches, refined route running and the schematics. The St. Louis Rams are tough, edgy and given over to the idea that football is a physical battle. Fans wanted a little attitude to go with their football, and they got a truckload of it with the addition of head coach Jeff Fisher.
After RGIII's comments on Wednesday about the Rams playing dirty, the web is filled with musings on the team's new-found muscle. Huh, RGIII complained and now the sports media world is talking about it ... imagine that.
I love it. It's refreshing to have football with an edge after years of watching some inferior product that was the complete antithesis of the sport's physical nature. Some of those Spagnuolo moments had a crying-after-sex feel to them.
But it's a mixed bag of sorts. Tough play is exactly what this team so desperately needed, but it comes with a cost.
For Rams fans, Bernie Miklasz had the best take on the team's new look in a column on Thursday.
Redskins receivers seemed to become keenly aware of their surroundings after seeing Davis stagger to the bench. The visitors were, shall we say, a bit tentative in their pass routes over the middle.
Beyond goading the Josh Morgan's of the world into taking dumb penalties, there are some other benefits to tougher play, like the example above and another Bernie cites of teammates circling Trent Williams when a playful hello with his fellow Sooner alum Sam Bradford was misinterpreted. I suspect that mentality is helping an offensive line bookended by Barry Richardson and Wayne Hunter.
But there are the downsides.
From 2001-2010, Fisher's Titans led the NFL in most personal foul penalties with 163. They were called for a league-high 67 penalties for unnecessary roughness, and flagged 46 times for roughing the passer. Moreover, the Titans were slapped with 18 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
I'll gladly take the improved play.