Moving the Rams this offseason from St. Louis to Los Angeles was clearly the reason for their Hard Knocks nomination. Actually, we would have been shocked if the Rams weren't selected, since there were so many juicy aspects to the relocation and the players involved. This storyline alone would have been more than enough to drive the HBO reality TV show.
But then, raising their LA marketing campaign to level: Nuclear, the Rams one-upped themselves when they traded up from the 15th to the 1st pick in the 2016 NFL draft, presumably to select one of the top quarterback prospects in Cal's Jared Goff or North Dakota St.'s Carson Wentz.
It's clear that the Rams wanted to make a big splash in their new (old) hometown, as well as reach for the stars to find a franchise QB that would not only put the Rams over the perennial 7-9 hump, but give the LA Rams a marketable star at the QB position. We'll see on April 28th who ends up wearing the Rams ballcap. Whoever it is will be a clear frontrunner for Hard Knocks love.
Rams GM Les Snead had promised competition at the QB position this summer, and Hard Knocks viewers will be treated to the scintillating (Wentz/Goff)/Keenum/Foles/Mannion battle. Who will win?? I guess you'll have to tune in, because this will be the football version of the Bachelor.
Top 5 Secondary Storyline Predictions for Hard Knocks
The Rams will of course have more than those two storylines come August 9th, when Hard Knocks premieres. What are some of the other key storylines to keep the viewers glued to their TV's? We have some ideas. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments.
|1. The Return of WR Stedman Bailey
In November 2015, suspended Rams WR Stedman Bailey was shot multiple times in the head. He required extensive surgery and rehabilitation. Doctors were not sure if he'd be able to play football again.
Now, 6 short months later, Bailey was recently filmed running routes in the field with Rams WR Tavon Austin.
He could be a great feel-good story for Hard Knocks, especially if he returns to form and makes the 53.
|2. The Ascent of Todd Gurley
It's clear that the Rams are leaning HARD on Gurley for selling tickets and creating excitement in LA (almost as hard as he will be leaned on by Fisher this year if the Rams start a rookie quarterback).
He's on most of the Rams' promotional materials and is viewed as "the guy" the Rams tab for representing their brand. Once the season approaches, you won't be able to throw a stone without hitting a Todd Gurley billboard.
Gurley was recently approached about taking the LA sports mantle as Kobe Bryant retires: "Hopefully I can take his spot in L.A." So, Gurley is clearly up for the challenge.
Gurley has the makings of an NFL superstar based on his Rookie of the Year performance and the media's growing infatuation, but with Hard Knocks and the NFL's second largest market looming, he has a chance to take it to the next level.
|3. William Hayes Is Amazing
It's well known by now that William Hayes believes that dinosaurs never existed but that mermaids probably do. This makes him extremely lovable and a must-watch for Hard Knocks because we have no idea what he will say.
But, did you also know that he is a big believer in raising awareness for homelessness, and is passionate about solving that issue? He's a genuinely good man, and is also fiercely protective of his quarterback (check out his reaction to former Ram Jared Cook pushing then QB Austin Davis after Cook dropped a pass).
William Hayes is who you want on your side in a disagreement, and deserves his own reality show. He should be featured prominently.
|4. Johnny Hekker's Comedy Hour
Other than being a two-time Pro Bowl and All Pro punter, and one of the more underrated emergency quarterbacks in the league, Johnny Hekker is also an accomplished artist, radio show co-host (with Rams insider Dani Klupenger, "What the Hekk"), and fire Twitter user.
If you're not already following Hekker (@JHekker), you should do so immediately because he is a genuinely funny and smart dude who gets serious once he's between the lines.
He's a natural fit for Hard Knocks because of his comfort with an audience and ability to steal scenes, without any hint of pompousness or desperation. We expect him to be one of the stars of the show. If not, something's wrong.
|5. Jeff Fisher Is A Cool Cali Coach
Fisher is a player's coach, and loves positive media attention. He will ignore all negative media attention; it didn't happen and you can kiss his ass for bringing it up.
Hard Knocks will make him, and the Rams organization, look good and he will no doubt be the star of the show. After all, why not?
He is the prodigal California son, a graduate of USC, who after years of speculation and hand-wringing is now leading the Rams home to regain their rightful throne as the original LA football team.
This storyline will be interwoven throughout Hard Knocks (Kevin Demoff is also a prodigal California son, having grown up in the LA area) and will focus on how Jeff Fisher has his dream job.
Fisher's goal will be to come across as "cool and unflappable", a leader of men who has everything figured out after 21 years as a head coach. He's guiding the NFL's perpetually youngest team to battle.
He will win you over with his easy going style and confidence, but remember: this is a coach that has not had a winning record since 2008.