It was midseason when the Los Angeles Rams had a decent idea that the team was special and could have a chance to go all the way, which is exactly why they qualified as a “buyer” during the NFL trade deadline.
Obviously, as you know, the Rams secured a trade for Jacksonville Jaguars pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. Fowler was an outcast in Jacksonville, particularly because of their depth along the defensive line. For the Rams, it was a perfect addition simply because they lacked talent along the edge and Fowler brought it in spades.
Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated MMQB published a piece highlighting the struggles Fowler underwent in his short NFL career, from a torn ACL in his rookie season, to getting arrested, to being forgotten about in Jacksonville, and then his revival in Los Angeles. Here’s some fantastic snippets from the piece:
If Rams players had any lingering doubts, they were erased in the NFC Championship Game, when Fowler turned in his best performance of the season and made the critical hit on Brees. Exhausted and glossy-eyed as he sat at his locker after the game, Fowler had a lot to be thankful for. He rattled off the names of teammates who’d helped him learn the playbook in November: Aaron Donald, Samson Ebukam, Matt Longacre and Ogbonnia ‘Obo’ Okoronkwo.
Says Fowler: “That’s when I knew this team was special, because Obo’s a rookie. He don’t even play, and he’s teaching me the defense. I can’t thank those guys enough. In walkthroughs, practice, they’d take me through the plays, take me through the steps. They took me under their wing and just showed me the way. I just told them thank you all the time. They didn’t have to do that.
“That’s when I could tell everyone was for one goal. I was traded for, and there wasn’t an elephant in the room or anything. I’m grateful to work with a group of guys like that. We have a lot of star power, guys with accolades, rings, Hall of Fame credentials, but these guys are humble and they put all that behind them. They keep the main thing the main thing.”
Maybe it isn’t such a surprise that the Rams are going to play in Super Bowl 53 today, is it?