Friday, January 13, 2017

Los Angeles Rams Weekly!

Los Angeles Rams hire Sean McVay as head coach
A few hours after the Chargers officially declared their move to the City of Angels, the Rams followed that up Thursday by announcing Sean McVay as their new coach. McVay signed a five-year contract with the team, a source informed told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The 30-year-old former Redskins offensive coordinator turns 31 on January 24, making him the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. He takes over the youthful title from Lane Kiffin, who was hired by the Raiders in 2007. Another fun fact: The Rams actually have one player on their roster older than McVay, defensive end and noted dinosaur non-believer William Hayes.

McVay first joined the Redskins in 2010 as an assistant tight ends coach, and his meteoric rise with the franchise concluded with a three-year stint as offensive coordinator. In his debut season in 2014 as Washington's OC, the offense moved up from the 25th-ranked unit in terms of yards per game to 10th. The offense finished No. 3 in YPG this past season.

The Rams, on the other hand, finished at the bottom in several offensive categories this past season, including yards per game (262.7) and points per game (14.0)

Arguably his most impressive accomplishment in the nation's capital is turning fourth-round quarterback Kirk Cousins into possibly one of the highest-paid players in the NFL this upcoming offseason.

McVay's biggest assignment in Los Angeles will be continuing his magic with 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. Goff's rookie campaign was an unmitigated disaster, and's Gregg Rosenthal ranked the signal caller dead last in his final QB Index of the season.

The Rams fired Jeff Fisher in the middle of the 2016 season after a 4-9 start, and under interim coach John Fassel, the team lost its final three games. Even worse, the Rams' would-be No. 5 pick is in the hands of the Tennessee Titans due to the draft-day trade for Goff.

Rapoport reported Thursday night that long-time coach Wade Phillips has agreed to terms will the Rams as the team's defensive coordinator.

Excited for the future of this team. Let's do this thing!

Los Angeles Rams to hire Wade Phillips as DC

Wade Phillips won't be retiring any time soon.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Los Angeles Rams have agreed to terms with Phillips to become the team's defensive coordinator. The news comes hours after the team announced Sean McVay as its new head coach.

Phillips, who will enter his 39th season in the league come fall, most recently served as the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator the last two seasons, including the team's Super Bowl 50 title run and victory over the Carolina Panthers.

In Los Angeles, he'll inherit a young Rams defense, featuring stars like defensive tackle Aaron Donald and defensive end Robert Quinn.

Phillips is known for his complex 3-4 defense while the Rams are best suited for a 4-3 scheme. The veteran said in an interview last year ahead of the Super Bowl that he's willing to adapt his style to fit his players' best traits -- something he'll have to do in L.A.

"We try to fit what the players can do in the defense rather than saying, 'OK, we're a 4-3 or we're a two-gap 3-4,'" Phillips said per The Denver Post. "We're a team where if a guy can stunt and rush the passer, we let him do that. If a guy is a power guy, we try to let him be that. It's all what individual players can do."

Phillips thanked the Broncos' organization via Twitter on Friday morning.
Bruce, Warner Named Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Finalists. The list of 15 Modern-Era Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 include seven players who are finalists for the first time. The group includes three first-year eligible nominees – Brian Dawkins, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson.

The 15 Modern-Era Finalists will be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in Houston on the day before Super Bowl LI to elect the new class. The Modern-Era Finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 94 nominees that earlier was reduced to 26 semifinalists, during the year-long selection process.

The 2017 Modern-Era Finalists with their positions, years and teams:

·         Isaac Bruce, Wide Receiver – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers
·         Kurt Warner, Quarterback – 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals
·         Morten Andersen, Kicker – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings
·         Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars
·         Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
·         Terrell Davis, Running Back – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
·         Brian Dawkins, Safety – 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos
·         Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
·         Joe Jacoby, Tackle – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins
·         Ty Law, Cornerback – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos
·         John Lynch, Free Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
·         Kevin Mawae, Center/Guard – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans
·         Terrell Owens, Wide Receiver – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals
·         Jason Taylor, Defensive End – 1997-2007, 2009, 2011 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Washington Redskins, 2010 New York Jets
·         LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back – 2001-09 San Diego Chargers, 2010-11 New York Jets

The 15 Modern-Era Finalists join three other finalists to comprise 18 finalists under consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.

One Senior Finalist was announced in August 2016 by the Seniors Committee that reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers ended more than 25 years ago.

    •    Kenny Easley, Safety – 1981-87 Seattle Seahawks

Two Contributor Finalists, also announced in August, were selected by the Hall of Fame’s Contributor Committee that considers persons who made outstanding contributions to professional football other than players and coaches.  

    •    Jerry Jones, Owner, President & General Manager – 1989-present Dallas Cowboys
    •    Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League

To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent during the annual selection meeting.

LOS ANGELES RAMS (Cleveland/St. Louis)
2017 Finalists: Isaac Bruce, Kurt Warner
HOFers (17): George Allen, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Fears, Kevin Greene, Elroy Hirsch, Deacon Jones, Tom Mack, Ollie Matson, Merlin Olsen, Orlando Pace, Dan Reeves, Les Richter, Jackie Slater, Norm Van Brocklin, Bob Waterfield, Jack Youngblood

Wide Receiver … Santa Monica College (JC), Memphis … 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers … 16 seasons, 223 games … Selected in 2nd round, 33rd overall, by Los Angeles Rams in 1994 draft … First career catch was 34-yard touchdown play … Breakout year in second season with career-high 119 catches for 1,781 yards and 13 TDS … First player in NFL history with three straight games with 170 or more receiving yards (181 vs. Colts, 191 vs. Falcons, 173 vs. 49ers), 1995 … Recorded first of three career 200-yard games in 1995 season finale … Led NFL in receiving yards (1,338), 1996 … Key offensive threat for “Greatest Show on Turf” … Started in two NFL championship games and two Super Bowls … Recorded six catches for 162 yards including 73-yard, game-winning touchdown reception in Rams’ 23-16 Super Bowl XXXIV victory … Retired as Rams’ all-time leader in catches, receiving yards, and most yards from scrimmage … Named All-Pro, 1999 … Voted to four Pro Bowls (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002) … Twelve seasons with 50 or more catches … Racked up 1,000-yard seasons eight times … Career numbers include 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards (second most at time), and 91 touchdowns … Born November 10, 1972 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Quarterback … 6-2, 220 … Northern Iowa … 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals … 12 seasons, 124 games … Not drafted in the NFL … Originally signed by and then released by Green Bay Packers in 1994 … Went on to play in Arena Football League with Iowa Barnstormers (1995-97) … Returned to NFL with Rams as free agent and allocated to NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals … Returned to Rams in 1998 … Went on to become a two-time NFL MVP (1999 and 2001) and named Super Bowl XXXIV MVP after leading Rams to victory 23-16 victory over Tennessee Titans … Set Super Bowl record with 414 passing yards … He recorded another MVP season two years later when he guided Rams back to the Super Bowl ... His season totals included a league-leading and career-high 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns to post a 101.4 passer rating … Warner made a third trek to the Super Bowl in 2008 season when he led Arizona Cardinals to franchise’s first division title since 1975 and first-ever Super Bowl appearance … Only quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards in three Super Bowls … A four-time Pro Bowl choice, led NFL in average gain per attempt, three times … Had highest passer rating and led NFL in TD passes twice … Born June 22, 1971 in Burlington, Iowa. 

Rams Announce 2016 Team Awards

The Los Angeles Rams honored five players on Monday as the club announced their 2016 team awards.

In a vote amongst Rams players, DT AARON DONALD received the Daniel F. Reeves Memorial Award for the second-consecutive year, which goes to the team’s Most Valuable Player. TE CORY HARKEY was named Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award winner and LB CORY LITTLETON was honored with the Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award, which is awarded to the team’s top rookie.

P JOHNNY HEKKER is the Rams’ recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in recognition of his commitment to community service. LB ALEC OGLETREE is this year’s Rams Ed Block Courage Award winner, an honor given to a player on the team who had to overcome some form of adversity.

Daniel F. Reeves Memorial Award
2016 Winner: DT Aaron Donald
The Daniel F. Reeves Memorial Award was established in 1969 in honor of the former owner of the Rams, Dan Reeves, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967. Reeves owned the Rams from 1941-71 and claimed World Championships in 1945 and 1951. He was the first to integrate football in the modern era with the signing of Woody Strode and Kenny Washington in 1946.

In only three years in the league, Donald has established himself as one of the NFL’s most dominant interior defenders, concluding each of his three NFL seasons with a bid to the Pro Bowl.

Since entering the league, he’s made his living in the backfield. Currently, Donald ranks first in sacks (28.0) and tackles-for-loss (57) among all defensive tackles since entering the league in 2014. Among all NFL players his tackle-for-loss total is second-best in the league while his 28.0 sacks is 10th-best.

Donald concluded the season with 36 tackles (11 assisted tackles), 8.0 sacks, 31 QB hits, two forced fumbles and a league-leading 17 tackles-for-loss.

Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award
2016 Winner: TE Cory Harkey
Established in 1990, the Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award is given to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, ethic, and commitment to his teammates. Those traits were displayed by former Rams linebacker Carl Ekern, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1990. Ekern was a starter for the Rams from 1982-88 and earned an invitation to the Pro Bowl in 1986.

In his fifth NFL season, Harkey emerged as a leader both on and off the field. Despite going on the injured/reserve list during the 2016 campaign, his versatility and toughness were invaluable and have been throughout his career as he has lined up in multiple spots as a fullback and tight end. He served as the lead blocker for the Rams’ first Pro Bowl running back since 2010 last season and as a core special teams member, Harkey is known for regularly leading meetings and helped contribute to multiple NFL special teams records and milestones. This year’s honor marks the third time that Harkey has been a recipient of the award (2014, 2015, 2016).

Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award
2016 Winner: LB Cory Littleton
The Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award is given to the team’s Rookie of the Year and was established following the passing of former owner Carroll Rosenbloom in 1979. Rosenbloom became the owner of the Rams when he orchestrated an unprecedented franchise trade in 1972.

Littleton signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in May and has steadily made progress during his tenure with the club. Initially, Littleton’s contributions came primarily on special teams and after the loss of fellow LB Josh Forrest to injury, he became a key cog on defense. He played in every game during his rookie season.

Ed Block Courage Award
2016 Winner: LB Alec Ogletree
After suffering a season-ending injury in Week 4 of last season and undergoing offseason surgery, Ogletree emerged at the start of the 2016 offseason workout program as the team’s starting middle linebacker.

Ogletree finished the season as the team’s leader in tackles with 171 in his first year playing the ‘MIKE’ linebacker for the Rams. The total is a single-season personal best and the fifth-highest total in franchise history. In just four seasons with the Rams, Ogletree has three seasons in the top 10 for highest single-season tackle totals, which is the most of any Ram.

He also added two interceptions, 11 passes defenses, 9 tackles-for-loss, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery in 2016.

Rams Walter Payton Man of the Year
2016 Award Winner: Johnny Hekker

At the end of the season, the Rams announced Hekker as the team’s 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in recognition of his commitment to philanthropy and civic leadership. He and 31 other nominees are now eligible to win the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is the only league award that recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.

Through his father’s work with individuals with developmental disorders, Hekker established a passion for helping those with special needs. He has capitalized on his influence as an NFL player to help spread awareness of special needs issues through the Special Olympics Illinois and Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK), a St. Louis-based nonprofit that offers year-round instructional sports programs to kids with special needs. Once the Rams relocated from St. Louis to L.A., the three-time Pro Bowler found a variety of ways to give back to his new home by participating in community events such as the Rams’ PLAY 60 Field Day, NFL Draft Party, Taste of the NFL, and helped grant wishes for children battling life-threatening illnesses in partnership with Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles.  Hekker finished the season as the Rams leader in community appearances.

Rams 2017 Opponents Finalized
The Los Angeles Rams' 2017 opponents were set on Sunday. See (below) who the team will be playing at home and on the road next season.

2017 Regular Season 

Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
New Orleans Saints
*Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks

*In London at Twickenham Stadium

Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans
Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks
A satirical look at more than 75 years of Football's Rams history, combined with discussions of American Exceptionalism and almost 50 years of personal experience in the life of a Rams Fan. The history parallels and intertwines life to form a humorous, yet serious look at American HistoryWorld History, an American Football team, and Political Science.