Some people are fans of the Los Angeles Rams. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Los Angeles Rams. This 2021 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Los Angeles Rams.
Your 2020 record: 10-6. As always, let’s see how it ended.
The Rams will never stop loading up to be a speed bump for better playoff teams. They saved the bulk of their indignities for the 2021 offseason this time around. But let’s go through some of their actual, on-field fuckups before we get to all of that other fun. They were swept by a Niners team that played the entire season with only one functional kidney among its active roster. They came all the way back from 28-3 down against Buffalo, in Buffalo, only to let Josh Allen throw the winning touchdown pass right before the gun. They outgained Miami 471-145 and LOST.
And then, of course, there was this…
That was an 0-13 Jets team that was hellbent on losing every game, and even designed the single most poorly-timed blitz in NFL history two weeks prior to make it happen. And then they came to these desultory Rams, who apparently had some last-minute Christmas shopping to do that day, and beat them senseless.
There are certain teams whose championship window opens and closes all in the span of a single season. The 2018 Rams were one such team. You and I know it. Their opponents certainly know it. The Rams themselves are the only people who don’t. Instead, they’re gonna spend the rest of this decade believing that they’re always One Piece Away until they have no more pieces left. Wow, that almost sounded poetic. These guys are dogshit.
Your coach: Sean McVay. OR IS IT?!
Virtually indistinguishable. Sean McVay is younger than the contents of my refrigerator, and yet the Rams’ front office acts with such braindead urgency that you’d think my man was dying of sickle cell and only had a year to live. Perhaps they know that the rest of league has McVay solved and are trying to win what they can before he becomes an active liability for them. Or, and this is where I’m 100 percent realistic, they’re just fucking stupid.
Do they have a Guy on the coaching staff? They do not. Unless you count former Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson, who’ll no doubt be hired by the Giants to go 3-14 a year from now. A real up-and-comer.
Your quarterback: For five years, McVay used Jared Goff as his personal marionette and was mildly pleased with the results. Once it became evident that Goff doesn’t possess a brain of his own though, McVay and the Rams decided to cut bait. The problem, of course, is that they just gave Goff $110 million in guarantees in 2019. So what you do with the world’s most expensive Tamagotchi? How do you get rid of that shit?
The answer? You fuck yourself.
That’s two first-round picks on top of the two first-round picks L.A. gave away for Jalen Ramsey back in 2019. This team REALLY hates the draft. Whenever their next still-in-hand first-rounder comes around (2031), they’ll trade it for TJ Duckett Jr.
As for Matthew Stafford, the Rams just gave their future away for a guy who’s gone 8-67 against winning teams in his career. Very on-brand for a Georgia alum. Every Lions fan has that stat carved into their forearms, Slayer-fan style. And trust me, some of those losses were very much Stafford’s fault. Don’t let the “Detroit Lions” part of the equation fool you. Stafford missed half of 2019 and had so many false COVID scares in 2020 that I don’t believe the pandemic is real anymore. He’s also been to only one Pro Bowl, and the Pro Bowl is only meaningless if you MAKE one. This man is on the downside of his career, and it’s not a terribly accomplished one relative to other quarterbacks of his standing. The idea that the Rams were just a Stafford away from winning it all is fucking ludicrous. The only reason Stafford is here at all is because his coach loves bro-ing out with him in Cabo.
On the other hand, his wife will fit in PERFECTLY in Manhattan Beach. I’m absolutely ready for Kelly Stafford to glass the first waiter who asks her to wear a mask.
What’s new that sucks: WHOA HEY LOOK OUT THERE’S A BIG NEW BRAIN IN THE FILM ROOM.
If you were still clinging to the idea that Rams, and McVay in particular, represent MENSA’s football arm, their recruitment of this colossal shit-for-brains to be Assistant to the Head Coach should finally disabuse you of the notion.
Andy Benoit is what would happen if they could detect CTE in the living. I don’t even care if the Rams restrict his duties to changing out the oil in the fryolator. No one should ever take them seriously again, and they just guaranteed that a whole new generation of annoying Football Knowers will rise up all thinking they can be the next Benoit. They may as well have hired Mike Ditka to replace McVay, they’re so backward. The people who run this sport are a blight upon the land.
On the field, the team that won the NFC with an elite running back doesn’t have one now, and everything is still going to end up being Stafford’s fault because fans are morons. Cam Akers shredded his Achilles a month ago, spurring L.A. to trade even more draft choices (they had some left?) for Patriots slob Sony Michel. When Pats fans tell you that Sony can’t play, it’s the one time you can actually trust their football opinion. Michel will split time in the backfield with third-year man Darrell Henderson, and Stafford will have to pass the ball 60 times a game just for the Rams to keep their heads above water. Not terribly different from his duties with the Lions. You can see why he’d be so comfortable here.
Speaking of comfort, this’ll be the first season that owner Stan Kroenke’s new stadium—which looks like a fancy hotel in Dubai that got knocked over in a sandstorm—will be open to fans. AND JUST LOOK AT THE SUMPTUOUS BUFFET THAT AWAITS THEM.
There’s no better city in America for cheap food than Los Angeles, so it only stood to reason that Kroenke—whose move from St. Louis currently stands, at least from a legal perspective, to fuck the entire league hard and good—would pick out one of the more diverse neighborhoods in town, raze it, build an oversized mall worthy of Tulsa, and then charge fans $87 for a dead hobo tongue sandwich. When Arthur Blank has you outflanked on new stadium amenities, well then that explains why you hired Andy Benoit to eat tape in your utility room.
DeSean Jackson is here because Van Jefferson is a bust.
What has always sucked: I use these previews to talk at length about teams that have wasted prime stretches of quarterback play: the Packers, the Seahawks, the Jaguars (coming soon), etc. But what about poor Aaron Donald? What did the best defensive lineman perhaps of all time do to deserve this organization trading away every last shot he had to be surrounded by competent teammates? Benoit himself openly shat on Donald’s DPOY award three years ago (Benoit’s Twitter account is now private, making it clear that he shies away from contact), and the Rams gave that guy a fucking job. So it’s clear that this team doesn’t give a shit about winning so much as they care about looking presentable while finding enough Angelenos—already famously averse to attending NFL games in person—to show up at the KroenkHole on a weekly basis. Here is what they’ve gotten for their efforts thus far.
This represents the best case scenario for the Rams marketing department. If you’ve got Pennsylvania-caliber trash showing up to get shitfaced and throw down, you almost resemble an actual NFL team with actual NFL fans. But whatever this enthusiasm this team has managed to drum up is already deteriorating as quickly as McVay’s credibility has. The average L.A. resident treats the Rams’ Grand Opening with all the attention they’d pay to a new Dick’s Sporting Goods, or they don’t think about the Rams at all. I’ve been to L.A. Those people wouldn’t drive an extra half-hour through traffic if they had to get to their mom’s funeral. This team ain’t shit to L.A., and it never will be.
The second-best best player on the team is still the punter. The new uniforms are still a war crime. Griffith Park is still burning. The Chargers are somehow both better AND cooler now. Space Jam 2 was a piece of shit.
Ratto says: Matthew Stafford is never meant to know what a running back is or does. The new kind of throwback-y uniforms are a concession to fans who recognized that last year’s uniforms were shiny excrement. BEST NAME TO HEAR ON TV: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
What might not suck: All that nice shit I said about Aaron Donald? Same goes for Andrew Whitworth.
HEAR IT FROM RAMS FANS!
Fuck Stan Kroenke. That is all.
That Kurt Warner movie coming out this year looks like they wanted to cast Kirk Cameron but couldn’t afford him.
Oh yeah it’s going to be a fucking blast when we airhorn panicfart re-sign Gurley, and his $8.4 million in dead cap space, halfway through the season after Stafford’s kneecaps explode from the Omega Variant.
Snead and McVay will remain employed with the team for the rest of my life.
Arsenal sucked again. Kroenke’s absentee ownership ran them into the ground again. Xhaka got a bunch of red cards and is still somehow integral to the team. Everything stays the same except it gets worse. Time is a flat circle rolling off a cliff.
Andrew Whitworth will play on this team until he’s old enough to apply for Social Security and the Rams still won’t have had a first round pick the entire time he was here.
I would annually forget that Matthew Stafford exists for the last 10 years. Now that we have him, I’ve spent the summer gaslighting myself into believing he’s a top 10 QB and clumsily muttering counterpoints for the fact that he’s never won a playoff game in 12 fucking years.
I am no longer a Rams fan. I stopped when they left St. Louis, and its been amazing. I love that they lost in the Super Bowl. I love the amount of shit they’ve eaten since then. I loved watching their QB turn into a pumpkin. I love that the Supreme Court of the United States denied their appeal so St. Louis City can continue to sue the shit out of them. I love that they played their first season in the new stadium to zero fans. Plus now I’m free to watch the other team in Missouri, one that is actually cool. It really can’t be going any better for me.
Joseph (from STL):
A friend of mine referred to throwing tax money at Stan Kroenke after he already said he was moving the team as “an exercise in low civic self-esteem” and nothing has more accurately described our city’s elites.
They refuse to draft a center. Troy Reeder looks like David Carr’s doppelganger. Plus he can’t stretch the field: a small necessity for the LB role. The moment Donald goes down with an injury, we are screwed.
Fuck St.Louis fans who can’t get over the team moving. Eat shit, you bitches.
Kyle Shanahan is Football Elon Musk: effusively praised for inventing something he never actually invented. And our coach, who came up under that very same system FOR YEARS, has been thoroughly owned by Shanny’s injury-riddled Niners for two years straight.
And he hired Andy Benoit as an advisor so fuck him for that too.
Kevin Demoff is Gob Bluth without charisma or open-toed shoes. He’s a delusional twat who’s never hesitated on the first idea that comes to his mind.
The Rams had the chance to look cool again by adopting the vintage jerseys as their main threads. Instead, they put bananas on the helmets and creamed their fucking jeans over their bone-colored away jerseys. I hate this fucking team so much.
Cory Littleton (I got my wife his jersey Christmas 2019; he was traded soon after)
I know some are health related scratches but LOLCAPSPACE can’t account for everything else. I put it to GM Les Snead – a name more fitting of a used boat salesman or corporate defense lawyer – came down from his years-long We Lost The Worst Super Bowl binge and has decided to surround our QB with C+ talent until 2023.
Fuck Stan Kroenke with the Olympic Torch.
Let’s talk about Enos [Stan’s real name] Kroenke. His parents named him Enos because they recognized at his birth that he was defective in character and wanted him to always have pig farming as a fallback gig. In his press photos, Enos looks like a man who cosplays Inspector Gadget and jacks off in playground bathrooms.
Did you know Enos also owns Arsenal and is widely reviled in England? Sure, the fans hated him plenty before his push to move the team into the European Super League, a move so nakedly motivated by avarice that Bernie Madoff watched the ESL announcement from prison and promptly died in peace knowing that at least he wouldn’t be the greediest fucker in hell.
His son Josh Kroenke is the director of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, so we know that there is yet another failson to continue the family legacy of graft. You think Stan has a bad moustache? Check out Josh’s look that screams “Those grocers will HAVE to sell me beer!” The two of them will end up buying a college sports program outright and branding the unis with ads for a daily betting site without irony.
The Rams traded their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks for Stafford. Meanwhile, Jared Goff (cost: 2016 and 2017 first-round picks) is still owed $25MM against the cap this year. Todd Gurley is still getting paid and Eric Dickerson is clamoring to get him back on the squad, despite the fact that Gurley’s knees are so full of pudding that Bill Cosby is sniffing around the training room looking for an endorsement deal. Andrew Whitworth is a 39-year-old left tackle and his last day in the NFL will be spent on his knees as the assorted parts of Matt Stafford are violently littered all over the backfield.
Their $5 billion new stadium will bear witness to the pageantry and spectacle of 9-8 records for the next decade. Fourteen-dollar beers will be sucked down by the drunken Raider fans in the stands who can’t follow their own team to Vegas because their ankle monitors will ping if they leave the state. The new logo looks like the backdrop for a sassy new LA morning talk show with Whoopi and a bunch of Orange County Karens yelling at each other about woke culture.
It says a lot that the Chargers are more interesting than this shitbox circus. The Rams have defined “middling” since getting pantsed in the Super Bowl and that will be the last game they play in February for many, many years. Pack this team up in leaky crates and send them back from whence they came.
Also, fuck Jeff Fisher with a canoe.
Submissions for the Defector NFL previews are closed. Next up: Cleveland Browns. Wow.