Final season, the Buccaneers knocked the rust of cynicism off the lot of us once they compiled a roster of growing old or discarded former stars and excessive draft picks and romped their approach to the Tremendous Bowl.
For a time, it appeared like empty showmanship. Right here was an meeting of recognizable names packaged collectively like a Las Vegas selection present to promote tickets. The following factor you already know, Leonard Fournette was bulling over groups within the playoffs, a slender Rob Gronkowski was selecting up chunk yardage on traditional Tom Brady brain-meld connection throws, and Antonio Brown seemed loads just like the promising receiver who deserted the Steelers in an effort to decide on his personal vacation spot.
We convey this up as a result of final yr’s Tampa Bay expertise horde could also be instructive as we watch the Rams try an analogous accumulation whereas the season winds onto its second half. Put one other method: It will not be a good suggestion to roll our eyes at Thursday’s information that the Rams signed Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham’s departure from New York, subsequent accidents and reemergence in a much less receiver-centric offense in Cleveland don’t imply he’s now not a generational expertise.
Beckham may very well be the form of piece that takes the Rams from securing a Tremendous Bowl bid to creating it virtually inconceivable for every other workforce to win the factor. In the suitable set of palms, be it Bruce Arians or Sean McVay, the correct of expertise doesn’t age or decay. It may be weaponized from a fossilized state.
Beckham has thirsted for a possibility like this all through his profession. The Rams like to line up three elite extensive receivers and gun the soccer. Matthew Stafford has by far the largest arm of any quarterback Beckham has performed with, and the propensity for McVay to knife opposing defenses affords Stafford on a regular basis on this planet to permit longer routes to develop. That provides Beckham an opportunity to flash each his creativity and his distinctive motion expertise. Take a fast take a look at the Rams’ route charts from this season and inform me that the vertical, party-streamer-like display just isn’t the best residence for somebody who has made a few of the finest downfield catches of the last decade.
Greater than this, it virtually ensures that no workforce, particularly throughout a defensive again scarcity, goes to have the ability to adequately defend the Rams as long as Beckham, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods stay wholesome. Los Angeles has grow to be the vacation spot Tampa Bay was a yr in the past, main us to consider that every yr some workforce will enter the yr with a mosquito mild glow to which all sad and underserved stars gravitate.
Beckham can return to the form of participant whose theatrics helped elevate and outline a sport. Not like a Browns offense that was by no means developed with him in thoughts, forcing him into the position of replaceable cog, he can reclaim his spark as a important piece of a high-wire passing act—a workforce that throws on properly over half its downs and has the next passing success fee than every other workforce within the league.
Loads of variety phrases have been written about Rams basic supervisor Les Snead’s aggressiveness, which led Los Angeles to at least one Tremendous Bowl and now locations it on the doorstep of one other. This transfer, just like the Von Miller commerce that preceded it, means loads within the grand scheme of how the NFL operates. It’s good for the sport. It’s good for the market. It’s good for the workforce. However principally, it’s good for the concept that a roster is rarely full, and that when a workforce amasses this sort of star energy the one choice is to maintain its foot on the pedal, and that coaches should be ok to open their minds and regulate.
It has grow to be a roster-building technique unto its personal, one which the Buccaneers owe final yr’s Tremendous Bowl success to and one the Rams hope will yield an analogous outcome.
Within the waning moments of Thursday’s transaction, Beckham was reportedly deciding between the Rams and the Packers. All through the week a handful of nameless leaks linked him to numerous offensive-minded groups just like the Saints and Chiefs.
Whereas which will have been true, Los Angeles was the one vacation spot that made sense all alongside. It was the one place that understood what Beckham was and what he may very well be once more. It was one of some locations that would promise him that every one was not misplaced—that right here, he was nonetheless a star amongst stars.
Extra NFL Protection:
• The Lions Are 0–8. Dan Campbell Can Work With That.
• Six Groups That Ought to Be Higher within the NFL’s Second Half
• Midseason Evaluate: Surprises, Second-Half Tales, Predictions
• With Cam Newton Again, What Precisely Is Carolina’s Lengthy-Time period Plan?