A big hello from Turf Show Times, SBNation's home for the St. Louis Rams. I'm an Editor/writer for TST, and a Rams fan for more than four decades. Though Rams - Bears games from long ago don't mean much to some in today's broad scheme, it's worth noting the long and storied history of these two NFL franchises. The Bears have been around so long the Rams are an expansion team by comparison. We've moved around a bit - from Cleveland, to L.A., and then to St. Louis, while the Bears have held fast to their home of origin.
Many don't know the Rams started out in the AFL (1936) before moving into the NFL in 1937. The franchise fee paid to join the NFL back then? $10,000... From 1937 to 1945, the Rams remained in Cleveland before heading West to Los Angeles for the 1946 NFL season. They remained there until 1994, before being moved to St. Louis. Like the Bears, we have a few NFL Championships, a few Super Bowl appearances, and one Lombardi Trophy each. Both teams can lay claim to a heritage of strong defenses and an amazing list of great running backs.
All this is to say that the Rams and Bears are teams with great NFL histories. The game has changed a great deal since the founding of both franchises, and the Rams haven't served their tradition of being a tough, hard-nosed team for quite some time. The Bears have stayed tough, always finding tough as nails middle linebackers to make any opposing team's players know they'll be in a fight every Sunday.
The Rams may have turned the proverbial page when they hired Jeff Fisher. The team this year has the defined look of a well coached group, though the virtual herd of rookies and UFDAs marks it well as a team at the start of a growing cycle. We found a tough middle linebacker in the second round of the 2009 draft named James Laurinaitis, and the previous year found a defensive end named Chris Long. Pieces-parts began to appear, and losses guaranteed the Rams high draft picks for a number of years.
Sooner or later, all those top picks would add up to something, right? After a string of coordinator-turned-head coach hires, and a change of team ownership, the Rams moved toward a different philosophy with head coach Jeff Fisher. He brought in a coaching staff with long resumes to get the basics of football right. His close friend, and defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams left the team due to a scandal that we "Dare Not Speak Its Name", but the rest of the staff seems to have found the spark, or core, of the Rams' players. How it will translate going forward is anyone's guess, but for a long time Rams fan, these are exciting times.
The Bears have been on the cusp of being a playoff team for a few years now. Many thought the acquisition of Jay Cutler would seal the deal for the Bears in the NFC North. Then a small city in Wisconsin decided to forego a Post-Farve-ian era, and go straight to the life and time of Aaron Rodgers. Detroit found a way to recover from Matt Millen, and now has a team of note featuring a wide receiver named "Megatron" and a guy named Suh (insert Johnny Cash Lyrics here).
A bit of a long way to getting around to saying I'm here to talk about Bears-Rams football. Loads of questions come to mind, so let me ask a few to get the ball rolling, eh?
Lately I get the feeling Jay Cutler isn't the most popular player on the team? He seems kind of petulant at times, though getting sacked would most probably bring that out in anyone.
The addition of Brandon Marshall looked great on paper, but he really hasn't flourished (yes, I know it's early in the season). Last week against Green Bay, the former Bronco/Dolphin was taken out of the offensive game plan for the Bears by a stifling defense led by a guy with really long stringy hair. How will you get Marshall into the game plan more effectively?
Offensive line woes... I feel your pain guys. The Rams, once famous for great offensive lines, have turned to poaching candidates from Matador schools. Current offensive line coach Paul Boudreau seems to have found a way to remove "Ole" from the line's lexicon. Are the problems with the Bears offensive line coaching, or talent issues?
So what say you? Ask me any question you like about the Rams. I'll be inviting members of the TST community to chime in, and if they forget they're your guests here, please don't hesitate to let me know.
Oh, and by the way... I wrote a book.