Wednesday, July 5, 2017

L.A. Rams: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

After, therefore, because of it...” Known as a well worn fallacy by more educated people than I, those who mock this phrase can’t be NFL fans. Yet, I find it hard not to bend causality to my whim when the chance arises, and not just when it comes to the game we all love. For instance, it’s all but undeniable personal life tracks can be bent askew by “just one more beer...”, or in a certain Washington D.C. based Rams fan writer we all know: “Just ten more beers...” It’s the beer’s fault, right? Anyone out there silently nodding their head, and whispering: “Amen...”?

Say what you will, being an NFL fan allows a certain latitude with reality at times. Take the 2014 NFL Draft. No, really. Take it, because it makes me grind my teeth every time I summon the strength to think about it. Many may recall the then St. Louis Rams taking Auburn tackle Greg Robinson with the second overall pick in the draft, followed by Aaron Donald at #13 in the first round. The pick of Robinson - a Jason Smith-ian bust during his time with the Rams - made me cringe at the time. If you look back thru my rants for TST around the draft in 2014, you’ll see I pounded the table for someone else...

It’s at this point I’m going to drown you in Latin, with a new phrase NFL fans should thoroughly embrace: “Pro eo quod”, which translates roughly into “Instead this, therefore that...” You see, there was this one player I wanted Jeff Fisher and Les Snead to take, and I have little doubt it would have changed the future of the franchise. Khalil Mack was taken at #5 overall. Now, just think about it for a second and look back at the other players taken in the top 15 picks. Donald would’ve been there at #13 if the Rams had taken Mack at #2. How do I know? I just do, and I’m a bit of a brat, so get over it!

Looking back, Jeff Fisher had been slamming draft capital at building a defense since his arrival in 2012. Fans were screaming for offensive help, and a battered Sam Bradford needed someone to guard his blindside. Yielding to convention, Fisher and Snead missed the chance to build a defense for the ages... Pro eo quod..
In fact - if you’ll allow my dizzy little dreamland to spin further out of control a bit more - glance at the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Assuming just the players above the Rams selection position at #41 remained constant, way down at #63 was a player who would’ve satiated calls for wide receiver help: Jarvis Landry. The fates being what they will, the Rams selected safety, Lamarcus Joyner.

The odd thing about being an NFL fan, is how we try to discern where our favorite teams went off the proverbial rails when they fail to live up to our dreams. For me, the 2014 NFL Draft was where the Fisher era missed its chance for greatness. I’m in no way blind to the fact anyone can page back through time to other instances where cause and effect changes could’ve shifted the Rams fortunes. They’re there, spattered across time for all to see, and tearfully lament...

I guess the whole point of this has to do with looking forward, which is oddly counter to this article’s bend. L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay now swims in the unknown waters of what can be. Twist and turns, fates and fortunes, all lie ahead. A missed chance, an ill timed ego burst, or not staying true to a determined course happens so very easily in the broad scheme. Just ask Jeff Fisher...