LONDON -- I had an absolutely enlightening conversation with LB James Laurinaitis Thursday at Rams practice in London. We were talking about how far this organization has come with regards to the past and its dubious 15-65 five year stretch.
Laurinaitis said the last couple years the motto kind of was “we’re going to turn this thing around." It was said in the future tense. Basically, the turnaround had not begun yet.
Now? The motto is more like “we are turning this thing around”. It’s said in the present tense. That’s because the turnaround is occurring in the present. It’s happening.
Case in point is the fact the Rams are 3-4 and have already surpassed last year’s win total. And the players are not happy with that. They truly believe, deep down, they should be 5-2. Laurinaitis didn’t say specifically which games he thought they should have won, but I’m going to go ahead and assume he was referring to Detroit and Miami. Chicago and Green Bay, probably not.
When you’ve already surpassed your win total from a season ago and are on pace to at least double it, most teams would call that a win and move on. Not these guys. They want more. They’re greedy. That’s the environment that Jeff Fisher has created within them.
Winners find a way to pull out the close ones in the end. They make a play. They don’t make that stupid mistake. They don’t have that dumb penalty that pushes them back 10 yards and kills a drive.
The small things end up making the big difference in football games and in the past the Rams have been utterly incapable of doing the little things. This year, it’s been hit and miss. Sometimes they have. Other times they have not.
That’s called improvement.
Laurinaitis also told me he loves how the team has so much youth - nearly one out of every three players are rookies - because they bring this vibrant energy that veterans don’t posses. Sure, rookies make mistakes. They’re learning how to be professionals since in college you have to worry about balancing football with school while in the NFL you don’t.
But, if you’ve got the right rookies, they adapt quickly to the professional environment and provide a spark for the guys who have been around the block a time or three.
This is one of the youngest teams in the entire league and it’s only going to get younger in the next couple years due to the amount of draft picks Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead have acquired.
And those youngsters weren’t around for the 15-65 disaster. They don’t know anything about it and don’t care. They’ll be a part of the “we are turning this thing around” motto.
That’s all that matters.