Behind Enemy Lines Week 17: Los Angeles Rams

Dec 30, 2016, 8:45 AM | Updated: 4:49 pm
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passes against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of...
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passes against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a win over their divisional rivals on Christmas Eve. But the win over the Seattle Seahawks was too little too late for a team that entered the season as Super Bowl contenders.

Now they will head to Los Angeles to close out the season against a Rams team who has been struggling in their first season in LA after moving from St. Louis.

The Rams are 4-11 and coming off a 22-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, a team that has just two wins on the year — both coming against the Rams.

Los Angeles has struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball, ranking last in the NFL with an average of 14.5 points per game and averaging 272 yards a game, which also ranks last in the league. The Rams are near the bottom of the league in average passing yards with 192 per game and rushing yards per game with 80.

The Rams quarterback situation has been the talk of the town along with the Eric Dickerson-Jeff Fisher feud that ended with Fisher’s firing earlier this month. Los Angeles traded away picks to get quarterback Jared Goff with the No. 1 pick. Goff was inactive in Week 1 and was starter Case Keenum’s backup for the first half of the season. He got the start in November. Since then, Goff has completed 99 of 185 passes for 969 yards and threw for five touchdowns.

The Rams beat the Cardinals 17-13 in Week 4 and there’s no telling what will happen this time around.  So all week long, we will update you on everything about the Rams as they get ready to host the Cardinals.

It’s Behind Enemy Lines

Friday, December 30

Rams rookies have one more chance to show progress Sunday against Cardinals (Los Angeles Times)

Goff, the No. 1 pick in the draft, is still searching for his first NFL win.

He is 0-6 since taking over for Case Keenum, but he helped put the Rams in position to win two games before the defense fell apart against the Miami Dolphins and the 49ers.

Rams’ coaching search adds uncertainty for undrafted rookies (Los Angeles Daily News)

The Rams fired Jeff Fisher earlier this month. That means these rookies, who already entered the league as underdogs, will have to impress a whole new coaching staff, one that will likely pore over this season’s film to decide which players are worth keeping.

Highs, lows and constant movement: An eventful 2016 for the L.A. Rams (

John Fassel had to compose himself while reflecting on 2016. Too much has happened. Too much will change. In the media workroom of the Los Angeles Rams’ facility at Cal Lutheran University on Monday afternoon, the interim coach was asked about feeling nostalgic toward this calendar year and suddenly thought back to all of it.

Chris Long’s reference to ‘meaningful football’ wasn’t a shot at Rams (

New England Patriots veteran defensive end Chris Long answered questions from reporters on Wednesday and touched on how excited he was for Sunday’s season finale against the Miami Dolphins.

“I love meaningful football. There is a lot on the line,” Long said, adding that the Dolphins have a top rushing attack.

New L.A. Rams stadium aims to be an indoor-outdoor entertainment experience (Sports Illustrated)

Think of the Los Angeles Rams’ new home in Inglewood as California’s largest indoor-outdoor entertainment space. But instead of a restaurant opening onto a dining patio or a retailer spilling onto a street, this design includes a 70,000-seat stadium, 6,000-seat performance venue and an open plaza embracing the breeze-filled Southern California air, but still fully covered from the elements by a translucent ETFE canopy.

Will Los Angeles Rams WR Brian Quick Have Another Big Game Against Arizona Cardinals? (Fansided)

Brian Quick hopes to have another big game against the Arizona Cardinals during the regular-season finale for the Los Angeles Rams.

John Fassel says Todd Gurley is struggling to maintain his confidence (Rams Wire)

Through 15 games, Gurley has run for 845 yards on 264 carries to average just 3.2 yards per carry. He’s also run for six touchdowns, which would be an achievement for many backs in the league, but is a significant regression for a star like Gurley.

Thursday, December 29

Rams-Cardinals matchup loses some of its bite (Los Angeles Times)

At one time, the Rams’ season finale against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday shaped up as something of a barbed holiday gift exchange between coaches.

But no longer.

Kyle Shanahan should be Rams’ first choice as head coach (Los Angeles Daily News)

Shanahan sits among the top of potential candidates for the Rams, and for good reason.

In need of vision, imagination, a proven track record of developing, fine tuning and pushing multiple quarterbacks and teams to high-level offensive plateaus, Shanahan checks off almost all the boxes the Rams should be mindful of as they prepare to make one of the most important decisions in franchise history.

Rams’ Jared Goff looking at future positively (Los Angeles Times)

Goff’s six-game career as a starter hasn’t been easy. Among the 39 NFL quarterbacks who have attempted at least 100 passes this season, Goff ranks 38th with a quarterback rating of 61.7.

Goff has completed 53.5 percent of his passes and thrown five touchdowns and seven interceptions. His struggles as a rookie aren’t out of line with other former highly drafted rookies.

John Fassel hopes Rams players learn from the stonecutter (

More than a decade ago, back when he was coaching at small colleges, somebody introduced John Fassel to “The Stonecutter’s Credo.” It teaches about the importance of consistency and perseverance, even if the results are not immediately noticeable. On Wednesday morning, Fassel, now the Los Angeles Rams’ interim coach, read the famous parable to his players, hoping it resonates leading into the final game of the 2016 season.

“What it means,” Fassel said, “is that this game is important, because our futures depend on it.”

Bruce Arians wishes he could say ‘Happy New Year’ to Jeff Fisher (

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians “laughed” when he first heard about the “Christmas present” comments from former Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher.

“It was good,” Arians said on a conference call with Rams reporters on Wednesday. “Hey, when you win, you get to say things. And when you lose, eat it.”

Los Angeles Rams 2017 Schedule Finalized (Turf Show Times)

The Los Angeles Rams will finish 3rd in the NFC West again in 2016 – regardless of the outcome of their Week 17 match-up with the Arizona Cardinals. That means that their schedule for 2017 has been finalized.

Wednesday, December 28

Rams vow to be motivated for season-ending matchup with Cardinals (Los Angeles Times)

They have lost 10 of their last 11 games. They are playing for an interim coach, and assistants who probably will not be back next season when a new coach is hired.

With the finale of their lost season approaching, Rams players said Tuesday that despite what some might view as reason not to be, they remain motivated to finish with a strong performance Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Rams considering changes for lineman Greg Robinson (Los Angeles Daily News)

The Rams thought they solved their left tackle problem in 2014. Perhaps not.

Greg Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick in that year’s draft, is near the end of a difficult season. His streak of 38 consecutive starts ended last month and he has been inactive for two of the last five games.

Rams’ John Fassel reflects on career with Rams (Los Angeles Daily News)

“Maybe because it was Christmas,” Fassel said Monday afternoon, “and I finally got to see my kids — it’s been a long time — I was just thinking back, not only to this past year but the last four years in St. Louis, where there’s been a lot of great times, a lot of great memories built, a lot of fellowship built, a lot of great relationships built. It’s going to change.”

Rams QB Case Keenum likely to be inactive on Sunday (Los Angeles Daily News)

Keenum isn’t injured, with the possible exception of wounded pride. Keenum, the Rams’ starting quarterback in September, became their backup last month and now is their third-stringer. Keenum likely will be inactive for a second consecutive week when the Rams play Arizona on Sunday at the Coliseum.

Rams QB Case Keenum takes demotion in stride (

“I wasn’t thinking about it, so yeah,” Keenum said Tuesday when asked if he was surprised to have recently been demoted to third string for the final two games. “But it’s not my job, not my decision. I just do what I’m coached to do.”

Questions at QB, LT could lessen allure of Rams’ coaching job (

The Los Angeles Rams’ coaching vacancy can be considered attractive for a variety of reasons. It’s in Los Angeles, where a beautiful new stadium will be erected for the 2019 season. You would work for an owner, Stan Kroenke, who has exhibited a rare amount of patience. And there are impact stars on both sides of the ball in defensive tackle Aaron Donald and, if the right pieces surround him, running back Todd Gurley.

Rams’ running game historically bad (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The year was 1944, a time when the Rams were still based in Cleveland. The leading rusher was Walter West, who gained 220 yards on 68 carries. As a team, the Rams finished with 1,141 yards rushing in compiling a 4-6 record.

Amazingly, that was the last time a Rams football team finished a season with fewer rushing yards than the current edition. You know, the group with the 2015 NFL offensive rookie of the year, Todd Gurley, taking handoffs in the backfield.

Tuesday, December 27

• Los Angeles Rams’ Greg Robinson a Bust? (Fox Sports)

After being benched for the second time in the last four weeks, is it finally time to consider Los Angeles Rams’ Greg Robinson an official bust?

• Keenum reflects on season with Rams; future unclear (Los Angeles Times)

Keenum, 28, signed a one-year contract before the season for $3.6 million and is expected to test the free-agent market.

Is Keenum looking ahead?

“It’s hard not to — I try not to,” said Keenum, who spoke to reporters for the first time since Mannion was elevated to No. 2.

• John Fassel Talks Four-Minute Meltdown, Nostalgia, and Injury Status (Turf Show Times)

“I think way more than – you probably don’t want to hear it – but, way more than the win-loss record has been, the relationships that have been built. The guys in that locker room, even with the losing that has gone on, have really been good buddies. There’s been a lot of good, like I said before, fellowship – where we spent three months in Oxnard in a hotel, and everybody is away from their families just practicing football, and trying to get our feet on the ground, and figure out where our families are going to live – being away from everything really.”

Monday, December 26

• John Fassel insists Rams intend to finish lost season strong (Associated Press)

John Fassel choked up briefly, his watering eyes roaming the room while he reached for a water bottle and paused during his news conference.

• John Fassel becomes emotional as Rams head for season finale (Los Angeles Times)

John Fassel stood at the podium and paused. He stared straight ahead, and then reached for a water bottle, twisted the cap and took a swig. He did everything in his power to keep the tears welling in his eyes from falling.

 Rams LT Greg Robinson could move to G for Rams’ finale (ESPN)

Twenty-nine days ago, when former No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson was benched for a game in his home state of Louisiana, it was sold by former head coach Jeff Fisher as nothing more than “a break.” Then the 24-year-old left tackle was benched again, this time by interim coach John Fassel, for the Christmas Eve game against the San Francisco 49ers. And now, as this lost season winds down, Robinson’s future with the Los Angeles Rams seems murkier than ever.

Rams Opponent Profile: Cardinals Come To Town Playing For Pride (CBS Los Angeles)

The Arizona Cardinals are fresh off a road win in Seattle, and even though they won’t be defending their division title, Arizona is a proud squad that is talented and well coached.

Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff Must Earn Week 17 Win (Fox Sports)

As the Los Angeles Rams are about to wrap up a lost season, quarterback Jared Goff must get his first win in the NFL out of the way heading into the offseason.


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Behind Enemy Lines Week 17: Los Angeles Rams