Coach Fisher, little has gone right for your team this season. Let’s take a quick look under the hood as the bye week passes and Week 5 prep begins.
Gregg Williams’ supposedly fearsome defense has been as menacing as a poodle. The pass rush is gone. The run defense is being shredded and the secondary is alright. There have been bright spots but the unit as a whole isn’t as sharp early on in 2014. The loss of Chris Long could be brightening the lens on Robert Quinn, who doesn’t have a sack yet through 3 games. With Williams at the helm, that is mind boggling, but you never know.
Sam Bradford was lost for the year and Shaun Hill played a half of ball before injuring his quad. The offense is in its third shade and the coordinators are readjusting to different quarterbacks like people testing ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
The team could seemingly be 3-0 but coughed up a dud against Minnesota and found a way to blow a 21-0 lead against Dallas even though Tony Romo didn’t have a great game. The loss there propelled the Cowboys into Week 4 where they shocked the New Orleans Saints. Bad news all around for the Rams
Sitting at 1-2, the team is facing the week to week threats of the team leaving St. Louis for sunnier pastures out West. Stan Kroenke’s mindset right now is as easy to read as Peyton Manning’s original play call. It’s a team without a real future right now.
Throughout all of that, one thing has gone very well during these past 2 weeks for the Rams. Austin Davis behind center. The short, courageous quarterback that broke a few of Brett Favre’s college records at Southern Mississippi and someone found a way to be cut from Fisher’s squad last year only to be recollected this year. After getting thrown into the gauntlet against the Vikings, Davis has energized this Rams offensive attack. A group long compared to a corpse being dragged across a football field, the Rams move the ball with Davis taking snaps. He doesn’t fire touchdowns like Peyton Manning or hurdle defenders like Russell Wilson. He simply gets the job done and has the ability to amaze. With a rag tag group that Bradford and Hill found little traction with, Davis has taken them and made great use of them. He fires receptions to multiple targets and has made Jared Cook and Brian Quick relevant in this league. Davis is mobile, can take a hit, doesn’t wilt under pressure and is accurate.
His completion percentage is among the best in the NFL and he did everything he could to win the Dallas game. He threw a late pick 6 but threw 3 touchdown passes, passed for over 300 yards and moved the ball for the entire game. He was simply let down by his defense. Davis has amazed and only has TWO starts under his belt. Davis, the man who was forgotten, disregarded and dismissed last year. The Rams tried to turn Rams Park into a comedy strip and signed Brady Quinn last year. Davis didn’t blink. He kept working and stayed ready. He watched Kellen Clemens play average football and fail to make any big throws.
Seeing Davis play, one can only wonder what the #stlrams could have done last year with him behind center and not Clemens. His play, with the strong defense and running game resurgence from Zac Stacy, may have netted the team a couple extra wins. You never know but it’s fun to think about it.
So, why in the world would Fisher put Hill back in this weekend against Philadelphia? It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. If it was Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Field or the Seahawks defense in Comcast Field in Seattle, I would still say stick with Davis. Stay with the player who makes your football team exciting to watch again. Why change up the one thing on your team that is clicking? Shaun Hill has been a backup his entire career, so there is emphasis to instantly reinsert him into the starting spot. He was captain of the offense for all of 10 days before falling off to injury. The team isn’t welcoming back a 10 year vet who had led the team since the beginning of time. Hill is a new guy who doesn’t know the system as well as Davis or get more out of it than the younger quarterback.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s easy football decisions. The Rams may have blown a three touchdown lead to the Cowboys but the home crowd, desperate for something special for years now, saw something truly exciting on the field. A football team with a pulse, being led by a quarterback who was easy to root for and installed confidence. Davis was fired up the whole game, and even taught Cook on how to be a real pro when the tight end acted childish and shoved his QB. Instead of engaging the vet and starting a sideline fight, Davis didn’t react and showed his teammates that stupid actions(penalties) take a team nowhere. He showed poise even when he wasn’t in the huddle.
If that doesn’t signify a potential #1 guy in your offensive game plan, I don’t know what does in this league. The Rams and Jeff Fisher would be smart to stick with Davis until the thrill is completely gone.