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We’re getting ready for the watching/review of the 2018 Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ Dallas Cowboys documentary. Episode #1 review of the Dallas version is planned to be published May 17. Until we get there, please to enjoy my groundbreaking study of the 2017 Rams’ doc…groundbreaking by me as that show is where we built Rams’ fantasy theories that crushed it and cashed in on them over and over in our handicapping…as it took about 10+ weeks into the 2017 season for the public and Vegas to get figure out/on board. What will I discover with the Dallas series? We’ll find out soon. Until then…
Rams 'All or Nothing' on Amazon…Episode 5/8 Review
I have so many notes on this episode (#5), I'm not sure where to begin...
This episode is the one featuring Jared Goff – the move to Goff as the starter. Jeff Fisher being Jeff Fisher, of course, find a way to screw this up too.
Coming off three losses in a row, heading into a bye week, which is the perfect time to make a QB change… Fisher instead sticks with Case Keenum. All Keenum does is blow the following game (loss to CAR), and then cannot produce a touchdown drive in a lucky win over the Jets the following week. There was no benefit sticking two extra weeks with case Keenum.
Oddly, Jeff Fisher is telling people (including Brittney Spears' kids) privately that he switching to Goff in Week 10 vs. Miami...talking about it before their Week 9 game with the Jets has even been played. Most importantly, he tells the team owner of this during a random practice we see. What would Fisher have done if Keenum threw five TD passes in an offensive explosion Week 9 versus the Jets? If Fisher already made the decision to switch to Goff, he's admitting Goff is better than Keenum – so why not jump right to it?
Even more strange is the fact that we get a scene where the owner sidles up to Fisher on the sideline, who mumbles and stutters that he was trying to contact the owner, and then drops the news that he starting Goff two games from now. This is how the owner finds out about this major change.
You can make fun of Jerry Jones all you want, at least he's committed to winning football by any means necessary. The Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, seems like your typical very nice Uncle. He's an affable, but seemingly not in control owner. If you thought Jeb Bush was low energy, I should introduce Donald Trump to Stan Kroenke.
Once the Goff announcement and actual change are made, you can see a definite change in attitude from the players and coaches in the practice. There is an upbeat vibe in attitudes for the first time I've seen all season/documentary. It was nice to see. It was ultimately meaningless because the Rams were going to lose every game for the rest of the season, but it's the first time there seem to be a positive vibe with this team.
From Jared Goff's perspective, all I've seen in his time through this documentary is him handling everything professionally. I sensed a mild disdain as he waited his turn, almost like he knew we was better than all this and was just biding his time to take over as starting QB…and for Fisher to get run out of Dodge. Phase I complete in this episode.
I'm looking forward to the next couple episodes to see how Goff handles the disastrous losing streak. One of my upcoming rewind reports it's going to be a study of Goff 2016 to see what happened. I'm still a believer in the Goff, but he had a horrible run to end 2016. My gut told me last year that the problem laid at the feet of the awful coaching. After watching five episodes of this documentary, I would double down on that bet. But we'll see how Goff handles all this in upcoming episodes.
Other non-Goff notes from this episode…
-- This episode was the most screen time the Rams offensive coordinator has had in the documentary so far. I feel bad for the guy. He looks like Seth Rogen…if Seth Rogen had absolutely no sense of humor whatsoever and also was a horrible offensive football mind. Rob Boras, the O-C, was a recent tight end coach shoved into the offensive coordinator position this season – this is what Jared Goff is dealing with.
The scenes of Boras in the booth calling the plays…cringeworthy on how blank Boras is at every turn.
-- There is a scene in the Miami game, the last game shown in the episode, the Goff debut, where the Rams get warned for a late hit/players jawboning too much early in the game.
The referee comes over and politely but firmly explains to Fisher what was said on the field and to make sure to keep the guys from yakking so much or they'll be penalized. It was professionally handled.
Let me stop here and say that I have seen a handful of video clips in this documentary series where the referees speaking with the coaches pregame and in-game. For all of you people who constantly complain about the referees -- of all the people doing their job, that we get to see behind the scenes in this documentary, the referees are the absolute most professional, classiest acts of all. The coaches are a total disaster and a waste of space. I'm not sure what the general manager does. The owner looks like a very nice department manager at my local Home Depot who knows a lot about the lightbulbs I'm looking for. The media is ridiculous. But the referees always speak with concern and respect, and are constantly giving the coaches either a friendly heads up or are engaged in polite congratulations for things.
All that to say, in the scene we get the referee professionally communicating to Jeff Fisher a problem and asking him to keep a lid on it or the refs will have to crack down – the very next moment is Jeff Fisher going over to his players, like a 16-year-old smart ass, and saying the referees just gave him a warning so he wants a defense to crank it up even more. Saying so with a smirk on his face like he is the craftiest guy on the planet earth. He basically tells his players to keep up the aggressive/late hitting ways but don't let the referees hear any of the talking.
You stay classy Jeff Fisher...
-- One last note, and maybe I'm seeing ghosts here.
In the final game of this episode, the Week 10 game with Miami, Todd Gurley breaks off his long run of the season – a 20+ yard TD run. Everyone jumps to their feet and is excited for Gurley. The Rams don't score many TDs, so any touchdown brings jubilation.
Here's the thing… I rewatched this run a couple of times. Gurley finally has a wide open hole, and he pops through it and takes off on the second level. The aren't many better second level runners than Gurley. He's racing to the end zone with a defender closing in. It's going to be a tight finish heading towards the pylon.
Gurley tries to speed/finesse the final yard, he looks nonchalant and extends the ball like he's handing me a full, hot cup of coffee – and the defender almost knocks the ball loose by mistake. If the defender were paying more attention he may have been able to knock the ball from Gurley completely.
I watched this several times because I was thinking – what the hell was Gurley thinking? He finally popped off a big run this season and has one man to beat for the final 1-2 yards heading towards the corner of the goal line. He doesn't dive for the pylon/end zone with an aggressive exuberance. He also does not sense this closing defender from the standpoint of heading towards him and blasting him shoulder-first right through to the end zone. Instead, Gurley tries to sneak away and gives a half-hearted extension of the ball to the end zone and nearly loses it. I just thought it was a low energy, low aggression attempt to finish off a rare longer TD for him.
I keep expecting more from Gurley or at least wanting to find better excuses – but instead, I'm becoming fixated on the fact that I can't find anything to hang my hat on. I'm starting to wonder if Todd Gurley's issues are not all just about the Rams offensive line and game plan, and has a little something more to do with either an injury that has slowed him down or, perhaps, he just does not have the heart for NFL stardom. Maybe he's just good-not-great?
I, like many people, I have been making a ton of excuses for Gurley – and I'm starting to wonder if we are all using pure emotion and missing the obvious. I still think Gurley will be a productive fantasy player – he's going to get all the carries and a bunch of targets. I'm just not mentioning him in the same breath with David Johnson or Le'Veon Bell until further notice.
In last year's documentary with Arizona, I had my opinion changed on Bruce Arians once I got to see him behind the scenes. I was not impressed. This year, the top contender for the player I am turning on with more look behind the scenes – it looks like Todd Gurley.
Next episode – The Rams lose more games and we inch closer to Jeff Fisher getting what he deserved years ago…