At this time last year, the Rams were clearing out their lockers, finishing exit interviews, ending one of the worst seasons in their history.
By contrast, this year the Rams are getting ready to battle the Atlanta Falcons in the playoff opener Saturday afternoon (5:15, Channel 4).
When they went 4-12 a year ago, they were one of the most boring teams in the NFL.
At 11-5 this season, the Rams were one of the most exciting, highest scoring teams.
Two major changes created the difference:
- A new coaching staff.
- The new staff arrived with a new philosophy. The new attitude started with the slogan, “we” not “me.” me”
Several of last year’s Rams were about me not we. They were replaced by more team-oriented players.
New Coach Sean McVay made it clear that this was going to be a team effort.
“When you get the opportunity that we have here,” he said, “a great coaching staff, the types of players we have, not only as players but as people, we felt we would be a good mesh in the locker room.”
McVay talked about pride and team.
“These guys compete for each other,” he said. “You can see the effort show up consistently. All three phases (offense, defense, special teams) support one another. We have a mix of people who enjoy being around each other. So much you go through, good and bad.
“It is important to feel that connection. Guys are committed to each other.
“It goes back to being a part of something bigger that yourself.”
If the Rams expect to beat the more experienced Falcons they will need to protect the ball on offense and slow down one of the top offenses in the NFL, led by quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones.
Predicted final score, Rams 35, Falcons 24.
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