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There’s a meme that pops up in my Twitter timeline pretty much twice a year around this point in the season.
It’s Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead, in black and white, his hair glorious as always, with a simple phrase attached. Sometimes it’s next to Les. Sometimes it’s placed over the photo. Either way, it always says the same thing:
“Fuck them picks.”
If I had seen the meme first, before the Rams let it be known that they’d shipped 2022 second and third round draft picks to the Denver Broncos in exchange for All-Universe edge rusher and former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, I could have guessed what had happened.
The Rams’ own Twitter account posted a gif of John Malkovich as Teddy KGB in Rounders splashing his chips into the middle of the table saying, “We’re all in.”
Here’s the thing. L.A.’s been “All In” Since Sean McVay got there. The Rams have not made a single first round pick in his tenure and won’t until 2024. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will be having lightsaber battles on Neptune by then.
They’ve traded picks all over the board and gotten value for every position, landing wide receivers like Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks and cornerbacks like Marcus Peters and Jalen Ramsey. They shipped the last first round pick they made, Jared Goff (from the year before they hired McVay), out of town to Detroit in exchange for Matthew Stafford, tossing in a couple more first rounders and a third in the process.
McVay and Snead run the Rams the same way I run a Madden Franchise, and if I’ve learned anything from my tenure as a video game football team operator, it’s this: as long as they don’t run into some 14-year old with ADHD and a divorced dad trying to win his love with electronic purchases, they should be more than fine.
Come April 2022’s NFL Draft, the Rams currently hold a third-round pick, a fifth rounder and two seventh rounders. They should get a handful of sixths thanks to compensatory picks. Basically, over the first two days of the upcoming draft, McVay can go hang out on Kliff Kingsbury’s couch. He ain’t gonna have much to do.
The joke people make is that the Rams don’t care about picks. That’s absolutely not the case. They love their draft picks and use them to add talented players to their team. They just don’t wait until Draft Day to do it. It’s what keeps L.A.’s team loaded, regardless of their salary cap, and has led to what will now be five consecutive winning seasons. How many teams would trade every pick they have for that?
The Rams are 7-1 and already had two of the best players in the world on defense (Ramsey and Aaron Donald). Now they add Miller to the mix. According to Pro Football Focus, Donald, Miller and Leonard Floyd have combined for 98 quarterback pressures this season and Miller’s only played in seven games.
In the words of Tracy Morgan, “Somebody’s getting pregnant.”
You own a team, coach a team, run a team to win. Why the hell else would you do it? This isn’t about “Super Bowl or Bust” for the Rams. There are four one-loss teams in the league and they’re all in the NFC. It’s about competing and getting a shot. And, come January and February, I’m feeling a lot better about that shot with Von Miller, Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd trying to create an Aaron Rodgers or Dak Prescott sandwich like they just got their Subway Artist certifications.
We get to see it in action Sunday night when the Rams host the Tennessee Titans (currently 8-point favorites at MaximBet).
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-10.5)
I feel like this is the NFL scheduler’s version of a makeup call after accidentally posting the best game of Week 8 on Thursday Night. No danger of that this time as everybody’s new favorite QB, Mike White, brings the New York Jets to Lucas Oil Stadium to play whatever remains of the Indianapolis Colts. These two teams have a combined record of 5-10.
White, whose name sounds made up by an FBI agent placing a mobster in the witness protection program, is coming off some kind of dream scenario game. He threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in an upset win over the Cincinnati Bengals in what has to be the weirdest choice for a Monkey’s Paw wish in human history.
Meanwhile, Carson Wentz had gone 144 passes without a pick before last weeks’ game against the Tennessee Titans and made up for it by throwing two, including the game-sealer in overtime.
Regardless, the oddsmakers at MaximBet aren’t fooled, and neither am I.
Colts 31, Jets 13
Adam Greene is @TheFirstMan on Twitter.
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