On the eve of NFL free agency officially opening, it’s time the annual round of that game called “Who Will Be the Rams Starting Quarterback?” Below, LARams.net lists
nine eight possibilities for the team in 2016, arranged from least to most likely. Since this is written purely pragmatically, the optimist might want to stop reading somewhere in the middle – because the ultimate conclusion ain’t pretty.
Peyton Manning – Thank the football gods “The Sheriff” decided to retire before he decided to put his crippled body back onto the field. Getting the Rams back to Los Angeles is unadulterated awesomeness, and all, but what we don’t need is a reboot of 1977…
• Robert Griffin III – In one viewpoint, RG3 is an inspiring comeback story waiting to happen, a viable NFL quarterback just looking for the right offensive scheme to star again, and an untapped reservoir of delecious irony should he sign with Los Angeles this offseason after the St. Louis Rams worked Washington over in a ridiculous trade.
Of course, there is an opposing view that runs something like this: Mike Shanahan essentially ruined the dude’s confidence and probably gave him a case of PTSD; that Griffin’s an unlikeable locker-room cancer that a young Rams OL particularly doesn’t need; and that Jeff Fisher’s power running-first offense is anathema to RGIII’s ostensible potential.
And yet, the cynic can well imagine Les Snead offering Griffin an unguaranteed minimal contract after 31 other teams pass on the man, thereby allowing the Rams to forego drafting a quarterback until, likesay, the seventh round, only to have to rely on Case Keenum again before the halfway point of the 2016 season. Let’s hope for better.
• Keenan Reynolds – Admittedly, this may be a delusional fantasy strictly belonging to LARams.net. However, here’s to thinking that the Naval Academy grad will be the most underrated QB going into the NFL draft. Despite a career in which he was Navy’s starter for 46 of a possible 52 games while running up a record 88 rushing touchdowns and 4,559 yards, Reynolds is currently ranked outside the top *25* quarterback prospects by punditry, due to his relatively small stature (he’s officially listed as 5’11” and 205 pounds) and the bizarre triple-option offense the Midshipmen tended to run.
But just imagine the undrafted Reynolds signed by the Rams after going undrafted, working his way past the team’s current placeholders and ultimately spearheading a triple-threat rushing attack with Todd Gurley and Benny Cunningham. Wouldn’t Fisher be willing to go with such a system (assuming the offensive line’s run-blocking improves enough)? Wouldn’t this make a great story for the inaugural season of a plucky Los Angeles Rams 2.0 team?
What’s that? He’s considering law school? Never mind then; let’s just go for Reynolds’s prototype…
• Michael Vick. Or even…
• Kirk Cousins or Ryan Fitzpatrick. Why not go all out for a known (or, in Cousins’s case, relatively known) quantity from the free-agent market? With Brock Osweiler presumably to re-sign with the Denver Broncos and Sam Bradford back with the Philadelphia Eagles (LOLz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!), Fitzpatrick, Cousins and Vick are the top free agent QBs attainable.
Of the three, Vick is obviously the most exciting possibility and, at this point in his career, is vaguely reminiscent of former Fisher fave Air McNair. Cousins is more of a flat-footed type who benefitted from a Washington OL superior to St. Louis’s in 2015. As for Fitzpatrick, who may have caught lightning in a bottle last season after getting into the dictionary as a definition of “journeyman,” well, this guy at Bleacher Report likes him, so there’s that.
Any of these guys would likely be a vast improvement over the shitstorm that was the NFL’s 32nd “best” passing “attack” in ’15. Of course, this eventuality will depend on Snead’s willingness to, you know, spend money on the open market – and could be an early test of the assumption that Los Angeles is a draw in and of itself for a professional athlete.
(Please, though, no Colin Kaepernick.)
• Paxton Lynch. This year, the Rams draft at no. 15 in the first round. Jared Goff of Cal and Carson Wentz of North Dakota State are likely to be gone by the time L.A. is on the clock; Lynch will thus be the top name on the board. Mock drafts – particularly Rams-centric mocks – have been touting this pick since about 10 minutes after Super Bowl 50 ended, so we know where popular opinion resides.
Of course, the 2015 NFL Draft wasn’t that long ago, and we all recall how Rams management stunned everyone from casual fan to cognoscenti (except Adam Schefter, natch) with the ultimately prescient pick of Todd Gurley. This Rams fan is therefore expecting Snead et al to pass on Lynch in round one, perhaps going with the popular guess of Lynch’s Ole Miss compadre, WR Laquon Treadwell. (Sigh.)
• Nick Foles. The fact that the Rams haven’t yet released Foles is ominous indeed; either the Rams’ plans for free agency are being kept insanely under wraps – hard to imagine, considering Fisher’s cozy relationship with the media – or he’ll in fact be sticking around to take up space on the roster in ’16. On the other hand, Foles has been linked (albeit tenuously) with deals involving Washington, the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys, so we can hope.
• Case Keenum – From NFL.com:
…the team is treating him like the de facto starter.
“It’s the first time that I’ve had a coach believe in me through the offseason like this,” Keenum told Around The NFL at the Manhattan Beach Marriott. “So, I’m excited about the position that I’m in and the position the team is in. I think we’re poised to make that next step and be a playoff contender.”
In case you’re wondering, “de facto” is a Latin term roughly translated as “because we don’t have anyone else.”
– written by Os Davis