Letters to sports: Unhappiness with Rams, Chargers, Lakers, UCLA and The Times
The Los Angeles Rams’ archrival, the San Francisco 49ers, have used the Bill Walsh playbook for what, the past 40 years, and the Rams still haven’t figured it out. Sean McVay, haven’t you ever looked at some old-school NFL films? You better, as you very well may be playing the 49ers again.
Regarding the L.A. Rams, one word: soft. OK, another word: predictable. Last words: cannot beat good teams. Epilogue: No rosy future since they traded away everything for this “win now” team that won’t win anything now.
Someone please tell Sean McVay that the correct call on third and inches right before the half with a 17-0 lead is a QUARTERBACK SNEAK! His ridiculous pass play call gave the 49ers the three points and momentum change they needed to win the game. Thanks, Sean.
All-Pro Rams Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and Cooper Kupp ready to test their mettle in NFC wild-card home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The hiring of Sean McVay made the Rams instant playoff contenders but after watching his team losing yet again to the 49ers, McVay can only be ranked as an above-average coach because of his poor play calling and lack of adjustments. McVay has been great for L.A. but maybe it’s time to see if there is anyone who can take the Rams to the next level.
The Rams’ problems are and have been the coach. It’s time to hire someone who is actually qualified. Sean McVay should have been traded to the Detroit Lions and Jared Goff should have been kept in Los Angeles.
Matthew Stafford is justifiably drawing a lot of criticism for his high turnover rate, but the main takeaway from the Rams’ loss to the 49ers was Sean McVay playing to not lose instead of playing to win.
As the pandemic landscape has changed, so have NFL protocols to keep the season going. In a Q&A with NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills, he explains.
Perhaps the Rams should sit in on a few Dodgers-Giants games in the offseason so they can observe how Los Angeles beats a San Francisco team.
The Chargers did not make the playoffs because of unwise decisions by their coach. In an overtime loss to the Chiefs, he did not attempt three very makeable field goals, any one of which would have won the game in regulation. On Sunday, he attempted to make a fourth down inside his own 20-yard line, didn’t make it, which led to a Raiders field goal. A win in either of those games and the Chargers would be in the playoffs. The coach used analytics instead of common sense. If I were the Chargers’ owner, he would be unemployed.
As a lifelong Chargers fan, I feel your pain. But Brandon Staley’s timeout did not cost us a tie. What cost us a tie was our inability to stop the run. The timeout was to get the best run package in the game, we knew they were going to run, we brought in our best and couldn’t stop the run. That’s what cost us the game, and our run defense, or lack thereof, all year cost us the division.
If Staley is correct that the Chargers are, in his own words “good enough to not only be in the tournament but to win it,” then maybe he needs to question himself and his staff as to why they’re not even in the tournament.
Some questionable coaching decisions did not help the Chargers in their showdown against the Raiders, and now those glaring holes the team needs to fill become more visible.
If you know the opposing team is better than you, you will likely need to gamble on some plays to give yourself a chance to win. It seems to me that Staley doesn’t often trust his team to be the better one, takes unnecessary risks, and steals wins from a team that is perfectly capable of prevailing playing normal football.
I truly believe that Staley’s decision to call a timeout at the end of overtime with a playoff slot in sight will go down as a such big coaching boner that is surpassed only by Tommy Lasorda pitching to Jack Clark with Andy Van Slyke on deck.
Ormond Beach, Fla.
Sign of The Times
Only the L.A. Times can make Georgia’s rousing victory over Alabama a USC story. You couldn’t even run a game story. Instead, we get a mention before the entire article veers into the USC quarterback transfer derby.
I’m not even a staunch UCLA fan, but I guess we all need to strap in for the Lincoln Riley lovefest to come. For a laugh, you should rerun Plaschke’s column when USC hired Pete Carroll.
The Times has always been a USC paper, but taking Georgia’s national championship and somehow twisting it into an article about USC called “This Could Be Us” is a new low. Blatant, obvious homerism, designed to boost ‘SC and its recruiting. Of course, on the same day, you stuff the story about Dorian Thompson-Robinson coming back (which is actual news) on an inside page.
It’s not about how many inches of column type each program gets. It’s about intent.
Are you kidding me? “This Could Be Us” and “Amid Georgia’s championship celebration, there is USC anticipation.” I have not laughed so loud since before COVID. You took an NCAA football championship game between two dominant SEC teams and turned it into a USC football article? USC hasn’t been relevant nationally in well over a decade and just hired a coach that left his team to avoid competing in the SEC. I didn’t realize I subscribed to the Daily Trojan.
Trojans, Part 2
USC has a very good basketball team, but as is the case in most years, they avoid challenging themselves with their nonconference schedule. UCLA played Villanova, Gonzaga and at Marquette, while the Trojans padded their record without facing one ranked opponent.
USC has talent and may win the conference title, but it’s hard to tell until they start playing some top teams.
Here’s the bottom line. Chip Kelly’s affair with Oregon fizzled out. Martin Jarmond couldn’t afford a younger, sexier match. So both stayed in this loveless, football marriage … for now.
Despite a four-year record of 18-25, Chip Kelly was given a new four-year contract by UCLA. He must hire a new defensive coordinator as well as two other assistants.
The Bruin Hopeful became the Bruin Hopeless when Martin Jarmond gave Chip Kelly a four-year contract extension this week. Although Kelly’s team did improve to 8-4 this season, it didn’t defeat one team with a winning record. Jarmond pointed to Kelly’s “progress” from 3-9 in 2018, to 4-8 in 2019, to 3-4 in 2020, to 8-4 in 2021. A record of 18-25 is not acceptable at a university with a quality football program. I guess Jarmond’s priorities of excellence do not include the major sport of football. Empty seats at UCLA’s home games will prevail, and ‘SC, with their outstanding coaching hire, will continue to dominate Los Angeles college football year after year.
Rolling Hills Estates
What if the Lakers had just waited for Ball, Caruso, Hart, Ingram, Kuzma, Nance, Randle, Russell and Zubac to develop with LeBron as their leader? That would have been an amazing team for a long, long time. Right now, we’re stuck with Westbrick and day-to-day injury Davis.
With all the challenges the Lakers are facing, the continuation of Russell Westbrook’s cold-shooting slump didn’t help in a 125-116 loss to the Kings.
When the Lakers traded the last of their young core to acquire the aging, expensive Russell Westbrook, I said this ends remarkably well with a championship banner or completely flames out and the Lakers end up not making the playoffs. … As we approach the midpoint of the season, “the door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling.”
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