The L.A. Rams Are Trying to Build a "Dream Team" to Take Over the NFL — Should the Saints Be Worried?
"Dream Team". A term often used to describe a collection of very talented but possibly self-absorbed athletes all assembled together in one setting, it accurately describes how the New Orleans Saints and the rest of the NFL are viewing the off-season moves made thus far by one of the NFC's quickest young rising teams, the Los Angeles Rams.
In case you've missed it somehow: Already this off-season, the Rams front office has gone out and acquired a new cornerback group featuring two "lockdown" cornerbacks with Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, an impact defensive tackle with veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to play alongside All-Pro DT Aaron Donald; and now after they lost WR Sammy Watkins in free agency: Los Angeles is also now rumored to be the top team willing to trade for unhappy and disgruntled New York Giants All-Pro WR Odell Beckham, Jr., to even bring his phenomenal talents into the mix.
In other words, by adding several more "all-stars' to an already-very talented young team that made the Playoffs last year under the youngest head coach in the NFL (Sean McVay), the defending 2017 NFC West champions essentially appear to be trying to assemble a "Dream Team" — in what looks to be a very concerted effort to take over not just the NFC, but the entire League as well.
But here's the big takeaway this morning if you consider yourself a 'Who Dat', which is:
Should the Saints really be worried?
The answer is absolutely NOT, and here's why.
First and foremost; the Saints proved to everyone last year that building a team the "old-fashioned way" (via the NFL Draft),still works; especially when you have someone like Saints Director of College Scouting Jeff Ireland in charge of evaluating talent.
In the past 2 seasons alone, Ireland has changed the entire face of the Saints franchise from an aging veteran team that was filled with over-priced free-agent veterans (Jairus Byrd, Brandon Browner, etc.) into one of the most young and talented teams in the entire League; with players such as Sheldon Rankins, Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, Marcus Williams, Marshon Lattimore, Alvin Kamara, and Ryan Ramczyk, to just name a few.
As a result, the Saints are back among the "upper echelon" of NFL teams at the moment, and given that Ireland's formula appears to be working very well, there isn't any reason to change it up now.
As the old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".
And the other reason you shouldn't be worried?
Because there are NO GUARANTEES that putting together or assembling a "Dream Team", will yield any great results, if at all.
Very notably, the NFL has previously seen a team do what the Rams are trying to do this off-season, with the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles squad.
That year, the Eagles brought in a slew of expensive and famous free agents to put with QB Michael Vick; including former All-Pro CB Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, defensive end Jason Babin, offensive guard Evan Mathis, RB Ronnie Brown, and back-up QB Vince Young — who after he was signed, famously told the media afterwards that the Eagles organization was putting together a "dream team".
And the end result?
The Eagles finished 8-8, and their alleged "Dream Team" not only missed the Playoffs but was subsequently disassembled not long after.
The lesson learned by Philadelphia that year should serve as a warning for the Rams, but nevertheless you can hardly blame them for trying.
The NFC is "top-heavy" at the moment, with no less than 6 teams — the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, the Rams, Vikings, Saints, Panthers and the Falcons — all vying to grab the #1 spot.
The Rams are simply just trying to get a "leg up" on the competition, although they've managed to ruffle a few feathers along the way since they appear to be going after every "good" player that's been available via Free Agency or through negotiating trades in recent weeks.
But despite their aggressiveness, the only thing that the Rams have managed to successfully do thus far is put together a collection of huge egos, all things considered. At least that's how it appears, from the outside looking in.
Until Los Angeles takes the field in September and starts winning games (and the Saints will be one of their opponents at the Superdome in 2018), they haven't won anything yet.
Football supremacy in the NFL is ultimately determined on the field of battle — and not on paper.
Will the Rams be the team to beat in 2018?
They certainly could be.
Any team that has a high-powered offense such as they do to put alongside a defense with names like Donald, Suh, Brockers, Easley, Talib, Peters, Joyner, and Barron as well as being coached by one of the legendary and brilliant schemers in the sport of Pro Football in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, should be both feared and respected.
But UNBEATABLE? Don't count it.
Yes, the Los Angeles Rams are indeed putting together a "Dream Team".
But it doesn't mean that they get to be crowned the new League Champions, 6 months in advance.
Let's allow the games be played first, before that happens.
Just ask Eagles owner Jeff Lurie,who finally got his first-ever Super Bowl ring earlier last month, about the Super Bowl ring that his team DIDN'T win back in 2011.
While Saints fans are still bemoaning the fact that the team hasn't been able to make any big "splash" moves in Free Agency this year, the front office brass has quietly put together a solid free agency class; and they've addressed multiple team needs including safety, linebacker, slot cornerback, and tight end.
In other words, they're "staying the course" — but not because they don't have a choice or have been forced to, but rather simply just because it's the smart thing to do.