To say that the St. Louis Rams are risk takers would be severely underselling the team’s new regime and its draft choices. Jeff Fisher coached football teams have always been notorious for playing through the whistle so to speak and pushing the limits whenever necessary. That on-field attitude is further perpetuated by the team’s personnel decisions when it comes to compiling players with some serious question marks. Recent news has only brought more light to that point with the suspension of running back Isaiah Pead for the first week of the 2013 NFL season.
It’s never nice to say ‘I told you so’, but I actually did; I even saw it coming again this past April. General Manager Les Snead does not shy away from players with a checkered past if he gets the green light from the man in charge of coaching those guys up on the field in Fisher. This type of strategy could be seen as tempting fate in today’s conduct policy driven NFL, and the latest developments almost hint at that possibility.
In chronological order, half of the 2012 draft class has now gotten into trouble for the risk taking Rams. Both cornerback Janoris Jenkins and wide receiver Chris Givens were suspended for a mid-season game for undisclosed team rule violations. Third round corner Trumaine Johnson was arrested for DUI in March in what was not his first alcohol related incident. Fifth round guard Rokevious Watkins was given a one-game suspension for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, and the same applies for second round running back Isaiah Pead whose suspension was announced less than a week ago.
Does this spell doom for the Rams as a franchise?
It’s doubtful, but one really has to wonder just how long it will take before the house of cards starts to collapse. The team didn’t shy away from risky picks this past April either with linebacker Alec Ogletree bringing enough baggage to be removed from some draft boards and wideout Tavon Austin having some of his own past demons to deal with now that he is officially a millionaire.
Harnessing the good energy from troubled players goes deep into Jeff Fisher’s past from his days with the Tennessee Titans. He once lobbied for a cornerback then known as Pacman Jones (Adam Jones) who had some off-field issues of his own coming into the league. While it didn’t explode in his face entirely, Jones never really lived up to the hype and is still a journeyman around the league with teams willing to take on a character risk. Let’s just hope this recent suspension for Pead is the last trouble the Rams experience over the coming weeks and months.