The Rams were seen as legitimate Super Bowl contenders following a 7-1 start to the season. The acquisition of quarterback Matthew Stafford appeared to make a big difference for them, and in the second half of the NFL season, they were supposed to challenge the Cardinals for the No. 1 spot in the NFC West.
Expectations were only raised when the team dealt for Von Miller before the NFL trade deadline and signed Odell Beckham Jr. following his release from the Browns. However, the Rams have lost three consecutive games since trading for Miller and back-to-back games with Beckham in the lineup.
So, what gives? Don’t the Rams have enough star power? Yes, but that actually might be the problem. At least it is according to former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.
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Aikman spoke about the Rams’ super team on 1310 The Ticket on Tuesday, and he explained that he doesn’t think all-star teams work in the NFL.
“We’ve talked about it — the all-star team just — I’ve never seen it work in the NFL,” Aikman said, as transcribed by Rams Wire’s Skyler Carlin. “I know Washington tried it back in, I think, ‘99. I’ve just never seen a team that goes out and tries to put together this all-star team that can win a Super Bowl, much less success. It usually unravels, and right now, that’s kind of what’s happening to the Rams. They’ve just not been very consistent.”
Aikman mentioned Washington, but there is a more recent example of a super team failing. The 2011 Eagles were infamously dubbed the “Dream Team” by quarterback Vince Young after the team signed several high-profile free agents including Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and Evan Mathis. While some of those players panned out, the team didn’t live up to the lofty expectations. They went just 8-8 despite being seen as a potential Super Bowl contender.
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The Rams aren’t quite the same as the Dream Team Eagles. They are simply in a prolonged, three-game slump during which they have done little right. Stafford has dealt with a back injury and lost one of his top receivers, Robert Woods, for the season because of a torn ACL. That has slowed the offense significantly while the defense hasn’t been able to pick up the slack.
But at the same time, Los Angeles hasn’t jelled so far during the season. There seems to be some sort of disconnect between the players on both sides of the ball.
That’s part of the reason that Aikman isn’t high on the Rams. They seem to be crumbling at the wrong time and Aikman isn’t sure whether the team will recover.
“It was not a good performance at all the other night when we had them, but I don’t know if they’re going to be able to pull it together or not,” Aikman said. “That was a huge game for both of those teams, not only for the Rams to keep pace with Arizona in the division, but also they were still in the hunt potentially for a first-round bye. But it just does not have a good feel. I feel it throughout the entire organization. I just don’t know that they’re going — I don’t think they’re done. I think they’re going to have some moments where they climb back into it, but I don’t know if they’re going to have enough to get over the hump.”
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The Rams are 7-4 and would be the No. 5 seed in the NFC as the top wild card. The 49ers are gaining rapidly on them and the Rams are two games back of the first-place Cardinals with a critical Week 14 tilt between the two upcoming.
Perhaps the Rams can get back on track against the Jaguars. But if they struggle at all, that could be a red flag as the team looks to begin another postseason run.