Until today, I hadn’t heard the CBS broadcast team of Andrew Catalan, Steve Tasker, and Steve Beurlein, but I’m impressed. It’s hard to make a three-man booth work, but they have the timing and chemistry, led by Catalan’s very smooth play-by-play call. He’s so much better than Dick Stockton, the veteran whose best years are long behind him. Unfortunately, because the Rams have sucked for so long, we get far too much of Stockton and the series of usually-inexperienced, not-very-good analysts (I’m talking about you David Diehl) that Fox pairs him with.
The production crew behind Catalan/Tasker/Beurlein is better, too. The camera operators get better pictures, the director and producers get the replays up very quickly, and it’s clear they’ve done their research and know which stories to tell as the game progresses.
If only I could offer similar praise for the Rams. They continue to be one of the worst-coached teams I’ve ever seen, well into a solid decade of mediocre, undisciplined play. They seem to take pride in leading the league in penalties, with far too many committed by an offensive line that’s still so weak I’m surprised anyone wants to play quarterback here, considering the guaranteed multiple concussions caused by defenders getting through the front line sieve to pound the passer’s head into the turf.
Jeff Fisher’s been in charge for four seasons, and the Rams have yet to compile a winning season under him. He and his offensive coordinators are consistent in one regard — uninspired game plans, which includes receivers who need 9 yards to pick up a first down but only run 6 yards downfield (somewhere in the Rams locker room, there must be a blackboard with the algebraic equation “x-3=1stD”). Even with the spark of rookie running back Todd Gurley, the rest of the team can’t get it done. They somehow managed to beat the Seahawks and Cardinals earlier this season, but those games were clearly anomalies, and it wasn’t long before the Rams returned to bottom-of-the-pack form.
Considering the number of times they’ve been called for false starts, the Rams may not even wait until the season’s over before they pick up and leave for Los Angeles. Don’t let the dome hit you in the ass on the way out, guys.