The final few seasons the NFL franchise formerly known as the St. Louis Rams spent in Missouri, GM Les Snead didn’t make many big splashes in free agency. Instead, there were a few drips of talent crossing over the muddy Mississippi. St. Louisans got excited over the free-agent signings of guys like Cortland Finnegan and Jared Cook. However, during that time, most of the Rams exciting and talented players were acquired through the draft instead of free agency or trades.
The ho-hum moves may have been a byproduct of the team’s owner working feverishly behind the scenes for relocation. Nevertheless, the marginal upgrades coupled with ‘the mustached coach that couldn’t’ helped the team excel at being mediocre.
Now that the Los Angeles Rams have gotten settled on the West Coast, it appears that the coffers have opened up and Stan Kroenke has allowed Les to become more Hollywood. Yes, folks, Snead has become the NFL’s new finesse god.
The Rams made a splashy showing in the offseason by acquiring four Pro Bowl players including Brandin Cooks (WR, Patriots), Ndamukong Suh (DT, Dolphins), Marcus Peters (CB, Chiefs) and Aquib Talib (CB, Broncos).
Pairing Suh with Aaron Donald on the defensive line will be a nightmare for opponents. They will have the ability to shut down running attacks and help add constant pressure to opposing quarterbacks. That should help Peters, Talib and the rest of the Rams secondary feast on errant passes.
A team that finished the 2017 season with an impressive 11-5 record and won the NFC West title adding four Pro Bowlers is a big deal. With the development of third-year QB Jared Goff and coaching prodigy Sean McVay calling the shots, the Rams are now poised to be a title threat for years to come.
It’s only a matter of time before we see Snead stuntin’ on the ‘Gram in a pair of pink shorts and a full-length fur coat.
National championship heroes
Move over Robert Horry and Chauncey Billups. There’s a new “Big Shot” in town and her name is Arike Ogunbowale. The Notre Dame guard showed ice in her veins by leading the Fighting Irish to a national championship. Ogunbowale set the sports world on fire by knocking out UConn and Mississippi State with last-second shots in back-to-back games.
First, Ogunbowale scored 27 points and hit a tough step-back jumper with one second left to upset the undefeated, tournament-favorite Huskies. Two days later, Ogunbowale dropped 18 points, including an amazing three-pointer, with a hand in her grill, that splashed through the net with just 0.1 seconds left on the clock.
In two nights, Ogunbowale cemented her status as a NCAA legend and national champion. The replays of those two shots will be shown forever during future NCAA tournaments. More importantly, little girls around the globe will go out into the parks, driveways and local gyms and emulate her game-winning shots.
On the men’s side, the star of the show was Villanova’s sixth-man Donte DiVincenzo. The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard proved unstoppable as he poured in 31 points in the national championship game against Michigan.
DiVincenzo went 10-15 from the field and 5-7 from three-point land as the Wildcats easily waltzed by the Wolverines 79-62.
Though he was unstoppable on the offensive side of the basketball, DiVincenzo’s signature moment was a two-handed block of Charles Matthews’ dunk attempt during the second half. No, no, no. Not today!
Like Ogunbowale, DiVincenzo was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Together, their performances cemented the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments as some of the most-exciting spectacles in recent history.
Boxing comes back-to-Earth
The sport of boxing had been riding high for some time with good matchups and new, talented stars on the horizon. However, anybody who knows boxing understood that it couldn’t last for too long – not without some major hiccups anyway.
The first swing of the pendulum came when it was announced that Canelo Alvarez had failed two drug tests during his training for the highly-anticipated rematch with Gennady Golovkin. Alvarez and his promoters blamed tainted meat and hoped for the best. However, it appears that the Nevada State Athletic Commission will refuse to give Alvarez a pass, therefore the May Day fight with ‘GGG’ has been canceled.
The other big disappointment in the boxing world was the fight between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. Though I certainly can appreciate the subtle skills of technical boxers, I don’t want to see guys pecking and pawing in the heavyweight division.
Both Joshua and Parker appeared timid and afraid to engage throughout the 12-round fight. Joshua earned a unanimous decision victory and added Parker’s WBO title to his championship collection.
The real winner of the fight was WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Wilder declined an invitation from Sky Sports to attend the fight live. Wilder saved himself the hassle of taking a 10+ hour flight just to witness a snoozefest. He also saw his own stock rise as a result of Joshua’s boring performance.
A unification fight between Joshua and Wilder is still the biggest fight that can be made in the sport. However, Saturday’s fight did not live up to the hype or expectations.
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