Whether it’s Hard Knocks or All or Nothing, I’m only interested in learning things I didn’t already know. The second episode of this year’s All or Nothing had nothing I, and most people, didn’t know. Episode Three, however, was different.
While the Rams finished 4-12 last year, they started 3-1. The third win came against the Cardinals, who were the subject of the first season of All or Nothing.
The preparation for the game begins with a reminder to the Rams’ defensive players of the shots previously taken against them by the coach of the Cardinals.
“This mutherf–ker does not respect you,” defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson tells the defensive players regarding Bruce Arians. “After we lost to them last year, you should have heard the sh-t that he said in his press conference. And I’m gonna let you hear.”
Wilson then played a clip of Arians dismissing the Rams and their defense: “Everybody’s been wanting to talk all that stuff about how great their defense is. I think they saw a good defense tonight. It’s in red and white. There’s an 11-3 team, and a team that’s always 8-8. You figure it out.”
“That’s what he thinks of us,” Wilson says. “Every time you line up and you go play against Arizona, he’s lining up saying, ‘We’re gonna whoop their ass.’ Because he has no respect for us. He don’t have respect for this coaching staff. He don’t have respect for you as players.”
For the offense, it was less about getting riled up and more about finding a fatal flaw in the red and white defense.
“Look at the tape,” running backs coach Skip Peete explains to players. “There’s several times that they have a hard time just getting up, getting set, getting lined up. A couple of teams have hit them, and they’re kind of milling around and haven’t even gotten lined up.”
In a meeting with the team’s blockers, offensive line coach Paul Boudreau insists that a successful play can be run without extended pre-snap signals.
“Why go through the ‘Black 80,’ all that bullsh-t?” Paul Boudreau says.
“What [Boudreau] is gonna tell the line is, ‘Listen, we need to go,'” position coach Chris Weinke explains in the quarterback room. “I absolutely love it. We want to get up. Don’t even give them a chance to make an adjustment. We’re gone.”
They dub the maneuver “Cheetah,” and they spot an opportunity to use it early.
In the huddle, quarterback Case Keenum invokes “Cheetah! Cheetah! Cheetah!” before breaking the huddle. He then finishes the call by saying, “On the Cheetah.”
The offensive linemen walk toward the ball, with all of them in a two-point stance. The center quickly identifies the middle linebacker, and then quickly bends over and snaps the ball. Keenum gets it, throws it quickly to receiver Brian Quick, who slips a potential tackle and sprints to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Eventually, the Rams would win the game, 17-13. Spoiler alert: They lose 11 of the next 12.