Welcome to Los Angeles, where the weather is sunny, the people are gorgeous, and the new NFL team is mediocre. Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Los Angeles Rams is here, and to celebrate the 11th season of the new greatest show on turf, we’ll be breaking down each episode with what you need to know.
“Overall, I thought it was a great experience, and what we do is we correct. That’s the most important thing: correcting the mistakes. Make sure they don’t happen again,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said after L.A.’s win against the Cowboys. Yet, one week of camp later, few mistakes seemed corrected. The player that the Rams selected no. 1 overall fumbled twice and isn’t believed to be even the second-best quarterback on the roster, and the team won another preseason contest by one possession. But still, that was enough to replenish Fisher’s seemingly endless store of bland, vague optimism. “I feel good about the win. That’s why you play these games: You compete and win,” he said in a revelatory postgame moment. Maybe Fisher knows something that I don’t, and the Rams will give us a great season this year. Or maybe we’re in for a lot of “Which polls?” moments during another trot toward this year’s edition of 7–9. Either way, Fisher’s rosy outlook was the big winner this week.
Most Interesting Thing We Learned
We were given another insight into Will Hayes’s imagination this week when we learned that in addition to believing in allegedly fictional beasts and denying the historical existence of extinct creatures, Hayes does not believe in anglerfish. “There ain’t no damn fish with a light on his head,” said Hayes, who still does not ask questions about humans with fish tails, during a locker room discussion about Finding Nemo. Hats off to you, Will. I don’t like thinking about anglerfish, either.
Your “We’re in L.A.!” Reminder of the Week
Hayes continued his second consecutive strong week when he made a trip to Disneyland with his family and teammate Akeem Ayers. In case you’re wondering, the Rams did not win a Super Bowl to earn this trip, they just beat the worst team in the worst division in football by four points. But hey, you’ve got to indulge sometimes, right? I guess that’s the beauty of Los Angeles: gaudy, corporate extravagance is never too far away.
Tank Moment of the Week
The entire Kush family was out in force to promote the importance of sleeveless attire. Eric Kush went to a store to have apparel screen-printed for the team, still contemplating which slogan to have displayed on the tanks while he was at the store. The two final options were the highly unoriginal “Do you even lift, bro?” (later shortened to “Do you even?”) and the completely original, yet somehow more repulsive, “Ramerica.” Kush opted for both and later excitedly offered his creations to his teammates. “I’m allergic to tanks,” replied offensive tackle Greg Robinson.
Not to be outdone, Stephanie Kush, Eric’s wife, bought their sons Rams tanks to wear to the game against the Chiefs. It was hard to tell if this was a going-out tank or a “not too much, nice” tank. I guess we’ll just have to wait until next week to hear Kush’s diagnosis.
“Athletes, They’re Just Like Us” Moment(s) of the Week
Instead of heading to Disneyland, two rookies — linebacker Brandon Chubb and tight end Benson Browne — opted for a more convenient and economical form of recreation: bowling. Bowling is at once a simple and immensely complex art. But unfortunately, Hard Knocks seems uninterested in truly showcasing the cross-sport skills of Rams players. During Episode 1, Aaron Donald, supposedly a great table tennis player, was only shown smashing high-bouncing returns from UC Irvine dorm residents. If the man is so good, let’s see him work in a rally! Anyway, I digress. In our limited exposure to the bowling outing, Chubb seemed to know his way around a lane, curving his ball as most serious players do. Browne, on the other hand, looked very pedestrian. Come on, Benson, how are you going to hit the strike pocket throwing like that?
Quote of the Week
“When we say ‘Larry,’ that means, ‘Larry, go fuck somebody up, Larry.’ But, everybody’s touchy touchy touchy feel on his assy assy assy. Now, you’re saying, ‘There it is, Gregg’s being a dick again.’ No, I’m fucking trying to figure out how I can fucking help you make this team,” is something that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said while reviewing footage from the Cowboys game. The jury is still out on whether this led to the Rams’ win over the Chiefs or if it will actually help any players make the final roster.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.