A big victory over the Miami Dolphins has put the Chargers in the thick of the AFC playoff race and the acquisition of quarterback Baker Mayfield has added some interest to the last portion of a disappointing season for the Rams. With four weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, Rams beat writer Gary Klein and Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller address fans’ concerns and questions:
Can you guys write about the Rams/Chargers PA situation that Al Michaels commented on Thursday night? As a season-ticket holder, I find it really annoying as well. Do other teams scream at the crowd like this to manufacture crowd noise? I find it embarrassing as a fan.
Dom Mucciacito, Los Angeles
Miller: The inane, screaming “Make Some Noise!” PA announcer is now a thing at most pro sports venues across the country. The good news for Chargers fans is that their SoFi Stadium games sound prim and proper compared to the sophomoric nonsense I heard the last time I was at a Rams game there. Look on the bright side, no matter what football stadium you’re in — be it college or the pros — you’ll never have to wonder if the opposition is facing “THIRD DOWNNNNNN!!!” because the PA announcer will tell you. Every. Single. Time. In. Every. Single. Stadium.
Klein: The Rams and Chargers apparently feel that fans need to be stimulated through sound and vision from the moment they walk into the stadium until the moment they leave. Forget sensory overload. This is supposedly entertainment.
Can the Rams trade future picks for a 2023 first-round draft pick?
Ramon Cordova, Monterey Park
Klein: The Rams can trade picks but don’t count on it. Right now, what would have been the Rams’ 2023 first-round pick belongs to the Detroit Lions as part of the Jared Goff-Matthew Stafford trade. And the pick that would have belonged to the Rams is trending as a top-10 pick for the Lions.
I’m under the impression NFL teams can rebuild and still find quality players in the fifth, sixth and seventh draft rounds. Why is this impression true in football but no other professional sport?
Stan Shirai, Torrance
Klein: The same holds true in baseball. First-round draft picks will be given every opportunity to reach and stay in the major leagues. And players such as Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw are only a few examples of great players picked high in the draft. But MLB is full of quality players who were lower-round picks. In 2016, Ken Griffey Jr. became the first No. 1 overall pick to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. That same year, Mike Piazza, a 62nd-round pick, also was enshrined.
Miller: There are plenty of examples of later-round hockey players becoming stars in the NHL too. NBA draft is only two rounds these days, so that league is out of the discussion.
Is it possible to get Baker Mayfield on the cheap for a few years? This would help our salary-cap issues. Would it be possible to convince Jalen Ramsey to convert to safety? He’s getting beat a bit too often. Utilize him for safety blitzes and run stuffing. Taylor Rapp is much too slow at his position and should think of bulking up and playing linebacker, a much more natural fit in the NFL.
Lorenzo Fuentes, Santa Maria
Klein: NFL careers generally don’t last long so players are not apt to sign “on the cheap” unless there is a situation like Blake Bortles a few years ago, when he signed with the Rams for $1 million because the Jacksonville Jaguars owed him millions. Mayfield, if he plays well, will have a market for his services. Ramsey already is playing a hybrid position that features elements of playing safety. Could he move to that spot full time at some point his career? He’s certainly capable. Rapp came into the league with linebacker qualities. During training camp last summer, he slimmed down. He is in the final year of his rookie contract, so it will be interesting to see if the Rams attempt to re-sign him.
With their season basically done and unable to make the playoffs, what was the point in signing Baker Mayfield?
Laura Nash, Los Angeles
Klein: Matthew Stafford is on injured reserve and John Wolford was dealing with a neck injury. In the grand scheme of things, signing Mayfield cost the Rams only $1.4 million, and they get an extended look at a former No. 1 overall pick, whom they may or may not attempt to retain. If he leaves as a free agent, the Rams would probably be entitled to a compensation pick in the draft.
The police-sponsored club I belonged to took us to Rams games in the Coliseum where we watched our heroes Bob Waterfield, Norm Van Brocklin, Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsh, Tom Fears, Glen Davis, Dick Hoerner and ‘Deacon’ Dan Towler play — with full winning seasons. Those were exciting times, but none more exciting as the last half of the fourth quarter of the game tonight (Dec. 8). It looks like Baker Mayfield is the real deal … what a show! As an aside, I’ve seen the Rams wear different uniforms over the years. It’s good to see them back with the blue and gold of the years I knew them. Did Towler, that great Rams fullback who quit abruptly to go into the ministry, ever get accepted to football’s Hall of Fame?
Kenneth Cooper, Albuquerque, NM
Klein: Glad to hear you had a great experience watching the Rams at the Coliseum many years ago. Those were exciting teams. And that certainly was an exciting finish last Thursday against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium. But let’s reserve judgment on Mayfield. Up until that point, he was pretty average, a victory in itself because he arrived only two days earlier. But let’s not forget that he and the Rams got lucky when an interception was nullified during that drive because of a pass-interference penalty. And a Raiders lineman’s bone-headed decision to knock the ball out of Mayfield’s hand after a sack, resulting in another penalty. And the Raiders’ decision to play press coverage against receiver Van Jefferson. As for Towler, he was a key player for the Rams — and led the NFL in rushing one season — but he has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Why did the Chargers get rid of their cheerleaders?
Nick Schermerhorn, Rancho Palos Verdes
Editor’s note: The Chargers Girls were founded in 1990 and continued until 2021, when it was announced the squad had been disbanded for financial reasons. Seven of the 32 NFL teams do not have cheerleading squads, the others being the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.