Rams take baton: Must ‘be great to be relevant’

  • Covered Rams for two years for Los Angeles Times
  • Previously covered the Falcons
  • Has covered the NBA and college football and basketball

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — After the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the World Series on Tuesday night, Rams quarterback Jared Goff sent text messages to outfielders Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson to congratulate them on their title.

Bellinger’s response?

“‘It’s your turn now,'” Goff said.

After the Lakers won their 17th NBA title earlier this month and the Dodgers won the World Series for the first time since 1988 on Tuesday, the Rams are now receiving the message that they’re on the hook to hit a trifecta for L.A.

“@RamsNFL ……. you know what to do!” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma tweeted after the Dodgers’ victory.

“I mean that’s the first thing you hear is, all right, now it’s your turn,” said Goff, who has led the Rams to a 5-2 record as they prepare for a Week 8 matchup on the road Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. “And I mean — we’ve talked as a team since these two teams have done it, or I shouldn’t say as a team, but as a group chat within the team, these two teams have done it and now it’s our turn. It’s something that we’d like to do.”

Rams coach Sean McVay said the Lakers’ and Dodgers’ championships provide a reminder about the expectations of L.A. fans.

“Just seeing that for the city and the success, I don’t know that you’re any more motivated to try to kind of be on par with those teams,” McVay said. “But you certainly want to make sure that you continue to compete and produce at a high level because you got to be great to be relevant here in this city and I think that’s awesome.”

After McVay took over as coach in 2017, the Rams won back-to-back division titles, clinched an NFC championship and appeared in Super Bowl LIII, where they lost 13-3 to the New England Patriots.

But last season, the Rams finished 9-7 and were knocked out of the playoff race in Week 16, when they were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers, who went on to lose in the Super Bowl.

Goff cautioned about looking too far ahead but expressed confidence when asked if this season’s team — with standout defensive tackle Aaron Donald, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp — has the potential to make a Super Bowl run.

“Of course,” Goff said. “We got all the pieces, we’re winning games, we’re playing well on offense, defense and special teams. We always believe in ourselves and we’ve been there once with a lot of the same people and we know how to get there. Just got to finish it off and hopefully this is the year.”

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