LA x 2 = NFL Divisional Playoffs (Klein, Miller)
It's the NFL divisional round the playoffs are here in LA has two teams. That's right to playoff team. They live in a lay they play in allay. They reside in LA and the only city in the country that has to squat still alive in the playoffs. Charger on the road taking on the New England Patriots Rams at home Saturday night. Five fifteen at the Coliseum with the Dallas Cowboys. Oh my goodness. Yes. I am fired up. Yes. I am excited. Yes. It is our first podcast of the year. And we gotta bring it because college football's done, it's all an effect talk to date on your host, the DRAM. Thanks for joining us on the arrive early. Leave late podcast. We have a big show. We're gonna talk about the latest in the NFL. But we're going to keep it about LA come on. Now the LA times early legally podcast. I sat down with two of the best. I covering the NFL very own Jeff Miller who's with the bolts, Gary Klein's knows everything about the ram L A two teams in the playoffs. Come on. Now. Let's go it's Wednesday January knife. And it's time for the arrive early. Leave late podcasts. Haram started off the year really hot. Jared Goff is looking like a fantastic young quarterback. Todd Gurley was running. But December wasn't exactly kind to the Rams, but they still ended up with a first round by that means they didn't play the watch the wildcard from home and a chance to relax and get their bodies ready. Gary client, covered the Rams for the LA times. Gary how good was it for the Rams to have a week off as you get ready for the Cowboys. I think the Rams enjoyed the fact that they could heal especially some of their key players Todd Gurley, of course, star running back and lamarcus Joyner their safety. Those were guys that needed the rest some of the other players that allowed them to heal. But I think the Rams were also a little bit ANSI. They watch those wild card games. They watch those teams get some momentum. At least the teams that won. So it will be interesting to see if the Rams can avoid what happened last year when they came out in their first playoff game. They came out flat after resting their starters in the final game. Game which was essentially a buy week for them and they didn't perform well against the Atlanta Falcons. So now they've got another shot another chance to prove that they're ready to take the next step Todd Gurley. The status of him early was on the bike the stationary bike and the treadmill last week just trying to I think work through some of the soreness that he had been feeling in that left knee. You know, that's a knee that was operated on before. He was drafted by the Rams after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament at Georgia. So that's been something. I think that's been in the background of the Rams mind for as long as girlies been playing for them. Maybe this is some kind of fallout from that or something natural that happens in terms of soreness. He's also had a lot of touches this year as a running back and receiver. But he said last week that he was feeling good that he expected to be practicing this week. And I think when the Rams reconvened after their by he went through jog through a walk through if you will and was a full participant. So I would expect him to see him on the field against a Dallas Cowboys team that also has. Good running back of its own. The Cowboys come to LA they have a huge fan base across the country. All around the world, you'll see cowboy stuff. This is also a team that has performed well every the Cowboys the Rams are a seven point favorite. Should they win and control this game? The Rams I think the Rams should be the favorite. They are at home. But again, I get back to the fact that the Cowboys won a game and they wanted injure Matic fashion with Dak Prescott making big plays down the stretch. Zeki Elliott having a big game. So I think the Rams it's gonna be interesting to see what that crowd looks like on Saturday as you mentioned with a national fan base. The Cowboys fans are gonna try and get some of those tickets. It will be interesting to see if the Rams can kind of hold that off. And if we'll have a scene that was reminiscent of the first game at the Coliseum. The first Rams game of the call him in more than two decades back in two thousand sixteen when the Cowboys came to town for the first preseason game of the 2016 sixteen season that was a playoff type atmosphere, and I would expect something. Similar on Saturday night. Yeah. That's one of the concerns that I have at the end of the day players on the field. They're worried about on the field. But the atmosphere isn't going to be all round cowboy fans Trump. I know a lot of my friends all of a sudden they have money they're buying those expensive tickets where they're going double phase value. Does that play into factor at all with the Rams? They talked about that. Well, they'll probably talk about it in the immediate days leading up to the game. And I'm sure they'll say, well, it doesn't make any difference. We block that out as you mentioned their focus is on the field. But it could play a factor. If there's a key point in the game where a home crowd. Otherwise would be quiet and you've got Cowboys fans going beserk making noise either way, I think it's just going to be an electric atmosphere, especially if it's a close game. It's exactly what the NFL playoff should be a divisional game with the winner going to the NFC championship game. I think it's exactly what LA needs and what the NFL needs from this type of matchup now. Full disclosure. I cover charges I do. Push charger talk for the radio station, five seventy here in Los Angeles. So I watched the Rams from a distance. Watching the Rams in December. It didn't look like a team that was crisp it. Look like a team that was sharp with fair to say that absolutely accurate especially that three game stretch when they won at Detroit they lost at Chicago. And they lost at home to the Philadelphia Eagles. That was the three game stretch that included the first back to back losses under Sean McVay were really Goff didn't play. Well, didn't play his officially as he had been the defense had some lapses, although they played well at Chicago. And it was really I think finally the Rams hit one of those stretches that just about every NFL team runs into they had the benefit of the last two games playing the doormats of the NFC west the Zona cardinals and the San Francisco forty Niners. So they feel like they got back on track. But as you mentioned they were not the team that we saw in the first half. That was the NFL darlings anointed to go to the Super Bowl. That was not the team we saw through those three games. And we'll see if the fit finale against the forty Niners and the game before against the cardinals were allusions those. Four games at girly didn't play in. So he should be back. He'll be rested. And we'll see if he can return to form that made him an early MVP candidate. Now, I know with the by going into the playoff, it's different. The Cowboys were playing last week there on that you mentioned they have that dramatic victory and the chargers and the Rams are gonna be playing playoff games. But the Rams just seems like they're the team in LA that everybody's paying attention to is more pressure on the LA Rams. I think there's definitely pressure on the Rams not necessarily from that perception standpoint because I think the chargers are just kind of their that scrappy bunch. And I think they're getting some people excited, but I think there's definitely pressure on the Rams as a team that has not wanna playoff game yet. They had the by. And now they're at home against a traditional rival at least going back to the seventies and eighties. There's a lot of eyeballs on the Rams because thirteen and three in the regular season is a terrific accomplishment. But it doesn't mean anything if you don't win a playoff game. And the Cowboys already have that off there. Plate. They wanna play off game. This is maybe an added bonus. If you will because they eliminated that pressure by winning the Rams going back to last year. Did not look sharp against the falcons. That's what people remember in terms of their playoff experience. And if they come out and laying eggs that is not going to bode well in terms of the perception of fans who watched what they did in the off season in terms of loading up a team with all these star players have a great regular season. Only to lose again in the playoffs. LA times Klein K L E Annan's. We wanna follow him on Twitter gay wrote about Ken, the ramp stop. But once you punch of deck Prescott. Elliot, can they do that Gary? I think they can control them Dak Prescott is that dual threat guy, and he's had some ups and downs throughout his short career. But what we saw last week in the wildcard game against the Seahawks is exactly what I think you don't wanna see as an opposing coach a quarterback that can take control of a game and make plays down the stretch including that terrific quarterback draw with. Cartwheel that almost got him into the end zone. And then you've got Zeki L Elliott, a proven guy on the ground. They've used him more as a receiver this year. So he's kind of has that dual threat capability just like Todd Gurley. I think the Rams can control them probably in the passing game. But if the Cowboys kind of play a low scoring keep away. Hey, we're just gonna keep giving the ball is equal Elliott and the Rams who have had some trouble stopping the run. If they can't shore that up then I think that plays to the cowboy strength in your store. You put the last time these two played in the postseason January fourth nineteen eighty six hall of fame running back. Eric Dickerson to forty eight yards. Rams twenty zero in Anaheim, Gary going you're history research for us. Thank you. Appreciate it. Well, I think in the minds of Rams fans that to- especially the longtime fans that go way way back that was kind of a hallmark moment for them in terms of the Cowboys and the Vikings back in the seventies. Eighties such a nemesis for the Rams and that game to beat them in a shutout and. With Dickerson running for a record mount yards scoring on two touchdown runs. That in terms of Rams fans. That's what they remember. That's what they're longing for. So if Todd Gurley breaks out and has that kind of a game or something close to it. I think all the old time Rams fans are going to be tweeting about it and yelling from the top of the Coliseum about how the good times are back. But we'll see Dallas has a very good defensive very good front seven. And we'll see if they have learned some lessons from last year when girly hurt them, especially with the long touchdown catch the winner from Saturday's game at the call will either take on the saints or the dependent SuperBowl champion e fun riot in the NFC. Okay. Go though, five fifteen kick. What time would you be showing up to call him? You know that to all probably be there around noon. Have my lunch there. And as we've talked about in the past enjoy everyone else coming in enjoy that Coliseum filling up and then getting down to work once the games. Gary client, great job covering the Rams LA times. Should be a good one Saturday night at the Coliseum around sixty degrees. When the kickoff chilly for us here in LA, the what about going back east. Jeff Miller covers the charger for the LA times. And I'm looking at my phone right now the weather report Sunday morning in Foxborough that for the patriots are playing thirty degrees. At kickoff. Doesn't matter though as Jeff and the charge which is bundled up because he get ready for the divisional round of the playoffs. Chargers patriots. It's Philip rivers against Tom Brady. Now, Jeff Miller, and he knows about college football. But right now, his focus all about the LA chargers. He covers the both for the LA times at your first season on the charger. Be correct. That is correct. So used to also go to San Diego with previous jobs. Correct. Yeah. Did some charters in the past NADA ton, but certainly much more now than I ever did. And now, you're doing chargers playoff football charges playoff football. Yes. Second round LA chargers playoff football. Who knew well, the referee didn't know 'cause he's call them San Francisco. The other day you hear that he really not San Diego. He said timeout San Francisco instead of we've heard San Diego a bunch of times. Understandably he actually throw it San Francisco. So no one's quite sure where this team actually plays anymore. But we know we do know that they're in the second round. They will play Sunday at Foxboro against the patriots a tough game. But the staff that sticks out to me. I keep hearing it because I do the chargers postgame show on AM five seventy Colin show, and I've been saying over and over and over hammered out the chargers have yet to lose when they have to get on a plane this year. They're only road loss was when they lost at the ram. So when they jump on the plane, they always come back home happy to odds of that happening. Are there probably better than I think most people would think they're certainly better that I would have thought I think this team at this point? And there's what eight teams left now four H conference any one of them could win. I think at this stage. It wouldn't be surprising, especially in the AFC. I think both the road teams both the underdogs this weekend. The chargers in the colts. Both have great chance of winning. And this team you said it they don't care where they play and they seem to relish playing on the road. They seem to enjoy it. I tried to get Bill Belichick to talk about that yesterday. And he didn't seem real interested in my question. So we had a conference call with with Mr. bobbly yesterday. And he was that it was a little bubbly. He had three or four words, maybe. Well, he's funny because he actually will go on and on. But he takes his weird pauses like someone will ask a question. And so people don't understand how this works is a conference call in the middle of the room where you can't see anything. It's just a device a telephone device. And so somebody in the room will ask a question. We're all sitting around the table somebody. Looks down at the device as if you're looking at bell beat reporter. But it's just you're looking at this plastic piece of office equipment, and you're saying here's my question. And then it'd be this pause recurrent tell it was they're still if he was gone if he had hung up, and then he started talking every answer he incorporated that the charges are well coached. I can tell you that. And he has a lot of respect for the chargers. This team's kind of been strangely successful bunch. And so it fits right in with what they're doing. And they even brace it, I think they love it this charger locker room. I've said it to people who wanna listen and people that are fans, they're telling me, I get a lot of Abbott, whatever. No, it's a good locker room. It's very interesting. Philip rivers thirty seven years old expecting his ninth kid Derwin James with twenty two years old rookie yet it seems in that locker room everybody gets along and they're on the same page. It's really weird to me. You have the sense that I get of everybody's on the same page in professional sport. I guess I've been jaded for so long where everybody goes different ways. But it does seem like this team has the everybody's against though, what is paying attention to us. We're going to do it. We're gonna do no matter what they do have that. And you know, you've been around this, and there's all that brotherhood and family, especially in football as you kind of roll your eyes. But I think there is some to these guys in the biggest thing is they've won. It's a lot easier to feel that way. And cultivate, that when you're winning and having success which they've done. So that helps but they do seem to get along. Nobody seems to care about getting attention. The one thing this team doesn't have as a beat writer. You wish there was a guy who is sort of that Odell Beckham. You know, look we we need that one guy for coats in. Yeah. Right. And you want that one sort of wildcard crazy guy when this hits the one guy who could be that guy. Maybe as Keenan Allen. And he says some stuff a little bit weird every now, and then and he'll do the championship belt thing this year when he got penalized and all that he could be that guy. But he doesn't care. He certainly doesn't seek us out for attention. I don't know that he of voids us. He's not in the locker Melot when we're in the last couple of minutes. Exactly there's none of that. Like guys trying to get attention themselves. Even rivers doesn't need any more attention. But he's just a nice guy. He's just who he is. I was completely wrong about. I think a lot of people were here in LA, you're paying attention rivers kinda when he was the San Diego, but you're not really carrying too much because we had worry about Kobe que- interesting watching as a fan on Sundays Dan river cheese, yellow teeth way too much. Then you realize that you around him these guys love that to an extent, but they compete with him because he allows his teammates you'll back at hand. It's just the competitive aspect just seems guys really respect them. And when he talked on Wednesdays in the press conferences, he's telling stories, and you're like man, I would be with this guy seems like at times that's how he is the players. They love that about him that fire. He gets into the other team the first down. Yeah. Fingers. I down motion thing the other day. You know, you got into a couple of the ravens at some other plays. And you do see that. There was a issue with him and Keenan Allen the sideline earlier this year where they got into a little bit by the end of the game. They're hugging they're laughing. Now, I wasn't around Philip when he was younger. But as I understand now, he's a lot better than it used to be. He was actually worse Easter throw his helmet, you'd go crazy, which you like that in some ways. But in other ways, this is your quarterback. Does your leader? Yeah. And there are people who will tell you that they believe that's one of the reasons why his team has never won is because he's a little bit too on edge. He gets a little too uptight, and they'll try to do too much. And so when the moments there, he's gonna screw up. I haven't seen any of that go over the edge issue at all. I mean, he's as vocal in his animated as any player I've ever seen out there. He had a stretch at the end of the season. Three straight gains threw two interceptions each other than that stretch at three games. He's been really officiant and is not to make crazy passes throw in triple coverage and all the stuff so east really had an efficient season. I think he's loving this. And he realizes this team is a really good chance. Just like watching him come into the game. On Sundays chart your social media. Posting Wayne his khakis and his boots. He looks like he drove up into minivan. He is true. Who he is? He is is. Yeah. You can't he's over Saatchi here. No. He's not fake. He's been wearing the same booth for years and the atom on the other day. I can I can confirm that before you joined the times you were a columnist with OC register. Yes, how many years twenty years? So you did just like. Sam farmer has yet NFL ever going to be an LA. You were going through the Tagliabue's all that other stuff the commissioners. Hey, stop using us as upon to get another team here. Whatever it is. You saw that generation that didn't have football in LA. No, you're around the chargers every single day. You kind of tell you what's not what is this is strange here in Costa Mesa. There's an Kia sitting narrow and you're sitting next to key in watching football team practice. It's still is kind of weird, and it's really weird too. When you look at the Rams come back, and they're an absolute disaster dreadfully Kenyan watch them. And now you see what they've done and how quickly they've turned around. And the chargers our second year here, and they finished tied with the best record in the conference and other going to New England with a chance to play in the conference championship game. It's crazy that there's now to teams here, and they're both really good, and they both have legitimate chances to reach the Super Bowl. They're building a fan base. It's gonna take a long time. I said on the post game show. I get a lot of people were hurt. You know, what I see the father of thirteen year old? I see teenagers in unpressurised young kids asking for. Chargers because that blue looks cool more adad who was here who all sudden, I can take my kid to a game in southern California or somebody. I'm noticing that more this year than I did last year. I think people in San Diego believe that truly that. Nobody wants the chargers here, which isn't true. We didn't go seeking in the chargers they came here. It's not a situation where people here are saying leave us alone. I know some people have said that has been out there, and some people have famously said the charters belong here and all that. But you're picking out some loud voices out of giant area that a lot of people are just fine with the charter being here, and they're getting into this. Now, you're seeing it much more interest on this team. And there was a month ago. My kid was the Seahawks fan. He's also now watching the chargers because I worked for them. But just because he is from L A you wanna root for people in that area. And it's not you have your Seahawks year with the the charges are here. And they're good. That's another thing when you're good. You can get fans. So it's a slow process but winning on the road in the playoffs that opens up five if. Patriots. They have a very legit chance there slight underdogs. It's going to be a smallest the patriots of favored at home in a playoff game in several years or. Yeah. That today it's been a bunch of years since it was under six points that have been favored at home for playoff game. So people believe chance if you watch his team at all, you know, they have a chance it is going to be a long slow process. One thing that charges do have gone as at being successful make such a huge difference. And I was thinking about this the other day just imagine if this team had gone six and ten where they would be right now, we're this organization would be and the Rams are where they're at. It is huge they're playing really well and winning right now. I mean, it's so big for them to do what they're doing a stab himselves new market. This is huge that they're being successful in big way. Because as you know in this market, you got to win or your people are turning you off really quick and your window to win is really close. And when you're hot you better strike LA's an interesting market people's oh, they don't care about. They care. They just going to waste their time on if you suck. Yeah. They care. Plenty. If you don't give them what they want. Then they're gonna move onto something else because there's just way too many other things to focus on on the spot here. Just give me your impression of the play on mentioned to you number ninety nine for the chargers, Joey Bosa. He is an interesting, dude. He's a smart guy. I don't know how well, you know him. If you don't he doesn't do interviews. Yes. He could be a star in. Yeah. He could be. But he's a smart guy when he does talk. He's really good. You can get him after games couple of times this year where you talk during the week. And he was outstanding. When he's coming back from his foot injury one couple of days, we got him. He was great. But he's a really smart guy. He's a really thoughtful guy. He's one of these guys people probably look at it and think dumb jock. Yeah. Dumb jock. Exactly. He is not that at all. He's a really smart guy. If he wanted to be he could be that guy. But like I was saying they don't care one guy. Who does I've been told cares? A little bit is Melvin Ingram. I like gay Mellon fifty four. He saw the other day. He's got his blaming after the game. He's doing the DNC Sanders interview. All that stuff. I've been told he goes out of his way to try to get. Little attention on himself at times, which is great. I love, but I'm having to tell you this because you don't even know 'cause he's not he's not very good at it. So he's a monster on the field to he is. He is. But he kind of wants maybe a little bit. Okay. But he doesn't talk to the media whole. I didn't talk does whole. I'd even after gains isn't say a whole lot. And I want to say no Melvin I've heard this that you want to be like guy in LA, which is great. But you've got to talk to us. It starts with good. But talk to arrive early leave late podcast. That's where we have an open door for you Melvin Ingram until tomorrow. It's funny. How so that's the whole thing like with Bosa could be that guy. He could be a giant star. It's something about both of that. He said when my career done, I'm gonna go away. Oh, okay. Cool guys are trying to get themselves. NFL network job. He has now I'm going to go away. Just and I won't deal with football anymore. I die believe that completely. That's that's him. Derwin James is a rookie who at Florida state who was offered a scholarship when he was in eighth grade. This guy looks like he's a huge star talk about your young kids like following this team. You're young kid and you liked jersey charged from cooling forms. They have cool uniforms. You get James in that the way he plays. He's all over the place. He plays really fast. He's incredibly athlete if you're a young kid. You look at that. How do you not root for that guy? Or wanna be that guy or get that jersey? I don't think anybody in charges included thought he was going to be this good. He is absolutely a dynamite defensive player the head coach. Anthony Lynn, he is about as genuine agai. I think. As you probably gonna get in coaching. At least seems to be an everybody. I've talked to about him says the same thing he's very authentic. So I think it's legit. I don't think it's an act. I was a principal day one. He has that sort of presence about him when he walks in the room. Everybody starts to substrate. I do. Yeah. Don't you? I don't know. Why that is? He commands a room. You know, he's one of these guys your eyes are drawn to them. You can understand. Why players wanna play for him? And why they get excited about the prospect of playing for this guy, the players appreciate that. He's very authentic. He speaks the truth. There's times he can't help himself. He'll probably tell us too much. And I think that he put together great staff, and they got the singling started owned four last year. Then gotta going the right direction. Talk about some of this other stuff with the chemistry in the locker room and everything when you start winning all that stuff starts to make sense in east to believe the messages, and you start to sort of believe the momentum. This thing keeps moving forward and the team is seen this. They keep getting rewarded for their hard work. And all that that thing sort of perpetuate. And it's what you have right now, you have a team that's rolling and they're going to New England thinking they can win Lynn played Cosmo taxes tech one Cup of Sugar Bowl running back with the Broncos and last year talking with interviewing you're just talked with him. What do you like about Lynn that he lets men be men, and we've heard too many coaches that try to micromanage or they play mind. Games with you. And being around the NFL for me. I've learned guy just wanna know what their role is. So they wanna know where the coming from. And it's interesting being around the chargers, and you you travel with them. So this weekend, you're going to be Foxborough where the heck is Foxborough. It's alpha Boston issue. It's like forty five minutes from Boston. But yes, stop Boston must be going riverside. It's no it is sort of like that. Yeah. It's gotta that same idea. But yeah, stay in Rhode Island. Woody do. Well, I I was told actually going into boss still apparently actually providence is actually. So. Yeah. So yeah, I was told us actually you can fly into providence about the same distance. So you when you get on a plane with the chargers that you're flying with them. You're happy too. Because you wrote a good game story, aren't you? Well, I hope so it it doesn't. As long as I don't hear from any of my bosses, otherwise, I'm just taking that as Jeff Miller, your social media is Jay women. Jay Miller j j Miller now you've put me on. You're such a beat writer. You don't look it up. Okay. What do you? What do you think? It is. You don't even know. It's I know it's LAT at the end. Is a J Miller. Jeff Miller L AT. All right. Jeff Miller L A T cover the charger for the Los Angeles Times and the rest of planet earth. There. It is photo not actual size there. It is right there. Now, you got it. I'm a big social media. You could tell should be fun week in NFL playoff action. Charter on the road at the patriots Rams at home. Call Siham with the Cowboys. Thanks to our guests at eight Jeff Miller, and Gary client who cover both teams arrive early legally podcast has a home. I want you to tell people. Hey, bethel. Bethel and the LA times are doing great work that given of good stories. Go back, and listen, we have a home page for it. L A times dot com slash podcast, LA time dot com slash podcast. It's plural. I said it twice. It's so nice dope. There. Look at the page, find previous episodes, share them. Let people know what's going on. And how Ellie sports is coming to you by the podcast form. Thanks listening. I'm your host bet. The grand tweet me Durant sports. But without about can't. Thank you enough to the crew that puts out this podcast producer, Dave wine, associate producer page Heinsohn engineered by my Kaplan Angel Rodriguez. If the sports editor he arrive early legally podcast, check it out note of the homepage LA times dot com slash podcast.