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Armando Salguero’s Monday NFL Perspectives: Rams All In For A Super Bowl Run; Robert Saleh Too Giddy; Jimmy G and Big Ben Not Going Away

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The Von Miller trade to the Los Angeles Rams significantly shifts the balance of power in the NFC West and has other repercussions as well.

The Rams traded for the Denver Broncos pass-rushing star Monday, getting a 32-year-old player with 110.5 career sacks to team in the same front seven with perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald.

They’re all in, folks.

https://twitter.com/RamsNFL/status/1455220386233151488

And suddenly the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are looking like teams that have some catching up to do.

https://twitter.com/ChaseEdmonds22/status/1455210860796727296

No, Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds is not happy. The Rams, pushing all their chips to the center of the table, are giving the Broncos a second- and third-round pick in 2022. And the Broncos are paying the Rams to do it.

Denver, according to ESPN, is paying $9 million of Miller’s remaining $9.7 million salary this season.

While the Broncos are obviously looking toward the future, this does not bode well for coach Vic Fangio whose team is 4-4 but who has a 16-24 record in three seasons as Denver’s coach.

The fact the Broncos are sellers at the trade deadline says something about where general manager George Paton sees the rest of this season going.

It would not surprise if Paton offers running back Melvin Gordon to the Tennessee Titans, who are likely losing running back Derrick Henry for at least two months because of a foot injury.

The Rams, meanwhile, are 7-1, as are the Cardinals.

Miller’s first game for the Rams will be against the Tennessee Titans Sunday night.

Statements made

The weekend’s games spoke volumes about some quarterbacks and teams as they battle media narratives.

Statements were made about quarterback situation in San Francisco, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, for sure. In New York, the Jets also made a QB statement, but we’ll handle that one separately below.

And while it’s only one of 17 game weeks so stuff is subject to change, this was a meaningful week. Consider:

For the 49ers, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is basically a place-holder until Trey Lance takes over as the starter, definitely seemed to push that eventuality down the road a bit with his performance against the Chicago Bears. Garoppolo threw for 322 yards, had a QB rating of 100.6 and scored two rushing touchdowns in San Francisco’s victory over.

The victory ended a four-game skid for San Francisco. And it went so well that even though Lance was available, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t think of using him. Garoppolo had it all in hand, and that will continue for a while as QB questions will subside this week.

“I don’t know what else we’ll talk about if we don’t have that,” Shanahan said jokingly.

The Bears lost, but Justin Fields continues to show progress. He passed for 175 yards and rushed for 103 yards. He scored on a 22-yard run that some are calling his signature NFL play so far.

“Yeah, I’m not going to lie, that was awesome,” Fields said of the run. “I was excited, as y’all could see. But yeah, it was awesome. Glad to celebrate with my teammates, and we’re just going to continue to get better.”

In Pittsburgh, the reports of Ben Roethlisberger’s demise will have to a wait a little while longer. And the reports of the Steelers sinking into obscurity this season are also wrong, as they’ve recovered for a three-game losing skid with a three-game winning streak.

Steelers 15.

Browns 10.

“I’m not going to say we have the clear answer that we figured it out, but we came on the road and won a football game against a good team,” Roethlisberger said.

“I think hopefully that instills confidence in guys — young guys and older guys—letting us know that we can do this thing. It is not over, and there is still a lot of road ahead of us.”

Dan Campbell blames Dan Campbell

The Detroit Lions are 0-8, and that means they’ve begun a season with at least eight consecutive losses for the third time this century, matching 0-8 starts in 2001 and 2008.

Yeah, rough.

So let’s check in on new coach Dan Campbell’s self-flagellation session after Sunday’s 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Campbell said his team was awash “in a sea of trash.” And he blamed himself.

“I felt like we got outcoached today,” Campbell said. “We got outplayed across the board. That starts with me. It really does. You don’t play that bad with a number of guys and areas, and turn the ball over, and (commit) penalties, and it’s low energy. You don’t do that unless that comes from the top, so that’s on me.

“I did not set the tone or the tempo properly, obviously. Because that was bad. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

Campbell at one point was asked whether he believes he’s lost the locker room or whether his message is not filtering properly to the players.

“I’m not worried about my message,” Campbell said.

Then he thought about it for a second.

“Now, well, I guess maybe I should be worried about my message, right? When you come out and play like this, that’s why you’re asking that, right? I’m not worried about losing this team. I’m not worried about that. I am worried about that I didn’t deliver the right message to get them ready to go.

“That’s what I’m worried about. That’s what concerns me about what I did. Not that I don’t have the right message or that I can’t get this team back up. That’s not what I’m concerned about. My concern was that I did think I had them and now, hindsight, I obviously didn’t, so it’s a lesson learned. It’s a lesson learned.”

Robert Saleh lost focus after beating Cincinnati

New York Jets coach Robert Saleh was clearly excited when he spoke with reporters after Sunday’s 34-31 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals because during the interview session he said some eyebrow raising things such as calling his 2-5 squad “a good team.”

But the thing that got everyone’s attention is Saleh saw backup Mike White complete 37 of 45 passes for 405 yards and 3 TDs and basically ignited a quarterback controversy by saying White might be the guy going forward.

“We’ll go day-to-day, but anything is possible, right?” Saleh said. “Anything is possible. It goes back to the theory of, the difference between Player A and Player Z is an opportunity and reps. That’s what this league is. That’s professional sports.

“They come out of nowhere when someone gets an opportunity. What Mike does with his opportunity…he has the world in front of him. He has to take advantage.”

White’s 37 completions are the most by any quarterback in his first NFL start but the context here is the Jets picked Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall selection in the draft six months ago, and he got all of six starts before injuring a knee last week.

So that investment takes a back seat to the results of one game? Saleh is opening the door on a decade-long decision based on one game?

Saleh is a young coach. And he was obviously giddy about winning. But it’s one game, coach. One game.

This and that …

— Sean Payton will have to find a different answer at quarterback after what he said was a “significant” injury to quarterback Jameis Winston, but that doesn’t tell the story.

Because that doesn’t speak to the bond Payton and Winston have forged. A testament to that bond?

Payton had a visceral reaction when he saw Winston after the game.

“Cried when I saw him coming in,” Payton said. “You know, it’s hard.”

— Atlanta kicker Younghoe Koo and Denver kicker Brandon McManus missed field goal attempts for the first time this season on Sunday. That means Chicago’s Cairo Santos is the only remaining kicker with more than three FG attempts who has not missed this season. Santos is 11 of 11 this season, including 4 of 4 from 40 to 49 yards out.

— The Dolphins have lost seven consecutive games, which is already more than they lost last season. Head coach Brian Flores, who has not gotten his team in the playoffs his first two seasons and isn’t likely to do it this year either, has a 16-24 record with the team.

So he’s on the hot seat and if he didn’t know it, he started getting questions about whether he’s concerned about his job security after Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

“I’m just worried about the players,” Flores said. “I’m worried about the players. I’m worried getting them better, helping them improve so, no.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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