Football is back with the Rams taking on the Colts at the Coliseum Sunday afternoon. Before the game arrives, team insider Myles Simmons chatted with Hallf of Fame RB Eric Dickerson to get his keys to victory.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Myles Simmons: How has this last week been, being the VP of Business Development for the L.A. Rams?
Eric Dickerson: Well it's very exciting for me to be affiliated with my old football team — the Los Angeles Rams. I'm very happy, very proud to be a part of the organization. We talked about this a year ago, and I think this is the perfect time for this to happen. When I talked to (Rams C.O.O.) Kevin Demoff about it, I told him that whatever I do, I want to bring value to the organization and to my job. So I can say I'm very excited about it.
MS: Thinking back to when you were playing, what was key for you to getting settled and ready to play on Opening Day?
ED: I think as a player, you go through different phases in your career and playing games. My first year, I remember being very nervous. We played the New York Giants in the first game of the season in 1983 — in New York. We won that game 16-6 — it was a pretty close game, I remember that.
I remember that same year in my rookie season, the game that was my 'ah-ha' moment was when we played the Jets in New York. And that was a game where I won't forget head coach John Robinson said, "Look, I'm not having Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau do that silly dance when he makes a sack. We're going to try to prevent that at all costs, and we're not having it."
So sure enough, a sack took place, players got into it, and there was a big fight on the field. And after the fight calmed down, and both teams kind of got back to playing football, the lights at Shea Stadium came on.
Vince Ferragamo called the next play — a passing play. And he said, "If I don't see anything down the field, I'm coming to you." I said, "OK" — I was running a swing route.
And I'll never forget it — I still see this more than any play I ever had in the NFL — as he drops back, I see his head going back and forth looking down field. I can see the horns on his helmet turning back and forth. And the pocket was starting to collapse on him. All of a sudden, I saw his arm just come over the top and the ball came out to me. And when I saw it come out, I thought, "Man. This is the big time. This is the NFL." That was my "wow" moment in the NFL.
MS: Turning to this game on Sunday, even though the Colts won't have quarterback Andrew Luck, what makes them dangerous?
ED: Well I think in a sense, not having Andrew Luck will make them dangerous. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is still a great player. Having a backup quarterback, sometimes, can be very dangerous because you think, "OK, they don't have their top gun." But if you would happen to lose to their backup, Scott Tolzien, that is not a good start to any season.
But if you're the Colts, you're probably thinking, "We don't have our starting quarterback so we don't have anything to lose." And I think that, to me, can be scary for a football team.
MS: What's the single most important thing the Rams have to do to beat the Colts?
ED: Control the line of scrimmage — most definitely control the line of scrimmage. You don't have to control the line of scrimmage every play — it's not going to happen like that — but most of that game, they need to control the line of scrimmage. The offensive line needs to dominate their defensive front and give our quarterback Jared Goff time to throw the football, and also get the running game on track. But the most important thing is controlling the line of scrimmage.