We should have seen this coming. The Rams are back in Los Angeles, and it's only right to put them center stage on the best football television show of all time.
1. Adapting to Los Angeles: The NFL is inherently a transitory existence. Hard Knocks always captures this well, but this season will be a unique look at what happens when an entire organization is upended. The Rams are the first NFL team to move since Rams coach Jeff Fisher's Titans moved from Houston to Nashville in 1997. The complications are endless and should be fascinating to watch.
L.A. can be a particularly dizzying place to move to. There is no center and there are countless options of where to live, although few options will be conveniently located for the Rams. Their proposed practice facility, for instance, is not close to the stadium. Add it all up and this will be an inside look at how more than 80 players, coaches, support staff and administration all relocate across the country together with their families while still pursuing the playoffs. Just in case that wasn't challenging enough, they'll do it with television cameras rolling.
2. Pressure on Fisher, Snead: Since 1970, only two NFL head coaches have produced four straight losing seasons to start their tenure and made it to a fifth season. Fisher is one of them. The other example is instructive. Dave Shula was brought back for a fifth season with the Bengals in 1996 and was fired only seven games into the next season.
Fisher should have more stability than that, but there's no denying this is a crucial year for Fisher and general manager Les Snead. They took over the Rams after one of the worst five-year runs in the sport's history, and immediately made them respectable. But you can't remain perpetually 7-9 forever. Most teams moving to a new town would have a honeymoon period. But Fisher and Snead's TV-ready mane have to perform in 2016.
3. Quarterback battle: This is your close up, Case Keenum. The Rams have talked up Keenum throughout the offseason as a legitimate option at quarterback because they clearly don't feel Nick Foles can cut it. Foles isn't a lock to even be on the roster in August and they also have last year's third-round pick, Sean Mannion. Perhaps a rookie will be thrown into the mix, but I'm looking forward to a world where Keenum is essentially a reality television star.
4. Hello, Aaron Donald: Last season of Hard Knocks occasionally felt like a workout video hosted by J.J. Watt. This year, we get to learn a little more about the guy who might just have out-played Watt in 2015. To get taken seriously as the best defensive player in the league, Donald needs to do it year after year. And it won't hurt for America to get to know him a little better.
5. Remember Gregg Williams?Perhaps NFL Films doesn't want to put the Rams' defensive coordinator in the spotlight just four seasons after the NFL suspended him for a year for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal. But he's undeniably one of the most colorful and compelling members of the Rams organization. His coaching style is as aggressive as the Rams' defense. There's a reason why the Rams are such fierce tacklers, and Williams helped most of the team's secondary get paid huge bucks this offseason.
6. Todd Gurley. So many of the best Hard Knocks breakout stars are the guys you've never heard of, like Charles James with the Texans last year. But it's also cool to see a young star on the precipice. As great as Donald is, the Rams would love for Gurley to emerge as the face of the franchise. He's going to be the centerpiece of this offense and should be a big part of the series.