The Los Angeles Rams posted one of the most successful years in recent memory in 2017. It was an exciting season due to the new coaching regime and different schemes. Yet the 2018 campaign is shaping up to be even more exciting.
The coaching staff knows the roster
It’s difficult to comprehend the challenge coaches have when signing to a new team. Now, multiply that by 10 with Sean McVay being named the youngest head coach in the land of paparazzi. It did help to have legendary defensive coordinator Wade Phillips by his side. Still, he needed to understand what type of players he had at his disposal. Some flourished while others recorded forgettable years. Nonetheless, McVay still led the Rams to an 11-5 season and a playoff appearance.
Both McVay and Phillips now understand how to know how to improve the team. It sounds simplistic, but this will make the biggest difference entering 2018. The successful season overshadowed the early struggles the Rams had. I expect the Rams to be much more prepared at the start of this upcoming season.
The offseason moves have made the Rams a much different team. Yet in many areas, the bare bones of the team are still in place. Take the offense for example, the leaders remain Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Both players will now understand expectations and run with the same basic offense. There will be a few new faces, but the core will be veterans.
The defensive side of the ball might be a bit different. There will be a lot of changes to the depth chart. But it’s difficult to be nervous considering what Phillips was able to accomplish last season and the incoming talent this year. The secondary looks vastly improved considering last year’s starters were Trumaine Johnson and Kayvon Webster. They were replaced by Pro Bowlers Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Work still needs to be done at linebacker, but there is still time to fill some holes.
Expectations are high
The feeling, the culture and the determination of the Rams franchise feels more amped since the Greatest Show on Turf era. Definitely more pumped than the “Fisher Ball” years. The mentality across the board is: “Ok, we made it to the playoffs, how can we win a Super Bowl?” That’s precisely ideology winning teams have. The most impressive fact of all, it’s not just hype, it’s reality.
Wheelin’ and Dealin’
Without a doubt, no offseason is more exciting than the NFL. Even more excitement is generated when you have a trade shark like Les Snead as a general manager. The Rams so far have dealt away some former stars in the like of Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree. But they also brought in superstars like Peters and Talib. Love or hate them, these guys are impact players that will thrive in Phillips’s defense. The exciting aspect of all of this is that Snead probably isn’t finished making deals.
As mentioned previously, the Rams lost some key names, but they are fighting to retain some household names too. The NFL took notice last year, and many teams covet players Aaron Donald, Gurley and even Goff. Adding Peters and Talib into the mix should be entertaining. The youth movement is coming as well. We haven’t seen the best of guys like Cooper Kupp and John Johnson. The 2018 NFL Draft will be much more exciting for fans that enjoy looking for diamonds in the rough. Let’s see if the Rams draft another superstar.