Analyzing the Los Angeles Rams is like engaging in a philosophical conversation about the art of mediocrity. But a new era is upon us, and based on what little information is displayed to the public, the Rams appear to be heading in the right direction. Either way, here are five simple fixes for 2017:
This can be considered a broad, and to a certain degree, a difficult task for any NFL team. However, the extent of discipline I’m referring to is limiting boneheaded mistakes. Mistakes such as: false starts, unnecessary roughness penalties, pointless unsportsmanlike conduct calls, misused timeouts, etc. New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips commands discipline from his defenses, and I expect to see that tradition carried over to the Rams. Head coach Sean McVay will need to follow suit.
We’ve witnessed too many drives end and games lost because of dropped passes. The Rams didn’t retain the responsible parties purposely. They added receivers during the offseason aren’t the flashiest players, but one thing they have in common is having reliable hands. Players like Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett could help generate the spark the offense needs. Catching the ball more consistently would make quarterback Jared Goff happier. Of course, playing in a new and improved offensive scheme would help as well.
Speaking of running a new offense, McVay is tasked with breathing life into the offense. Last season’s playcalling was horrendous; the offense lacked passion and appeared to go through the motions of a game. McVay has a reputation of being creative with his playcalling, and the Rams’ offense has several pieces that could potentially be playmakers. The incoming players may be young, but guys like wide receiver Tavon Austin and running back Todd Gurley haven’t even scratched the surface of their potential. If McVay lives up to his hype, this could be a fun offense to watch, and it all begins with playcalling.
Distractions can come in different forms, but the Rams need to reduce theirs. It’s a little harder for this team due to the recent move to Los Angeles, but there are a few things the Rams can do to avoid distractions. One way is for general manager Les Snead to sign DT Aaron Donald and CB Trumaine Johnson to fair contract extensions. Let’s face it, Donald is going to get paid. Johnson on the other hand needs to earn a more realistic contract. It’s not just the front office either, it would help if the entire team can avoid off-the-field issues.
The Rams have themselves an extremely young team. As part of this youth movement, competition should be encouraged, no matter what position. Rookies should be able to challenge veterans for a starting role. McVay would be wise to consider a quarterback position battle between Goff and Sean Mannion. Of course, the Rams invested in Goff, and he is the future of the organization, but if Mannion is ready to go, I’d say give him a chance. Competition should bring out the best in the players they have.