2012-2016- The Fisher Era

Week 2 Preview: 3 things the L.A. Rams must improve to beat Seattle

Aaron Donald Slams his helmet in frustration after being ejected against the 49ers on September 12, 2016 (credit unknown).

The Los Angeles Rams’ performance against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football was a nightmare. They looked unprepared throughout the game on offense, at times on defense and looked absolutely unprepared mentally. I could go on and on explaining what the Rams have to do to improve against the Seahawks but a few major adjustments, mostly on offense and the mental aspect. The coaching staff have some three things to address before Sunday’s Week 2 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

Case Keenum needs to play like an NFL quarterback

It sounds so simple does it? Unfortunately, Keenum looked anything but an NFL quarterback on Monday night. While his offensive line struggled to slow down the 49ers defense, Keenum was flat out awful trying to find his receivers. His 17 completions on 35 pass attempts was not an indication of just how lost he looked in the pocket. He completed just 3 of 10 passes of more than ten yards. Keenum couldn’t handle pressure either, compiling a 4.9 QB rating when the 49ers blitzed him. Keenum was simply overwhelmed.

What can Keenum do to improve in Week 2 against the Seahawks? He does not have to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but he has to channel his inner Alex Smith. The Rams offense is based on the rushing the football first and foremost, so all he needs to do is manage the offense. He doesn’t have to throw for 400 yards, but he has to make the right decisions.The onus is on the coaching staff to involve all of his playmakers (Tavon Austin, Todd Gurley, etc.) as much as possible to make that happen.

Keenum does not have to throw the ball 50 yards downfield on every pass attempt, but he has to find a way to move the ball forward effectively 4-5 yards every time possible, and his coaches must help him find a way to get that done.

Coaching Staff needs to be more creative

Speaking of which, offensive coordinator Rob Boras had a horrendous day calling plays in Week 1. The only play sequences the Rams appeared to do with the ball was run, run, pass on 3rd and 9 or more, which eventually led to one of ten punts by Johnny Hekker. Such predictable playcalling allowed the 49ers to clog up the middle, not giving Gurley any room to operate and putting Keenum under constant pressure in the pocket.

The coaching staff’s challenge to improve the Rams offense is to find ways to involve Gurley in multiple dimensions offensively. A combination of Gurley and WR Tavon Austin running more plays could be one way to unclog the middle. A one-dimensional offense of Gurley running it down the gut and Austin always running routes at WR will do nothing to help the Rams.

The entire Rams team has to put the ghosts of Week 1 to bed

Yes, the Rams had the worst performance in the NFL during Week 1. They were the only team to get shutout. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald lost his temper and got thrown out of the game. While defensively the Rams were decent, even they broke down physically and mentally in the 4th quarter. The Rams, as an entire team, have to put that disaster behind them. A much more formidable opponent is facing them Sunday, September 18 at the L.A. Coliseum. It is only Week 2, but this game feels like a must-win for the Rams.

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