Season In Review – LA Rams

By Chris Todd (@ctdk1980)

Time for another installment of the Season In Review Series. This time, we turn our attention to last year’s Super Bowl participants, the LA Rams.

The Super Bowl hangover is still as bad as the Madden curse!

ENTERING THE SEASON


Coming into the 2019 season the Rams were looking to bounce back from their Super Bowl
disappointment and go one step better to earn the franchises 2nd championship.

Patrick Semansky/AP

HC Sean McVay returned most of the same players and staff, adding veterans like Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews to an impressive roster.

With Cooper Kupp returning after a serious injury ended his 2018 season prematurely and standout RB Todd Gurley with his own injury question marks, the pressure would be on Jared Goff to live up to his massive $134 million contract. At least on the other side of the ball, DC Wade Phillips would have the luxury of calling on all-world defensive linemen Aaron Donald to set the tone.


DURING THE SEASON


The Rams were consistent only in their inconsistency during the 2019 season, managing to go from a
28-12 beatdown of the Seattle Seahawks in week 14, to a 44-21 shellacking at the hands of the
Dallas Cowboys in week 15 that all but ended their postseason hopes.

While the 2019 season was ultimately disappointing there were still some highlights for the Rams
faithful, including a week 2 win against the New Orleans Saints in a Conference Championship
rematch from the previous season.

Offensively however, McVay’s Rams took a step back from 32.9 PPG in 2018 to only 24.6 in 2019. Quarterback Jared Goff endured his troubles throughout, while he did finish 3 rd in passing yards for the year he was only 22 nd in QB passer rating for the year, coupled with the line struggling to open holes in the running game it led to a offence that was strangely stagnant at times. While receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods both had impressive seasons, Todd Gurley was unable to repeat his league leading 2018 form, seemingly limited by injuries.

Image result for todd gurley
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty

The defence was led as always by the incomparable Aaron Donald as he continued his line wrecking
ways, while he didn’t manage to repeat his 20.5 sacks from 2018, he was still a force, demanding
double teams almost every week. The Rams paid a steep price to acquire help for the secondary,
trading 2 first round picks and a fourth round pick to the Jaguars for star corner Jalen Ramsey,
sending previous trade acquisition Marcus Peters to the Ravens to make room. Cory Littleton was a
playmaker at inside linebacker, recording 134 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Unfortunately
however, the defence as a whole remained middle of the pack, giving up 22.8 PPG ranking 17th in the
league.


OFFSEASON OUTLOOK


The Rams have a lot of question marks going forward, with shortages both in cap space and high
draft picks for the 2020 season. With pieces like LB Cory Littleton, LT Andrew Whitworth and DE’s
Michael Brockers and Dante Fowler among others entering free agency, and only $19.5 million of
cap space, GM Les Snead has plenty of work to do this offseason before the Rams move into their
brand new $5 billion home at SoFi Stadium.

foxla.com

The Rams are also undergoing major changes to their coaching staff, with the coordinators leaving
from all 3 phases. Brandon Staley and Kevin O’Connell are expected to be named as coordinators as
Sean McVay reshapes his staff. The NFC West is a highly competitive division and while the Rams
have enough talent to compete with any team, they’ll need Jared Goff to take a step forward for
them to win the big one.

Where Do They Go From Here; LA Rams

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the Los Angeles Rams.

Don’t forget to check out the NFC West podcast where we talked to a fan from each team and got their thoughts on them!

How Did Last Season Go?

It’s hard to determine whether or not this was a successful season or not. I guess with a gun to my head that you’d have to call the season disappointing overall despite the Super Bowl appearance. The reason I call it a failure is not only the performance in the Super Bowl, but also the luck involved in getting them there (more on that shortly) and the fact that they pushed all their chips into the middle for this season with their signings on defence.

Suh, Talib et al were all drafted in to make a Madden Ultimate Team in effect and just came up short. Yes, they’ll be among the favourites again in 2019 but you wonder if this was their boat sailing? Sometimes, you only get one chance.

Let’s rewind back to the regular season, stormed out to an 8-0 record before their humbling by the New Orleans Saints in a high scoring 35-45 affair with nearly 1000 yards of offence in the game (not one for Lee). Other season highlights was of course the week 11 slobber knocker in LA (which should have been in Mexico) which had over 100 points to its name.

There was a slight wobble after the bye in weeks 14 and 15 with losses @Chicago and at home to a Nick Foles led Eagles, costing them the #1 seed. None the less, a #2 seed and a 1st round bye, they proved too strong for the Cowboys (though you have to wonder whether if Zeke converted on that 4th down, how it may have played out).

The NFC title game will forever be remembered for the non PI call which would’ve let New Orleans run the clock down to a few seconds and Lutz to kick a chip shot, but that is now why coaches will be able to challenge these calls in 2019. Some like it, I hate it but it’s happening. Make your own judgement call on whether it is good for the game.

The main storyline over the latter part of the season on top of the charge to the biggest game of them all was Todd Gurley’s injury niggles. CJ Anderson was signed from week 15 and produced a stand out performance in his absence which trickled in to the post season. His rumbled over Dallas with a 100+ yd performance and a couple of touchdowns which leave many scratching their heads as to why he wasn’t re-signed. It was later released that Todd Gurley has arthritis in his left knee and we all knew that the Rams were playing it down and Todd Gurley telling a few white lies about him playing soft. No-one ever really bought it though because it told on the field with the amount of snaps CJ Anderson saw. It remains to be seen what lie ahead for the highest paid RB in the game in terms of next season’s workload. Dynasty owners, hold your breath.

Housekeeping

The Rams own pick number 31 for being Super Bowl runners up.

They hold no 2nd round picks but 2 3rd rounders (pick 99 is compensatory) along with a pick in rounds 4,5,6 and 7.

The Rams’ pursestrings are a bit tight with around $5m cap space at this moment.

Outgoings

LaMarcus Joyner, Roger Saffold, Mark Barron and Ndamukong Suh and the main names out the door.

Incomings

Replacing them are Green Bay legend with the long golden locks Clay Matthews, Eric Weddle and his great beard and clearly the biggest signing of them all, Blake Bortles. You watch him get turned into Dan Marino by McVay.

Outlook for Next Year

Pretty much as you were for the Rams with a few pieces being changed. The Rams will be expecting to visit the big one again and go one better.

Cooper Kupp, who seemingly was the glue that kept this team together should be back and raring to go and a lot of eyes will be on Todd Gurley and his knees. Expect a top offence once more with plenty of points to go around everywhere. The Rams will play a winners schedule as well as the NFC South and AFC North. Added on top, a trip to London to take on Zac Taylor who was employed by the Rams in 2018.

Prediction

There may well be stiffer competition in the NFC West in 2019 with the Seahawks and also Jimmy G being welcomed back by Kyle Shanahan. Should be another division title for the Rams but the division plays hard. Another season of double digit wins if Gurley’s war wounds are nothing too serious and Sean McVay does Sean McVay things on the Rams offence. To the post season, the Rams will once again be a juggernaut to stop, but someone will.

Fantasy Football

Jared Goff – later rounds – low QB1

Todd Gurley – 1st round pick (buyer beware) – RB1, if fit and firing.

Brandin Cooks – 3rd/4th Round pick – WR2 – potential bargain

Cooper Kupp – 5th round – low WR2 – PPR machine

Robert Woods – 4th round – WR2

Tight Ends – no chance!

Exit Interviews – NFC West

To finish off our exit interview series we head back out to the wild, wild West and talk some NFC football.

Inside we’ll be talking Superbowls to the first overall pick obviously lots in between in this division… Lee took over for this one so in keeping with his style there’s a little bit of a draft element to all the segments! Thanks to Shona, Tom, Jordan and Mia of coming on… All fantastic guests who made this a great show to record. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did recording it.

Super Bowl Winners, Losers and Stories

Rob Grimwood of Across the Fantasy pond joins Tim and Lee to review the Super Bowl which has differing opinions.

We talk about all the big storylines coming out of the game including McVay, Goff, Gurley and where the Rams go from here? We give our appreciation to Edelman and the Patriots on how they cruised to a comfortable victory.

We give out the Playoff Predictor winner and the NFL Jumper competition winner after Charlie from the Ice the Kicker pod tackles the Full10Questions.

Super Bowl Surprises

A very special Super Bowl episode with a few surprises.
We have a very special guest who likes to “look at the numbers” and was an inspiration for this podcast.
We look at more numbers with Adam in our best bets section. We go head to head with the £100 before we round out with all of you lovely people and your Super Bowl Predictions.

Super Bowl Time!

Get your foam fingers out and shut off your alarm clock, it’s Super Bowl week!
Tim and Lee give you the low down to the big one in Atlanta.
How did New England and Los Angeles make it to the big one? And what will be the keys to the game? What makes Brady so great and can McVay wrestle the torch from Belichick where it’s the upstarter vs the master.
The Fantasy Fam from across the pond tackle our quiz, with a keen eye on a previous contestant’s score…Can they beat it? Can you beat it?
Don’t forget to submit your Super Bowl predictions to be on Friday’s show and enter our free competition to win an NFL jumper! Head over to our twitter @full10yards for all the info.