Rams Nation? A step.
Result: Missed Playoffs
2019 Regular season record: 9-7
2019 Scoring Offensive Rank: 11th 24.6 PPG
2019 Scoring Defensive Rank: 16th 22.2 PPG
2020 Draft First Round Pick: None (Traded to Jaguars)
Coach: Sean McVay
The Offseason Scenario:
The Rams have got to be looking at their blueprint and wondering how they can get back to the offensive dominance that they enjoyed in 2018. That behemoth ranked first in almost every major offensive category and was simply unstoppable when their play-action was clicking for Jared Goff. That all dead-ended with a bang in the most defensive Super Bowl of all time and the Rams only scored three points if you aren’t remembering…
Since then, the Rams machine hasn’t been able to get up to speed. The reason for that is simple. Todd Gurley just hasn’t been dominant since a slew of injuries, and despite being mostly healthy in 2019, he just isn’t the same. He was down a full yard per attempt this season, and the effect of that is that Jared Goff just isn’t seeing the same opportunities to pick apart defenses. Goff threw ten fewer touchdowns this season, but four more interceptions while attempting more passes than he ever has in his career.
That’s called regression, folks.
But what should be more concerning is that it’s hard to tell if Goff is actually good or not. Because as of now, the evidence is that when Gurley dominates, Goff can, too. But not the other way around. Goff almost washed out of the league before McVay came in and resurrected his career, we’ll see next season if that was prudent. It’s not uncommon for a Super Bowl losing team to falter in the next season, but if they can’t get into contention in the brutally tough NFC West next year, it will be back to the drawing board.
Free Agent Frenzy:
If all that sounds ominous, be warned Rams fans. It doesn’t get better.
Because the Rams are cash strapped.
The Rams have a tough situation, with only about $15 million in cap space, and no first round pick. Jared Goff is on a whopping four-year, $134 million dollar deal, with over $36 million of that going against this year’s salary cap. Essentially, the Rams gambled on winning it all in 2018, and lost. They’ve parted ways with high dollar impact players like Ndamukong Suh and Marcus Peters, and they’re still struggling to find a way to make things click on both sides of the ball. They’ve parted ways with embattled cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, the guy who gave the league all those fun new pass interference rules, as well as DE Michael Brockers, both mainstays of the Rams defense.
It won’t clear up a ton of cap room, but the Rams need every penny that they can find. I’m assuming that they’ll be looking for value along the defensive and offensive lines in free agency.
Seriously Premature Draft Hunches:
Feeling like the Rams are up against the wall? That’s because they are. Their first pick will come in the second half of the second round, number 52 overall to be specific. They’ll be hoping to hit a home run in the second round if they use it, but they do have two third round selections, and they might be tempted to package some of these middle round selections to move back into the first round, where getting an impact player is more likely. If they don’t make a move, expect the Rams to go big, picking bulky offensive and defensive linemen that will help open running lanes and get after opposing QBs.
For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.