3 LA Rams innovations from Coach McVay in 2020

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams Sean McVay
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Intensive play on special teams

The LA Rams found a difficult go of it in 2019 in special teams. That was on display virtually any time the team sent out the field goal unit last year. Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein was one of the most dependable kickers of the NFL in his career, but he wasn’t very accurate from 40+ yards in 2019. The overall team field goal accuracy was a paltry 72.7 percent in 2019. That was only good enough for 28th ranked in the NFL.

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That opened the door for the Rams to hire special teams coordinator John Bonamego. And in rapid response, the Rams have signed up three kickers to compete for field goal duties in 2020. That competition is not just an open competition. The Rams specifically targetted kickers who had solid accuracy over 40 plus yards.

Drop back and… fake?

But it was not just the field goal kicking that went wrong in 2019.  There was a matter of a fake punt gone wrong from the LA Rams own 29-yard line in a winnable game on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  At the time, the LA Rams were down 14-7 and had the ball in the third quarter. The Rams faced a fourth-and-one when the team dialed up a frequently successful fake punt. But this time, the fake ended up with a pass attempt which was intercepted. The team had become predictable in faking punts and it blew up in their face.

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Trick plays need to know when to use them, and when not to use them.  The Rams had relied too heavily on trickery and paid the price. The greatest innovations for the Rams on special teams will be to return to fundamentals. Playing like the team can trust the kicker and All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker will go a long way for the Rams in 2020. The innovation? Less is more.  Just solid tackling, coverage, and booming kicks. Sometimes the greatest thrills in football can be simply doing the little things right.