2020 is bigger than many realize
So while many diagnose the problems of the LA Rams in 2019 from the symptoms, few have truly diagnosed the root of the difficulties. All 32 NFL teams face some level of adversity. All 32 NFL teams have access to equivalent levels of talent. The true advantage of one team over others is the coaching level. Not just in the context of one game, but a season of games, and many seasons. And that is where the LA Rams stand in the NFL crossroads.
2020 will define LA Rams head coach Sean McVay’s legacy. If the Rams plummet this year, he will be known as a one-and-done coach. The type of legacy reserved for gimmicky coaches whose novelty takes the NFL by storm, but fade away just as rapidly into the shadows. However, if the Rams rebound in 2020, reemerging as a true NFL playoff team in 2020? Then the true legacy is born.
Innovation and improvisation. While we already know that McVay can innovate, he is a novice and improvising. And that is a skill he must develop rapidly in 2020 to restore the LA Rams to the playoff discussions. Without preparation is not just going through life unprepared. But in an NFL game, when the opposition has outmaneuvered the Rams three-wide receiver formations, it’s the ability to shift to two-tight end sets. We saw flashes of that in 2019 when McVay discovered that his tight ends can block and catch passes very effectively. That act of desperation to win games with a struggling offensive line and the running game proved to McVay once and for all that he can improvise successfully. Go figure.
That sets the stage for 2020. McVay knows this. That is why the team found the strength to part ways with two insurance policies from the past in WR Brandin Cooks and RB Todd Gurley. McVay needs to improvise and innovate in 2020. To do so, he has cleaned the slate of players he counted on to deliver in the clutch. Now he must count on himself to do so. Himself, and a team of like-minded youthful coordinators who will help him to find success in 2020. Not just by innovating. But by improvising. While 2020 may define Coach McVay’s place in the NFL, give him credit for “getting” it long before other coaches. In fact, some never do.