Something old, something new
The Rams return most of their starters on offense from a year ago, most of their positional coaches, the corps of their defense, an All-Pro punter, and 46 players from the 53-man roster. When everything is strange and new, familiar is a good thing. NFL veterans can tether this year’s surreal experiences to last season’s training camp and season experiences. It will allow each player to process this year’s activities back to the tried and true.
NFL rookies have no such experiences. Now, more than ever, veteran leadership is crucial. Thankfully, the LA Rams have plenty of veteran leadership to fall back to. After all, NFL teams who are counting on immediate contributions from rookies will be hard-pressed this season. Rookies who are trying to earn a starting role in the defensive backfield, offensive line, or wide receiver roles will be especially challenged this season.
Okay, so who are those guys?
The Rams are not insulated from new faces this year. In fact, the team will be led by a new team of coordinators: ST Coordinator John Bonamego, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell, and Defensive Coordinator Brandon Staley. Each of these coordinators is responsible for innovating, complimenting, and developing their areas of the team to support a Super Bowl run this year. Can they do it? That’s what we are here to find out. Head coach Sean McVay is the king of preparation, not innovation. That’s why the Rams brought in the three new guys, to innovate.
Special teams are the easiest to identify, but the toughest to pull off. In short, the Rams must turn around the special teams play that has fallen to the bottom third of the NFL. On offense, the task will be to coach up QB Jared Goff to improvise. Even if the play is breaking down, the Rams need Goff to make plays. How? O’Connell is a quarterback whisperer, and he’ll coach Goff this season. Finally, the defense will rely upon deception and versatility to get the upper hand. Of all NFL defenses, McVay was stumped consistently by Denver HC Vic Fangio’s defense consistently. So he hired his protege, Brandon Staley, to be the Rams’ new defensive coordinator.