LA Rams News: The team hopes to evaluate players by a series of scrimmages at $6 Billion SoFi stadium. But, will it work?
The LA Rams added 31 rookies this offseason, but haven’t any confidence level in the options to evaluate so many unfamiliar faces in three weeks’ time. The offseason process has been compressed, squeezed, pruned, and dehydrated to the point that a multi-month process of evaluating NFL talent in multiple formats has been distilled to a two-week process without a stage to showcase players’ talents.
For some positional coaches, the choices are already all but made in terms of starters and primary backups. But for others, the depth chart becomes foggy after the starters. And for some positions and units, the entire depth chart from top to bottom is completely up for grabs. So what can the team do with no preseason game?
Necessity is the mother of invention
The Rams will manufacture game-like conditions to help coaches evaluate talent by holding scrimmages at SoFi Stadium, per Sports Illustrated’s Eric D. Wiliams. In these mocks, the Rams will simulate game-time conditions that will provide a truer test for players to show off or showdown. In the article, Rams head coach Sean McVay elaborated:
"“We’ll have a couple of scrimmages over at SoFi,” McVay said. “With some of those guys that would typically be playing a lot of the reps in preseason games, we’ll look in to maybe tackling and playing some full-speed football. We still want to be mindful of the guys we’re really counting on to be core starters on September 13 against the (Dallas) Cowboys. But, I think that the way the schedule sets itself up – it’s not going to be an excuse. We want to make sure we create as many of competitive opportunities as possible once we’re able to get going and evaluate the entirety of the roster.”"
Evaluations depend on simulating game conditions.
Competition opens the door
Competition is very important for first and second-year players. These player evaluations are very critical. It’s the young players who start with special teams play, then taking some rotational snaps, then full backups. Finally for some, a full starting role.
Without the opportunities in their first season, their football dreams never happen. Many NFL players who were themselves undrafted have discussed just how difficult their NFL career would have been without preseason games to showcase their talent. That same process is unavailable for the Rams in evaluating 31 plus players for the first chapters of their NFL careers.
It’s never been a perfect system. Some players fall through the cracks. But this year will likely have more misses than hits. That’s a problem for teams like the LA Rams who have had great success at finding quality NFL players from the ranks of undrafted rookies. Hopefully, these scrimmages will help the Rams coaching staff make the most important decisions of some NFL players’ lives.