LA Rams News: Rookies may not make immediate impact

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

LA Rams News: Despite adding nine rookies via the 2020 NFL Draft, don’t look for breakout stars in September

LA Rams News: Rookies may not star out of the gates for the team this year.  The team had a very solid draft this season. Despite a limited number of draft picks, the Rams emerged with nine rookies, many of who project as contributors for the future.  That’s a very good outcome from the range of possibilities.

But the Rams lost some key players in the offseason, particularly on defense. While the tone of any draft is to envision an immediate and positive contribution from the new additions, that is not how the story will be written this year.  Unfortunately, the Rams are facing the same obstacles as 31 other NFL teams. Lack of time.

No time to prove anything

The absence of preseason games, OTAs, and a host of other direct contacts between players and coaches has severely limited how quickly trust is established.  You see, rookies come with the talent. Coaches come with the schemes and playbook.  The offseason is all about players proving that they can perform in the schemes and plays designed for them.  Auditioning as it were.  And rookies begin the year with no proof that they can do it. They start with no trust.

Of course, NFL veterans are in a similar situation. But their goal is to reestablish themselves. Coaches already know the veterans and have already established confidence and trust. Rookies? They are working from a blank slate.

NFL games take on preseason qualities

Coaches will determine which players remain, which players will be waived, and which players will be assigned to the practice squad.  And for the season opener, and likely throughout the month of September 2020, the Rams coaching staff will likely phase rookies into game snaps. Even such rookies as running back Cam Akers, who is the presumed feature back, will likely be phased into the offense as the team tests his tolerance.

While the Rams may trial SoFi scrimmages, nothing will be as effective as true competition against another team. So the month of September will likely result in a gradual increase of rookies into the rotation. Akers will be phased into the running game, Van Jefferson will be phased into the passing game. Terrell Lewis will be phased into the defense.  Terrell Burgess will be phased into pass coverage.

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The LA Rams are not the type of team to throw rookies into the deep end of the pool to see if they can swim.  The coaches effectively develop young players by integrating those players into the game. After all, it’s not how well the rookies play in the season opener. It’s more important to the team that the players improve each week.