Look for LA Rams offense to adapt quickly in 2020

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams Sean McVay Kevin O'Connell
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

LA Rams’ stubbornness cost them games

The Rams have the tools on offense to win practically any game. But if you go back to the losses of 2019, there is an alarming trend that develops. No, I’m not talking about the 2020 hindsight of one or two plays run by the Rams which the team wished it could get back.

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2019 was a pattern of trying to go too deep with a receiver, trying to run unsuccessfully between the tackles, and not fixing the A-Gap blitzes. The LA Rams offense had about 3.6 seconds of protection per play but designed plays that required 5.5  seconds to develop.  Making matters worse, nobody was biting on the running game. That meant that run-pass-option plays were simply taking up more time trying to fake out a defense that was entirely focused on getting the quarterback.

Move over McVay, O’Connell’s offensive observations only

The Rams offense refused, frequently, to take what defenses gave them.  Frequently, the Rams game plan was ineffective by the end of the first quarter.  And yet, the Rams stuck with it. Long deep passes that were overthrown.  Runs up the middle getting stuffed for a loss. Dropping back to pass and a defender getting to Goff before he could set his feet.

Eventually, the LA Rams did ramp up their efforts. The game called against the Chicago Bears, while still with a poor showing in the passing game, proved that the Rams could modify their offense. But the team really showed the ability to improvise and innovate in December 2019.   Now, the team must not only import those costly 2019 on-field lessons learned into 2020. The offensive brain-trust of 2020 must diagnose what defenses are doing and be able to create effective countermeasures. That’s not just head coach Sean McVay. It will include offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell as well as quarterback Jared Goff.

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The Rams no longer run a Ronco “set it and forget it” offense.  Now, more than ever, the team must devote an entire game plan to score against that week’s opponent. And that’s why the Rams had hired offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.  The workload for offensive planning doubled.