The LA Rams special teams play is not where it should be just yet, but must improve dramatically for the Rams to succeed this year
The LA Rams defense has certainly turned things around. The Rams defense held the lauded Dallas Cowboys offense to just 17 points. A week later, the Rams defense held a motivated and refurbished Philadelphia Eagles offense to just 19 points on the road. That’s just an average of 18 points per game. The Rams will win a lot of games if the defense continues to play like that.
The LA Rams offense has certainly turned things around as well. Quarterback Jared Goff exudes cool crisp confidence in the pocket this year. He’s averaging 285 passing yards per game and tossed three touchdowns to just one questionable interception. Meanwhile, the Rams re-committed to the running game and its showing. These Rams are already rushing for 344 yards per game, and averaging 4.4 yards-per-carry. And with four rushing touchdowns on the books, the Rams balanced offensive attack is balanced once more.
Rams special teams not improved just yet
In just two weeks, the LA Rams are among the NFL’s Top-5 offenses, and among the NFL’s Top-5 in scoring defenses. But the LA Rams are not very productive on special teams just yet. In fact, the Rams special teams are among the worst of the NFL, still. The Rams kickoff returns are currently ranked 23rd in the NFL. The punt return team is ranked 15th, but a badly timed fumble on a punt return in week two was a costly mistake.
In terms of field goals, the LA Rams are hitting three of four field-goal attempts. And the team is six of seven on attempted extra points. But the Rams have not attempted a field goal over 39 yards so far. And the one that was missed fell in the 20-29 yards range. The Rams have not attempted a single kick over 40 yards in two games. So far that has not cost the Rams anything just yet.
Flirtin’ with disaster
The LA Rams special teams play was trending downwards over the past two seasons. The lack of OTA’s, a crash course that was called training camp, and a roster that was cut to 80 before any coaches were able to meet players face to face was not exactly an ideal way to infuse improvements. Of course, the LA Rams boast one of the best punters in the NFL in Johnny Hekker. But now, the team is working to remake the kicking game and the return game. So far? Those units seem rather raw and unrefined.
While Sloman is 75 percent on field goals, and 86 percent of extra points, his kicks take a low line-drive trajectory. Eventually, some team will discover the secret to blocking those kicks. Meanwhile, the LA Rams kick and punt returns have yet to inspire with any huge return. In the course of the season, the Rams will need contribution from all three phases of their game. Right now, two of the three are delivering. While two out of three ain’t bad, it’s simply flirtin’ with disaster.