The LA Rams allowed the NFL trade deadline to expire without any attempt to improve the roster
The LA Rams made headlines in 2019 when they traded with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the services of All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. In 2018, the LA Rams traded with the Jacksonville Jaguars for a pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr. In fact, the last time the LA Rams held fast at the NFL trade deadline was 2017, when the Rams had just hired head coach Sean McVay and the team was still trying to determine the type of players best suited for this roster.
Now? I’m not clear as to why the team failed to make any roster adjustments. While the public consensus focused primarily on the defense, the season results seemed to confirm that the LA Rams did indeed need help on offense. If not among the team’s skill players, then at least in the offensive line.
Pass happy demise
The Rams offense slid rapidly as the team approached the bye week. In the first three games, the team averaged nearly 30 points a game. In the last three games before the bye, the team averaged just 19 points per game. So what is the big dropoff? In the first three games, the Rams embraced a run-first offensive mentality. In fact, in those first three games, the Rams rushed a total of 111 times and passed 90 times. In the last three games, the Rams rushed a total of 82 times and passed a total of 132 times.
The pattern is pretty obvious when broken down into these simple terms. But could the team have added a player to change the dynamics? None jump to mind. The Rams have plenty of talent at tight end to help bolster a rushing offense if that was the intent. The Rams have plenty of talent at running back as well. The only pieces the Rams had in question on offense right now is play calling and quarterback play.
Change the mindset
That’s not something Rams general manager Les Snead can improve with a blockbuster trade. It’s not something that can be fixed with any sort of roster move. While the Rams need to make changes, it appears that the necessary tools to do so already exist on the roster. Will the Rams be able to make the changes?
That’s a tough call. The Rams did effectively change their offense emphasis in 2019 to feature more tight ends. That is something that the team has not gone with much in 2020 so far. Will the Rams reconfigure their offense to be more run-dominant? It certainly could help with the huge spike in turnovers recently. But the Rams need to do more than run more often. The Rams need to believe that they can run the ball effectively, particularly late in the game to run out the clock.
It’s the bye week and the midpoint. So far, the Rams are no better or no worse than in 2019. They are nebulous, a team whose true potential has been masked by their inconsistent play. If the Rams have any intentions of earning a spot in the NFL Playoffs, the team will need to play much better than the first half of the season. The Rams have five games remaining in the NFC West and must win four of them to get to the playoffs. Three more losses in the division will be too much to overcome. Can the LA Rams do it? Well, that’s the goal, isn’t it.