LA Rams are more like the 2019 team than anyone cares to admit
If you were asked which of the past three seasons these LA Rams were most similar to, what would be your answer? The options are:
The 2017 season, and the first season for head coach Sean McVay at the helm.
The 2018 season and the only season the LA Rams made it to the NFL Super Bowl under head coach Sean McVay,
The 2019 season, the season of great disappointment, where the Rams seemed out of the playoff race far too early in the season.
If you answered the 2017 season, you are no doubt awestruck with the new feel to this 2020 LA Rams roster. If you answered the 2018 season, you are very optimistic, perhaps too optimistic, and run the risk of a huge disappointment. If you said the 2019 season, you possess strong attention to detail.
More like 2019
The LA Rams, unfortunately, are most like the 2019 season so far. By the halfway mark, the team has a 5-3 record, which matches the 2019 midpoint. In 2017, the Rams were 6-2, and in 2018 at the same point, the Rams were 8-0. And so far, these LA Rams started the season with an impressive pair of wins. But just like 2019, these Rams were unable to sustain that early success. Once more, just like 2019, defenses found the fuse to the LA Rams offense and short-circuited it.
And once more, the defense played very strong in the first half of the season but stood alone as the offense and special teams play could not keep pace. In spite of all the changes on the roster, this team is playing like last year’s team. And there’s the rub. The 2019 team finished the year at just 4-4 for the second half.
Is there any fight left?
The LA Rams were decimated by injuries in 2019 by this point in time. So far, they’ve been rather fortunate on the injury front. That has not translated onto the football field to date. Where the defense has improved, the offense has become painful to watch at times. Throughout the first half of the season, the Rams seem to be more and more bewildered by what defenses throw their way. So far, many have survived by telling themselves that the Rams are better than this.
What if they are not? What if the LA Rams offense does not possess the ability to overcome the zero blitz, high-pressure defenses? The Rams will continue to win some games, but will always plateau at that point where teams that can overwhelm the offense will eventually turn up during the season. Whether it is during the run to the playoffs, or during the playoffs themselves. It seems as though some team will always come out on top of these Rams until the offense adapts more quickly.
Refocus upon Rams running game
That’s why the Rams need to shift play-calling duties to OC Kevin O’Connell. Until that happens, the Rams will continue to fight strong blitzing teams by throwing the ball directly into the blitz, which the Rams had shown incapable of pulling off. Even as the Rams find a strong running game, the team commits 61 passing attempts in a losing cause.
The LA Rams have Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers, Xavier Jones, and Raymond Calais on the active roster. With so many players, you’d guess that the Rams are a run-heavy team. They aren’t. The Rams are a pass-heavy team that can run the ball very effectively. Until they are willing to run the ball, they will struggle to beat blitz-heavy defenses.