Do LA Rams need more ‘dialing-in’ or reset for rest of season?

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams WR Cooper Kupp states that the bye week is about ‘dialing in’. But is he sugar coating a bigger problem?

It’s perfectly normal for LA Rams fans to be a bit nervous over the bye week. Any fan who has stood by the Rams over the course of 2019 knows just how quickly winning streaks become losing streaks.  It’s the painful lessons learned just a year ago that proved that there is no such thing as a sure thing and that the Rams, while a talented group, and simply not good enough yet to take any team, any game, for granted.

So the two losses in the three games leading up to the bye week understandably have caused a bit of a tremor in the confidence of anyone supporting the team.  While that’s understandable, so too are the comments from LA Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. You see, he is a key player for the LA Rams. He practices with the team and is an integral part of the offense. He has been the optimistic voice all season, so it’s no surprise that he still is bullish on the Rama ‘as is’.

Reset or dialing in?

Now all of this is important simply due to comments made by Kupp in a Monday press conference. What was the discussion? Simply stated, the commentary focus upon the extent of the Rams sudden tailspin. In short, in two of the last three games before the bye week, did the Rams simply come out flat? Or have the Rams fallen into some bad habits, and now need to reexamine their game preparation and philosophy?

If you ask Cooper Kupp, the Rams simply need to dial in. What does he mean exactly?

‘Dialing in’ is a rather modern expression used in mechanical engineering or radio operations. Dialing in means to be more precise, to be more exacting. In terms of football play, it means to execute better at all positions. For receivers, it means to run better routes, create separation. For a quarterback, it means making the right reads and getting rid of the ball quickly.  For blockers, it means making the block on the right defender and holding that block long enough for the play to develop.

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Why reset seems more appropriate

While that’s a rather optimistic view of what transpired over the Rams two losses, there are other factors that seem to warrant escalating the review of what went wrong.  For example, when the Rams went with an empty backfield when the Dolphins were showing a zero cover defense, nobody had a good answer to what the Rams were doing.  The Rams failed to go with two tight ends at times when Jared Goff would have benefited from better pass protection. And the Rams failed to shift to more of a ground attack despite the success discovered by running against the Dolphins defense.

Dialing in seems to suggest that the Rams simply needed to execute the game plan better.  I disagree.  Rigid coaching loses games, as the Rams have learned from painful losses over recent years. In the latest two losses, the Rams coaching seemed to be fixated on passing the ball, despite the fact that the running game was moving the ball effectively. While it may be that the Rams merely need to do a better job of running plays on the field, the optic test gives evidence that something bigger is needed. The Rams need to consider changing their personnel packages and redirecting the offense from 61 passes to a more balanced run/pass ratio.

Next. LA Rams should be prepared for more cover zero defenses this season. dark

Of course, no team wins if the players are sloppy. But the players on the field need the right plays, the right defenses, the right routes, and the right personnel packages. That’s on the coaches on the sidelines. Dialing in may help the Rams in the second half of the season. But the team would also benefit from better play selection and personnel selection.  It’s not the place of WR Cooper Kupp to place play-calling into question. That’s our job.

We hope the Rams do a better job in the second half of this season.  This is a talented roster. Now they need to be managed for the best performance possible. Dial-in or reset?  However the Rams tighten it up, they need to do so. This is a tough stretch. The Rams cannot be surprised again.