Two critical factors LA Rams must focus upon: Ball security and durability
By Bret Stuter
In a week’s time, NFL Free Agency will swing into full gear. While we wait patiently for the moment that the Dallas Cowboys are once more favored to win-it-all in the offseason hype that soon follows, there are some things that we should probably go over. The LA Rams will not be signing the most expensive players. Headlines splash names of the biggest contracts. If you want the LA Rams to sign those players, prepare to be disappointed.
First and foremost, the most expensive free agents are not necessarily the best players. LA Rams Aaron Donald is the best defensive lineman in the NFL, but he has fallen out of the top-three in compensation. So the LA Rams free agency in 2021 will resemble that of 2020. The Rams will likely re-sign a couple of players. The team will likely snag an undervalued veteran or two. Nothing more, nothing less. And that’s a good thing.
Each season, a new record is set for the amount of money in the contract. Each season, many of the highest-paid players fail to deliver Super Bowl victories. So there must be more to it, right?
The LA Rams 2020 NFL season had many things go right. The offensive line played very well overall. Yes, they struggled against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, but they were forced to line up offensive tackle Bobby Evans next to a still-not-quite-back-to-full-strength Andrew Whitworth. The defense was the best in the NFL. And the Rams won ten games to return to the NFL Playoffs.
And yet, some things did go wrong for the team. Injuries have become so commonplace that they are easily overlooked, and oftentimes fail to register in raising or lowering expectations for an NFL team. Two factors that will always supersede talent in the NFL? Staying healthy, and protecting the football.
Teams that led the NFL in net turnovers found success in 2020. Well, to be truthful, they find success every year. Of the top ten teams in net turnovers, only the Miami Dolphins failed to make the playoffs. Of the bottom ten teams in the same net turnovers statistic? Only the LA Rams and Washington Football teams successfully made the playoff. Protecting the football matter, a great deal.
Healthy teams win. They just do. The LA Rams were a very injured team in 2019. But in 2018 and 2020, not so much. The San Francisco 49ers were a very injured team in 2018 and 2020, but extremely healthy in 2019.
That’s not to say that just signing a minimally talented team like the Jacksonville Jaguars 2020 roster will win the Super Bowl just by staying healthy and not fumbling or throwing interceptions. But very talented NFL teams, like the LA Rams, are very closely competitive with other very talented teams. It is a game of inches, after all.
Yes, the list of talented players who truly can make a difference for the LA Rams will pop up throughout March. And we will be happy to purvey potential free agents for consideration. But as you draw your conclusions, keep those two factors in the back of your mind: How healthy will this player be for the LA Rams? How secure is this player with the football?
Yes, one excellently-fitted addition to the LA Rams roster can make all the difference in the world. But the LA Rams free agency should be more than just touchdowns, tackles, and touches. The Rams should weigh durability and ball security heavily.
It seems that the LA Rams will need both to win a Super Bowl. It’s what Super Bowl winners do.