At the end of the 2020 NFL season, former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford came to a sudden realization. His career of 12 NFL seasons had reached an impasse. He had lost hope of winning a Super Bowl for the team that had drafted him as the first overall player selected in the 2009 NFL Draft. So he requested a trade to a contender. Perhaps a dozen or so teams made an offer. But it was the wheelin’ dealin’ LA Rams GM Les Snead who got the job done.
Getting a new player via a blockbuster trade seems to be the tough part of any NFL general manager’s responsibilities unless you are LA Rams general manager Les Snead. Then, it seems to come as second nature. But, for the most part, that’s the easiest phase of integrating a new player into the team’s strategic future. After all, who hasn’t bought a new piece of furniture. If you have, you know that the real work begins the moment it has been delivered. From that point, there are walls to paint, new curtains to be hung, furniture to rearrange or even replace. That new piece of furniture cascades into a myriad of new actions all in the name of ‘coordinating the aesthetics.
If one new chair or sofa can trigger that much work, imagine the chaos that adding a new quarterback to the LA Rams offense has triggered? Well, there is a newly revised playbook. There are the new formations. There are new plays. There is all the work with teaching the returning players the new playbook. Then there are the new players added to optimize the new quarterback’s unique skill sets.
Of course, the trick is not just to optimize Stafford’s skillsets, but to blend Stafford’s unique strengths among the inherent strengths of this LA Rams offense, all in the interest of generating synergy – that is an entire offense that is greater than the sum of its parts. Now the question becomes: How have the LA Rams attempted to accomplish that? Let’s examine a few of the ways: