LA Rams: Three ways the team’s playoff hopes could derail in 2021

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matthew Stafford LA Rams News
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Too long to get on track

If you haven’t noticed, the Rams have a lot of moving parts this year. From players to coaches to the fact that fans will finally be able to cheer for the team from the stands of SoFi Stadium, there are a great number of changes this year. That’s exciting in many ways. But also adds a bit of uncertainty.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

You see, NFL teams are loaded with any number of variables that seldom are discussed. Two of the key elements of success for an NFL team are the players’ familiarity and continuity with one another and with the coaches’ game planning.  For any plan to work, the players must know their role, understand their teammates’ roles, and trust the system to work. That allows players on the backside of a play to stay home and defend against a reverse. It gives offensive linemen the certainty to focus on their man and trust that other defenders will be blocked by other offensive linemen.

Just on first blush, the LA Rams will start a new quarterback, a new offensive center, a new defensive signal-caller, a new deep threat wide receiver, two new secondary starters, and a new second tight end starter. While you may think that they are all NFL players, many as veterans, who should be able to handle playing in the Rams offense, it will require synching up the quarterback to all of the receivers, the offensive line to work out blocking assignments, pass coverages to be relearned and communicated, and the defense to rely upon a new signal-caller.

Will it all just click from the moment the football is snapped in the home opener? It seems unlikely. While there is no reason to expect that everything will go to hell in a handbasket, the team will likely require a few games to work through gaffes, miscues, and miscommunications.  If the Rams haven’t solved the majority of those issues quickly enough, and are still trying to find the range on deep passes in October, or are still working on finding the right defensive plays, the Rams could falter out of the gates and struggle to overcome a poor start over the rest of the 17 game season.