It’s no secret that the LA Rams are a top-heavy team. They have traded meaningful draft capital for elite NFL talent and have let go of a number of good players on the roster to make salary cap room. Even though the team is led by their veteran superstars, the Rams are the youngest team in the NFL because they have filled in the rest of their roster with young players on cheap deals. The strategy has worked out for the Rams so far, thanks to those superstars continuing to produce.
This off-season, the LA Rams have become even more top-heavy than in years past. We lost significant contributors such a cornerback Troy Hill, safety John Johnson, tight end Gerald Everett, defensive linemen Morgan Fox and Michael Brockers, and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam. Due to these players leaving, the Rams are lacking experienced depth at many key positions. This makes the team extra susceptible to injuries and potentially derailing our season when compared to other teams.
As professional sports have trudged on during the pandemic, the occurrence of injuries has increased. Every team left in the NBA Playoffs seems hobbled coming into the conference finals. The MLB has also experienced an influx of injuries, and the NFL had an uptick last year. Throw in the fact that the NFL has expanded this season by an extra game, and the chances of injury grow a bit more.
According to betting sites, the Rams title odds this year are 13 to 1. A team with similar expectations is the Cleveland Browns, and their odds to win the super bowl are 16 to 1. Every team in the league obviously wants to remain healthy, but due to the Browns having a more balanced roster, an injury could be less notable to them, because their replacement player is more experienced and probably more talented than the Rams replacement player.
Fortunately, head coach Sean McVay has a history of choosing unproven players that are ready to contribute even when it seems like they might need more time. But a lack of proven veterans on the roster is a definite risk, no matter how brilliant the coach is.
But, risk like that is simply part of the game and a part of life. As mentioned before, the Rams’ roster-building strategy of paying a few elite veterans and backfilling the roster with young players has worked well, and fans are rightfully excited about the 2021 season. Every strategy has pros and cons, and every season brings a risk of injury. The LA Rams are not immune. Let’s make sure we take every precaution and then focus on winning football games.