LA Rams: 4 training camp battles that could define season

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams 2021 Training Camp is underway, and the team has never felt like it has so much on the line. Goff is gone. So is Malcolm Brown, Josh Reynolds, Austin Blythe, and even Gerald Everett. Unlike the 2020 NFL season, this time it’s not about getting the band back together. It’s about getting better. It’s about putting more points on the scoreboard. Most of all, it’s a bit about soul-searching.

What is the ‘soul’ of this team? Is it about running the ball down the throats of the defense? Is it about outflanking slow lumbering edges? Is it about pushing the ball down the field for a quick score? Or is it about systematically dismantling the defensive game plan by doing what they didn’t expect?  For that matter, what is the defense’s essence? The special team’s true self?

If the LA Rams have any hope of becoming the best of the NFL this season, this team must find a way to win when hope fades. This team must find a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This team must be more than the most talented team on the football field.  They must be the most determined, the most passionate, the team with the most resolve.

Training camp 2021 is not the same scenario as training camp 2020. This year’s itinerary has enough leeway for real competition, not just assignment of roles on the depth chart that will stick all season. Players can earn snaps, playing time, spots on the depth chart. The 2020 training camp was purely binary logic: On the roster or off the roster?  After that, it became: Return to the practice squad or not return to the practice squad? That made some tough decisions easy, but also made some easy decisions quite difficult.

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It was a year of NFL Theology – a faith-based method of belief and non-belief in player potentials that sealed the fate of their NFL careers long before they ever had a real shot at proving their worth with evidence over a period of time. 2020 was a fast-tracked cut-to-the-chase packed-to-the-brim world of prepping the team for the NFL season. Any other objectives were eliminated as unnecessary due to lack of time. That’s all changed in 2021. So where can we look for the changes this year?