LA Rams Joe DeCamillis: “We’ll get better as we go”

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Johnny Hekker
Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Where do the Rams’ special teams need to improve?

Surprisingly, the LA Rams coverage units are episodically bad. That is, they have a lapse of bad play, followed by good performance. That pattern is a characteristic of younger players who are in the process of learning their roles, trying (and failing) to make a highlight reel sort of play, and not trusting the scheme to be effective just by filling the role and responsibility.

Per, The LA Rams are among the bottom five NFL performers in kickoff coverage (allowed 147 yards in kick returns), punt returns (only have one yard in punt return yardage), punts (only averaging 39.8 yards per punt).

Of course, we can do a deeper dive into each statistic and alleviate some of the concerns. The most obvious of the matter is the kick return coverage allowed. But most of that occurred in the opening kickoff in the Chicago Bears game (50 yards) and the opening return in the Colts game (41 yards). Removing those 91 yards reduces the Rams allowed kick return yardage to a mere 56 years, a  sum that is much improved in terms of its NFL rankings.

The LA Rams have few punt return yardage simply because they have not forced many punts from their opponents.  The Rams have forced just three punts, and two of those punts have been in a place on the field where they resulted in fair catches.

Finally, the LA Rams punting average of 39.8 has been a struggle, because punter Johnny Hekker has punted the ball 50 yards against the Chicago Bears, and had one rocket 46 yards against the Indianapolis Colts.  His second punt against the Colts was just 33 yards.  His third and final punt of the game was a 30-yard punt from the Colts 40 yard line to the 10 (and a fair catch). Over time, that will likely improve, while other teams decline a bit.