Round I: Winners and losers
Winners: Matt Gay is something special
One year ago, the LA Rams searched for months for a guy who could kick with accuracy, who could kick long field goals, and who could consistently kick the ball out of the end zone for a touchback. But having a clear picture of the type of placekicker the LA Rams might want is by no means the same thing as having that kicker on the roster. The Rams cycled through four other placekickers before finding Matt Gay.
A good placekicker never makes the headlines. He simply trots onto the field, scores by kicking the football through the goalposts, and then returns to the bench. Of the 95 points scored by the LA Rams offense so far, 29 points are courtesy of Matt Gay’s kicking. One-third of the Rams scoring is thanks to their placekicker. That’s something that you just don’t notice very often when all is well. But if the Rams should go through a bad patch of kicking as they did in the first half of 2020? Well, you would notice that pretty quickly.
Losers: Shotgun snaps to Matthew Stafford need work
One of the new differences in the Rams offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford is his ability to diagnose a play and throw accurately from the shotgun formation. But this is a new center snapping to a new quarterback this year, and thanks to a presumed offensive line configuration that didn’t really pan out, offensive center Brian Allen didn’t get the amount of work hiking the ball to Matthew Stafford that he should have.
In Week 3, I noticed on four different occasions that hiking that football to Stafford in the shotgun formation did not arrive cleanly. Either the ball arrived too high at the facemask or above or it came in below knee level. In either case, Stafford had to compensate, rotate the ball to the proper position, and begin reading the defense. If I noticed it, you can be every future opposing defense has already noticed it too.
It could prove to be nothing. But it’s something we believe that the Rams should be aware of, and take steps to improve quickly.