Change of strategy
In 2020, the LA Rams made it a point to gear down and play the ground game. Who can forget the thumping that the Rams gave the New England Patriots in 2020? In that contest, the Rams took their fate out of the quarterback’s hands and instead relied upon the rushing ability of rookie Cam Akers.
That simple strategic shift had team-changing results. While Akers would suffer a high ankle sprain the very next week, he would eventually return for the NFL Playoffs. As the Rams offense struggled to sustain a healthy quarterback, the team found a robust running game that helped them advance to the NFC Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs.
The LA Rams 2020 offense leaned into the passing game but continued to run the ball to ensure a balanced offense. Keeping the defense guessing whether they would face a run or a pass helped to keep defenses home, and not pinning their ears back rushing the quarterback. That strategy would have been far more effective had the Rams been able to stretch the field.
Some defenses are simply tough to pass against. While the Rams have not had that experience just yet, it is both foolish and naive to wade into the remaining 14 games of the 2021 NFL season in the expectation that it will not happen. Defensive coordinators are just as adept as offensive coordinators. Each week builds the collective knowledge of what does work and what does not work. Eventually, some defense somewhere will discover more what does work than doesn’t, and the Rams will then need to adapt to learn what works against that defense.
Adapting. Changing strategies. Innovation and improvisation. These qualities were not exceptionally strong in the Rams offense in the past. The Rams had to rework everything on the whiteboard, and then wait for the following week to see if that revision worked. But as we saw in Week 2, Matthew Stafford can improvise on the field long enough for head coach Sean McVay to rework the offensive strategy on the sidelines. So what will the Rams come up with for Week 4?