When the Rams offense under head coach Sean McVay hit the NFL in 2017, it was a new and exciting offense that pressured defenses both horizontally and vertically. The initial result? The LA Rams had one of the top-scoring offenses in both 2017 and 2018. But a loss to the Chicago Bears in 2018, by the score of 15-6, changed everything for the Rams then. The Bears’ defense showed a presnap look, and then rapidly morphed the defense as the ball was snapped. The New England Patriots built on that defensive strategy, defeating the Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII.
Ever since the LA Rams offense has watched the football field shrink over time. With each new season, the yards per attempt and yards per completion were a little bit less than the season before. In 2017 and 2018, the Rams averaged 12.9 yards per completion. By 2020, the offense settled for 10.7 yards per completion.
Shorter passes are more accurate passes. But it is less real estate to defend. As the Rams shortened the field to help the quarterback, defenses drew closer to the line of scrimmage. Pass rushers became faster. The Rams offense lost its ability to threaten defenses deep.
In a cascade effect, the Rams offense found itself in a Catch-22. It struggled to move the ball far from the line of scrimmage because they had eight players in the box. And yet, the eight players in the box would not change until the Rams stretched the field. The offense needed to change its mindset, which meant that a change was needed at quarterback.