Special finish for special teams
The LA Rams have not had much luck recently with the special teams’ play, and Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis is simply the third coordinator over the past three seasons tasked with trying to turn the ship around. But, it hasn’t been easy. Some of it has been well above the coordinator’s paygrade as well.
In 2020, the LA Rams signed up three placekickers to compete for the team’s starting kicker position. While much of the competition was held out of view of the public, the two scrimmage contests that were on display for the LA Rams fans clearly revealed Sam Sloman to be a distant third to either Lirim Hajrullahu or Austin MacGinnis. And yet, the Rams opted to go with Sloman, which proved to be disastrous for the team. The LA Rams finally signed PK Matt Gay halfway through the season.
In much the same way, the Rams signed up 2020’s best punter, Corey Bojorquez, to compete with Johnny Hekker for the Rams starting punter job. Even though Bojorquez showed a near-perfect performance in the final preseason game, the Rams opted to retain the far more expensive Hekker and traded Bojorquez to the Green Bay Packers for next to nothing. Bojorquez has been named as an alternate to this year’s NFL Pro Bowl.
Making the best out of a bad situation
While many fans may not be enamored with Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis, the NFL experts surely took notice of the Rams’ slow by steady improvements throughout the long season. The three areas where the LA Rams are coming up near the bottom of the NFL? Punting Average, Punting Net Average, and Punt returns (but that will improve as Brandon Powell is on fire now). So how are the Green Bay Packers doing on punting? They are among the NFL’s Top-10 in both Punting average and Punting Net Average.
The special teams unit performance has been tainted with bad decisions, and that is clearly something that is common in both 2020 and 2021. Since DeCamillis is being held accountable for the performance, regardless of who is playing, that could be enough to create a rift in his future with the Rams. The Rams have continued to sign and audition players for coverage and return duties, having found a relatively unknown Brandon Powell who is now the talk of the town with his return for a touchdown.
While I have not heard of any specific rumors of DeCamillis’ imminent departure, it will come as no surprise if it happens. Between a host of injuries, bad decisions, and simply unlucky performance, he has made the best of a bad situation. I’m not sure whether he or the team would purposely choose another round of the same grog.