Factor I: Everyone on the team invests time in the younger players
15 of the team’s 90 player roster is no longer playing on a rookie contract. That is just 16 percent. Of course, when the team pares down to a 53-man active roster, those veterans will comprise a much larger share of the team’s overall roster. But even then, that will mean no more than 28.3 percent of the team. Doing the math, 72 percent of the LA Rams roster for the 2022 NFL season will be playing on their rookie contract.
How can any team succeed with so many young and tender faces in the locker room? Well, the Rams do not rely exclusively upon the coaching staff to mentor and coach up the youngsters. The fact is that the very elite and venerable veterans on the team have been mentoring and coaching up younger teammates all along.
Imaging being a rookie defensive back having the chance to pick the brain of Jalen Ramsey? What about a defensive lineman, who has the opportunity to watch how Aaron Donald does training camp each and every day? Or a linebacker who suddenly is in the same room as Bobby Wagner? A wide receiver who has access to Cooper Kupp? A quarterback who has the undivided attention of Matthew Stafford? And what about all of the young offensive linemen who have mentioned Andrew Whitworth as a guy who had taken the time to work with them individually to perfect their technique.
And Andrew Whitworth, even after retirement, still returns to training camp to continue to mentor the young additions to the team’s offensive line.
The LA Rams do not just talk “We not me.” This is a team that truly embodies the benefits of all for one and one for all values. Why would veterans commit to aiding those players who may someday take over at their roles? Well, a better backup ensures that the team will continue to win if the starter is injured, needs a breather, or simply is not up to speed on that particular day.
Not every team does things like the LA Rams. But more and more teams are adopting elements of how this team does things. Some teams are guilty of outright plagierizing everything the Rams are doing. Will that be an effective strategy? I’m not so sure, as the Rams have been at this for five seasons before perfecting their ability to win with young players.