6-step track to ensuring an LA Rams victory for Week 5

Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

Okay. The LA Rams are a bit short-handed right now on the offensive line, at defensive back, and on the edge. We know that. But there are things that this team can do to get the team back on track and do so in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. The offense has struggled, but how much of that is the poor performance of players compared to how much of that is simply a pattern of involving the same 2-3 players in each game, while the other players languish in non-use?

It’s a self-fulfilling pattern right now. The Rams throw too often to just a couple of players, which creates the false perception that everyone else on the team simply can’t do their jobs. I don’t think that is really the case here. To become proficient at running the football, the offense must commit to running the football. To become proficient at distributing the football to a number of receivers, the offense must distribute the football to those receivers.

VI. Activate and start OC Matt Skura

The LA Rams decided to start backup offensive center Jeremiah Kolone in Week 5. While that could pan out okay, the Rams also had the option to activate and perhaps even start veteran offensive center, Matt Skura. While the team has opted to elevate Skura for today’s game, he will likely not see action, and that’s a mistake.

Skura is a veteran offensive center, and as such has a better chance of seeing what defenses are doing and calling the correct protections. The Rams’ offensive line struggled mightily in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers’ defense to handle blitzes and stunts. Even more importantly, the Rams signed Kolone from their practice squad as Brian Allen fell to injury. I’d feel better with a veteran as the Rams center against a very physical Dallas Cowboys defense.

V. Start Terrell Burgess and Nick Scott at safety

The LA Rams’ secondary has been a bit of a challenge, as defensive backs have been injured as frequently as offensive linemen.  The Rams need a bit of a change though, as it’s painful to watch 49ers WR Deebo Samuel inevitably score a touchdown at the expense of Rams DB Taylor Rapp.  The Rams know that Rapp has sore ribs for this one.

That should be enough to let Terrell Burgess get a chance at starting opposite Nick Scott. Scott is the ferocious heavy hitter, while Burgess continues to fight his way back from his rookie ankle injury. I like Burgess’s ability to cover a greater range of receivers than Rapp, and the Rams need that little bit of extra ‘oomph’ in this one.

IV. Start Oday Aboushi at left guard

Yes, I know that starter David Edwards is back. But I believe that the far more physical Oday Aboushi could be an ideal offensive line in this one. Edwards is coming back from a rather serious concussion. While the Rams need stability on their offensive line, I believe that Oday Aboushi not only can provide stability but is a far more physical offensive lineman than Edwards can be fresh off a concussion.

The front office did an incredible job of restocking the Rams’ roster with solid offensive line options. The problem is getting those solid players into action. Oday Aboushi, much like Alaric Jackson, is a solid NFL player. But he will only benefit this LA Rams team if he sees action.

III: Play TE Kendall Blanton a minimum of 30 offensive snaps

The LA Rams offense is a bit…predictable. We know that the Rams will stick with 11 personnel groupings. We know that Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford will throw to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. We know that the pattern for the Rams’ offense is run, pass, pass if the game is tied or close, and that if the Rams fall behind, the pattern is pass, pass, pass.

But if the Rams play tight end, Kendall Blanton, for at least 30 offensive snaps, the pattern changes. Running a 12-personnel package against the Cowboys forces their defense to play eight players in the box. That opens up deeper passes to the likes of Allen Robinson or Cooper Kupp. It also favors the Rams attempting to run the football, and that is something the Rams need to do and the Cowboys’ defense is weak at defending.

II: Pass to Allen Robinson and Lance McCutcheon

The LA Rams are not throwing to Allen Robinson. The LA Rams have not been playing rookie WR Lance McCutcheon. Why not change that? Hey, even if the plan doesn’t work, you’ve saved a lot of wear and tear on starting WR Cooper Kupp, who during the last time I checked, will be the Rams’ key offensive weapon if this team gets to compete in the postseason.

Meanwhile, shouldn’t the offense at least attempt to get more players on the offensive side of the football involved? The Rams have to understand the futility of running their offense in the same pattern week in and week out. The team is burning out their best offensive players. The offense continues to get diminishing returns (remember how QB Jared Goff began to throw short passes?).  But most of all, the Rams are in even worse shape if the team suffers an injury to just one key player.

Getting seldom-used players pays off in so many ways that it feels like the right thing to do. I could be wrong, but even if the offense continues to struggle, there is consolation in knowing that their top weapons did not suffer as a result.

I: Activate and start RB Malcolm Brown

Well, the LA Rams have signed RB Malcolm Brown to the active roster for this one. Now the team has to trust him to carry the load. In their last meeting against the Dallas Cowboys to open the 2020 NFL season, Malcolm Brown rushed 18 times for 79 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also caught three of four passes for 31 yards. That was his best performance of the year.

The Cowboys are not very good at defending the run. The Rams are not very good at protecting QB Matthew Stafford, nor at throwing the football so far this season. Why not go with logic and commit to running the football in this one?

In the end, the Rams are unlikely to adopt any of these six strategies. But the team needs to alter course, and these steps ensure that would happen. Can the LA Rams win this week? Perhaps, but fan optimism is waning quickly.

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