Can LA Rams rise from the ashes of disaster once more?

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

After Super Bowl appearances, the LA Rams have followed very similar patterns. Lock up contributors to huge paydays. Bargain basement shop for offensive line help. Draft help for the Rams’ secondary. And then brace for impact as injuries decimated the offensive line and the roster to a point where the Rams must reformulate the entire offense simply to avoid a losing season.

In 2019, the Rams barely avoided falling below .500.  In 2022, it may already be too late.

The current onslaught of insults, angst, and vitriol hurled at the LA Rams (3-5) at this juncture may feel justified, but they are more ejections of negative emotions than logical causal relationships to the Rams’ current demise.

Sure, they sound damning. And yes, this team is absolutely guilty of the current allegations. But for the most part, this team has gotten by all along without any available salary cap, high draft prospects starting on the offensive line, restocking the roster with picks from Day 1 of the NFL Draft, or even the ability to go toe-to-toe with an opponent by playing smash-mouth football.

The ultimate demise of the 2022 NFL season for the LA Rams has been the incessant and repeated injuries to players, the lack of trust necessary in the coaching staff to make timely use of players added to the roster as those injuries occurred, and neglect toward how those injuries have impacted the capabilities of this team.

2021 methods won’t fix 2022 woes

The LA Rams get into ruts as do all NFL teams. The challenge right now is that the Rams’ current ‘rut’ carries a great soundtrack of fixing things, but the team sends out the same plays, the same players, and the same refusal to make halftime adjustments.

The genius Albert Einstein is attributed with the phrase: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” So that would suggest that the LA Rams coaching staff has gone a bit insane, right?

I’m not willing to go that extreme just yet. But I will say that whether it is ego, denial, or the inability to process what is happening in NFL games, the Rams have dug themselves a hole in the ground, and like ostriches in a sandstorm, they have buried their heads so that they are oblivious as to what is really going on in the game.

Change tactics to suit current personnel

I’m not suggesting that I am catching something that has eluded the coaching staff. I’m simply pointing out that as much as the Rams have cited the fact that this is a new season, the team is stuck trying to apply 2021 tactics.

The Rams’ offense is the worst production version since Coach McVay took over at the helm in 2017. It has not gone to 12-personnel packages, it has not made adequate use of the players on the roster. But perhaps worst of all is the decision to retain players who had zero preseason work but are now healthy scratches.

It can be fixed, just as the Rams did in 2019. At that time, the Rams realized that they could not win by throwing the deep ball and hoping for a battered offensive line to hold up. So the Rams made roster moves but also changed their entire game strategy to optimize the personnel who were not playing.

Inevitable but not unrepairable

This season, the Rams appear to have all but forgotten how the tandem of TE Tyler Higbee and Johnny Mundt restored the Rams’ offense to ensure that 2019 would at least remain above .500. And what of the lessons learned by this team regarding the decision to trust the ability of veteran rusher Sony Michel to handle the ground game, a decision that allowed the team to win nine of their last ten games.

Neither Mundt nor Michel are with this team this year. How is that even possible? Did the Rams’ brain trust grow so confident in the pass-centric offense that the team simply removed any players whose optimal use was in support of a rushing offense?

We’ve been here before. The Rams’ offense sticks to the same format, and defenses have simply become really good at stopping the Rams from doing what they want to do. I’m not here to crucify anyone or to point to a single player or coach and lay the blame on them. The fact is that the decision-makers who invest in what the Rams do are the same persons who are grading their own decision-making process today. And if it worked in 2021 to earn a Super Bowl, it has to be correct, right?

The Rams need to be brutally honest. That is not a suggestion to fire or cut anyone. Simply to fix the process.  Right now, despite the verbiage so far, the Rams have done everything but fix what’s wrong.

Let’s refocus on the LA Rams' current running backs. light. Trending