LA Rams: The difference between bad and beaten up

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams are a beaten-up team right now, and not a bad team.  There is a huge difference in that distinction, and there are those who seem to believe that the two very different sets of circumstances are one and the same. But they’re not.

NFL teams that remain relatively healthy win. That’s the bottom line. But the LA Rams are anything but healthy right now. In fact, they are getting clobbered with injuries that continue to hammer the same position, offensive linemen, to the point where three starters on the Rams’ offensive line in Week 11 were not even on the roster at the beginning of the season: Ty Nsekhe, Matt Skura, and Oday Aboushi.

But there are plenty of other injuries, as the team’s secondary has been hit with injuries, and DBs Jordan Fuller and Grant Haley remain on injured reserve.

Rams roster severely impacted by new IR rules

Of course, nobody is talking about it, but this is the year in which NFL teams are limited to the number of times players can be restored to the active roster from Injured reserve. Just one month into the season, the Rams had already begun to see more injuries than opportunities to restore players. Bad team? Just bad luck.

The Rams will almost certainly need to regroup this off-season. Players who were expected to start did not fulfill team expectations. Players who were expected to develop into full contributors did not develop. But perhaps most of all, the LA Rams locked their salary cap and playing time into a handful of elite players that were asked to do too much to defend lofty salaries, or simply ended up exhausted by mid-season.

Looking at the way the Rams spent their money this season, the positions that have had the least investment have suffered the greatest number of injuries. Per, the LA Rams have spent the least amount on the team’s offensive line group than any other NFL team this season. By the same token, the Rams are 29th-ranked in the NFL at spending on their running back group.

Health is the key to championship play

Would a healthy Rams roster make a difference? Yes, definitely. And flipping the outcome of just three games this season makes this team 6-4 rather than 3-7. That’s the difference right now, and the Rams do have the return of a number of healthy players to look forward to for the 2023 NFL season.

The Rams are not a bad team this year. Despite the fervor of some fans who want the team to fire coaches, release players, and all but blow up the entire organization. This team has been reeling from a new list of injured players each week, making it next to impossible to plan effectively, because it’s a brand new team each time.

The LA Rams are definitely having a bad season this year, yes. But is this a bad team? I, for one, do not think so. When the roster returns to health, hopefully, this team will look to have a bit more balance. The Rams roster cannot continue to invest in receivers who will never be targetted or running backs who will never get carries.

But there is plenty of time to discuss the 2023 Rams’ roster. For now, let’s just agree that this season is what it is. No team could win with the number of injuries to their offensive line. But how the Rams respond could make all the difference in the world. This is the first season for head coach Sean McVay to play a significant number of games below .500. It was inevitable. Now, let’s see how the Rams do when the players come back healthy and fully rested.

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