III - Hired ST Coordinator Chase Blackburn
The LA Rams Special Teams Coordinator job was always going to be a challenge for the coach who was hired to fill the role. The Rams front office had already decided that the 2023 offseason was going to be a strict budget austere period, which dictated that the all special teams specialists were destined to be salary cap casualties.
But that was no challenge for new ST Coordinator Chase Blackburn. Rather, it created an opportunity for him to scour the nation and virtually recruit HIS special teams' players. How effective was he? He clearly was the driving force for the LA Rams to draft punter Ethan Evans in Round 7 of the 2023 NFL Draft, a punter he clearly coveted. He facilitated the Rams signing of rookie LS Alex Ward and convinced the Rams to sign two kickers in Tanner Brown and Christopher Dunn. But he made a quick decision that Tanner Brown is the kicker that the LA Rams will go with this year.
Blackburn may make the wrong decisions, but he is both decisive and energetic. He is active, not passive, and I believe all of that positive energy will be reflected in the LA Rams special teams units this year.
II- Drafted backup quarterback Stetson Bennett
While I don't have a great GPS on just how effective former Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett will play in the NFL, I am convinced that for better or worse, he will not simply blend into the Rams bench and be content to be paid watching other players compete on the football field. While the obvious opportunity for Bennett to compete is in preseason games, he has far too much competitiveness to sit quietly on the bench for the next four NFL seasons. He is just too competitive.
And I cannot fathom Rams head coach Sean McVay not taking the ultra-competitive Bennett out for a test spin in the Rams' offense. Will it be select plays throughout the game? Or will Bennett's offensive snaps be limited to games that are already decided,m one way or another? I don't have the answer, but I believe that McVay is itching to get Bennett an opportunity.
Of course, a quarterback who stands under 6-foot-0 is going to need a specific playbook to utilize the passing game, as NFL pass rushers can get very large by putting their hands into the air as the ball leaves the quarterback's hands. There are a handful of successful NFL quarterbacks who stand under 6-foot-0: Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (5-foot-10), Carolina Panthers QB P.J. Walker (5-foot-11), former New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (under 6-foot-0), and Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, (5-foot-11)
Coaches can compensate for height disadvantages, but no coach can instill the eye of the tiger into an NFL player. Stetson Bennett is the type of player who wants to compete. I think that the LA Rams will find a way to let him do exactly that.