How important is winning Game 3 in preseason for the LA Rams?

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Yes, preseason means next to nothing for NFL players, next to the fact that showing up well can be the difference between realizing a long NFL career, or being shown the door before the NFL gets started. For young LA Rams players, the game against the Denver Broncos in Game 3 of the 2023 NFL preseason could be their last hurrah. As fans, we sometimes overlook that fact.

The LA Rams roster is loaded with young talent. This is a team that hit the reset button, ushered all but a handful of veterans out of the organization, and has decided to start over from the ground up. It's the youngest team in the NFL, and by the looks of things could be the youngest NFL roster for the next several years.

This is a team that, while many rookies have known the grind, the grueling drills through OTAs and a physically demanding training camp, have yet to feel that thrill of a game ending with the Rams having more points than their opponent. The young Rams rookies have only known defeat, and at 0-2, they have one more chance to turn things around. And many Rams players have simply not matched their expected level of performance so far.

But the Denver Broncos stand in their way. And they are just as eager for a win in preseason.

Who needs this win more?

Unlike a young Rams roster, the Denver Broncos invested heavily in a new coaching staff, led by former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. While they are giving Payton plenty of time and wiggle room to build a winner in Denver, the Broncos own 0-2 start in preseason has got to be allowing questions and doubts to creep into that locker room.

Still, even in defeat, the Broncos have been very competitive. They lost their first preseason game to the Arizona Cardinals by the score of 18-17. In that game, the Broncos led by a touchdown with less than two minutes in the game, only to lose at the end when the Cardinals offense scored a touchdown and then a two-point conversion with just two seconds on the clock.

The Broncos lost by a score of 21-20 to the San Francisco 49ers when the 49ers kicked a game-winning field goal as time ran out in the game. In both games, the Broncos held the lead only to lose the game on the final play.

For the LA Rams, they have been on the losing end of a final score of 34-17 in both games. And while this is still only preseason, similar patterns have developed: The Rams are giving up a lot of points. The Rams coverage units are not playing well. The Rams run defense appears to be shaky at best. The Rams pass rush appears to be just second year OLB Keir Thomas. And the Rams preseason offense is not nearly the powerhouse needed to outscore opponents.

Rams need something to believe in

Even as 30+ players will be cut in a matter of days, the entire LA Rams roster needs a positive sendoff for those players who will be waived. This has been a positive and energetic young group of guys, but the toll of losing is bound to start grounding their high-flying optimism.

There is far more learning to be found in failure. And champions are not those who are never forced to their knees, but rather those who rise to their feet once more. But in either case, they use a loss to level up to eventually win.

The LA Rams need a win right now.

Nobody doubts the ability of Broncos head coach Sean Payton to lead the Denver Broncos to great heights in the future. But for many LA Rams young players, even the most optimistic fans have begun to doubt the quality and number of rookies on the Rams roster. And doubts, just like the coronavirus, can spread like wildfire.

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While a win in Game 3 would be ideal for this young Rams roster, even a close loss would be better than their 34-17 blowouts. This LA Rams team needs to show some improvement as the organization prepares for the 2023 NFL season. But so far, the Rams seem to be stuck repeating the same bad outcome.

Ultimately, the Rams season is not over with a loss to the Denver Broncos. But for the 30+ players who will be told that they are not going to make the initial 53-man Rams roster, it could help make the pain a little more bearable.