There was never an expectation for the LA Rams to win games if backup quarterback Brett Rypien started in 2023. And yet, that is exactly how the scenario played out in Week 9, as Rypien was drafted into starting. Unfortunately, the Rams did not modify their offense enough to give the Rams a fighting chance in this one.
The LA Rams have struggled to win at Lambeau Field for years, so the Week 9 loss to the Green Bay Packers has placed the Rams into a difficult decision point over their BYE week. What do I mean?
The LA Rams at 3-6 are running almost parallel to their 2022 season, at least through nine games. That does not bode well for the LA Rams who had hopes of an NFL Playoff appearance this season. But it also tosses a monkey wrench into the Rams strategy. After all, is there any reason to play veterans who will not be on the Rams roster in 2024?
Time for Rams to unleash their rookies
We asked that question in the days leading up to Week 9, and doubled down on the belief that it was time to give rookie RB Zach Evans some carries in this offense. Zach Evans got no carries in the game, and the Rams averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. The Rams did not play rookie TE Davis Allen, and starting TE Tyler Higbee dropped the only pass thrown his way, and completely whiffed on a block that resulted in a tackle for a loss:
While you can't always get what you want, the LA Rams appear to be trying to play veterans who struggle in games, while benching rookies who desperately need opportunities. In a game where the LA Rams offense was already handicapped without veteran Matthew Stafford, why was Brett Rypien still running an 11-personnel package offense?
At some point, the Rams have got to unleash their rookies into the NFL. But will they after the BYE? That's not a given. Even with the LA Rams at 3-6, this team seems to find reasons to keep playing veterans, even when those veterans are injured.
The Rams need to win their final seven games after the BYE to have a chance of competing in the postseason. The chances of that happening are pretty remote at this point. That paints the Rams into a difficult decision point.
Is it time for the Rams to give rookies a greater role this season? I say: Why not? What has this team got to lose now? At 3-6, the LA Rams need to start viewing the 2024 NFL season. And that implies preparing young players to compete next year now.