What must LA Rams do to become a Top-5 NFL offense?
By Bret Stuter
II: Average better than 4.5 yards per carry
The running game is far more important to the overall effectiveness of the Rams' offense than it seems that the team realizes. When the Rams can run the ball effectively, the Rams score points. The Rams were only able to advance the football 4.0 yards per run in 2022. The same was true in 2021, as the team only averaged 4.0 yards per run. In 2019, the Rams only ran for 3.7 yards per run. 2020 was the exception, as the team was able to carry the football 4.3 yards per run. But the gold standard was in 2018 when the Rams were led by running back Todd Gurley to average an impressive 4.9 yards per run.
It makes sense that the same year in which the Rams seldom turned the football over, they would be incredibly effective at running with the football. Now the question is, can the 2023 Rams repeat that feat? The good news is that Rams running back Cam Akers averaged better than 5.6 yards per carry over the last four games of the 2022 NFL season. And that was behind a patchwork offensive line. Backup RB Kyren Williams flashed the ability to run for more than 5.0 yards per carry occasionally.
Can Rams commit to run the football in shootouts?
Will the Rams commit to the run? Will the offensive line be able to open running lanes and plow the road for the running backs to find daylight? This is a season in which the Rams cannot rely upon a very young and inexperienced defense to hold the opponent to a handful of points. If the Rams find themselves in a shootout week after week, will the Rams remain patient enough to run the football?
While this could prove to be the most difficult of the three areas that the LA Rams offense must accomplish in 2023, I believe that it will certainly prove to be the most vital. Even if the Rams fall behind in the scoreboard early, we already know how ugly a game will become if the Rams flip to a passing offense.