What must LA Rams do to become a Top-5 NFL offense?
By Bret Stuter
I: Ensure two Rams receivers break the 1000 yards mark
The LA Rams offense has been accused to be lacking offensive weapons. That's a prime example of circular logic, in that the Rams' offense struggled in 2022 because NFL analysts suggest that the team's quality of offensive weapons has eroded over the years. But the true cause of the Rams' offensive futility in 2022 was the number of significant and repeated injuries that destroyed the offensive continuity and force the Rams' offense to default to a passing offense repeatedly.
Making matters worse, opposing defenses knew that pressure on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford would result in a pass to either WR Cooper Kupp or to TE Tyler Higbee. So, opponents jumped ahead, sicked the dogs on Stafford, and then defended both Kupp and Higbee. The result was a Rams team that fell to 3-6 and never recovered. Stafford can still make heroic throws to win games. He simply needs to throw to a larger number of receivers.
Van Jefferson is the key
While the Rams certainly need to be far more committed and effective at running the football in 2023, the other aspect of the Rams offense that is absolutely vital is the fact that the Rams passing game truly needs to distribute the passes far more evenly. If opposing teams can dictate the entire Rams offensive gameplan within the first 10 minutes of play, the Rams really have no chance of winning.
The Rams do have other options in their passing game. Wide receiver Van Jefferson, who did not even suit up for the Rams' offense until Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will play a huge role in the quest to get another receiver to and over the 1000-yard plateau. Of course, starting tight end Tyler Higbee is also a threat to break 1000 yards in a season, but even as the Rams targeted him more in 2022, the increased workload merely resulted in more incompletions and fewer yards per catch.
The Rams have other weapons on the roster, but they have not shown the ability and dependability to show up consistently enough for the Rams to threaten to put up 1000 yards in 2023.
Those are the three keys to getting this Rams offense to end the 2023 season among the Top 5 offense of the NFL. While the LA Rams can accomplish all three, each will require a lot of work and require weekly vigilance to attain and sustain.
Don't look for the Rams' defense to be the deciding factor in 2023. The Rams stuck by the offensive veterans, and practically cleaned the slate on the defensive side of the field. Rams fans will certainly be entertained this season. But will this be a comedy, a horror film, or just a heart-pounding drama? Stay tuned and find out . . .