Where will Rams NFC West Division rivals struggle this season?

Even as the LA Rams appear to have improved, can the same be said about their NFC West Division rivals?
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
5 of 5

I: LA Rams - Secondary/Restaffing coaches

For the first time in many years, the LA Rams front office was simply not content to sit on their hands when the 2024 NFL Free Agency market opened for business. While the team was content to allow key players to find new and lucrative contracts elsewhere, the team insisted upon retaining key players in 2024. But even beyond that, the team was quite active in free agency this year.

Not only did the team extend nine veteran players, but added six new veteran free agents to the roster, three of whom will likely start in the team's new and improved secondary. In fact, the team certainly had the secondary in its sights this offseason, re-signing veteran DB John Johnson III, signing DBs Darious Williams, Tre'Davious White, and Kamren Curl, and drafting DB Kamren Kinchens.

It there is a theme to the strategy, the front office seemed to be focused on ball-hawking defensive backs who can cover sideline to sideline, show not one iota of fear, and who have proven themselves in the defensive backfield time and again.

If the Rams were content with a bend-don't-break defense under former DC Raheem Morris, new DC Chris Shula's theme seems to be defend-and-take.

The Rams offense was seventh-ranked in the NFL in 2023, but the team should do better in 2024. The team invested heavily to ensure they had a stalwart offensive line. The team then pivoted to shore up the tight end, running back, and even wide receiver rooms. I expect the Rams to finish 2024 with a Top-5 offense.

The question is, how effective will this young defensive front be in 2024?

While I hate to put the cart before the horse, the Rams certainly invested heavily in stockpiling young defenders. In addition to the returning veterans of Byron Young, Michael Hoecht, Kobie Turner, and Bobby Brown III, the Rams drafted Jared Verse, Brennan Jackson, Braden Fiske, and Tyler Davis.

As my parents used to say: "Let them play." And indeed, we shall.

Kobie Turner and Byron Young combined for 17.0 quarterback sacks and 118 tackles in their rookie seasons. Even conservative projections have them at 20.0+ quarterback sacks and 130+ tackles in 2024. If the team can get similar rookie production out of Jared Verse and Braden Fiske, this defense will raise more than a few eyebrows in 2024.

The Rams have gotten better. I'm not convinced that the same can be said about their NFC West Division rivals. How do you see it? Are the Rams the team to beat in the NFC West Division in 2024?

Thanks for reading.