The Rams are in deep, deep bother already

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The Rams sucked out loud on Thursday evening. Positive, you may hand wave away their 31-10 loss towards the Payments by mentioning that Buffalo is a Tremendous Bowl favourite, the opener is without doubt one of the largest assessments of the season for Los Angeles, and say that it’s nonetheless early — all of this stuff are true. What you may’t do although is fake that the Rams did something convincing that confirmed they will nonetheless hold with the NFL’s elite. It is a group with deep systemic issues, and so they must be fastened, quick.

It’s not all offense’s fault, however actually that’s the place nearly all of issues had been for the Rams. It’s unbelievable that Los Angeles had eight months figuring out their offensive line was poor, and didn’t do sufficient about it. The lack of left sort out Andrew Whitworth to retirement was much more impactful than folks believed, and when paired with rookie Logan Bruss, who tore his ACL in coaching camp, it created a large number. As a substitute of discovering solutions, Los Angeles turned up trying utterly unprepared.

Matthew Stafford was beneath stress for a lot of the evening, and he was by no means in a position to get settled within the pocket. Offensively the Rams tried to mitigate this by having him throw out of the gun, however the o-line wasn’t ok to guard one-on-one. Nonetheless, that shouldn’t hand wave away simply how poor Stafford was. It’s too early to attract conclusions on Stafford primarily based on his reported elbow damage which has plagued him for a lot of the spring and summer time, however this wasn’t simply an arm downside on Thursday evening — the problems went far deeper.

The offensive line issues led to Stafford getting tunnel imaginative and prescient because of the stress. Stafford functionally ignored everybody on offense aside from Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee, concentrating on the pair a complete of 26 instances, 63 p.c of his passing makes an attempt. Kupp was producing, so we will justify that — however Higbee struggled to make an affect all evening, and didn’t warrant getting as many alternatives as Stafford tried to present him. The tight finish completed the evening with 5 catches for 39 yards on a surprising 11 targets.

In the meantime the Rams’ 4 different receivers mixed for 10 targets. Stafford may as properly have forgotten Allen Robinson existed, as a result of he solely focused him twice within the recreation. For comparability, Josh Allen focused his favourite receiver, Stefon Diggs, 9 instances — and unfold the ball to the remainder of his receivers a complete of 14 instances. Briefly: Allen unfold the ball round extra, focused his depth gamers extra usually, regardless of having 10 fewer passing makes an attempt than Stafford. That may be a balanced offense, and an absence of steadiness doomed the Rams.

That subject of steadiness is paramount, and leads us into the opposite vital subject: Operating again. Los Angeles determined to let their high working again from 2021, Sony Michel, stroll in free company to signal a paltry one 12 months, $2.1M cope with the Dolphins. A deal Los Angeles simply may have exceeded or not less than matched, however as an alternative the group determined to depend on working again by committee — and the committee is trash. Darrell Henderson, promoted to the starter within the offseason, appears ill-equipped to hold the load as an every-down again, and the group is woefully missing a No. 2. This actually reared its head when the Rams had been compelled to vary their offensive focus and attempt to purchase Stafford time within the pocket by utilizing play motion, however the issue was that Buffalo had no cause to imagine they’d truly run — so the faux didn’t idiot anybody.

Which means that when you’re following alongside at residence, listed below are the important thing variations on offense between the 2021 Rams and the 2022 Rams:

  • Their offensive line is far worse
  • Their working backs are a lot worse
  • The group spent a majority of their free company cash on a receiver (Allen Robinson) who Matthew Stafford refused to focus on

The main target is on the offense proper now as a result of it’s harder to essentially consider how the protection was on Thursday evening. For probably the most half it felt just like the Rams D was … nice. Nothing unbelievable, however removed from terrible both. The receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis goes to be tough for many groups within the league to cowl, not to mention on a brief discipline when your quarterback throws three interceptions.

There are some very actual issues in regards to the breadth of the Rams’ go rush. Shedding Von Miller in free company is important, as a result of because it stands the lions’ share of the stress has to come back from Aaron Donald alone, and the group is but to seek out one other dependable counterpoint to assault the pocket and take the stress off Donald to do every part by himself.

I don’t blame Rams followers from eager to see a silver lining right here and attempt to discover causes this will all be rotated, and clearly there’s time — however a few of these points are deep-seated systemic issues that may’t be corrected briefly order. Los Angeles doesn’t have to hit the panic button, but it surely does have to raise the quilt and have their hand hovering over.

We anticipated to see a Rams group poised to run it again and contend for a Tremendous Bowl. After Thursday evening it doesn’t appear like they’re even able to contend within the NFC West.

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