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LA Rams Vs. Atlanta Falcons: Report Card Offers Little Praise

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Hard to give out positive grades to the Rams in their 14-42 shellacking at the Falcons’ hands.

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Los Angeles Rams Vs. Atlanta Falcons
Los Angeles Rams Vs. Atlanta Falcons
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

QB

C+ grade

Overall, I don’t think rookie franchise QB Jared Goff did a horrible job. His first interception was much more on Kenny Britt’s drop-up than on the throw itself. The second interception...yeah, that was on Goff. But between the drops and the limitation of the system, there’s plenty you can’t blame Goff for that most QBs don’t have to deal with.

RB

B grade

Assuming Jeff Fisher isn’t the head coach in 2017 (and I’m not entirely sure that’s a safe assumption, but let’s set that aside for now), the clear #1 priority for any new staff has to be to figure out what to make of the Rams’ main offensive trio in Goff, RB Todd Gurley and WR Tavon Austin. If Austin is the easiest to figure out because of his limitations (especially physical limitations), and Goff is the most important to figure out because of his position, then Gurley is stuck somewhere in the ether between both...which makes you wonder how valuable he’ll be moving forward in a non-Fisherball world in which the team wouldn’t draft five running backs in four years only to have two undrafted free agents become the backups in Year 5.

WR

D grade

If there’s a major worry for Goff, it’s that whatever his support structure among the coaching staff is in 2017, the wide receiving group might not be anywhere near good enough to help him develop.

Imagine a different system where Goff is allowed to work downfield with regularity, where the wideouts are given more 7, 8 and 9 routes. Who in this group do you trust to win? Imagine a Week 15 with the Rams at 8-5 late in the game. What wide receiver do you trust in this group to make a play?

TE

D minus grade

The growing problem here is that the Rams are likely facing bigger, more value-driven needs on the O-line, at wide receiver and at linebacker. Between Lance Kendricks and Tyler Higbee, I don’t know what the Rams are doing here in 2017...

OL

D grade

No.

DL

C minus grade

If I were grading on a curve based on expectations/talent, this would be much lower. In order for the Rams to succeed, the defensive front has to terrorize opposing offenses all game. They didn’t yesterday.

LB

B grade

I thought this was one of the better games from a very limited group, in terms of quantity and quality.

The big question for the 2017 administration: keep LB Alec Ogletree at MLB and add an OLB or move Tree back to OLB and get a true Mike?

DB

D grade

It’s going to be very hard to look at the roster heading into 2017 (ESPECIALLY if the Rams are unable to re-sign CB Trumaine Johnson) and justify keeping Austin and S/LB Mark Barron while CB Janoris Jenkins is playing Pro Bowl-caliber football in New York.

ST

A minus grade/F grade

Is K Greg Zuerlein the Rams’ most improved player? S Maurice Alexander is a legit candidate, but he was more absent in 2016 compared to Zuerlein being deficient.

And of course P Johnny Hekker continues to be Johnny Hekker.

The failing grade of course comes for rookie WR Mike Thomas whose game-opening fumble led to an immediate 7 points for the visiting Falcons and set the tone for the day. Were the Rams in a different position where yesterday mattered, that’s the kind of play you make employment decisions based off of.

Coaching

F grade

Jeff Fisher is the eighth-most experienced head coach in the history of the NFL and he’s getting lapped by his younger peers. He’s a district manager who came up in an era of man-powered manufacturing being asked to compete in an era of online robotics. He’s got all the vintage wear of Shinola with none of the hipster appeal. It’s legitimately sad.