With the conclusion of the Super Bowl, the very long NFL offseason has officially begun, along with the meaningless articles such as Way-Too-Early Power Rankings.
ESPN released their “Way Too Early” power rankings for 2017, and it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the Los Angeles Rams came in the bottom five at number 28 ahead of just the Chicago Bears, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, and Cleveland Browns. Here’s what Kevin Seifert had to say:
Why they're here: After extending their streak of consecutive non-winning seasons to 13, the Rams aren't getting any benefit of the doubt. Their young quarterback, Jared Goff, had the NFL's lowest QBR among all quarterbacks who started at least four games. (The Rams were 0-7 in his starts.) They hired a 31-year-old head coach, Sean McVay, whose bright offensive mind is likely to be mitigated by inexperience in his first season. What's more, the Rams don't have a first-round draft choice, thanks to the 2016 trade to acquire Goff, to help upgrade an anemic offense that ranked last in the NFL -- and it wasn't close -- in scoring 13.6 points per game.
What could change: There is high optimism around the league that McVay will eventually connect with and elevate Goff. Perhaps that could come earlier than expected, and while he's at it, maybe McVay can figure out how to reverse tailback Todd Gurley's disappointing second season. Acquiring one or two legitimate playmakers -- the Rams are projected to have more than $40 million in cap space -- could make a big difference. McVay also made an excellent first hire in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who will have a fair bit of talent to work with, including the NFL's best defensive tackle in Aaron Donald.
In ESPN’s final 2016 regular season power rankings, the Rams finished the year at number 29 which means they don’t expect the team to make much improvement between now and next season.
The Rams have every reason to be at number 28 as they finished the season 4-12, and until he proves otherwise, Jared Goff is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. Whether or not that was on Jeff Fisher and Rob Boras, we’ll have to see.
Seifert also points out that Sean McVay is a first time head coach at just 31-years of age and he doesn’t have a lot assets to help turn around the hurting franchise. Don’t forget the Rams traded away this year’s first and a third round pick for said quarterback mentioned above.
That means the Rams will draft just twice in the first 100 picks. For a roster that doesn’t have a lot of talent and depth to begin with, having just two picks in the first 100 doesn’t help.
While the Rams are projected at number 28 in the way-too-early power rankings, there are some things to potentially be excited about.
McVay brought in one of the best defensive coaches in the NFL, Wade Phillips, to coordinate the defense, the new head coach has also praised Jared Goff in the few times that they’ve spoken, and general manager Les Snead will also have money to spend in free agency.
The Rams still have to be able to bring in the right players, because as Fisher proved, just because you inherit a quarterback you publicly say you like, bring in a supposedly good defensive coordinator, and have money to spend on expensive players in free agency, doesn’t mean it will work out.
Power rankings essentially mean nothing and are pointless, but as fans it gives us a measuring stick and something to read during a long offseason.
Be sure to stay tuned at TST for all of our offseason coverage.