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Lanny’s 75 Steps On How to Fix the Los Angeles Rams

It’s Sunday afternoon, the Rams are in the middle of free agency and I have some thoughts about how to not be terrible. Strap into your armchairs, GM’s.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Note: I am not a “football expert,” but I play one on TV.

Here are my (halfway serious) thoughts on how to turn a 4-12 team into a contender in 75 “start/stop/continue” steps.

How to Fix the Los Angeles Rams: My 75-Step Program

  1. Stop drafting players that require at least 5 years to develop.
  2. Start drafting players that love football and want to win championships.
  3. Continue drafting Aaron Donalds.
  4. Stop throwing the ball 3 yards short of the sticks on 3rd down.
  5. Start giving receivers, like Tavon Austin, a chance to earn yards after the catch.
  6. Continue putting Austin in the backfield as a change of pace.
  7. Stop messing with the starting OL throughout training camp.
  8. Start deciding on the starting OL in OTA’s.
  9. Continue adding veteran leaders, like LT Andrew Whitworth, to help teach young OL.
  10. Start re-building Todd Gurley’s confidence in the blocking scheme.
  11. Stop force-feeding Gurley and hoping it “corrects itself in time”.
  12. Continue scheming Gurley into the pass game.
  13. Start expanding Tyler Higbee’s role in the offense, especially the short zones.
  14. Stop expecting Higbee to become Jason Witten 2.0 in 2017.
  15. Continue to have Higbee and Jared Goff room together in camp.
  16. Start moving Robert Quinn into every gap on passing downs.
  17. Stop having Quinn put his hand(s) in the dirt more than half the time.
  18. Continue resting Quinn on more obvious run downs.
  19. Start using more route combo bunch formations (hint: McVay enjoys these).
  20. Stop using bunch formations as primary means to get the ball in Austin’s hands.
  21. Continue using screens but with more variants in post-snap movements.
  22. Start drafting “Wade Phillips” linebackers to pair with Ogletree and Barron.
  23. Stop putting Ogletree and Barron in the middle run gaps.
  24. Continue using Barron as a chess piece outside the front.
  25. Start expecting Goff to hit more high percentage passes with improved protections.
  26. Stop expecting Goff to suddenly become Matt Ryan in Year 2 (no Julio).
  27. Continue expecting Goff to get better, especially with a QB-friendly head coach.
  28. Start addressing the cornerback position in the draft.
  29. Stop bringing in Coty Sensabaughs.
  30. Continue working with Trumaine Johnson on a long-term contract.
  31. Start treating the later rounds (3-7) with the expectation that they can be starters.
  32. Stop treating the later rounds as “depth” or “backups”, because that’s a low bar.
  33. Continue finding players that are smart, tough and gritty (Spruuuuuuuuuce?).
  34. Start encouraging McVay to delegate gameday responsibilities (Phillips, Barry).
  35. Stop expecting McVay to markedly improve the 32nd ranked offense in one year.
  36. Continue expecting McVay to put his skill players in a position to succeed.
  37. Start planning to have LaMarcus Joyner play an integral role in the defense.
  38. Stop putting Joyner in mismatches with flex tight ends (he’s 5’8).
  39. Continue having Joyner blitz and play aggressively in run defense.
  40. Start addressing the lack of a deep threat in the draft.
  41. Stop lining up the 5’8 Austin out wide and expecting him to win jump balls.
  42. Continue developing Michael Thomas as a flanker. He has true 50/50 ability.
  43. Start holding players accountable for penalties and mistakes.
  44. Stop making excuses for players when they are penalized or make mistakes.
  45. Continue benching players who are killing drives (Robinson already put on notice).
  46. Start rolling Goff out on boot-actions, designed runs and throw-backs.
  47. Stop forcing Goff to take 5 and 7 step drops from under center until the OL is better.
  48. Continue emphasizing run-pass options (RPO’s) from the shotgun.
  49. Start bringing in UDFA’s who have one thing they do exceptionally well (e.g. hands).
  50. Stop trying to find the most talented prospects without a fit.
  51. Continue letting Bones build the special teams unit with “his players”.
  52. Start letting Whitworth set the tone for the OL from the get go.
  53. Stop playing high draft picks over those that are better football players (ego).
  54. Continue preaching competition throughout the roster. Every position.
  55. Start allowing coaches and players to develop together. Younger coaches are ok.
  56. Stop being proud of having the “youngest team in the league”. It hasn’t helped.
  57. Continue to build mentors throughout the roster and through former Rams.
  58. Start making minicamps mandatory. The Rams were the only team to not have it so.
  59. Stop saying stuff like “I know what I’m doing, ok?”. That should end with Fisher.
  60. Continue understanding what the Rams have in Sean Mannion. Is he THE backup QB?
  61. Start working Robert Woods at the short/intermediate levels. He’s their Pierre Garçon.
  62. Stop thinking that Woods will eclipse Kenny Britt’s production in 2017.
  63. Continue running to Woods’ side as he puts maximum effort into it.
  64. Start developing Pharoh Cooper in the slot role, as he’s tough and a YAC player.
  65. Stop expecting Cooper to stretch the field against NFL cornerbacks.
  66. Continue to develop Cooper as a returner, especially if Benny Cunningham leaves.
  67. Start drafting change-of-pace backs in the later rounds (see 66).
  68. Stop taking a running back with a high draft pick. It’s not necessary under McVay.
  69. Continue building a stable of running backs who each do one thing well.
  70. Start scoring more than 14 points a game. It’s obvious, but I’m serious.
  71. Stop relying on Greg Zuerlein to kick 60 yard field goals. It’s unsustainable and bad.
  72. Continue with the core special teams unit (Zuerlein, Hekker, McQuaide). GZ improved.
  73. Start letting McVay do what he thinks is necessary. He seems like a smart football man.
  74. Stop thinking it was just Les Snead who drafted poorly. We won’t know until 2018.
  75. Continue building around Jared Goff. The Rams will not go far without him improving.