Robert Mays of the The Ringer made the usual points about the Rams when he broke down five teams on Part II of his power rankings, but what’s interesting is that he lumped them with the New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, and Detroit Lions — as teams that could surprise the league with a breakout season. I’ll admit that it’s nice not to be in the same group as the New York Jets.
Small victories, I guess.
Of course, if the Rams are going to shock the NFL, it’s going to be on defense with a measured improvement on offense.
It will be an uphill battle for McVay to purge Goff of the bad habits that his disastrous rookie season wrought, but the first-year head coach proved in Washington that he’s adept at constructing an offense that makes life easy on a quarterback. If McVay’s tutelage—and improved pass protection bolstered by left tackle Andrew Whitworth—can help Goff turn things around, this season will go down as a victory.
Goff’s bad habits are something that is still a work-in-progress. If QB Jared Goff keeps his eyes on his receiver, the defenses will feed off of that and last year’s nightmare will continue. So it makes sense that McVay is given a lot of the pressure to turn this boat around with his “QB whispering.”
Mays argues that what could make the Rams into a breakout team this season is their new defense under Wade Phillips:
This group finished 15th in defensive DVOA a season ago, but that’s not indicative of its talent. L.A.’s defensive potential hinges largely on the presence of Aaron Donald, who still has yet to report to the team as he seeks a new contract. With Donald and defensive end Robert Quinn in the fold, the pieces are there for Phillips to put together a top-five defense that could keep the Rams in every game they play.
DT Aaron Donald obviously needs to show up and OLB Robert Quinn has to stay healthy. That being said, I agree that the addition of Wade Phillips as the DC can make the Rams into a top-five defense that could win them games that they lost last year.
There’s also a prediction that the breakout player on the Rams could be none other than rookie WR Cooper Kupp.
The third-round pick out of Eastern Washington is a polished route runner who should eat in this offense if given the opportunity.
If what the power rankings suggest are true, Rams fans should prepare for a frustrating amount of inconsistency this year. However, the season hasn’t begun yet, so there’s no better time than now to drink up the last of the “Cooper Kupp Kool Aid” and wish for the best.