At the halfway point of their 2018 schedule, the Los Angeles Rams find themselves atop the NFL hierarchy. They have players that are dominating in all facets, some that are struggling, and others still that are hoping to join and make an impact in the 2nd half of the season.
I’ve tried to cover all 3 categories here, as the of Rams again have players in the running for all major awards as well as a major new addition that we’ll be watching on Sunday when the Rams play the New Orleans Saints.
Goff has cooled off as of late, but he’s a QB on the best team in the NFL so he’s going to be in the running for MVP. He’ll have an amazing chance to shine against a porous Saints pass defense.
Goff is currently 3rd in the NFL in yardage and TDs. Having quickly dispelled the ‘system QB’ label, he’ll try to ascend to the level of elite NFL QB in the second half of this season.
Gurley has been a machine this season. He is on pace for 30 TDs and would be on pace for 32 had he not selflessly left a TD on the table at the end of last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
He leads the league with 800 yards rushing - Ezekiel Elliott is next with 619.
He leads the league with 15 TDs - 5 ahead of Kareem Hunt
He leads the league in yards from scrimmage - 135 ahead of Saquon Barkley
He is a well rounded weapon that Sean McVay is masterfully using. If the NFL didn’t lean heavily in favor of QBs for the MVP, Gurley would be atop the list. He’ll have to settle for being the front-runner for another offensive player of the year.
What more can we say about Donald? He’s suddenly leading the league with 10 sacks and is on pace to be the first player since JJ Watt in 2014 to have 20 sacks in a season. He’s as unblockable as ever and is always worth noting on these lists - if only to see him wreck opposing offensive linemen.
Samson Ebukam has 2.0 sacks. Rams edge rushers have 2.0 sacks. That’s..... not good.
Since their attempt to acquire Khalil Mack, the Rams have been rumored to be in the market for an edge rusher. With lackluster results from their current rushers, the Rams pulled the trigger on trading for Fowler in hopes he can realize some of his potential playing behind a dominant defensive line.
Fowler has been an enigma through his first three and a half seasons (two and a half if you don’t count his ACL injury) and wasn’t able to earn many snaps for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has to be excited about getting a new toy for his defense and Fowler will likely be used early and often in the coming weeks for the Rams.
I’m starting to worry about Peters. He has been burnt on multiple occasions in recent weeks and at his worst he is reminding Rams fans of Janoris Jenkins - extremely talented yet very susceptible to getting beat on double moves.
Each time Peters allows a big play, he seems to be upset with the safeties. Whether that’s due to frustration or because he’s expecting help over the top is uncertain. What is certain however, is that Peters hasn’t lived up to his billing since Aqib Talib went down early in the season.
Long term, one has to wonder if this is trending towards another standoff between the Rams and a talented DB wanting to get paid next year.