A year ago, the Los Angeles Rams were coming off of a 4-12 homecoming season back in Los Angeles. Now, they’re NFC West champions after their first winning season in 14 years sitting amid a window of sustainable success that could keep them among the most competitive teams for years to come.
There’s not a ton of similarities between the two seasons, but there’s at least one.
For the second year in a row, Football Outsiders has ranked the 2017 Los Angeles Rams the healthiest team in the NFL per their adjusted games lost metric. Last year, it was impressive enough. To be the #1 team in the NFL two years in a row calls into question just what they’re doing to stay so healthy in such a dangerous sport.
Here’s what FO said about the Rams’ 2017 season:
Not to bury the lede, but the Rams have made some cool history by becoming the first team since 2002 to have the lowest AGL in back-to-back seasons. I spent time last year bashing Jeff Fisher’s underachieving with 2016’s healthiest roster, but Sean McVay did not let the health streak go to waste. In fact, my prediction was slightly off on the Rams: “The Rams will almost undoubtedly suffer more injuries in 2017, but if new coach Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips can get the most out of these high draft picks, then the team should rise above its usual 7-9 bullsh*t.” Obviously, while the Rams did go 11-5 with a huge transformation at quarterback with Jared Goff, they did not actually suffer more injuries. Their AGL shrunk from 30.7 to 15.6, the lowest total for any team in the last seven seasons. The Rams with the highest AGL were Kayvon Webster (3.7), Lamarcus Joyner (2.4), and Robert Woods(2.3). Only Webster was out for the playoffs. That’s an incredible bill of health for a season these days. If you want a knock against McVay so far, it would be that we don’t know how he’ll react to replacing injured players since he didn’t need to do it in 2017. Expectations will only be higher in 2018 for this team, but it’s hard not to expect some more injuries this time around.
Not sure why K Greg Zuerlein, TE Temarrick Hemingway or DE Dominique Easley weren’t mentioned given that all three were on IR and the latter two missed the entire season.
Is it sustainable? Not at this level. But if the system that Head Athletic Trainer Reggie Scott has is truly providing the Rams an edge in this area, they could certainly continue to land in the top half. You do have to wonder just what the Rams are doing that other NFL teams aren’t if they’re able to do just that.