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Rams will face challenges when training camp starts

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New defensive coordinator Brandon Staley has his work cut out for him

Tennessee Titans v Denver Broncos
Brandon Staley
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

ESPN reported on Wednesday that the NFL plans not to have any players assembled as a team until training camps begin in July.

That would mean there will not be any on-field minicamps this month, which we’ve seen this happen before. In 2011, the offseason program was wiped out because of the NFL lockout and training camps didn’t start in August. All teams will overcome this coronavirus-induced delay, but there will be challenges for some more than others in camp.

Let’s look at three hurdles facing the Los Angeles Rams when training camp starts.

Defensive cohesion:
Brandon Staley is taking over the duties as the Rams’ defensive coordinator for the upcoming season. He replaces the popular Wade Phillips, whose contract was not extended after last season. Not only does Staley have the challenge of taking over the unit without the luxury if an offseason program, but he is a first-time NFL coordinator.

Acclimation by the coach and his new players must be swift. Don’t be surprised if the Rams’ defense is a bit out of sync early in the regular season. Yes, offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell is also new, but with the presence of head coach Sean McVay, the adjustments on offense will be less dramatic.

The two second-round picks:
The Rams took running back Cam Akers and wide receivers Van Jefferson in the second round of the April 2020 draft. The team is hoping for both players to be part of the playing rotation as rookies. McVay must get both integrated into the offense quickly or they may not be able to help much early in the regular season.

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams
Blake Bortles
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Backup quarterback:
Right now, John Wolford — was on the practice squad last season — is the backup quarterback to starter Jared Goff. Wolford. The Rams may want to consider re-signing 2019 backup Blake Bortles or someone with some playing experience as camp may go too fast for Wolford if Goff gets hurt. Insurance is probably needed.