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Rams Reacts: Fan confidence rises along with reasons for optimism in L.A.

Confidence in Rams increases by 31 percent heading into bye week

Los Angeles Rams play against the Carolina Panthers in an NFL regular season game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Following a Week 6 victory over the Carolina Panthers, the Los Angeles Rams currently sit at .500 with a 3-3 record, a far cry from where most fans thought the “run it back” tour would take them. Obviously, the emotions of any fan base are impacted with each win or loss. The most recent SB Nation Reacts polls took a significant bump after beating the Panthers, with 46 percent of fans believing L.A. is on the right path.

With a handful of key players returning from injury, Los Angeles should be better after the much needed bye week, even with a tough stretch of games in the near future.

The Rams have been bitten by the injury bug early and often this year, especially across the offensive line. Pro Bowl (alternate) center Brian Allen is expected to return in Week 8, just in time for the rival San Francisco 49ers. He is will be an obvious upgrade on the interior, providing stability and improving the communication across the front five.

Allen had some standout moments last season and there’s no reason to think he can’t do the same upon his return. With Alaric Jackson looking comfortable back at his natural position of left tackle, expect the o-line to be better than it was earlier in the season, though the bar honestly wasn’t set very high.

Van Jefferson is also expected to make his return following the Rams’ bye. He’s been under appreciated to an extent, with most expecting the offense not to skip a beat with him on the sidelines. That obviously hasn’t been the case.

A “minor” knee surgery during training camp forced Jefferson to sit out the first six games of the year and Matthew Stafford has missed the third-year pro. Jefferson accounted for 802 receiving yards and six touchdowns in the 2021 regular season. Inserting that kind of production back into the lineup can only mean good things in the future, especially with Allen Robinson starting to find his way in the offense.

All things considered, the defense hasn’t played terrible this season. Yes, they need to play better on third down, going 30/75 and allowing teams to move the chains 40 percent of the time on that all important money down. In fairness, the Buffalo Bills going 9/10 on third down really inflated that number, with the Rams being successful on 68 percent of third downs against all other teams so far this year.

The Rams defense looks to boost those numbers with both Troy Hill and Cobie Durant returning to the secondary.

Both add playmaking ability and that all important versatility to the backend of the Los Angeles Rams defense. They should also help the Rams generate more turnovers, each already having an interception this year.

There is a silver lining to all of the injuries the Rams have fought through so far this year: L.A.’s depth got quality reps in regular season games. It’s unlikely that there would have been an emergence of Ben Skowronek—and the role of a “fullback” in the Sean McVay offense—had there not been a necessity for it.

Brandon Powell wouldn’t be getting the offensive reps if the offense was at full strength.

He’ll likely continue to have a role on offense.

Rookie cornerback Derion Kendrick has likely locked up a starting role on defense, with his playing time increased due in part to injuries.

Things are looking up for the Rams and yes, they are heading in the right direction, though all of that optimism will be challenged as the Rams enter the toughest stretch of their schedule.

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