After 10 weeks, the Los Angeles Rams sit at 3-7. They have losses to backup-caliber quarterbacks in Colt McCoy and Andy Dalton. The offense continues to look disjointed and unrecognizable. If someone woke up from a year-long coma and you showed them the 2022 version of the Rams, it would be hard to convince them that this team won the Super Bowl just over seven months ago.
During the Super Bowl parade, there were chants to ‘run it back’. While repeating was always going to be difficult, at this point, it’s fair to wonder whether or not it’s equally as difficult to do what the Rams have done and start 3-7 the following year.
The Rams have entered unprecedented territory not only for defending Super Bowl champions, but as a team under Sean McVay’s leadership. This was a coach that brought the Rams back from a decade of losing to a perennial playoff contender. While McVay missed the postseason in 2019, he still led the team to 9-7 and had a chance of the playoffs heading into Week 17.
Now, the Rams sit at 3-7 and completely out of the playoff hunt. They were never this bad under Jeff Fisher. The Rams haven’t had this many losses through 10 games since 2011 under Steve Spagnuolo. They finished that season 2-14.
If Matthew Stafford does get shutdown for the rest of the season, it’s hard to see the Rams winning another game with Bryce Perkins, John Wolford, or quarterback to be named later.
After the season that we experienced in 2021, it’s hard to wonder how the Rams even got here. The 2021 and 2022 version of the Rams are polar opposites. One was a Super Bowl contender and hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, the other is a contender for the NFL’s number one overall pick that is owned by the Detroit Lions.
How did the 2022 version of the Rams even get to this point?
Unlike the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 2021, the Rams didn’t actually “run it back” in 2022. Andrew Whitworth retired, Austin Corbett and Darious Williams left in free agency, Von Miller went to Buffalo, Robert Woods was traded, and the team opted not to bring back Sony Michel.
Players like Whitworth, Corbett, Miller, and even Woods to an extent were key contributors in the Rams’ Super Bowl run. It’s hard to know what you have until it’s gone and the Rams have certainly missed these players.
After winning the Super Bowl, the Rams coaching staff was also gutted unlike any other. Kevin O’Connell who had been with the Rams for two seasons left to be the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. With him, O’Connell took Wes Phillips.
On defense, Ejiro Evero left to be the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos and Marcus Dixon left with him to be the defensive line coach.
That doesn’t even mention losing coaches like Brandon Staley, Aubrey Pleasant, Joe Barry, Shane Waldron and front office executives like Brad Holmes and Ray Agnew the season before.
At some point, all of that turnover catches up to you. The Rams have a strong culture, but that can be difficult to maintain year-over-year with a lot of turnover in important leadership positions.
Combine all of this turnover in player and coaching personnel with the injuries to the offensive line, Matthew Stafford’s concussions, etc. and you get the current result.
Next week against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Rams will be starting their 11th different offensive line combination in 11 games. The Rams haven’t invested in the backup quarterback position which as left them with Wolford and Perkins and very little chance to win with Stafford out.
However, it takes more than just injuries to be 3-7 after 10 games. The Rams offense has scored six second half touchdowns this season. Only the Denver Broncos are worse with five. The defense doesn’t have a turnover since Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers.
This isn’t just an offensive issue or a defensive issue. The 2022 season is a complete organizational failure from everybody. It’s been a total team effort The coaching carousel, the lack of draft picks creating lack of depth across the roster, not re-signing valuable free agents, etc. have all contributed to the current on-field product.
With the Rams season likely over, the offseason will start almost two months early. This will be a time to evaluate coaches and players as the team looks ahead to 2023. The Rams championship window hasn't closed yet, but it will take a lot of self-reflection over the coming months to right the ship and give it one last run with this core group of players.