It’s no secret that 2022 has been a disappointment in almost every sense of the word for the Los Angeles Rams.
While it’s easy to get hung up on the negativity, it’s the time of the year to give thanks and to reflect on positive moments throughout this season. The Rams are winning back-to-back Super Bowls, but making incremental improvements and being back in contention next year isn’t out of the question.
These are 6 things about the LA Rams I’m thankful for in 2022. From the Turf Show Times family to yours - happy Thanksgiving!
1 - Winning Super Bowl LVI
Sean McVay, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and company all hoisted the Lombardi trophy this calendar year - and until the clock winds down at the big game in Arizona the Rams still have the title of WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Perhaps we are seeing this season the true cost of Les Snead and McVay’s “all in” approach, but at the end of the day they crossed the finished line and set out to accomplish the one thing the other 31 teams can only dream of.
2 - Sean McVay is the right guy to turn things around
It’s easy to lose perspective that McVay is still the youngest member of the head coaching ranks, and the fact he’s been to two Super Bowls before recording a single losing season is an incredible accomplishment.
That track record is also why he should be given the benefit of the doubt moving forward into 2023. Chalk up the lost year to injuries and the stars aligning against you, and if the Rams are back in contention next year we will never have to look back.
We could remember this season as the first time McVay was forced to coach his way out of adversarial conditions, but he will probably emerge from this as a better leader of men.
3 - The white & sol uniform combination
It was the right move by the team to fade out the bone uniforms in favor of the white “modern throwback” jerseys worn in Super Bowl LVI. Just look at ‘em - they are thing of beauty.
4 - Young players getting opportunities to develop
Rookie Derion Kendrick has gotten a lot of run at corner as a former sixth round pick. He’s a limited athlete, but has shown he can be an aggressive, physical corner. Kendrick could factor in as a starter or key rotational piece in 2023.
Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek are two second-year receivers that have really flashed at times. The coaching staff have leveraged Skowronek as a fullback and it’s been a successful package for the team. On the flip side, Atwell has shown he’s the fastest player on the field but the coaches need to find more ways to use him.
Kyren Williams has impressed in his two appearances so far this season, and he could become the team’s primary running back in passing situations. Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast could get some more run at safety with starters Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp headed for unrestricted free agency after the season.
5 - The Rams’ problems are fixable
This is especially true on the offensive side of the ball. The injuries on the offensive line have been realized at an unrealistic frequency. It’s not sustainable to expect that trend to continue, and the depth pieces are gaining valuable playing time this year. The Rams will have tape on a lot of linemen and will have a solid understanding of who fits into the plans moving forward.
They probably need to add some help at receiver, and it may be time to move on from Allen Robinson and/or Van Jefferson. While Tyler Higbee is dependable and consistent, LA could maybe use a more dynamic threat at tight end.
The fixes on defense are a little more complicated. There will be significant turnover in the secondary, which may not necessarily be a bad thing. David Long, Troy Hill, Nick Scott, and Taylor Rapp are all headed to free agency.
The team may also elect to move on from Leonard Floyd. This would create two holes at edge defender, which is a position that usually requires premium capital in order to find solutions - whether this is a top draft pick, expensive free agent signing, or a high-priced trade acquisition.
6 - 2023 brings a fresh start
We knew heading into the 2021 season that the Rams had a contention window of around four years, based on the career timeline of Aaron Donald, Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, and Cooper Kupp. Fortunately for Los Angeles, they got the job done in the first year of that window.
As things are currently structured, the Rams’ window seems open for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. They will have the opportunity to make incremental improvements over the offseason in order to get the team back on course, but based on their track record there’s no reason to think Snead and McVay aren’t capable of turning things around.
While things can’t feel good for fans at present, 2023 will bring a renewed sense of optimism and a fresh start in the standings.