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Final observations from Rams-Chiefs: It’s an open tryout in L.A. from here on out

As the injures continue to mount, the losses proceed to pile up

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in what feels like forever, I did not expect the Rams to win a game. Matter of fact, I didn’t expect them to even compete in this one. Though the scoreboard didn’t look as lopsided as many expected, the product on the field for the Rams was predictable. It’s become harder and harder to glean anything positive from these games but here are my observations from yet another loss.

  • Leading up to this game, Rams fans seemed excited about Bryce Perkins starting and playing an entire game as if he were a hidden gem waiting to be found. To me, he’s always been a scrambler with a noodle arm and I fully expected the Chiefs to expose him as such with a full week of preparation. I was right and they did. L.A.’s backup QB situation is unacceptable and so incredibly mismanaged.
  • The backfield has developed into a two-headed attack with a mix of Cam Akers and Kyren Williams. At this point, I know what Akers is. It’s Kyren Williams that really has me intrigued. I saw many good things this week from pass blocking to just general elusiveness that this team has been missing. Williams is consistently a rare bright spot since he’s returned from injury.
Los Angeles Rams v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
  • Without Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson, the receiving core is essentially an open tryout from here on out. For the first time in my life I can say I was impressed with what I saw from Tutu Atwell. He seemed to get some good separation on the routes I watched and made some solid first down grabs. Building his confidence is key. Van Jefferson is mediocre at best as I’ve frequently stated in these write ups. Nothing he does moves the needle. Lance McCutcheon still hasn’t translated his preseason prowess to the field in a meaningful game. Open tryouts continue next week for this group.
  • Offensive line was par for the 2022 course: largely a chaotic mess. Perkins had free rushers in his face for the majority of the game. This unit was bad at full health. With the cavalcade of injuries in effect, it’s a complete horror show. It’s been written over and over on this site ad nauseam. It won’t change this season but it may still get our QBs hurt.
  • Offensive play calling was toothless in this one with Sean McVay calling designed runs even when this game was slipping away or a key third down was in order. I understand he was trying to protect a QB who cannot throw an NFL pass but what is there to lose? It was his decision to roll with these backups so he might as well let them loose.
Los Angeles Rams v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images
  • For long stretches of this game, it felt like Aaron Donald was the only player on the defensive line. His stats have fallen off but I tend to attribute that to a complete lack of pass rush juice outside of his own making. The Chiefs managed 117 yards on the ground and even more in the screen game.
  • The secondary remains a mess and I don’t believe a single player is absent of blame. I don’t need to get into Taylor Rapp again but he continues to add to his highlight reel of missed tackles and blown coverages. Nick Scott had his usual big hit but otherwise disappeared. Derion Kendrick is routinely picked on and every big passing play is usually a direct or indirect result of David Long begin put on spin cycle. Jalen Ramsey was toasted by Travis Kelce on one specific play. It almost seems as if Ramsey has allowed his play to trail off as the motivation for the season has evaporated for a player like him.
  • What can I say about Raheem Morris’ defensive scheme that I haven’t already? No matter what any fan or writer says, the soft zone is going nowhere. I hated it last week, I hated it this week, and I’ll likely be annoyed again next week. It is what it is. Having said that, the defense did enough to win and managed to contain Patrick Mahomes much more than I ever expected they would.

As I’ve touched upon a few times in this one, this season has devolved into an open tryout at many positions. The WR group is mixing in and there is ample opportunity for players to show their worth. Offensive line has been an open tryout since Week 1. There likely isn’t a starting caliber safety on this roster despite younger players like Russ Yeast getting some snaps. Will any edge rusher make an impact or sniff an opposing QB? Do Robert Rochell and Decobie Durant get some time in the sun? It’s a lost season.

It’s time to find out who belongs and who doesn’t come 2023. And for the sake of Rams fandom, this staff needs to consider bringing in a QB who can throw an NFL pass and give these young receivers a fair shot to put some good things on tape.