The 2022 version of the Los Angeles Rams has been a turbulent, unsettled mess most weeks until this point. They’ve lacked an identity on both sides of the ball. On offense, injury and lack of chemistry has been crippling. Defensively, the soft zone scheme has given free yards all over the field to even the most mediocre of NFL offenses. The playoffs are still technically possible for this Rams team but I think the focus should be more simple: develop an identity, focus on some key players involvement, and take some risks even if it seems the personnel is lacking.
The worst case scenario is another loss and elimination from playoff contention, something that is likely to happen regardless as the chances of any team winning every game from here forward is slim to none. I’ve said it for weeks here as many other writers have. It’s time to let loose and evaluate the talent of the roster with an eye on next season. Here is a list of ten things I think the Rams should focus on in Green Bay.
Tutu Atwell should be given a WR1 package of plays
Atwell has been the best Rams offensive player in the absence of Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson. His speed has always been evident but his route running and diversity of routes has been impressive to me. At this point, he should be treated as the Rams’ WR1 with a multitude of plays designed for him short, intermediate, and deep. I want to see more of this kid and how much he can handle while being the focal point for four quarters.
Let the Baker command the kitchen
Baker Mayfield has had an extended week with Sean McVay and his receivers to build chemistry, expand knowledge of the playbook, and get into a sort of rhythm as an offensive unit. As I touched upon above, I don’t want to see the offense playing a conservative game. Let Baker play loose and make throws. This is the first backup QB the Rams have had with an actual NFL arm since before Sean Mannion. Let him spin it.
Bring back the Ben Skowronek creativity package
Early in the season the Rams used Skowronek in a Swiss Army knife capacity playing from FB and WR in various packages. I’d like to see that package of FB leaks and lead blocking return. When given the chance, Skowronek has proven to be useful and is coming off a heroic performance last week. He should be given plenty of chances in Green Bay.
Establish the running game early and often
Whether it’s Cam Akers or Kyren Williams, the Rams have to commit to establishing a balance and that means giving their backs a chance to get into a groove. They’ve found more success in recent weeks running the ball behind a line that has had more time to play together and find cohesion. I’d like to see 100+ yards on the ground with a mix of runs, reverses, and/or Mayfield scrambles.
Give Kyren Williams more opportunities
I still don’t quite understand the commitment to Cam Akers this late in the season. Kyren Williams has shown promise, is on the first year of his rookie contract, and needs time to develop into a role in this offense. I think McVay’s vision for him is as the third down back playing a more receiving heavy role but he’s shown some vision and juice in the run game. I’d like to see a 50/50 split of carries in this one between Akers and Williams with some more plays designed to showcase the receiving skills of Williams as well.
Less soft zone, more risk/reward man coverage
I understand the reason for zone coverage and I get why Raheem Morris likely uses it so much. It’s clear that these young defensive backs haven’t developed into the players the Rams had envisioned. Behind Jalen Ramsey, nobody really stands out. Having said that, the soft zone has been largely ineffective this season and against a QB like Aaron Rodgers, it will likely be picked apart. I’d love to see some more man coverage on third downs to make the Packers earn conversion rather than giving them out freely.
Let Robert Rochell show what he’s got
One of the true mysteries of the season so far has been a complete lack of Rochell on defense. Many here expected a breakout season or at the very least an increase in play time. So far, he’s been invisible and hasn’t been given a real shot at snaps. Derion Kendrick and David Long have not been good. Why not give Rochell a change to show what he is? Worst case scenario, he plays poorly and is looking for a new team in the offseason.
Rotate the EDGE players across from Leonard Floyd
I think the Rams should have an open evaluation of their EDGE depth here. Outside of Floyd, there hasn’t been a single player that has done anything to remember. Terrell Lewis was released this week in a somewhat surprising move. The Rams are likely to spend a high pick on the position next year but now is time to see if any player currently rostered can serve any sort of role next season.
Bobby Wagner continues his high level play
This one isn’t so much something that needs to be focused on or changed but simply an appreciation for Wagner as a Ram this season. He’s been fantastic in the back half of the season and despite the losing streak, has continued to be a leader and play at his highest level. He is invaluable to this team not just as an ILB but as an example for younger players. I have felt many times this season that certain players have mailed it on on defense including Jalen Ramsey. Bobby Wagner is the true captain of this defense and I hope he can continue his high level of play.
Jalen Ramsey has a dominant game
Jalen Ramsey has had a rough season and has been the focus of a lot of criticism. I’ve been right there calling him out for getting toasted routinely this season and lacking a level of intensity I’ve come to expect from him. Perhaps more than anything on this list, I’d love to see a vintage Ramsey game with a big play or two. Let the fans see some big pass breakups, a forced fumble, or a pair of picks from the CB1 of this team. I still believe Jalen is the best corner in this league and it would be great to see that kind of game from him against Aaron Rodgers.