“The Rams’ upcoming free-agent class isn’t nearly as loaded as last year’s was. There are still starters who will be hitting the market, but collectively, the group doesn’t match the talent level of Von Miller, Darious Williams and Austin Corbett.
Among the players who will become free agents in March is Taylor Rapp. He had an up-and-down season, playing relatively well against the run but struggling in coverage. In the eyes of Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, Rapp is one free agent the Rams can’t afford to lose.
Rapp finally had the type of season the Rams were hoping for when they selected him in the second round out of Washington back in 2019, but the flashes were always there. Rapp earned career-high grades against the run (82.3) and in coverage (72.9) and missed just six tackle attempts en route to 70 tackles and 14 defensive stops in 2022.
The Rams may not want to spend more in the secondary, letting safety John Johnson III walk two years ago, in which case a cheaper deal for fellow safety Nick Scott perhaps is more appealing, but Rapp has developed into a reliable player on the backend.
The Rams could be in some trouble if both Rapp and Scott leave in free agency, which would cause them to be without their two starting safeties in 2023. Jordan Fuller is still under contract and there’s hope for both Russ Yeast and Quentin Lake, but the back end of the defense could look very different next season.”
Retweet to wish Coach McVay a happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/DnTZYdYbxc— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 24, 2023
5 reasons for hope for the Rams in 2023 (ramswire)
“After winning the Super Bowl a season ago, everything seemed to go awry for the Los Angeles Rams in 2022. Injuries, inconsistent performances, and other factors led to the Rams finishing the regular season with a 5-12 record.
Following a disappointing season, many believe that the Rams are trending downward in the coming years. Rather than taking a negative approach like many are, let’s take a glass-half-full approach for the Rams.
1 Sean McVay is returning
Near the end of the regular season, there were murmurs that Sean McVay could consider stepping away from coaching before next season. But after taking some time to consider his future, McVay announced that he’s returning in 2023 and fans should be ecstatic with that news.
Besides McVay returning, he’s expected to make a variety of changes to his coaching staff, including the offensive coordinator position. The Rams are going to get a motivated and refreshed McVay in 2023, which is a positive sign for a team looking to get back into contention next season.
2 Matthew Stafford is expected to be back
Along with McVay, Matthew Stafford is expected back under center for the Rams in 2023. Stafford was limited to nine games this season due to a variety of neck and head injuries, but he seems to be confident that he’ll be 100% healthy next season.
The veteran signal-caller wasn’t able to get a full offseason ahead of the 2022 season due to an elbow injury, so there’s a chance he gets a fully healthy offseason before next season. Even though Stafford was inconsistent this season, fans should be confident that he can bounce back in 2023.
3 The running game showed signs of life to end the season
The Rams were able to secure a Super Bowl victory in 2021 without a consistent running game, with Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers splitting the backfield workload. While Henderson and Akers shared touches again in 2022, it was Akers who showed signs of improvement down the stretch.
With Henderson being released earlier in the season and rookie Kyren Williams not showing enough to earn meaningful snaps, Akers led the way in the final six weeks, accruing 512 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 104 attempts. Regardless of whether or not the Rams add another running back this offseason, there is reason to believe that the ground game could be more effective in 2023.”
To everyone wishing Coach a happy birthday: pic.twitter.com/qEbXLAqfLd— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 24, 2023
“Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that the team has requested permission to interview Bears assistant offensive line coach Austin King. The Rams dismissed offensive line coach Kevin Carberry after the final week of the regular season.
King just finished his first season with the Bears. He was the Raiders’ tight ends coach in 2021 and an offensive quality control coach in 2020. He spent five seasons at Dayton before moving into the NFL.
King was a 2003 fourth-round pick by the Buccaneers and he played 34 games for Tampa and Atlanta during his playing career.”
Ready to run it next year!— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 23, 2023
“Imagine telling a Rams fan in late October that the season’s closing stretch would feature Baker Mayfield handing off to Cam Akers.
Or that Week 18 would bring the opportunity to simultaneously eliminate the rival Seahawks and help a few old friends in Detroit make the playoffs (the Lions were 1-6 at the trade deadline, Seattle was 5-3).
The 2022 season had more twists and turns – and bumps and bruises – than any of us care to relive.
But with a couple of weeks of separation, I hope we can reflect with appreciation on many indelible moments and individual accomplishments.
Most Valuable Player – Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner will go to Canton as a Seattle Seahawk, and rightfully so. But because that franchise moved on from him after a decade, he was motivated and able to author a particularly special chapter of that Hall of Fame career in his hometown.
After Matthew Stafford’s year was derailed by injury, it was Wagner who paced out to midfield before each game as a Rams captain and their sole representative for the coin toss. That struck me as illustrative of the unique role he held within the leadership group.
Because the 32-year-old’s contributions were as intangible as they were statistical, words can’t encapsulate what he meant to this 2022 roster or how he kept it intact when each week offered L.A. a new reason to fracture.
As in this space, his teammates voted Wagner their MVP, and that’s probably all we need to know about his impact.
DPOY – Bobby Wagner
In terms of his on-field performance, Wagner was equally influential.
On a team lacking in pure pass rush, he piled up a career-best six sacks. His season grade of 90.7 from Pro Football Focus was his highest since 2018 and the third-best of his illustrious career.
I wouldn’t have argued against cornerback Jalen Ramsey for this Defensive Player of the Year award, but the novelty of Wagner’s first season outside Seattle, in the middle of a unit that hasn’t had a middle linebacker this accomplished, really stood out.”
“Just three games remain in the 2023 NFL playoff bracket as the championship round approaches on Sunday. It’s 49ers vs. Eagles in the 2023 NFC Championship Game. Another Joe Burrow vs. Patrick Mahomes showdown is coming in the 2023 AFC Championship Game as the Bengals visit the Chiefs. The margins in the NFL playoff bracket 2023 are razor thin, with Caesars Sportsbook listing Philadelphia at -2.5 and Kansas City at +1.5 in the latest NFL odds. With just three games remaining on the NFL schedule, who should you back in your NFL bracket picks? Before making any NFL picks or 2023 NFL bracket predictions, be sure to see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.
The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up well over $7,000 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception. The model enters the AFC Championship and NFC Championship of the 2023 NFL playoffs on an incredible 162-113 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season. It is also on a 16-6 roll on top-rated NFL picks since Week 7 of this season.
The model ranked in the top 10 on NFLPickWatch four of the past six years on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 94% of CBS Sports Football Pick’em players four times during that span. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Top 2023 NFL playoff predictions
One of the NFL playoff bracket predictions from the model: It says the 49ers only have a 25.4% chance of winning the 2023 Super Bowl, the third-lowest percentage of the teams remaining in the field. There are plenty of reasons to like the Niners. They have won 12 straight games and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, surrounded by a loaded roster, is playing well above expectations.
But the model has also factored in an extremely challenging trip to Philadelphia for the NFC Championship Game 2023 and the fact that the Niners are underdogs for the first time since last October. The 10-game winning streak San Francisco ended the regular season on came only against teams that didn’t make it past Super Wild Card Weekend. The last time the Niners faced an elite team, they were blown out by the Chiefs in October. The model likes two other teams’ chances to win it all more, making the 49ers a team to fade in NFL bracket picks. See which teams to back right here.
How to make 2023 NFL playoff bracket picks
The model has made the call on who wins in every other game in the 2023 NFL playoff bracket, and it has already locked in its Super Bowl 2023 picks. You can only get every pick for every game at SportsLine.”