The Los Angeles Rams are 3-5 heading into Week 9, coming off a blow out loss at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, 20-43. In the game, the Rams saw their starting quarterback Matthew Stafford injured with a UCL sprain that puts his chances of playing this week at the Green Bay Packers in jeopardy. All of this has shaken the confidence of the fan base even more, which comes in at a season low of just 40% this week.
Los Angeles has a bye week heading into Week 10, and it couldn’t be coming at a better time, with the team on a two-game losing streak and injuries starting to pile up on offense including Stafford, running backs Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers (both were placed on IR two weeks ago), as well as Puka Nacua, who has been limited in practice this week with some knee swelling. This bye will give the team a chance to heal up and return to full strength for a Week 11 match-up, back at home, with the now NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks.
The Rams are currently the underdogs coming into Green Bay, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t sure if we would be able to beat the Cowboys this past Sunday, but I was not expecting the 40-point thrashing that Dallas was able to put on LA. It was tough to watch as a fan, and the injuries gained by the loss do not make it any easier to take. This team needs a reset, and luckily they have a chance to get it against a bad Packers team who are in the midst of a four-game losing streak themselves.
I can completely understand fan’s frustration in the team and coaching staff, but if I can stand on my soapbox for a minute, I would like to remind everyone of a couple things.
The first being that this is a retooling season, with the roster being made up almost 70% of players in their first or second season. Secondly, people calling for head coach Sean McVay’s job is not the answer to fix things. Yes, some of the play calling has been questionable this season, however due to roster constraints and talent limitations along the offensive line, it may be hindering McVay’s ability to call the game as he wants to this year.
The Rams were 46-113-1 from 2007-2016, with no playoff appearances and no division titles. A lifelong fan myself, I sat through every one of those terrible seasons, as the franchise wasted the final years of players like Steven Jackson and Torry Holt, while trying to sell us on below average QB play from the likes of Keith Null, Nick Foles and Austin Davis. Jeff Fisher, Steve Spagnuolo and Scott Linehan were just a few of the coaches rotated on and off of the coaching carousel, as we stumbled through the 2000’s.
Then everything changed upon the arrival of a 30-year-old coach from Washington. The franchise gained belief in themselves again and a new, young energy could be felt as the team went 55-26 from 2017-2021 with three divisional titles, two NFC championships, two Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl title - something the franchise had not done since the 1999-2000 season.
Fans have high expectations for this team, because of the winning culture that McVay and company have set. Fans have never been through a rebuilding situation with McVay at the helm yet, only knowing winning, so it’s expected now.
2022 was filled with injuries, and 2023 is about paying the bill for a successful Super Bowl run and finding young talent, which it looks like LA has actually done well through the draft. Rookies like WR Puka Nacua, LG Steven Avila and OLB Byron Young, all look to be cornerstones to build with for the future. They also come into next season with some real cap space to make moves again, and a full slate of picks for the first time in McVay’s career. Surprisingly, the coach has never made a first round selection in his entire seven-year tenure of being Los Angeles’ coach.
Not to already be focusing past 2023, frankly I still think LA has a chance to take a wild card position in a weak NFC conference, but let’s all collectively take a deep breath, look at the big picture and understand what could potentially be down the pike. McVay and GM Les Snead are trying to build for longevity this time around.
This season has been up and down, and sometimes just plain hard, but it’s hard because instead of expecting 8-8 every year, like in the Fisher era, fans now expect to win and be contenders, even in a season when most of the outside world would not believe in the Rams. I’m not making excuses for McVay, but I am saying he has earned the right for us to show patience and see what he can do once he has the full set of resources available again come 2024.