The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will play in Super Bowl 57 on Sunday. As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams missed the playoffs completely. If they want to get back to competing at a high level, they have a long ways to go.
However, that’s not to say that the Rams can’t get back to competing at that level. A healthier 2023 should do wonders, but there are still things that they can do better outside of that. Here are three things that the Rams can learn from the Eagles and Chiefs.
1. It Starts in the Trenches
It seems pretty obvious, but everything starts in the trenches in the NFL. While offensive and defensive lines can get ignored because they aren’t exciting to talk about, they are the key to success. That’s clearly evident when it comes to the Eagles and Chiefs.
The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines of all-time. It’s something that they’ve committed to building and therefore it’s been a consistent strength. The Chiefs recognized their offensive line weaknesses after 2020 and traded for Orlando Brown and drafted both Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith.
The #Eagles arguably have one of the best OLs of all time this season. Check out their @pff rankings:— JPA (@jasrifootball) February 8, 2023
LT Jordan Mailata: 5th best
LG Landon Dickerson: 6th best
C Jason Kelce: 2nd best
RG Isaac Seumalo: 7th best
RT Lane Johnson: 2nd best pic.twitter.com/5UNGztG4kx
When it comes to the Eagles offensive line, only Lane Johnson and Landon Dickerson were first or second round picks. Jordan Malaita was a seventh-round pick in 2018. In 2016, the Eagles found Isaac Seumalo in the third round. Jason Kelce has been on the Eagles since 2011, but was a sixth round pick.
The Eagles have had a strong offensive line for awhile, but instead of ignoring it while it was good, they continued adding. Since 2017, they have selected seven offensive linemen in the draft. No, they haven’t all worked out, but Cam Jurgens and Andre Dillard have at least been able to provide good depth.
Les Snead has actually drafted eight offensive linemen, but has gone entire drafts without making a selection along the offensive line. Between 18 picks in 2020 and 2021, the Rams selected one offensive lineman. That player was Tremayne Anchrum and he was taken with their last pick of the seventh round in 2020.
They also ignored the offensive line in 2017.
In fewer picks, Howie Roseman hasn’t selected an offensive lineman just once and that was in 2017. Every draft class has included at least one offensive lineman. There’s a commitment to it rather than drafting three players in once class and hoping one works out so that the position can be put on the back burner.
2. Re-Build the Pass Rush
Only one or two teams in NFL history have gotten to the quarterback more times than the Philadelphia Eagles this season. The Eagles and Rams play very similar style of defenses. The Rams defense worked last year because they had a pass rush. The Eagles defense is working this year because they have a pass rush.
While the Rams were waiting on Von Miller at the end of the season, the Eagles signed Haasan Reddick. That signing may be the best move of the offseason for any team. Reddick went on to have 16 sacks this year. The Eagles have four players with 10 or more sacks.
The Eagles are having a historic season rushing the passer and that production won’t be replicated. However, what can be replicated is having more than one legitimate option off the edge.
On the Chiefs side, Chris Jones is having an Aaron Donald-like year. Jones leads the way, but the Eagles have three other players with five or more sacks.
The Rams didn’t have anybody hit double-digit sacks this year and only three players had five or more. One of those players was Bobby Wagner.
3. Become More Versatile on Offense
It’s no secret that the Rams primarily run their offense out of 11 personnel. However, it might be time for McVay to sway more away from that than in the past. The limited options at tight end dictated this a lot last year, but that’s also a reason why the Rams need to add a tight end.
The Eagles are actually more pass-heavy that some might think. They passed the ball 58.6 percent of the time on early downs in score-neutral situations, which ranked sixth in the NFL. The Chiefs ranked second in this category.
However, when either of those teams wants to run the ball, they bring two tight ends on the field. The Eagles ran most of their offense out of 11 personnel, but they also use 12 personnel a lot.
Andy Reid and the Chiefs also use multiple tight ends. In 2012, the Chiefs used 11 personnel 67 percent of the time. That number dropped to 55.7 percent this season. They also used 13 personnel almost 10 percent of the time which led the league.
It’s not necessarily about being successful running the ball for the Chiefs. Mahomes was extremely efficient throwing out of these personnel groupings.
This isn’t to say that the Rams need to abandon 11 personnel. That’s where a lot of the NFL operates. However, they do need to mix it up more and add other personnel packages.