Let’s face it Rams fans, it seems as though the Rams are not seeking to be Super Bowl contenders in the 2023-2024 season. Contrary to popular belief, not every team in the NFL is vying to win the Lombardi trophy every single season, despite that being the sole reason the teams play the game.
Some teams elect to take a longer-term approach, slowly building through the draft and making free agent moves here and there that will allow a team to rise into the ranks of the top teams in the league within 2-3 seasons. Some (like what the Rams have done since 2018) decide that every season is “the year”, making splash moves that provide lofty expectations and the pressure to perform at the level of said expectations.
This time around, it seems the Rams are taking the former road, seemingly “punting” on the 2023-2024 year with eyes set on a comeback in the 2024-2025 season. A number of key players are gone on the defensive side of the ball, the team will have a new kicker, and the offensive line is still a massive question mark. This quote from Sean McVay encapsulated what the Rams are aiming to do in 2023:
“There are going to be a lot of tough decisions,” said Sean McVay today, “(but) I don’t expect to not try to put together the most competitive roster that we can do, that we can establish and develop - and then let’s go see what happens.” https://t.co/jMmm4uHi32— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) March 10, 2023
With a multitude of young players set to take on prominent roles on the team in 2023, it is fair to assume there will be a ton of moments where the inexperience will show, which will ultimately result in more losses than the Rams have become accustomed to. But, that may not be the worst thing for the team, as how can the young players improve without game experience?
The Rams need to become more developmental, shifting their focus from “win-now” more towards “win-soon” in order to compete at a high level in a much more sustainable manner. It will start this off-season, with the NFL Draft in April marking the first level of getting back to where the Rams belong. However, it is not this draft that LA should conern themselves too much with, it is the next one that could shift the teams trajectory for 15 years or more.
For the first time in the Sean McVay era, the Los Angeles Rams will have a first round draft pick in 2024, a pick that they have traded every single year since McVay took the reins. There is one player in particular that LA should be locked in on, and that player is USC quarterback Caleb Williams.
Now, it is not to say that the Rams will HAVE to be the worst next season even though Williams will be the number one overall selection. They can always trade up, and the closer they are to that one spot the lighter the package will need to be.
McVay has come out and said that his decision to comeback is not just for next season, but for “years to come”:
Sean McVay says this AM that his decision to return in 2023 was not just about 2023. “You want to make sure you’re making a decision … for years to come. I’m committed to not having this become ‘a story’ every year. I don’t take that lightly.”— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) March 10, 2023
Current quarterback Matthew Stafford is definitely not going to play for “years to come”, so the Rams will need to find that quarterback of the future. Sean McVay loves a good quarterback, as he felt the need to upgrade the position when he traded Jared Goff in order to put the team in a position to win a championship, which he did.
Caleb Williams would give Sean McVay a mobile quarterback for the first time in his head coaching career. Not only that, but Caleb Williams has arm talent that is comparable to very few quarterbacks in the history of college football, allowing him to make ridiculous plays from the pocket as well as on the move.
Expect struggles this season Rams nation, it is set to be a rough one. Even though it’s being dubbed as a “retool” as opposed to a “rebuild”, it is a rebuild, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Caleb Williams, you are going to be a Los Angeles Ram (typing this into existence)