Ahead of the 2022 season the Los Angeles Rams were chanting “run it back” as they returned the majority of its superstar cast—less Von Miller and plus Bobby Wagner, Allen Robinson—and set the expectations of consecutive Super Bowl wins.
It takes a great deal of fortune to withstand the test of the NFL playoffs. Injuries can whittle down your roster over 21 games. The oblong ball has to bounce your way on occasion, and sometimes you need a little bit of luck too: such as Jaquiski Tartt dropping a gifted interception from Matthew Stafford as the Rams were attempting a comeback in the NFC championship game.
It’s almost never the team with the best roster that wins the Super Bowl—it’s the team with the best leftovers after attrition has set in.
For those reasons alone, the odds were already against the Rams repeating as world champions—but few (if any) saw a total collapse and 5-12 record on the horizon. It all started with an overmatched offensive line in Week 1 against Miller and the Buffalo Bills. Injuries took a toll on that unit and Los Angeles was forced to sign players off the street and thrust them into the starting lineup. The wear and tear of the season would also claim Stafford, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, Robinson, and many others before year’s end.
It doesn’t take much convincing to think that injuries caused the collapse of the 2022 team, and that positive regression in that area alone could catapult this team back into contention.
But that doesn’t seem to be the thinking of the Rams’ architects. General manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay are “paying off the credit card” and setting up for a down year in hopes they have the resources to retool and return to contention in 2024. LA has traded away star corner Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins and released linebackers Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd. Robinson is also seeking a trade, though the Rams might be stuck with him if they can’t find any takers.
It still amazes me how many are just ok with this “eyes on 2024”, winning 8-9 games next year, and wasting a year of Donald, Stafford, and Kupp.— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakDTR) March 19, 2023
Each year free agency brings a renewed sense of optimism for fans, but this year the Rams have sat idle while the rest of the league has plucked apart its roster. Baker Mayfield, a solid option for LA at backup QB, has joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will compete for their starting job. DT Greg Gaines will also join him in Tampa. Safety Nick Scott will help replace Jesse Bates and Vonn Bell with the Cincinnati Bengals. Matt Gay is one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL, but he’s taking his talents to the Indianapolis Colts.
Sure, LA has brought back Coleman Shelton, a borderline starter and high-quality depth piece on the offensive line. They’ve also extended restricted free agent tenders to OLB Michael Hoecht, CB Shaun Jolly, and MLB Christian Rozeboom. These are all fine moves individually, but collectively they don’t move the needle much if at all. Perhaps the Rams will surprise and add solid but unheralded starters in the third wave of free agency.
More importantly Los Angeles has 11 picks heading into the NFL draft, and this is shaping up to be the most important draft class the Rams will make in some time. The players they come away with in April will determine if they truly can return to contention in 2024, or if this is the dawn of a new era in Los Angeles.
Are the Rams much better at this point than they were at the end of last season? Can you say with confidence that the team is ready to surpass the mark of five wins from a year ago? Let us know your thoughts in the below poll, and discuss in the comments section.
Will the Rams win more than five games in 2023?
This poll is closed
No - they are tanking for USC’s Caleb Williams
No - but they will win 3-5 games
Yes - but they will still miss the playoffs
Yes - and they will make the playoffs
Yes - they are still a Super Bowl contender