“This time last year, fans and analysts were talking about the Los Angeles Rams potentially repeating as Super Bowl champions. On paper, they looked like they’d be contenders in the NFC again, but everything fell apart midway through the season with starter after starter going down with injury.
Heading into the 2023 season, no one is putting the Rams up there among the favorites in the conference. It’s a very different feeling in Los Angeles following a disastrous 5-12 season, but Aaron Donald doesn’t mind flying under the radar.
He’s embracing the Rams’ role as underdogs, not feeling much external pressure from those high expectations.
“I kinda like it. It’s like starting all over again from scratch,” Donald said this week. “We ain’t the team that’s talked about. It’s kind of like the little underdogs. You just get to work and just play. You ain’t got to worry about too much other stuff. You just get to play at a high level and just fly around and then wherever the chips may fall. Obviously, the media and everything will be talking how they want to talk. As long as we do our job and do what we need to do, we’re going to be in good position and be the type of team we want to be.”
“With the 2023 NFL Draft and the bulk of free agency in the books, football players across the country are looking forward to fresh starts in the coming season.
After making his own fresh start, and having gotten a taste of what it’s like to work with a pro football team, Kenzo Sohoue is hopeful he might someday also have a job in the NFL — landing that kind of gig would be, as he put it, “gold.”
It was not so easy for Sohoue to visualize his goals when he was experiencing incarceration as a young person.
“I didn’t know where my life was going to be,” Sohoue said. “I didn’t know what I was looking at. I could have been either in jail for the rest of my life or dead. I knew that I had to push myself.”
He almost certainly wouldn’t have predicted that he’d one day help the Los Angeles Rams prepare for a home game at SoFi Stadium, one of many experiences Sohoue had while participating in a paid six-month fellowship program with the team.
The Rams Fellows Program was created by the Rams, Bank of America and two Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations, The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) and The RightWay Foundation, in an effort to “support young adults from under-resourced communities by providing access to mentorship and workforce experience to develop critical job skills, a professional network and career pathways,” according to the team. Candidates who are accepted receive onsite working experiences, a furnished apartment and other types of support.”
“The LA Rams may not be one of the projected powerhouses in the NFL for the 2023 NFL season, and that’s okay. This is the offseason, and there are no power rankings, projections, or other speculative rankings that carry any weight into the 2023 NFL season. From the opening kickoff, it is pure competition. Right now, the LA Rams are behind in preparing their players for the 2023 NFL season.
That’s just how it goes when the Rams organization opted to flip the switch form competing today to competing tomorrow. The Rams must still play 17 regular season games. But for this team, this season, there is less emphasis on winning than before, and more emphasis on competing, improving, and playing fundamentally sound football.
Why is that different?
The Rams had managed an incredibly long and impressive winning streak in the NFL that culminated in winning Super Bowl LVI by overcoming mistakes, injuries, and obstacles. The difference is that the Rams will be paying more attention to fixing those mistakes now, and will not simply patch things up to move forward. It means that the Rams roster will give countless opportunities to young players, perhaps more chances to play than any other team in the NFL this season. Still, some savvy veterans are poised to benefit from the influx of new energetic talent. Here are three off the top of my head.”
Turns out, that Aaron Donald story Rams GM Les Snead told at the draft house was not embellished: https://t.co/ysDJcT7fLH— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) May 11, 2023
“Being a West Coast team, the Los Angeles Rams often rack up frequent-flyer miles each year. Most of the teams in the NFL are located in the Central or Eastern time zones, which means the Rams do a lot of traveling when they head out on the road.
This year will be no different.
According to Bill Speros of Bookies.com, the Rams will travel the fourth-most miles of any team in the NFL this season. Their total mileage estimation is 26,332, more than every team besides the Seahawks (31,600), 49ers (29,958) and Dolphins (27,110). The Dolphins will play an international game in Germany, so that’s the reason for their high mileage total, but the Rams, Seahawks and 49ers are all staying stateside throughout the 2023 season.
The Rams’ travel schedule will take them across 34 time zones, too, which is tied for the third-most in the NFL. Only the Seahawks and 49ers will travel across more time zones than the Rams.”
Rams DT Aaron Donald Says He Never Considered Retirement This Offseason (SportsIllustrated)
“For the last two offseasons, rumors about Los Angeles Rams star defensive lineman Aaron Donald retiring have swirled.
After all, Donald, who turns 32 later this month, has basically nothing left to prove in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl nine times in as many seasons, been a first-team All-Pro seven times, won Defensive Player of the Year three times and led his team to a Super Bowl LVI victory last February. Even if he retired today, Donald would still go down as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history.
However, the star defender isn’t done just yet. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Donald said he never thought of retirement this offseason.
“Not really, honestly,” Donald said. “(You) never want to end your career how it was last year, so it never really crossed my mind. I was just trying to do everything I can to get myself up and to be here today.”
Strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams in 2023:— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 11, 2023
1) #Eagles: .566
2) #Dolphins: .554
T-3) #Giants: .549
T-3) #Patriots: .549
T-3) #Cowboys: .549
6) #Jets: .545
7) #Bills: .542
8) #Commanders: .535
9) #Rams: .533
10) #Raiders: .524
11) #Cardinals: .519