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Random Ramsdom: Looking at the first few games of the upcoming season

Los Angeles Rams News and Links for 5/30/23

NFL: Los Angeles Rams OTA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Could Be in For Rough Beginning to 2023 Season (ramsdigest)

“The Los Angeles Rams are looking to rebound from an ugly 5-12 campaign a season ago, and they’ll be tested out of the gate immediately in 2023. And with a young-new look roster, could get tough before they get better.

Head coach Sean McVay, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and quarterback Matthew Stafford are each set to return after retirement rumors for all three surrounded the offseason. While Cooper Kupp also returns on the outside as one of the league’s best wideouts.

However, gone will be Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd, Greg Gaines, Nick Scott, A’Shawn Robinson, Allen Robinson, Travin Howard, Coleman Shelton, Taylor Rapp, David Edwards, and Matt Gay, among others.

And those impact veterans are now set to be replaced by youth and inexperience via the draft and undrafted free agency, thanks in large part to the Rams’ salary cap issues.

As a result, when the season kicks off, Los Angeles will have a September/first day of October slate in which it feels entirely possible that it could start 0-4.

Let’s take a look:

Week 1: At Seattle Seahawks

Seattle was one of the major surprises of the 2022 season, going 9-8 and sneaking in the postseason in their first year without Russell Wilson. Geno Smith was a top-half-of-the-league quarterback, and running back Kenneth Walker was one of the most intriguing rookies. With first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba joining a wide receiving corps that already included D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks could take a step towards competing for the NFC West title in 2023. And when you consider that Lumen Field is one of the hardest stadiums to travel into, the Rams are likely to start 0-1.

Week 2: Vs. San Francisco 49ers

The only home game that the Rams will have in September is when they welcome the 49ers to So-Fi Stadium in Week 2, which makes you wonder who they pissed off at the league office. Whether it’s Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold or Trey Lance at quarterback for the 49ers, you can bet that head coach Kyle Shanahan will have one of the most impressive teams in the league. And McVay doesn’t have a great history coaching in games against his long-time friend.

Week 3: At Cincinnati Bengals

In our latest NFL Power Rankings, the Bengals came in at No. 3, as opposed to No. 25 for the Rams. We’re a long way away from the Rams defeating the Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI, even if that much time hasn’t actually passed. Joe Burrow and the Bengals will likely be favored by at least a touchdown entering this tilt.”

Ex-Rams CB Jalen Ramsey Jokes About DeAndre Hopkins Leaving NFC West (ramsdigest)

“Any joy the Arizona Cardinals had about not having to face Jalen Ramsey two times a season following the trade that saw the Los Angeles Rams send him to the Miami Dolphins was zapped as the release of star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Friday.

Shortly after the news of Hopkins’ release, many players took to Twitter, some to start the recruiting of the former first-round draft pick. At the same time, Ramsey made a joke about the former Clemson product following his example by leaving the NFC West.

“I leave a division, Hop leave the division too,” Ramsey wrote on Twitter. “Kinda seems like it’s meant to be that way now. Hop still a top WR! Let’s see where he goes.”

Coincidence? One would assume so, but this isn’t the first time these two players have mirrored each other regarding movement.

Back in 2019, when Ramsey was still with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Hopkins the Houston Texans, they both left the AFC South shortly after one another. Ramsey was traded from the Jaguars to the Rams in October of that year, while Hopkins would be traded to the Cardinals in March 2020.

These parallels may not be over, as it is a possibility that Hopkins will join the AFC East by signing with either the Buffalo Bills or the New England Patriots.”

Ex Rams WR Robert Woods Likens Texans To Former Team (ramsdigest)

“Former Los Angeles Rams receiver Robert Woods, who is now with the Houston Texans, may have been feeling nostalgic recently.

Woods spoke to media following the Texans’ OTA session on Friday and gave some love to both his former and current teams. He likened the Texans to how the Rams were when he arrived in 2017, the first year of the Sean McVay era.

“I think a lot of hungry players, hungry coaches,” Woods said. “I feel like this is a similar situation to when I came to L.A. with a young McVay. Some people say it was a rebuild. I feel like it was just a team buying into the culture, believing in the coach, believing in the system, and I think Coach [DeMeco] Ryans has that here. Got a lot of young players buying into this offense, into this defense, into this culture, and we can change this environment.”

Similarities between the two teams are definitely there, from a certain point of view. The Rams had missed the playoffs for 12 straight seasons prior to McVay’s arrival, but he shattered expectations and won the NFC West in Year 1. The Texans’ playoff drought of three seasons isn’t nearly as long, but with the team struggling so much over that time, a first-year turnaround for Ryans would be just as impressive.”

Sean McVay raves about ‘super smart’ Mike LaFleur in first year as Rams’ OC (ramswire)

“After Liam Coen decided to return to Kentucky as the program’s offensive coordinator, the Los Angeles Rams replaced him with Mike LaFleur this offseason. Sean McVay praised LaFleur when the Rams hired him and he continues to have nothing but positive things to say about the team’s new offensive coordinator.

“Mike sees the game through a great lens. He’s super smart. You can feel when you’ve led and you’ve been in the situations that he’s been in, whether it be in San Francisco, Atlanta prior to that, even Cleveland or with the Jets,” McVay said. “He’s got a great ability to understand the game from an all-22 perspective. He’s a great communicator. He and Matthew established a real quick rapport. Mike’s a hard guy not to like.”

LaFleur began his coaching career in the NFL as an intern under Kyle Shanahan with the Cleveland Browns in 2014. He would work alongside Shanahan from 2014 to 2020 before being named the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets in 2021.

Mike is the brother of Matt LaFleur, who was the offensive coordinator of the Rams in 2017, and they share similar philosophies on the offensive side of the ball. McVay likely had a previous relationship with Mike due to working with his brother earlier in his career.”