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Former Rams coach says it could be hard for LA to compete this season

Former Rams head coach Mike Martz says if Rams can finish with a .500 record, it would be a great year

NFL: NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in the offseason, it’s pretty well-known that there isn’t a lot of optimism when it comes to the Los Angeles Rams in 2023. Many have predicted the Rams to be one of the worst teams in football.

Former Rams head coach Mike Martz previewed the season for LA for The 33rd Team on Wednesday and he also didn't seem to optimistic. When talking about the Rams defense, Martz said it’s “going to to be hard for Los Angeles to compete” and “this could end up looking like a college all-star team”. Here’s what Martz had to say,

“It’s going to be hard for Los Angeles to compete this season with all the young players they’ve been forced to bring in for financial reasons...Though the Rams recently picked up veteran cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and will return star Aaron Donald, this could still end up looking something like a college all-star team.”

The issue with the Rams this season is that they are so young and therefore that leaves a lot of unknown. That partially evident in the first preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers. While players like Tre Tomlinson were bright spots, the players on the edge and interior defensive line struggled. They may get better with more experience as the season goes on, but there is going to be more inconsistency than even some fans may be expecting.

On the offensive side of the ball, Martz liked Sean McVay’s hire of offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur from the New York Jets. Martz said, “LaFleur can come in and have a different perspective on things and carry some of the load”. Additionally, Martz believes that running back Cam Akers could be in for a breakout season. The former coach said that while Akers has struggled in his career, “he is simply too good of a player for that to continue forever.”

When it comes to the 2023 Rams, what seems to get lost is the aspect of coaching. After dealing with bad head coaches for the better part of a decade, no team should understand the impact of good coaching more than the Rams. Good coaching often gets lost, but look no further than the Pittsburgh Steelers who arguably outperform expectations with Mike Tomlin. While that wasn’t the case last year as McVay dealt with burnout, the Rams seem to have a re-energized McVay this season. That should help tremendously. Martz actually brought this up when discussing his expectations for the Rams this season, saying,

“If the Rams can finish the year with a .500 record, it would be a great year for them...But I do like this team. They’re one of the better-coached teams in the league. We’re going to find out just how well McVay can motivate his guys, get them up to speed and make that transition back to a winning culture. Some really young players will be put in a spot where they need to play at a high level. When you do that, there are both good and bad surprises, but there’s not going to be a lot of consistency to it, which will hurt Los Angeles’ ability to win games.”

It’s going to be interesting to see where the Rams end up finishing. It’s in the realm of possibility that they are contending for the top pick. It’s also in the realm of possibility that they are competing for a wild card spot. That’s what makes this Rams team so interesting is that there is so much unknown. That could turn into a disaster or, as Martz says, there could be some good surprises as well.