Following an offseason that primarily revolved around a negative outlook when it comes to the Los Angeles Rams, Week 1 will finally take place on Sunday as the Rams play the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field.
However, before the season officially gets underway, Mike Sando from The Athletic released a poll taken by NFL executives, ranking the teams in the respective conferences. Coming in at number 15 out of 16 teams was the Rams.
One executive who ranked the Rams 15th said,
“I think they are in big trouble, especially on defense. They have Aaron Donald, and you can’t think of anybody else. I would like to know how many of their other starters on defense would start for other teams.”
The anonymous executive isn’t necessarily wrong. Outside of Aaron Donald, the Rams have a lot of unproven talent. That’s especially the case at edge rusher where the Rams are starting Michael Hoecht and Byron Young. Los Angeles is very inexperience on the defensive line outside of Donald as well as in the secondary.
It’s fair to wonder how many of these players would be starting on other teams. Outside of Donald, Ernest Jones, and Cobie Durant, everyone else is up for debate. John Johnson III and Ahkello Witherspoon were both late free agent adds that no other team seemed to want. Jordan Fuller is also on that line.
Said another executive,
“Figuring out who the seventh playoff team in the NFC is feels impossible. It could be anybody. It could be the Rams, but if you told me that the third wild-card team in the NFC went 7-10, I would not be shocked.”
In the poll taken by six NFL executives, the highest ranking that the Rams received was seventh. However, they received three votes at 15, a 12th place vote, and a 14th place vote. The 15th place ranking lines up right about where the Rams also fall in the NFC’s win total predictions. Still, it’s hard to see the Rams being worse than a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who ranked 14th, the Washington Commanders who are starting Sam Howell came in a nine, and the Chicago Bears ranked 12th.
As noted by Sando, “the Rams were the only team ranked lower than eighth in this poll that enters the season with an established quarterback.”
The final quote from a NFL executive complimented McVay’s coaching. The executive said,
“They are going to be well-coached. Talent-wise, it is not there. They are going to struggle up front offensively. I’ll be shocked if Stafford stays healthy.”
Coaching matters in the NFL. Look no further than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sean McVay enters this season taking a more teaching approach than he has in past years and seems refreshed. It will be interesting to see what difference that makes during games with an extremely young roster.
The NFL season kicks off on Thursday Night with the Rams kicking off against a division rival on Sunday when they play the Seahawks on the road.