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Rams stock up, stock down: Carson Wentz shows backup potential in win

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams finished their regular season with a 21-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers on the road. Despite resting their starters, the Rams were still able to get the win and much of that was due to the performance of backup quarterback Carson Wentz. Here’s this week’s stock up, stock down as we head into the playoffs.

Stock Up: QB Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz’s performance against the 49ers on Sunday showed that the Rams should have pursued him much earlier. It’s fair to wonder whether or not they beat the Green Bay Packers earlier in the year with Wentz had the Rams moved earlier following Stetson Bennett leaving the team.

With the way Wentz performed, it will be interesting to see whether or not the Rams look to keep him this offseason to backup Matthew Stafford. Wentz at least provides some stability to that position and showed that he can run the offense effectively.

Stock Down: Rams Linebackers Behind Ernest Jones

Ernest Jones has played at a Pro Bowl level this year which has hidden some of the issues at linebacker behind him. It’s unlikely that the Rams would prioritize the linebacker position as a need as it’s not a position that they’ve valued in the past. With that said, they clearly need someone to work with and can pair well with Jones.

Christian Rozeboom has been fine in moments, but may be better suited as a depth player on special teams. Troy Reeder was brought in as a veteran, experienced player while Jake Hummel may have the same upside as Rozeboom. The Rams clearly need help behind Jones and that was emphasized without him on the field.

Stock Up: Mike LaFleur Play-Calling

To the surprise of many, Mike LaFleur led the play-calling efforts on Sunday against the 49ers and it was fantastic. It’s clear that McVay has given LaFleur responsibilities that he hasn’t given his offensive coordinators do in the past. For McVay to give up play-calling, even in a meaningless game, says a lot.

The Rams ran a balanced attack against the 49ers with 24 passes to 34 runs with Wentz and the running backs. It’s unlikely that McVay would ever totally give up play-calling, but this shows how much he trusts LaFleur with this offense.

Stock Down: Rams Kicking Situation

Just when you think that the Rams kicking situation has hit its lowest point, it just gets worse. At this point of the season, it’s hard to imagine the kicking situation not rearing its ugly head in the postseason. Last week, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote,

“Sean McVay’s team ranks last in the NFL in value gained on field goals and extra points this season. The Rams have hit on just 80.7% of their field goal and extra point attempts in 2023, a mark which ranks 31st in the league.”

At this point, the Rams are stuck with what they have. They have to hope that the margins aren’t so thin that a missed extra point or missed field goal in makable range ends up costing them.

Stock Up: TE Davis Allen

In the small doses of Allen that we’ve seen this year, it’s hard not to be excited for what he brings to the table. He needs to work on his blocking, but he should get there with more experience. Where he’s really impressive is as a receiver. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams use Allen like they did Gerald Everett early in McVay’s tenure.

Allen had four receptions for 24 yards against the 49ers, but showed more potential as a receiver. A fifth-round tight end is going to take time to develop, but the tools are there for him to be successful.