As much as I’m a diehard Rams fan, the truth is we have been steadily going backwards since 2001. When the Rams hired Jeff Fisher I lost it. Like any fan, we all have moments where we just lose it. For the record I hate Jeff Fisher. The low point was last year when the Rams went 4 – 12 and scored less points in all of their home games combined than some college teams’ score in one game.
Without labouring the point, Fisher took us to a new low, as I always knew he would. However, with the signing of new head coach Sean McVay I have a new found hope, as I’m sure the entire Rams organisation have. I instantly like the man – his approach, his attitude and his knowledge shine through. You get the sense the Rams can finally turn the corner and we can begin to scare people again. However, the journey ahead for McVay this season will be tough. I’m not expecting a lot but I do believe we will at least fight in every game.
Let’s take an honest look at the schedule, and how I think things could turn out:
Week 1: vs. Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, CBS) | 1:05 p.m. Assuming the Colts are without Andrew Luck, as currently seems possible – Rams win Record: 1 – 0
Week 2: vs. Washington Redskins (Sunday, FOX) | 1:25 p.m. We simply don’t have the offense to compete with the Redskins – Rams defeat Record: 1 – 1
Week 3: at San Francisco 49ers (Thursday, NFL Network) | 5:25 p.m. Horrible mid-week game on the road – Rams defeat Record: 1 – 2
Week 4: at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, FOX) | 10 a.m. No chance going into Dallas – Rams defeat Record: 1 – 3
Week 5: vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, CBS) | 1:05 p.m. The Rams always seem to do well against Seattle – Rams win Record: 2 – 3
Week 6: at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, FOX) | 1:05 p.m. I can see us winning this one – Rams win Record: 3 – 3
Week 7: vs. Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, FOX) | 10 a.m. London I don’t see the Rams having a chance in London against the Cardinals – Rams defeat Record: 3 – 4
Week 8: Bye A perfect mid-season break, which is nice.
Week 9: at New York Giants (Sunday, FOX) | 1:05 p.m. I can only see defeat against the Giants in New York – Rams defeat Record: 3 – 5
Week 10: vs. Houston Texans (Sunday, CBS) | 1:05 p.m. I fancy our chances here – Rams win Record: 4 – 5
Week 11: at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, FOX) | 10 a.m. No chance in Minnesota – Rams defeat Record: 4 – 6
Week 12: vs. New Orleans Saints (Sunday, FOX) | 1:05 p.m. The Saints will be too strong – Rams defeat Record: 4 – 7
Week 13: at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, FOX) | 1:25 p.m. Another tough game continues the losing run – Rams defeat Record: 4 – 8
Week 14: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, FOX) | 1:25 p.m. It’s difficult to know what to expect from the Eagles but think the Rams can win this – Rams win Record: 5 – 8
Week 15: at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, FOX) | 1:05 p.m. Despite our good record against the Seahawks, can’t see a clean sweep of Seattle this year – Rams defeat Record: 5 – 9
Week 16: at Tennessee Titans (Sunday, FOX) | 10 a.m. No chance here, can’t compete – Rams defeat Record: 5 – 10
Week 17: vs. San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, FOX) | 1:25 p.m. Rams play tough and win the final game at home – Rams win Record: 6 – 10
We end the season with six wins, and I actually believe that would be a fair win total to expect of McVay in his first year with the team. The truth is, if we examine the team, it’s unfair to expect more.
Our rookie quarterback Jared Goff has not won a game in his first seven starts. I don’t blame him for that, however, I’m not sold on him at this stage. This year will give us a good steer about his future in the NFL.
The running game can bounce back, and I’m sure McVay knows that this, along with the defense, are the key to the Rams first year under his leadership. Last year teams’ stacked eight men in the box to stifle the running of Todd Gurley after having seen his fabulous rookie campaign the previous year. Our offensive line (aptly named) was atrocious. However, if we are being honest, there are question marks about Gurley that will be answered quickly over the first few games as, on paper, we have four nice games for him to get his mojo back.
The Rams have employed a unique approach at Wide Receiver, taking small ones. In the NFL this rarely works as you need Red Zone threats. Neither Robert Woods nor Tavon Austin offer much in this department. That’s not McVay’s fault, it’s what he has inherited and during the April draft he addressed this by taking two interesting players that could add a lot going forward. Cooper Krupp a 6’ 2”, 204 pound Wide Receiver who finished his college care
r with 428 catches, 73 touchdowns and 6,464 receiving yards and speedy Tight End Gerald Everett, at 6’3” and 239 pounds. I like both and can see that they will factor a lot by McVay’s second year.
The defense of the Rams has always, in recent years, been our strength, however, we lost some important pieces through trades and injury. McVay has added Wade Philips, a great defensive coach who can get any defense to play above themselves so I don’t see any issues with our defense. It’s still the Rams main strength.
So what does McVay have to do to win games? For starters, we have to control the clock. That means having a running game that works. We mustn’t be afraid to take shots with Jared Goff down the field to keep opposing defenses honest. If we can control the clock, we will keep our defense fresh and that will quickly be rewarded in some games as we can apply pressure on the opposing offenses.
So, it’s that simple for me, establish a Rams identity leaning heavily on the ground game and frightening offenses with defense pressure and, hopefully, the wins will come.