A lot has changed for the Los Angeles Rams in a relatively short period of time. The team was loaded in 2018 and 2019, making the playoffs in those two years with new head coach Sean McVay. Quarterback Jared Goff went from struggling in his rookie year, to an MVP-level quarterback in years 2 and 3. Los Angeles went to the Super Bowl in 2019, losing to the New England Patriots 13-3. It seemed the Rams were going to get back at some point due to their talent and coaching, but that seems less likely just 15 months later.
The Rams lost guard Rodger Saffold, which significantly hurt their offensive line and running back Todd Gurley was never really at 100% all season in 2019. As a result, Goff had a rocky 4th season in the league as he threw 16 interceptions with a 86.5 passer rating. A drop off from his last two years where he threw 28 and 32 touchdown passes.
The Rams defense struggled as well after losing guys like Lamarcus Joyner and Ndamukong Suh and made their defense older with the signings of Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews. During the season, the team traded cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, and made a move that ended up not necessarily paying off in 2019. The Rams traded two first-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Ramsey struggled for the Rams, culminating in a gaffe on third-and-16 in a must win game against the San Francisco 49ers when Emmanuel Sanders caught a 46-yard reception and the 49ers won on a game-winning field goal, and eliminating the Rams from playoff contention as they finished 7-9 on the season. This offseason has seen more turnover for the Rams.
Matthews is still a free agent, Weddle retired, Ramsey is still in need of a contract extension after they dealt two first-round picks for him, Gurley was released and signed with the Atlanta Falcons, wide receiver Brandin Cooks was traded to the Houston Texans, linebacker Corey Littleton left in free agency for the Las Vegas Raiders, as did outside linebacker Dante Fowler as he signed with the Falcon. Kicker Greg Zurlein also departed in free agency for the Dallas Cowboys. They also have to pay receiver Cooper Kupp soon. In the NFC West, they are no longer the top team in the division. The 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have passed them and the Arizona Cardinals, while they aren’t there yet, are on their way and just acquired wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The Rams sudden decline is an example of how quick things change in the NFL. 15 months ago, the Rams were in prime position to make the Super Bowl for a while, now, they are the third best team in their own division with the Cardinals quickly getting there. What Los Angeles does have going for them still is their coach and quarterback. McVay is still considered as one of the best minds in the game, and you figure Goff is not the quarterback we saw him as in 2019. It really is what’s going on around the Rams other than the coach and quarterback that is the concern. The offensive line and running game are a concern now and the defense is a question mark even with Aaron Donald who is one of the best players in the league. The window isn’t closed yet for the Rams, but it’s closer to closed than many expected it to be when they made a run to the Super Bowl.