The Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 offseason made a lot of moves. The notable moves that were made were signing Ndamukong Suh as well as trading for Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib to just name a few. The team had one goal in mind and that was to win the Super Bowl. LA started off red hot […]
The Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 offseason made a lot of moves. The notable moves that were made were signing Ndamukong Suh as well as trading for Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib to just name a few. The team had one goal in mind and that was to win the Super Bowl. LA started off red hot in 2018, winning their first eight games and finished with a 13-3 record with a lot of momentum.
The roster was excellent on both sides of the ball. The offense was lighting up the scoreboard while the defense stopped the other team from scoring. They were one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl and looked to light up the scoreboard in Super Bowl 53. However, that was not the case as they ended up losing the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots in a low scoring 13-3 game. Despite the loss, it was still a great season for the Rams and they all the momentum in the world to make another appearance in Super Bowl 54.
The Rams did not make a huge splash in the offseason, unlike the last offseason. Suh was not brought back as well as starting safety LaMarcus Joyner. They brought in former Baltimore Ravens Safety Eric Weddle to replace Joyner while also signing former Green Bay Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews. They did not have a first-round pick in this past draft, but they used their second-round pick on Washington Safety Taylor Rapp while adding a few other roles players on both sides of the field.
Let’s breakdown the position groups.
- Starter: Jared Goff
- Backup: Blake Bortles
- Preseason Cuts: Brandon Allen, John Wolford
Goff improved once again in his third season, throwing for a career-high 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns. He’ll only get better as he is a perfect fit in Sean McVay’s offense. He has not played in the preseason so far, as that has been the case due to McVay regularly avoiding to play the starters in the preseason.
Los Angeles signed Bortles to be the primary backup. He had an up and down tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars and looks for a fresh start in Los Angeles. While he may not play a lot, it’ll be interesting to see what McVay has in store for the former number third overall pick in 2014.
- Starter: Todd Gurley II
- Backups: Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson, John Kelly
- Preseason Cuts: Justin Davis, Matthew Colburn
Gurley is one of the best all-around running backs in the league and had another great season for the team, rushing for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns with also being a factor in the passing game. He did, however, have a few knee issues later in the season and during the playoffs. Hopefully, the knee problems clear up but luckily for the Rams, they have some quality backups.
They brought back Brown and is a power back that’ll definitely take the workload off Gurley for a bit. They drafted Henderson in the third round of this past draft that has the chance to be featured a lot as the speed back. Kelly is a power back much like Brown and will contribute on Special Teams.
- Starters: Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp
- Backups: Josh Reynolds, Mike Thomas, Nisimba Webster
- Preseason Cuts: KhaDarel Hodge, JoJo Natson, Austin Proehl, Alex Bachman, Jalen Greene, Jonathan Lloyd
No matter where Cooks has played, he contributed and did just that in his first season with the Rams after catching 80 balls for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns. At 25, he can only get better and develop more chemistry with Goff. Woods led the team in receptions and yards with 86 and 1,219 yards respectively. Despite those stats, he is one of the more underrated receivers in the league. Look for him to post improve heading into his third season with Los Angeles. Kupp completes the starting trio and has had a solid tenure with the team before his ACL injury last season. He’ll bounce back nicely and gives Goff another throwing option.
Reynolds filled in nicely with Kupp being out and could start for a lot of other teams. With the Rams passing attack being so good last year, he’ll get a lot of targets. Thomas has been on the team for the past few seasons and has been impressive in the preseason so far. I have the undrafted rookie Webster making the roster over guys like Hodge or Natson. Webster has really impressed during the preseason, which included catching all four of his targets for 38 yards against the Dallas Cowboys. He is a speed receiver that also contributes in the return game, which helps his chances to make the roster.
- Starter: Gerald Everett
- Backups: Tyler Higbee, Johnny Mundt
- Preseason Cuts: Keenan Brown, Kendall Blanton, Romello Brooker
They aren’t household names but Los Angeles has two solid tight ends in Everett and Higbee. Both are athletic TE’s that will get a lot of Red Zone targets. Mundt is viewed as more a blocking tight end, which will provide an extra blocker for Gurley and company.
- Starters: Andrew Whitworth, Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen, Austin Blythe, Rob Havenstein
- Backups: Bobby Evans, David Edwards, Jamil Demby, Aaron Neary
- Preseason Cuts: Chandler Brewer, Brandon Hitner, Vitas Hrynkiewicz, Matt Kaskey, Jeremiah Kolone
Even at 37, Whitworth has been a very good left tackle for a long time now and has no signs of slowing down. Blythe and Havenstein are a solid duo that’ll start on the right side of the line. Noteboom and Allen are young players that’ll look to replace veterans Roger Saffold and John Sullivan at left guard and center respectively.
Edwards and Evans are two rookies who will look to develop as the tackles of the future while Demby and Neary will provide solid depth, particularly at the guard spots.
- Starters: Michael Brockers, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Aaron Donald
- Backups: John Franklin-Meyers, Greg Gaines, Tanzel Smart
- Preseason Cuts: Marquise Copeland, Bryant Jones, Owen Roberts
Donald was won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Awards and was recently ranked as the #1 player in the NFL as voted by the players. He is an animal on the defensive line that’ll only get better. Brockers is an underrated defensive lineman that is a perfect complement to Donald. Joseph-Day is a second-year player that I have starting next to Donald to complete the starting trio.
Franklin-Meyers, Gaines, and Smart will rotate on the line as they can play on the outside as well as the inside, making them versatile on the defensive line.
- Starters: Dante Flower Jr., Bryce Hager, Cory Littleton, Clay Matthews III
- Backups: Samson Ebukam, Dakota Allen, Travin Howard, Ogobonnia Okoronkwo
- Preseason Cuts: Morgan Fox, Trevon Young, Josh Carraway, Landis Durham, Ketner Kupp, Justin Lawler, Natrez Patrick, Troy Reeder
- Out for the Year: Micah Kiser
Flower Jr. was acquired via a trade in the middle of last season and showed a lot of promise as an outside linebacker as well as playing some defensive end in some formations. Matthews was signed this offseason that’ll provide a solid pass rusher for the team. Kiser was looked at to be the starter but suffered a pectoral injury in the preseason, likely ending his season. Hager was been with the team since 2015 as a Special Teamer but will likely start with Kiser gone. Littleton was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler last season as a Special Teamer and looks to make more a presence as the other starting linebacker.
Ebukam, Allen, Howard, and Okoronkwo are younger players that’ll provide as well as Special Teams help with Hager and Littleton focusing more on defense alone.
- Starters: Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib
- Backups: Nickell Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill, David Long
- Preseason Cuts: Kevin Peterson, Ramon Richards, Darious Williams, Donte Deayon, Dominique Hatfield
Peters and Talib are two of the best corners in the league and form a great, ball-hawking duo. Robey-Coleman returns as the nickel cornerback that will get a lot of playing time in three-receiver formations. Hill and third-round rookie Long will provide depth for the team with Long contributing on Special Teams.
- Starters: John Johnson, Eric Weddle
- Backups: Taylor Rapp, Marqui Christian, Nick Scott
- Preseason Cuts: Steven Parker, Jake Gervase
Johnson is an underrated and young safety for the Rams and is someone you should keep an eye on. Weddle replaces Joyner as the other starting safety that’ll provide a veteran presence in the locker room, while still contributing as a high level despite his age (34).
Rapp is a second-round pick that’ll get a lot of playing time in certain formations and is be the future replacement for Weddle. Christian and seventh-round rookie Scott provides depth and some Special Team ability.
- Kicker: Greg Zuerlein
- Punter: Johnny Hekker
- Long Snapper: Jake McQuaide
- Preseason Cuts: Brock Miller
This might be the best Special Teams trio in the league. Zuerlein has been a consistent kicker throughout his career while Hekker is one of it not the best punter in the NFL. McQuaide is a two-time Pro Bowler that has been with the team since 2011
The Los Angeles Rams was a fun team to watch in 2018 and that is very much the same case heading into 2019. Goff will only get better and it helps to have targets like Cooks, Woods, Kupp, and Reynolds to throw to. Gurley has some questions with his knee but should bounce back nicely and having some quality backups in Henderson and Brown will only help. In addition, the tight ends in Everett and Higbee will provide more throwing options to throw to while the offensive line will look to be just as good as they were last season.
Having one of the best players in the NFL in Donald only helps your defense. Even if he is double-teamed, he’ll still be a force on the line as a pass rusher and run stopper. Brockers is a good complement to Donald and will get some attention from opposing teams. The secondary and linebackers look strong once again, showing that L.A. has one of the best all-around defenses.
Overall, the Los Angeles Rams have a complete roster from top to bottom. If they played anything like last year and the momentum continues into the playoffs, will likely see them representing the NFC in Super Bowl 54