Brendan Abban | July 9th, 2019
The Los Angeles Rams took many huge strides last season as a franchise. Most notably making the Super Bowl. However, last season left them with just as many questions about themselves as it did answers.
This team will be very different going into next season from many angles. Despite the changes that will take place with this team, they still have the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl per betfirm.com.
There are three main concerns for this team going into next season. Each one arguably just as important as the next.
3. Jared Goff’s contract
Last year was the Rams’ best season dating back to their last Super Bowl appearance in 2001. That team left that Super Bowl with a few more questions than this team. The biggest question for that team came in regards to the quarterback position, something this Rams team has started to think about.
Goff has led the Rams in their journey back to prominence which warrants appreciation. He is under contract through 2020 since the Rams exercised their fifth-year option. Unless they come to terms on an extension before then, he will play out that year then become a free agent.
The Rams surely want Goff but it is all about the overall number he will land at. As a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback with a Super Bowl appearance, Goff will warrant a big contract. The Rams timetable will prove to be crucial as other quarterbacks such as Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes could receive big paydays in that window also.
Which would all but raise Goff’s price tag. The Rams may be working on their own timeline but so is everyone else, including Goff.
2. Style Change
The 2018 Rams were a star-studded team with names ranging from Ndamukong Suh to Marcus Peters. They were very top heavy in regards to their talent which carried them throughout most of the season. However, when injuries hit the team, it was noticeable.
The Rams lacked depth last season which did ail them in the latter weeks of the season. An easy example of this was Aqib Talib. Talib missed eight games last season due to an ankle injury.
The Rams defense in eight regular-season games with Talib only gave up an average of 17.31 points. In the eight games without him, they gave up 30.8 points per game.
The Rams lost the number one seed position in a game against the New Orleans Saints where they gave up 45 points without Talib.
The Rams know that the most healthy teams win championships. Just ask the Golden State Warriors. Injuries limited this team by the time the Super Bowl came around. Running back Todd Gurley barely got touches and there was no wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
Injuries happen to every team, but the best teams have the depth to deal with them. A point of emphasis for the Rams this year.
1. Todd Gurley
The biggest question mark for the Rams this year is also an intricate part of their team. Gurley’s health was a key topic of conversation last season and throughout the offseason.
Gurley missed the last few games of the regular season for the Rams dealing with knee issues. As a result, the Rams employed the services of veteran running back C.J. Anderson to alleviate some of Gurley’s burden.
Unfortunately, it never seemed as though Gurley could get back to his MVP form. Which is one of the reasons why the team has made moves to lessen Gurley’s load going into this season.
The Rams took running back Darrell Henderson in the third round of this year’s draft. They also re-signed running back Malcolm Brown to a two-year $3.25 million contract. Both moves provide the Rams with some necessary depth.
The Rams are already engaging in their own form of load management with Gurley. His participation in offseason activities has been limited so far.
It remains to be seen how his role might change in the regular season. The Rams have maintained he is the foundation of the offense.
Head coach Sean McVay said as much on the Rich Eisen show earlier this year.
“You can expect Todd to be a focal point of our offense going forward… He’s in a good place, he’s feeling good and will continue to be a central piece of our offense and I don’t see that changing.”
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) April 12, 2019
The Rams will be a good team to keep an eye on this year. Particularly, to see if they can manage these concerns and whatever else might come their way.
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