The Los Angeles Rams are coming off of their worst season since Steve Spagnuolo left the team in his final season as head coach. However, with Sean McVay taking over, a new excitement has been in the air.
Despite going 4-12 in 2016, there is some slight hope going into McVay’s first year. Hope that Goff will turn it around. Hope that Wade Phillips will make the defense playoff caliber. So much hope that Dan Graziano from ESPN considers the Rams a non-playoff team from last year as a potential playoff team this year.
Every season there are teams from the year before that dont make the playoffs the following season. In fact last season there were four teams from the NFC that made the playoffs in 2015-16 that didnt make the playoffs in 2016-17.
Here’s what Graziano had to say,
“I like the Los Angeles Rams. Coordinator Wade Phillips’ impact on the defense and head coach Sean McVay’s intelligence and energy will be enough to vault them to their first winning season since 2003. Also helping their case: The Cardinals are due for a downturn and Seattle’s ship looked a little leaky last year. Obviously, there’s some concern about how Jared Goff meshes with the new coaching staff and learns a whole new system. But I’ll give that staff and running back Todd Gurley the benefit of the doubt. Don’t underestimate the impact of veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth on the offensive line, either.”
Graziano makes some good points. Inside the division the Seahawks and Cardinals are due for a down year. There is a lot of turmoil in Seattle inside the locker room and when it comes to Arizona, it is an aging team.
Like Graziano says, it will boil down to how Jared Goff plays and if Gurley can bounce back, but with a veteran presence like Whitworth, that’s a move that could pay dividends. The Wade Phillips addition certainly doesn’t hurt either.
What isn’t mentioned however, is that the Rams also have the 22nd ranked strength of schedule. It’s without a doubt one of the easier schedules that they’ve had in recent memory.
With all of that said however, the playoffs still seem unlikely. Based off of last year, there is nothing that says Goff will turn it around. Only two quarterbacks in NFL history have bounced back from seasons comparable to what Goff just endured.
McVay is also a first time head coach and young head coaches typically don’t pan out in the NFL at least in their first head coaching gig.
Making the playoffs could happen, but it is unlikely. The Rams are a young team with a young head coach. There are going to be growing pains. The most popular number in terms of wins seems to be around six and in McVay’s first year as head coach, that would have to be seen as a success.