When it comes to the NFL, it’s all about building a solid foundation. Whether that’s having the right head coach, franchise quarterback, or anchor left tackle, teams need a good foundation to have success.
The same can be said about the game of Jenga. You need that solid three-block foundation to avoid the tower from crumbling over.
Let’s take a look at the foundational pieces for the Los Angeles Rams. These are pieces that without them, the outlook of things would massively change.
Head Coach Sean McVay
Before the hiring of head coach Sean McVay, the Los Angeles Rams suffered from poor coaching. Between Jeff Fisher, Steve Spagnuolo, Jim Haslett, and Scott Linehan, the Rams went 11 years without a winning record. The three combined tallied an overall record of 54-121-1.
Under McVay, in just two years, the Rams have won 26 games and made the playoffs twice.
As long as McVay is the man in charge, the Rams are going to be okay. The Patriots have lost Brady for a year, gone through a plethora of assistant changes, but Bill Belichick has remained consistent.
It’s impossible to compare McVay to Belichick just two years on the job. However, it’s hard not to see the similarities and potential. The team lost its offensive coordinator last season, but the offense managed to improve. The Rams lost Zac Taylor this previous offseason. However, that shouldn’t worry fans because the man in charge is still there.
McVay does have room for growth, but without him, it’s hard to see the Rams where they are right now – one offseason removed from a Super Bowl appearance.
LT Andrew Whitworth
Jared Goff was sacked 26 times in seven games in his rookie season. Despite less than half a season under center, he was still the 23rd most-sacked quarterback in the NFL.
Heading into Goff’s second season, the team signed veteran left tackle, Andrew Whitworth. The Rams quarterback reaped the benefits. The sophomore quarterback was sacked one time less than he was his rookie year, despite playing nine more games.
The offensive line doesn’t get all of the credit it deserves, but they should be complimented for the franchise’s turnaround as much as McVay and the improvement of Goff.
McVay has been one of the best offensive play-callers, but without Whitworth, it would be hard to see the Rams being as efficient on offense as they have been. Goff thew 3,800 yards with a 28-7 touchdown to interception ratio in year one with Whitworth. Then, Todd Gurley went from sophomore slump to 1300 yards, 19 touchdowns, and Offensive Player of the Year.
2019 may be Whitworth’s last season with the team, and there’s no question that they will miss him when he hangs up the cleats.
QB Jared Goff
The third and final player on this list is Jared Goff, and this spot could very well be Todd Gurley or Aaron Donald.
However, the NFL is a quarterback league, and teams rarely win without a franchise quarterback. It’s not easy being the No. 1 overall pick and the Rams went from Sam Bradford to AJ Feeley, Kellen Clemens, Shaun Hill, Nick Foles and Case Keenum before they finally landed on Goff.
In fact, Goff’s 31 regular season starts the last two years are the most for any Rams quarterback in a two-year span in franchise history.
While McVay has a great offensive quarterback, it’s hard to see anybody else running it as efficiently as Jared Goff has. McVay’s system is fantastic, but you need the talent to compliment the system.
It’s hard to see Foles, Keenum, Davis, or Bradford running this offense as well as Goff has. To go from 0-7 to start his career to making his first Super Bowl two years later is unfathomable. That’s not to mention leading his team back from 13-0 in the NFC Championship game. He also led the Rams to a win in the greatest NFL regular-season game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Goff isn’t perfect, but the Rams aren’t in the position that they are right now without him.