The 2019 season for the Los Angeles Rams was not one to remember. After failing to make the playoffs for the third straight year, it was obvious changes needed to be made, and indeed changes were.
The hiring of Kevin O’Connell marks a changing of the guard. O’Connell who was the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins in 2019, will serve in the same role in Los Angeles. The role of offensive coordinator has not been filled since former Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur after the 2017 season.
Surely everyone knows head coach Sean McVay is an offensive mastermind who will be the primary play-caller, but it will be interesting bringing in O’Connell, who should have some say and ideas to add to the Rams, which are in need after a letdown of a season in 2019.
After a 13-3 season in 2018, along with a trip to the Superbowl, it seemed like Jared Goff was taking steps toward superstar status. 2019 was surely a major bump in the road. The yardage was there for Goff, but he threw ten fewer touchdowns than in 2018, and almost matched his passing touchdowns with interceptions. It was not just a disappointing season for the Rams but also Goff, who was coming off signing a monumental four-year contract extension.
Enter 2020, the Rams offense has been revamped. Incumbent running back Todd Gurley, whose injury status has been questioned by the league for years now is gone, wide receiver Brandin Cooks coming off a disappointing second year with the Rams has been traded. As much as some Rams fans may not agree, this has actually made the Rams a better team.
Gurley had been a superstar for the Rams, but the injury concerns in his knee were no secret around the league anymore. The Rams moved up in the 2019 draft to take running back Darrell Henderson out of Memphis, and after the cut of Gurley this year, selected Florida St. running back Cam Akers in the second round. These two both seem to factor in McVay’s plans, and no longer will McVay have to monitor his running back due to injury concerns, which had become the case with Gurley. If Akers is the de facto back or if the Rams use a running back by committee format, it’s a win-win situation, as McVay can let these young backs run freely without caution.
The Rams are loaded at the receiver position, Cooper Kupp returning from injury had an incredible season with 94 receptions to go along with over 1100 yards and 10 TD’s. Combining with multi-talented receiver Robert Woods, the duo went for almost a combined 200 receptions and almost 2300 yards. Add in the emergence of tight end Tyler Higbee, the Rams seem to be fine here. Although this wasn’t the case, the Rams who acquired a second-round pick for Cooks, used the pick to take Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson, an underrated prospect whose numbers were deflated due to questionable quarterback play at Florida. He will look to add even another dimension into the Rams already potent receiving corps.
The NFC West is almost in a class of its own when it comes to talent. The San Francisco 49ers were a game away from being champions. The Seattle Seahawks led by quarterback Russell Wilson are yearly contenders, and the Arizona Cardinals may have won the offseason by acquiring All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Nevertheless let’s not discredit the Rams here, for a season that was considered shaky, they still finished with a 9-7 record and were on the cusp of a wild-card berth. With the new additions and new hire in O’Connell, the Rams should be back to competing sooner rather than later in 2020.