Los Angeles Rams: Post-Week Four Stock Up, Stock Down

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he reached Los Angeles Rams were able to win a close fought game against the New York Giants.  As it turns out a much closer game than many thought.  Which proves that any given Sunday isn’t just a saying it is a reality.  The Rams played a conspicuously conservative offensive plan keeping the game probably closer than it should have been.  The defense carried the team in this win.  They were able to attack more, albeit against a bottom of the league offensive line, keeping the Giants out of the endzone all day.  Although not the demolishing most expected a win is a win.  There were a few bright spots to look into as well as some eyebrow-raising concerns.

Stock Up

Pass Rush

The front pass rush had the best game of the season.  The Rams had 5 total sacks, of which only .5 was attributed to Aaron Donald.  The rest belonged to Morgan Fox, Samson Ebukam, Michael BrockersOgbonnia Okoronkwo, and late edition pick up Justin Hollins.  Had it not been for a flag on Troy Hill, Leonard Floyd would have added to that total.  There was consistent pressure put on Daniel Jones throughout most of the game.  Taking into consideration how long the defense was on the field it is impressive that they kept up the pressure throughout.

Again this was against one of the worst pass protection units in the league so should be taken with that in consideration, but the fact that the front did get pressure and sacks was encouraging nonetheless.  It will be interesting to see if they can keep it up against the Washington Football Team.  It was a good sight to see a  variety of players picking up their game. Finally, it was not Aaron Donald or bust.

CB Darious Williams

Jalen Ramsey is the headliner of the secondary, but a name that is going to be said a lot in the future is Darious Williams.  Williams had great coverage all game and redeemed last week’s controversial pass interference penalty with a game-sealing interception.  Low and away Williams dove and with the hands and body control of a WR was able to snag the ball cleanly.  He has quietly had a string of good games but is still being under the radar.  He also has a knack of making very big plays at crucial times.

Should he continue with his outstanding play his name will be mentioned with Jalen Ramsey’s. Williams and Ramsey are well on their way to give the Rams one of the best cornerback duos.

RB Raymond Calais

The Rams special teams unit has been a bit lackluster in the first few games.  Raymond Calais, a waiver wire steal, added a much-needed spark.  Kick returning is something he did very well in college and it showed against the Giants.  He had a great return in the 3rd quarter of 41 yards.  Unfortunately, nothing came of it, but he did his part and gave a lot of sizzle in returning the kicks.  Should there be more returnable kickoffs he could make teams pay dearly with his outstanding effort!

Stock Down

Running Back Committee

The running back by committee should dictate the RB with the hot hand have the majority of the carries.  There wasn’t flow for either back to enjoy as it seemed they were switched for switching sake.  Instead, there should have been more than a single series for the backs to get into a rhythm, something the whole offense had issues obtaining.  Neither back did particularly well which could also have been the problem, but Darrell Henderson has shown explosive play.  It would seem Coach McVay might have leaned more on him, but it wasn’t the case.

RB Cam Akers is healing and could return this week.  If and when he does it will be interesting to see if the carries remain fairly split or if the team will start to favor one of the backs in certain situations.  The Rams have shown a willingness to stay with the running game even when down by a large deficit.  This should continue as the running game is a major cog with how well Jared Goff does since play-action pass is a big part of his game.  Hopefully, the hot hand will dictate who instead of a pitch count.

Time management

Coach McVay has never been on top of his time management.  He tends to burn a lot of time outs early.  Also when he got behind he would get pass-heavy.  If it didn’t work that put a lot of pressure on the defense to perform.  This year though, there seemed to be a reversing trend.  With his methodical play calling the Rams have had the luxury of being in the higher end of time of possession.  this included a good mix of run and pass on all downs.

This game his play-calling allowed the Giants to get the ball back quickly as the Rams could not get any rhythm going. He didn’t seem to adjust to allow more sustaining drives, nor plays that would eat up more of the clock.  Although he did not abandon the run, he did get more pass-heavy in early downs.  The Giants were able to keep plays from developing creating a few three and outs.  Credit to the Giants defense for a good game plan against the Rams offense.

Coach McVay said he was having issues coming up with a good plan against the Giants.  Most thought it was coach speak, but they did give him fits so I believe he was sincere.  Had he been more aggressive and/or called a few more early-down runs it could have been a different story.  If the Giants had any sort of offense this could have been costly.

Red Zone Offense

The Rams went one of two in the redzone.  The first drive was masterful ending with Gerald Everett jet sweeping to the left for a no-contact touchdown.  The second time there was some miss communication between center Austin Blythe and guard Austin Corbett.  Unfortunately, it allowed Giants Austin Johnson a free shot on Jared Goff.  Subsequently, the Rams tried two screen type plays both of which went nowhere and had to settle for a field goal.

Not sure what it is and why the Rams have had difficulty down near the goal line. It could be the style of the rams alignments and motions don’t translate well to the short field, maybe a simple matter of execution or more creativity is needed.  There is going to be a time when settling for field goals is going to get the team in trouble.  One aspect of notice is when the Rams do fail to punch it in a lot of the time one play backfired.  The ability to overcome bad play needs to improve.  If it does and if they can gain more confidence the percentage should shoot up.

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