Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles Preview
Overview: This is a challenging game to predict for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, is the Eagles team that we saw lay an egg in Washington last week really who they are? The eight sacks they gave up on Sunday is not going to win very many games. Meanwhile, the Rams are coming off a strong performance against a Dallas team that many consider a Super Bowl contender. But they are concerns for Los Angeles at inside linebacker, where they have to tackle better. And while placekicker Sam Sloman settled down after missing an early field goal, some of his low trajectory kicks are still a concern.
Rams Defense vs. Eagles Offense: Job one for the Eagles protects quarterback Carson Wentz from Rams d-lineman Aaron Donald; it will not be easy. While Donald only logged one sack against the Dallas Cowboys, he was in their backfield all night long and treated Cowboys All-Pro guard Zach Martin like a rag doll on more than one occasion. Perhaps I should say "Martin and friends," because AD received double-teamed, not that it slowed him down much. The Rams tend to move Donald around a lot, but Philly's big concern will be his battles with right guard Nate Herbig, who cannot expect to contain AD with one-one-one very often. Nobody can do that regularly, so we can expect the Eagles to double-team and perhaps even triple-team AD. The Eagles do have an excellent center in Jason Kelce, who will be in charge of making sure the O-line knows what the plan is upfront. They also get Lane Johnson back at right tackle, whom they didn't have last week. The Eagles have had great success in containing Donald, holding him without a sack the last three times these teams met. If they can neutralize him again Sunday, they have an excellent chance to win, but that is easier said than done.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz needs to do his part by getting rid of the ball as quickly as possible, something he failed to do last week.
A big test for the Rams containing tight ends Zack Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Ertz is one of the league's best tight ends, and Goedert is not far behind him. The Rams inside linebackers, Micah Kiser and Troy Reeder, are not necessarily great in coverage. Expect to see more ILB Kenny Young, probably a better cover defender, on Sunday in Philly. Don't be too surprised if safety Taylor Rapp, who lost his starting role by Jordan Fuller, lines up at ILB as well. Fuller and fellow safety John Johnson may get into the coverage as well, depending on how Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley decides to play it. Philly runs many 12-personnel sets, and how successful the Rams are at containing Ertz and Goedert could be critical to this game's outcome.
Last week, the Rams got the fair play out of OLB Leonard Floyd, who had a sack and several pressures the previous week. He hadn't had all that much success against Lane Johnson when Floyd was with the Bears, but he gets another crack at it on Sunday. If Floyd can win his one-on-one battles against Johnson (who is returning from injury), it would help free up Aaron Donald and Micheal Brockers and generally support the Rams defense pressure, Wentz.
Another matchup that needs to be of some concern is Jalen Ramsey vs. Eagles wideouts, DeSean Jackson and rookie Jalen Reagor. Expect Ramsey and fellow Rams corner Troy Hill to be one-on-one with the Philly wideouts on a lot of the time on Sunday. They need to hold their own to allow the defense to scheme effectively against the Eagle tight ends.
Edge: Rams (assuming Aaron Donald wreaks his usual havoc)
Rams Offense vs. Eagle Defense: The Rams did a great job last week of neutralizing a strong Dallas defensive front. They did it by much-improved offensive line play, a lot of quick passes, and a strong running game. They will need to do so again to win on Sunday.
The Philly front four, in general, is among the league's better units.
Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox may be the best defensive tackle not named Aaron Donald. The Rams offensive line will need to keep him under control. If we see the Rams O-line play like they did last week against the Cowboys, they have a good chance. If they regress to the unit that we saw in most of 2019, Rams fans could get ugly.
One surprise for the Rams in week one was the emergence of running back Malcolm Brown, who notched over 100 yards running and receiving last week. Is Brown "the guy' for the Rams in 2020, or were they riding with the hot hand? That remains to become the question. Rookie running back Cam Akers was so-so last week, showing flashes but not putting up great numbers overall with only 39 yards rushing. The third running-back in the Rams expected "three-headed monster," Darrell Henderson, saw limited action, with three carries for 6 yards. In Henderson's case, the lack of action could result from limited snaps in practice due to a hamstring injury. The Rams would like more production from Akers and Henderson than they got last week, but if Brown can keep playing well, it may not matter all that much.
It was good to see the Rams get back to a more balanced attack last week, with the ground game doing enough to set up the play-action pass. The Rams offense (minus Todd Gurley) that we saw in 2018, rather than the pass-happy "Mike Martz 2.0" version that often took the field last season.
A couple of other noteworthy matchups when the Rams are on offense will include Rams slot receiver Cooper Kupp versus former teammate Nickell Roby-Coleman and wideout Robert Woods versus Eagles corner Darius Slay. The Eagles also want to keep tight-end Tyler Higbee from exploding like the last five games last season. Linebacker Nathan Gerry calls the Eagle defensive signals and has the assignment of keeping an eye on Higbee, who is emerging as one of the league's better pass-catching tight ends.
If the Rams O-line can keep Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and company in check and open some holes in the running game, Los Angeles should score some points in this game. If not, the Rams may be looking at a road loss. We'll check the box for the Rams, but not by much.
Special Teams: As we mentioned above, Sam Sloman made us a little nervous last week with the low trajectory on some of his kicks, even though he only ended up missing one. He also seemed to lack distance on his kickoffs. He may be fine, but with Philly having a week to study the game tape, it's a concern.
Johnny Hekker remains probably the best punter on the planet, but...
Final Prediction: This game is challenging to predict and will reflect in the betting odds. Some oddsmakers have Philly favored by roughly 1.5; others are picking the Rams by the same margin.
Even though we checked the box for the Rams in two out of three categories, there is no definitive edge on either side of the ball. But we are a Rams page, so that we will hope for the best
Rams 30, Eagles 28
Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams and wide receiver Robert Woods agreed to a new four-year contract extension of $68M ($32M guaranteed and with incentives), remaining with the Rams throughout the 2025 football season. Rams increased Woods to $4.5M additionally in his two existing years, and in his new year is at $13.5M, increasing to $18M in new money through the 2022 season.
Just weeks after Woods hinted to remain in Los Angeles, before the extensions of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and wide receiver Cooper Kupp, he receives his deal one week later. Bizarre as it sounds, but his performance against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday night with six receptions for 105-yards could have sped up those negotiation talks.
As the team's most productive receiver after signing as a free-agent in 2017 and the league, Woods talent dominates against the opposition. In Woods's first season with the Rams, he finished the season with 781 yards after missing a couple of games from injuries. However, in his last two season, career years in receiving eclipsing that plateau back to back years.
For Woods career, he's played in 101 games, 441 receptions and 5,690 receiving yards with 25 touchdowns and 320 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns. As a Ram, Woods, he has collected 238 receptions for 2,051 receiving yards and rushed for 298 yards with two rushing touchdowns.
The Los Angeles county native returned home to play for his hometown team just one year after the rams relocated ago from St. Louis in 2016. Woods prepped at the Junipero Serra High School in Gardena and played collegiately at USC. At USC, he became the all-time leader in receiving yards during his tenure and drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Woods extensions now secure the Rams with their two dynamic receivers in Kupp and Woods, along with tight end Tyler Higbee, familiar targets for quarterback Jared Goff.
It is no question who the Rams front office was more concerned with not loosing in free-agency with securing Ramsey, Woods, and Kupp this season, and Higbee last season. In that 2017 draft class with Kupp, the Rams have to decide on resigning tight-end Gerald Everett, safety John Johnson III, receiver Josh Reynolds, and linebacker Samson Ebukam.
Not to mention cornerback Troy Hill, center Austin Blythe, running back Malcolm Brown, long-snapper Jake McQuaide, and defensive lineman Morgan Fox are all playing in the last year or one-year contracts.
Ed Pi Double i Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams and wide receiver Robert Woods agreed to a new four-year extension of $68 million ($32M fully guaranteed and with incentives) to remain with the Rams up to 2025. Just weeks after Woods hinted that he wanted to remain in Los Angeles, before Jalen Ramsey and Cooper Kupp extensions, he gets his deal done one week later. (Read Full Story)
Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys Preview
Overview: This is a challenging game to predict for a few reasons, not the least of the preseason at all. For the Rams, we have new offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinators. The Ram's new OC, Kevin O'Connell, knows Dallas (and vice-versa) from his days as OC for the Washington Football Team (known as these days). Although O'Connell expected to call the Rams' plays, the overall offensive mastermind will still be head coach Sean McVay. However, Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley has never been an NFL coordinator before. Expect him to implement many of the schemes favored by his former coach, Denver HC and former Chicago Bears DC Vic Fangio. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that nobody outside the Rams locker room precisely knows what Staley will be calling.
Rams Defense vs. Dallas Offense: Many people think this Cowboy's offense can be historically good. Besides 2019, Amari Cooper, Micheal Gallup, Ezekiel Elliot, and speedy wideout CeeDee Lamb added to the roster. With the Rams fielding a defense for the first time under a new DC and many new players, this could be a problem for Los Angeles.
The good news for the Rams is that they have one of the best secondaries in the league. Jalen Ramsey this week has become the highest-paid NFL cornerback ever, and that is not an accident. He is likely to match up with Cowboys number one receiver Amari Cooper in an epic battle on Sunday night. Ramsey won his battle with Cooper as severely as the Rams played in last year's 44-21 debacle against Dallas. He needs to do so again on Sunday.
Over on the other side, the best cornerback many people may have never heard of, Troy Hill, is an emerging star. Hill has made himself into an outstanding NFL cornerback, something that did not seem likely a few years ago. He will probably see a lot of Lamb or Gallup. Add in safeties John Johnson and Taylor Rapp, and you have an excellent secondary.
We are more worried about the Dallas running game. The Rams will be starting two new guys inside, probably Micah Kiser and Troy Reeder, with Kenny Young, who came over from the Ravens last year in the trade and got many reps. Ezekiel Elliot had a big day when these two teams met, and the Rams cannot afford to let that happen again.
One matchup the Rams need to win is that of out6side linebacker Leonard Floyd versus Dallas right tackle Cam Erving. Erving steps in for the injured La'el Collins, and he is reportedly coming off a short training camp. Meanwhile, Floyd was generally considered something of a disappointment in Chicago, especially as a pass rusher. Hopefully, a fresh start will bring out the talent that many saw in him when he was a high first-round pick out of Georgia a few years ago.
The Cowboys are also replacing center Travis Frederick who retired, with Joe Don Looney. Rams all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald will likely see double and triple teams all-day. The Rams have to get someone else into the Dallas backfield, whether it is Floyd, follow outside linebacker Samson Ebukam, new addition lb Justin Hollins (recently signed as a free agent from Denver), or whomever.
It could be a game where the Rams feel the absence of massive nose tackle A'Shawn Robinson, out for at least half of the season. Robinson may not be a household name, but he tends to clog the middle of the field against the run by his sheer size. His replacement, Sebastion Joseph-Day, offers a little more against the passing game. However, a 3-4 nose tackle is generally a run-stopper, and Joseph-Day lacks the genuinely massive size ideally for that position.
Rams Offense vs. Dallas Defense: Like it or not, the reality is that the Rams will probably need to score at least 27 points and possibly more to win this game. As with everything else about this matchup, there are many unknowns and new faces to try to factor in.
The Rams hope to take advantage of the apparent weak link in the Cowboys D, the secondary. CB Byron Jones left Dallas for Miami on the offseason, and he was quickly their best cover guy. Anthony Brown and (most likely) rookie Trevon Diggs will start at the corner. They are not bad, but on paper, at least, this seems like a matchup the Rams can take advantage of, with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and (we think) rookie Van Jefferson. Fourth receiver Josh Reynolds will also likely get some snaps and do not be surprised to see the Rams come out in a lot of three and four-receiver sets. One of the Rams offense criticisms last year was that they played three-receiver, one tight-end one back offenses almost exclusively, and got a little predictable. Late in the year, as the team continued to try to improve on poor offensive line play, we saw more two-tight end sets, with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett on the field at the same time. Rooke tight-end Brycen Hopkins could get into the action for Los Angeles as well.
Speaking of poor offensive line play, the Rams have to be better upfront than in 2019 if they want to win this game. Right tackle Rob Havenstein will probably see a lot of Cowboys end Demarcus Lawrence. Who knows what to expect from Havenstein, who went from being one of the league's better right tackles to being not very good from 2018-2019. The Rams may try to get him some help with a tight end on Lawrence, a pass-rushing demon. Over on the other side, Andrew Whitworth will probably see many newly-acquired Everson Griffen and the recently re-instated Aldon Smith. At 38 is no youngster, Whitworth needs to hold his own at least, or it could get ugly.
In the backfield, Todd Gurley, who was not the same guy last year, is gone to Atlanta, where he hopes to revive his career. He will be mostly replaced by well; we do not know for sure. Gurley's former back up, Malcolm Brown, is listed as the nominal starter. However, Coach McVay has been making comments all season about the team "expecting a lot" from rookie Cam Akers, and we suspect that Akers will get most of the touches. However, former third-round pick Darrel Henderson, listed as healthy for this game, may get some action. Henderson's only question was whether the time he missed in training camp would limit his availability in the season's first game.
Special Teams: The Rams will see a couple of familiar faces on the opposite sideline in special teams coach John "Bones" Fassell and placekicker Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein. Let us hope the game does not come down to a last-minute field-goal attempt by Zuerlein. Yes, he missed a couple of critical kicks last season against rivals Seattle and San Francisco that may have kept the Rams out of the playoffs. He still has one of the most robust legs in the game. Many people were surprised to see the highly-regarded Fassell exit, Los Angeles. We are a little concerned about this matchup in this game. However, the Rams still have the best punter on the planet in Johnny Hekker. Even so..slight edge to Dallas here.
Coaching: Many folks thought Dallas perennially underachieved under former head coach Jason Garrett. Was he the problem, or did people think the Cowboys—a perennial media darling—were a little better than they were? We may find out this season, as veteran head coach Mike McCarthy has replaced Garrett on the sidelines. We think that is a step up for Dallas.
However, Sean McVay will be out to restore his reputation, and having someone else to handle the play-calling (where McVay seemed to get a little pass-happy in 2019) is probably a good thing. We could argue this one, but we are going to check the box for the Rams.
Prediction: If I were a gambler in Vegas, we would shy away from this game. There are just too many unknowns, especially regarding the Rams. The odds say Dallas by three points. Our personal opinion is "pick 'em," although this could get ugly if the Rams defense does not play well.
Rams 30 Dallas 28.
Ed "Pi Double I" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have secured their star receiver Cooper Kupp's future in the City of Angels. Kupp agreed to a three-year $48M contract with $M fully guaranteed, earning him around $16M per year. Quarterback Jared Goff apparent favorite target is 27 years old and will be throwing for a additional three years.
Kupp's new deal comes just days after starting cornerback Jalen Ramsey signed a record deal of five-years for $105M making him the highest-paid corner in NFL history in the annual and total amount. Ramsey's structure is not cap prohibited over the next two years, which allowed the Rams and Kupp to get his deal done.
Playing in the final year of his rookie deal and coming off his most productive year wearing the horns, last season, Kupp had 94 receptions, 1,161 receiving yards, and ten touchdown receptions. Since being drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Kupp has been a productive receiver and favorite target of Jared Goff.
In his second year, Kupp season was cut short to a knee injury against the Green Bay Packers. He tore his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), costing him not only a pro-bowl year but also Super Bowl LIII as his Rams were defeated by the New England Patriots 13-3. The Rams offense struggled against the Patriots as the Rams needed Kupp to play.
Now that the Rams have secured the futures of their two key offensive and defensive stars, they will need to concentrate on how to maintain safety John Johnson III, receiver Josh Reynolds, and linebacker Samson Ebukam for future contracts.
Ed "Pi Double I" Henderson
According to reports, Los Angeles Rams has place their 84th overall draft selection and rookie EDGE rusher Terrell Lewis placed on the NFL non-football injury list today. News surfaced around the Rams training staff last week after discomfort from Lewis's knee, the same injured at the University of Alabama.
The Rams did not resign Dante' Fowler, their EDGE rusher from last season, as they were optimistic Lewis would contribute right away. The Rams added Leonard Floyd during the free agency period, and will be the Rams starter at the EDGE.
Lewis's placement on the non-football injury list means that he will not be eligible to return to the Rams roster until six weeks.
The Rams officially signed rookie running back and return specialist Raymond Calais to the 53-man roster in a corresponding move.
Ed "Pi Double I" Henderson
The anticipated wait is now over in Los Angeles between all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and the Rams front office. It is official, the Rams and Ramsey agreed to a new five-year, $105M contract extension and $71.2M fully guaranteed in access to $21.5 per season.
The Rams traded for Ramsey in the mid-2019 season after his displeasures with the Jacksonville Jaguars organization. Ramsey antics begin with having the flu and an undisclosed ailment with his back that pretty much was explaining that his time was up in Jacksonville.
The owner of the Jaguars, Shahid Khan, expressed that Ramsey was not for sale, and then the front officers started fielding offers from several teams. However, it was not until week six, when the Rams were embarrassed at home by their arch rivaled San Francisco 49ers where the wheels went in motion with several trades.
The Rams shipped both starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters (Baltimore Ravens) and Aqib Talib (Miami Dolphins) out of town while acquiring Austin Corbett (Clevland Browns) and Kenny Young from the Ravens in exchange for Peters. At that point, is when our thoughts were surfacing on a trade for Ramsey in motion.
The Rams provided a sweet deal that the Jaguars could not refuse, trading away two future first rounds draft picks for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. A lot of draft capital to give away, but it appeared to work some four years before landing Jared Goff as the number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Ramsey was welcome to Los Angeles with open arms. Los Angeles was his previous attraction after a high school recruitment trip to the University of Southern Cal. Ramsey expressed how he loved Los Angeles but spurned the Trojans to remain in Florida and attend Florida State.
Ramsey immediately expressed to the Rams front office that if they bargained in "good faith" and not recommend any franchise tag, he would not holdout during the offseason. As both parties kept their promises, the talks of Ramsey contract negotiations never stalled.
Last weekend, Ramsey unfollowed the Rams on his IG account (Instagram) and the @RamsNFL on Twitter, changing his profile pic to a black and white background. Rams fans started to panic, suggesting that the Rams played hardball and that Ramsey would hold out. As it turned out, it was Ramsey's way of keeping every in suspense leading to his record deal.
The Rams will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at their new $5-billion state-of-art So-Fi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The shutdown corner more than likely is responsible for shutting down the Cowboys star receiver Amari Cooper. In last season matchup, Cooper had one reception for 19-yards after being all game long by Ramsey.
Now that that is over, the Rams will move on to their next subject with receiver Cooper Kupp. Kupp is in the final year of his rookie contract, and the Rams General Manager Les Snead spoke yesterday that both sides are closing in on a new deal
Ed "Pi Double I" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams have added rookie safety J.R. Reed out of the University of Georgia to their practice squad. Reed, the son of former NFL wide receiver Jake Reed, played 12 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints in the league.
Reed went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft but was signed as a undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars not serving the cuts to the 53-man roster. The 2019 All-SEC First-Team selection will have a long hill to climb, as he try the active roster following in the footsteps of his father.
Reed's addition fulfills the Rams 16th and final practice squad slot and will join rookie JuJu Hughes at the competing at the safety position. .
Ed "Pi Double I Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams wasted no time signing a familiar player of former Denver Broncos linebacker coach and their current Defensive Coordinator Brandon Staley. The Rams claimed second-year linebacker from Oregon Justin Hollins to add to their 53-man active roster and reuniting him with Staley. The Bronco's surpringly waived Hollins and Tommy Davis yesterday after cutting thier roster down to 53 players.
The 6'5" 247-pound Hollins was a fifth-round selection of the Bronco's last season and was one of the fastest linebackers at the 2019 NFL Combine. In his rookie year with the Broncos, Hollins played in all but one game after replacing Brandon Chubb, after a season-ending injury. Hollins recorded 21 tackles, two pass deflections, and one sack.
As the Rams add Hollins to their active roster, it now gives the Rams four-inside linebackers on the depth chart and is not surprised if they not done making roster changes. They currently are carrying three centers on the roster, and potentially, Brian Allen or Coleman Shelton can be released.
The Rams will host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday at their brand new $5Billion So-Fi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. Due to the pandemic's wave of the Covid-19, the game will have no fans in the stadium, which affects the Rams without their home-field fan noise.
Ed "Pi Double I" Henderson
The Los Angeles Ram has added running back and returns specialist Raymond Calais to their active roster. Calais, the rookie from the University of Louisiana, is a seventh-round draft selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs waived Calais after not surviving their 53-man roster however was added him to their practice squad. The Rams did not waste any time signing Calais off the Bucs practice squad and adding him to the team.
Calais ran one of the fourth fastest 40-times at the 2020 NFL Combine this past spring and was on the Rams radar before the Bucs selection.
Calais brings added speed to the crowded Rams backfield and can potentially take over with the kick return duties.
Calais was tagged as one of the shiftiest back at the NCAA level and was a dangerous return specialist. It is yet to be determined if Calais will be active for week one against the Dallas Cowboys at the new $5-billion So-Fi Stadium. The kickoff time is at 5:30 pm PST and will be the first game in the Rams new stadium.
The Rams need to release another player that will be named later in a corresponding move.
Ed "Pi Double I" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams enter their fourth season under head coach Sean McVay, and their fifth season back in L.A. The Rams failed to make the playoffs last season after making two appearances in McVay's first two seasons and a trip to the Super Bowl.
The Rams did an abysmal job with winning in 2019, after starting season 3-0, they ended the year with a 9-7 record, missing the playoffs. An offensive line decimated with injuries to starting left guard Joseph Noteboom in week number #6, and center Brian Allen and right tackle Rob Havenstein we lost to season-ending injuries. Not to add, with the limited play do to Todd Gurley knee, concussion concerns of Brandin Cooks, and continual shuffle of the starting offensive line, the Rams season was up in the air.
On the defensive side of the ball, it fared no better as the team would lose starting safety John Johnson and starting corner Aqib Talib in week #6, both to season-ending injuries. Starting linebacker Clay Matthews Jr was lost for three games after suffering a broken jaw in week #5 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The team faced a great deal of adversity after a three-game losing slide; they traded away starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib while acquiring offensive lineman Austin Corbett via trade from the Cleveland Browns and linebacker Kenny Young from the Baltimore Ravens.
However, the Rams were not dealing, as they struck a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars for their All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and sending their 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks. The trade for Ramsey seemed to outrage the Rams fan base, as the teams traded away past future picks by trading up for quarterback Jared Goff.
In McVay's first season, they sent a second-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins played only that 2017 season with the Rams and signed a deal with the Kansas Chiefs. Their fan base is concerned with the Ramsey trade and can only hope to expect that Ramsey will resign a long contract with the team.
IN: Jared Goff, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins (Protected Practice Squad)
OUT: Blake Bortles, Josh Love
Jared Goff returns in his fourth year as the team's starting quarterback after a rough 2019 season. Goff threw only six more touchdowns (22) than interceptions (16), after following two prior pro bowl years.
However, Goff managed to nearly pass for 5,000 yards (4,638 yards) last season, following his 2,018 campaign of 4,688 yards. Goff became the second player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 consecutively in his first four years, sharing a fate with Dan Marino.
The Rams revamped offense has nearly a complete makeover at their skill positions. Losing speedy receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade with the Houston Texans and starting running back Todd Gurley, his confidence will stare in the faces of new players.
A struggling run game that resulted from a weak offensive line and a not so healthy Gurley, Rams added another explosive running back in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. They selected the Florida States running back Cam Akers, who ran the ball behind a not so talented Seminole offensive line. Rams also drafted receiver Van Jefferson with their other second-round selection to replace Cooks, who will have to turned heads to get on the field before returning Josh Reynolds.
Goff's offensive line will need to keep him protected and remain healthy as the Rams will have inexperience at the backup quarterback position.
The team will carry three quarterbacks in the 2020 season with two unproven and undrafted backups. Second-year John Wolford was on the team's practice squad last season after displaying some talent during the preseason. Wolford resembled better play then all the other quarterbacks last preseason.
The 2020 NFL season comes with immediate changes to its CBA. The owners agreed to increase the team's roster sizes from 53-55 this year, and the practice squads from 10 to 12 players. However, the change is that on game day, the team can promote two players for that particular game; however, they will have to revert back to the practice squad after that game.
The Rams were able to keep and protect undrafted quarterback Bryce Perkins. Perkins, a determined player, had an improbable bounce back from a freak injury that left him fracturing his fourth and fifth cervical vertebra (C4 and C5), in the middle of his neck during his freshman year at Arizona State.
After his recovery, he transferred to Arizona Western College, where he led them to the National Championship Game. Perkins transferred to Virginia after producing stellar junior and senior years with combined stats of 6,220 passing yards, 47 touchdowns, 21 interceptions, and rushing for 1,692 yards for 20 touchdowns against some robust ACC defenses.
The productive mobile and dual-threat quarterbacks of the before-mentioned Deshaun Watson, Russel Wilson, Kyler Murray, and the NFL's 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson, Coach McVay, will utilize Perkins in several offenses schemes to produce some intangibles against defenses.
The 6'1" Wolford, will compete against the more versatile and speedier Perkins, Wolford will surprise most defenses with his feet as he can move around in the pocket and escape trouble. However, Perkins is a much taller and more physical quarterback who was a dual-threat at Virginia. It could be a week by week case on which of these two quarterbacks will be active.
offensive line (9)
IN: Tremayne Anchrum, Austin Blythe, Cohl Cabral, Austin Corbett, Jamil Demby (Practice Squad Protected), David Edwards, Bobby Evans, Joseph Noteboom, Rob Havenstein, Coleman Shelton, Andrew Whitworth
OUT: Brian Allen, Chandler Brewer, Jeremiah Kolone
Left Tackle - Andrew Whitworth anchors the blind side of the line protecting Jared Goff and team captain.
Left Guard - Austin Corbett traded to the Rams last season returns in his second year as a starter.
Center - Austin Blythe resigned with a one year contract and will return as a starter at the center position.
Right Guard - David Edwards took over at right guard after Rob Havenstein was lost to injury.
Right Tackle - Rob Havenstein will return as a veteran starter but has second year Bobby Evans who played remarkably well in his absence.
Last season, the Achilles heel to the Rams offense woes was its offensive line in the first half of the season. Despite a 3-0 start, the offensive line failed to produce a 100-yard rusher the entire season. Todd Gurley came close three times, but he never crossed over that plateau.
The Rams offensive line never had a solid nucleus until rookie offensive tackle Bobby Evans inserted into the lineup. Rob Havenstein went down with a knee injury late in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers as Evans took over as the starting right tackle the remainder of the season. The Rams run game seemed to receive a fresh start with the revamping of the line.
This season, the Rams drafted only one offensive lineman, which surprised many considering the last season's shuffling. They only have two linemen who have over five years of experience with Whitworth and Havenstein. The promising linemen drafted last season in David Edwards and Evans Jr; the team will have a more adhesive one moving forward.
Tremayne Anchrum (Rookie) - the 7th round selection from Clemson, has the ability to play both guards and tackle positions on the interior line.
Jamil Demby (3rd Season) - This will be a do or die season for Demby, as he will be challenged by other young Rams offensive lineman brought in this season. Demby initially made the Rams roster, then cut and added claimed off of waivers by the Detroit Lions. The Lions would add Demby to their practice squad, and the Rams signed him off the Lions practice squad. Demby has a high ceiling and talent but just has not reached his potential. (Practice Squad Protected)
He started one game last season against the Cleveland Browns and struggled in which gave rookie David Edwards the opportunity of starting. The Rams would lose Joseph Noteboom to injury in week six against the San Francisco 49ers while Demby replaced Noteboom. Demby struggled significantly in that game too, which impacted the remainder of that season with playing time.
Demby's off-season workout regiment show he is determined to do well this 2020 season. He will place all cards on deck this season with tons of offensive linemen in camp. Demby has great skill level of versatility as he can play all five position on the interior line.
Bobby Evans (2nd Season) - Ram's offensive line coach can not be more excited for Evans, who was thrown into action late last season. In week #11, Evans would receive his first start against the Chicago Bears replacing the injured Rob Havenstein. When Evans entered the starting lineup, Todd Gurley had his best performances running the ball in a four-game span. Evans opened holes for Gurley to burst through as the Rams offense was not predictable.
Not only did Evans do well against the run, but he also played against high leveled ends and held his own against the likes of Jadaveon Clowney (Seattle Seahawks), Khalil Mack (Chicago Bears), Nick Bosa (SF 49ers, and Chandler Jones (Arizona Cardinals).
Evans solidified the right tackle position last season with confidence from both Jared Goff and Gurley. Evans will look to compete against Havenstein for the starting right tackle position, and if he does well, don't be amazed if the Rams look to trade Havenstein freeing up more cap space.
Joseph Noteboom (3rd Season) - Noteboom started off as the teams starting right guard last season next to Andrew Whitworth. He seemed to have a hot and cold start of the season, but by Week #3 against the Cleveland Browns put together good games. Noteboom season was cut short in Week #6 against the 49ers, after a player was blocked into him tearing his ACL.
In the Rams first series, they ran the ball six consecutive times scoring a rushing touchdown. It appeared the Rams were going to have their way with the Niners defense until a 49 defender was blocking into the back of the Noteboom legs ending his 2019 season. Noteboom is fully healthy, and to regain his starting position will be a tough task at hand with good play of David Edwards and Austin Corbett.
Coleman Shelton (2nd Season) - another one of the versatile lineman on the roster who beat out Allen and will backup Blythe.
running back (4)
IN: Cam Akers, Malcolm Brown, Darryl Henderson, Xavier Jones
OUT: Todd Gurley, John Kelly
Amid from the Rams moving on from Todd Gurley, the Rams will find a new go-to running back this season to carry the reigns. They selected running back Cam Akers from Florida St.; however, we believe that Malcolm Brown will have a lot to say about that starting position.
Brown is entering his fifth season with the Rams; he is the more experienced of the young Rams running back corps. Not the flashy back; however, he is a good inside runner, can pass protect, and occasionally catches the ball out of the backfield.
Malcolm Brown (Second Season) - the second-year back from Memphis, Darrell Henderson did not play to the expectations or potential last season. He did show some signs of an explosion last season, but the Rams run game was so much in shambles he rarely was given to the opportunity.
Injuries have set him back again this season, coming off a season-ending ankle last year. Henderson was a front runner to potentially get more touches the season until another injury setback. Henderson is currently nursing a hamstring he sustained in the first scrimmage as the medical staff is not quite sure he will be ready to go in week one against the Dallas Cowboys.
Xavier Jones (Rookie) - The Rams have John Kelly and rookie Xavier Jones to round out the competition, as Kelly returns in his third year, spending almost the entire 2019 on the practice squad. Running back coach Thomas Brown did not fall asleep on the probably the shiftiest and explosive rookie running back from SMU. Jones's explosiveness showed up in camp and the scrimmages and was not left unnoticed. Jones made enough noise to beat out Kelly for the fourth spot and possibly will have an opportuntiy returning kicks.
IN: Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, and Johnny Mundt
OUT: Kendall Blanton
The sudden emergence of the play of tight-end Tyler Higbee helped resurge the Rams offense last season. Higbee posted four consecutive games with receiving for 100-yards in each, along with collecting 44-receptions. Higbee targets increased because of defenses keying up on the Rams run game and more concerned with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
The Rams tight-end group returns with Gerald Everett and Johnny Mundt in which both will see increased snaps in the Rams new 12-personnel. The also added a new tight-end to the group, surprisingly drafting Brycen Hopkins in the fourth-round in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After releasing Kendall Blanton, the four Rams tight-end are more likely will make the 53-man roster.
Gerald Everett (4th Season) - Everett is playing into his rookie deal's final year and has not risen to his potential or expectations. Everett has shown flashes, but his play has not been consistent, but he will have many opportunities with Ram's new offensive personnel. Some will say this will be his make or break season moving forward.
Johnny Mundt (3rd Season) - Returning in his third year has developed into a tremendous run blocker over the last two seasons. Mundt will wow at times down the field and is a legitimate backup.
Brycen Hopkins (Rookie) - Not sure of determine whether or not Everett will be with the team next season, the Rams found a fourth-round gift. Once rated as a late first-round, Purdue's Brycen Hopkins slid to the fourth round, where the Rams selected him, and he is is a vertical threat downfield.
wide receiver (6)
IN: Van Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Nsimba Webster, Easop Winston and Robert Woods
OUT: Brandin Cooks, Earnest Edwards, JJ Koski, Trishton Jackson, and Brandin Polk
Rams traded away their vertical speed receive Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans for a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. The drafted Van Jefferson from Florida to replace Cooks. Not that Jefferson has Cook's speed, but he was one of the more precise route runners in the draft.
Cooper Kupp will lead the Rams receiving corps as the Goff's number one target. He finished last season with career highs in all three categories with receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. After returning from two devastating knee injuries in 2018, Kupp continued his play shredding up the defensive backfield last year. He eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the first time while being short of six receptions.
As it stands, Josh Reynolds is holding on as the number three reciever on the depth chart as rookie Van Jefferson has impressed the Rams staff. If Jefferson truly has beat out Reynolds, do not be surprised if the Rams shop him or release him, freeing up cap space.
Reynolds is playing on a contract year and needs to be on the field more to get a big payday. The Rams certainly will not provide Reynolds with a sizeable contract as they will need to pay Kupp next season. A favorable trade to the Saints for Alvin Kamara would suffice, being the Rams would resign him either. However, with trading for Kamara, the Rams could gamble for a second or third-round compensatory pick.
Nsimba Webster, from what we have been hearing, has done well in camp to secure the fifth spot on the depth chart. He will more likely double down on both receiving and return duties.
The Rams signed five undrafted wide receivers after the draft, and they waived Brandin Polk, perhaps the fastest of the bunch two weeks ago. Remaining on the 80-man roster is Trishton Jackson, JJ Koskie, Easop Winston Jr, and Earnest Edwards IV.
The best deep vertical threat of the group is Jackson, a rookie from Syracuse University. Coach McVay is high on Winston Jr, who put up unbelievable numbers while playing two seasons at Washington State.
Edwards is a receiver who brings added dimensions to his game as a crafty receiver and runner. Not to mention, the University of Maine product was an extraordinary return specialist. JJ Koskie, the Cal Poly alumn, set all sorts of records for the school and conference and has a similar play of Kupp.
defensive line (6)
IN: Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, Morgan Fox, Greg Gaines, Michael Hoecht, Sebastian Joseph-Day A'Shawn Robinson
OUT: Marquis Copeland, Tanzel Smart, Jonah Williams,
Entering into his seventh season with the Rams, Aaron Donald leads a defense with a not familiar look. Losing defensive tackle Michael Brockers to the Baltimore Ravens, but only to fail physical and return to the Rams on a three-year $31.5 million deal. Both Brockers and Donald are two of the four longest-tenured Rams that have played their entire career with Rams.
Rams parted ways with Tanzel Smart and signed free A'Shawn Robinson to join both Donald and Brockers on the defensive front. Robinson developed some heart issues currently been placed on the inactive list until he can return.
A healthy Robinson can help solidify the Rams defensive front and eat up blocks to get Donald and Brockers free to the backfield. That yet to be seen, and at this juncture, Joseph-Day will more than likely anchor the nose position as he did last season.
Returning on the defensive front is last year nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, Morgan Fox, and Greg Gaines. Ram's defensive line had a competitive battle, but the winner of the final position is Michael Hoecht.
Morgan Fox (4th Season) - Made the Rams as an undrafted rookie in 2016 and still competing as a definite 3-4 end. When healthy, he a very active lineman who can play well against the run and as a pass rusher.
Sebastian Joseph-Day (3rd Season) - Was the starting nose tackle last season, which held his own against the run. With Robinson being out in his third season, Joseph-Day can make a great play again defending the middle.
Greg Gaines (2nd Season) - When he was active, he played very violently at the nose position, missing some key sacks last season. Expect to see Gaines in goal-line and short-yardage schemes this season.
Michael Hoecht (Rookie) - As an undrafted free agent from Brown University and Ivy League FCS school, Hoecht has impressive skills. At 6'4 311 pounds, Hoecht ran a 4.65 in his pro-day and was a monster against his competition. A difficult decision between Marquis Copeland and Jonah Williams, Coach Henderson was inspired by this kid, who ran a faster 40 than Aaron Donald.
IN: Dan Bituli, Samson Ebukam, Leonard Floyd, Sam Johnston, Micah Kiser, Terrell Lewis, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Jachai Polite, Troy Reeder, Kenny Young
OUT: Dante Fowler, Bryce Hager, Travin Howard, Justin Lawler, Matt Longacre, Corey Littleton, Brian London, Clay Matthews Jr, Derek Moncrief, Natrez Patrick, Christian Rozenboom
The linebacking crew could be this season Achilles heel with the departure of three starters, Dante Fowler (Atlanta Falcons), Corey Littleton (Oakland Raiders), and Clay Matthews Jr (FA). Amongst the three linebackers, the accumulated for 145 tackles, 22 sacks, and 18 pass deflections.
Newly hired defensive Brandon Staley shall have his hands fill replacing the most two most intricate positions, the EDGE and inside linebackers position. The seemed to found the replacement for Fowler; however, he is nursing a knee issue. As far as the ILB, he has to choose returner linebackers as in Kenny Young or Troy Reeder.
They address the draft's position with seventh-round draft selection Clay Johnston, including signing a few undrafted free agents with Dan Bituli, Christian Rozenboom, Bryan London, and Derek Moncrief.
There stands a possibility with the recent injury of Travin Howard; Rams can plug Leonard Floyd in the inside. Floyd plays well against the run, he plugs the gaps nicely, and his long frame can provide problems for the quarterback in the passing game. Floyd played both in the middle and outside while at Georgia and can step up to the challenge. If they choose to go that route, look to see Ogbonnia Okoronkwo get the nod on the outside.
On an outside note, the Rams can also seek veteran help of those looking for jobs as in Wesley Woodyard, Daron Lee, or even reunite with former Ram Linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Clay Johnston (Rookie) -
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (3rd Season) -
Jachai Polite (1st Season) -
Troy Reeder (2nd Season) -
Kenny Young (3rd Season) -
IN: Donte Deayon, Troy Hill, David Long, Jalen Ramsey, Darious Williams
OUT: Adonis Alexander, Nickel Robey-Coleman, Dayan Lake, Tyrique McGhee, Levonta Taylor
Last season the Rams sold the farm and Ole' Betsy to land All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, arguably the best shutdown corner. They traded away two first-round draft picks for 2021 and 2022 to acquire Ramsey, who was unhappy with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
Going into the 2020 season, the Rams defense's strength, without a doubt, is their defensive backfield. At the other corner positions, they have two of the highest-rated players in Troy Hill and Ramsey. Rams parted ways with their slot-corner master Nikkel Robey-Coleman and replacing him with Darious Williams. They also added that position in the draft with Terrell Burgess, who can play everywhere in the defensive backfield.
David Long Jr (2nd Season) -
Donte Deayon (4th Season) -
IN: Terrell Burgess, Jordan Fuller, John Johnson, Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott,
OUT: Marqui Christian, Jake Gervase, Juju Hughes, Eric Weddle
Moreover, not to mention at the safety position is two returning starters Taylor Rapp and John Johnson III. Last season, Johnson was having a pro-bowl start of a year until a shoulder injury cost him his 2019 season. Johnson has grown into one of the better safeties in the league since joining this team in 2017.
To compliment Johnson is second-year safety Rapp, who had many great plays as a rookie and some costly plays his rookie year. Rapp has sidelined this camp with a knee injury and missed both scrimmages. However, he is back with the team and back with the first-team defense.
The tandem can roam the field from sideline-to-sideline to make plays and defend wells against the run. The Rams added two rookies that will also contribute to the backend without missing a beat. In Rapp's absence, the two drafted rookies did not disappoint in filling in for the second year safety.
Terrell Burgess (Rookie) -
Jordan Fuller (Rookie) -
Nick Scott (2nd Season) -
IN: Johnny Hekker, Jake McQuaid, Sam Sloman, Nsimba Webster
OUT: JoJo Natson, Greg Zuerline
LONG SNAPPER - Jake McQuaid
PUNTER - Johnny Hekker
KICKER - Sam Sloman
KR/PR RETURN - Nsimba Webster
The special teams will also see new faces in the kicking game, as the Rams did not resign kicker Greg Zeurline, returner JoJo Natson, and special team coach John "Bones" Fassel.
The most extended tenure Ram long snapper Jake Mcquaide enters his tenth season as the long-snapper. The former pro-bowl snapper has an intricate part with a new kicker.
Rookie kicker Sam Sloman wins the kicking job edging out Lirim Hajrullahu, who seemed to the more consistent of the kickers. Sloman has the most potent leg out of all the kickers and will be consistent at 60-yard plus kicks moving forward.
Nsimba Webster will handle the return game in addition to his receiving duties. The second-year player replaces JoJo Natson, and the talented kid needs to average 25-yards on returns to help set up the Rams offenses.
Johnny Hekker returns as the Rams punter and had one of his not so good seasons last year. Not sure as if new special team coach John Bonamego will be as aggressive as "Bones" and uses him with fake punts is yet to be seen.
16-Man Practice Squad
We believe that a few of these players robbed from auditioning opportunities for their jobs from the pandemic virus's height. The pandemic caused a setback on pro-days, camps, and workouts.
Not pointing the finger, but each of them was dealt lousy hands coming into a tilted card game, but were able to show enough to land themselves on the practice squad.
Jamil Demby (3rd Season) - Offensive Line
Earnest Edwards (Rookie) - Receiver
Bryce Perkins (Rookie) - Quarterback
Christian Rozeboom (Rookie) - Inside Linebacker
unprotected practice players
Adonis Alexander (1st Season) - Defensive Back
Eric Banks (Rookie) - Defensive End
Kendall Blanton (1st Year) - Tight End
Cohl Cabral (Rookie) - Center
Marquise Copeland (1st Year) - Defensive Tackle
Jake Gervase - (1st Year) - Safety
Trishton Jackson (Rookie) - Receiver
John Kelly (3rd Year) - Running Back
Jeremiah Kolone (2nd Year) - Offensive Line
Dayan Lake (Rookie) - Defensive Back
Jonah Williams (Rookie) - Defensive Line
Easop Winston (Rookie) - Receiver
Ed "Pi Double I" Henderson
Player Profile: James Gilbert prepped at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis, IN. At Arsenal Tech High, he set a career and school record after rushing for 4,817 yards. He earned the 2014 Indianapolis Public Schools Player of the Year, All-State and three-time All-City honors.
SCHOOL: KANSAS ST | CONFERENCE: BIG VII
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-8/ 197 ARMS: 30 1/4" HANDS: 8 1/4” PROJECTED 40-TIME: 4.55
BENCH | 40 YD DASH | VERTICAL JUMP | BROAD JUMP | 3 CONE DRILL | 20 YD SHUTTLE | 60 YD SHUTTLE
16 | 4.61 | 32 1/2" | 108" | 7.40 | 4.40 | N/A