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