(Image Credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
If you were to tell me earlier in the season that the Rams would not make the playoffs, I would have called you crazy. The NFC will not have a repeat of representation of the SuperBowl this season as a result and diagnosing reasons why was easy on one hand, but challenging on the next. Well with the Rams now mathematically eliminated due to their loss against the Green Bay Packers 24-12, I will be giving the 3 main reasons why the Rams will not be playing in the playoffs
Well let's get this one out of the way right now. This team was heavily derailed by injuries as almost every star player on this team was injured. Including QB Matthew Stafford, QB John Wolford, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Allen Robinson, OT Alaric Jackson, OT Joe Noteboom, DT Aaron Donald, DT A’Shawn Robinson, CB David Long, S Jordan Fuller, & etc. This team lost so many players that they just could not survive the season and it heavily impacted there chances of making the playoffs.
2. Andrew Whitworth’s departure was far more damaging than anticipated
One thing I immediately saw watching the film of Rams games this season is that their offensive line has been terrible. Especially as the Rams sorely missed Andrew Ehitworth who was an excellent blindside tackle during their superbowl run. The blindside tackle on the offensive line in my opinion is the second most important position on offense as they protect the QB from getting hit on their blindside. When Whitworth retired it left a gigantic weakness that the Rams could not fix. They tried with Rob Harvestein, but he is strictly a right tackle. Joe Noteboom was up next, but he has had durability issues and has not been great when healthy. Aj Arcuri is nowhere near ready for a starting role. Whitworth’s departure was so much more damaging than others thought of and it is a weakness the Rams must fix in the offseason.
3. What the heck happened to the running game?
The top 2 reasons are the tremendously big reasons why the Rams struggled this season, but I really have one question. What happened to the running game? I mean comparing from last year to this year it has been an absolute mess this season. Cam Akers has only really had 2 great games and it looked like he had one foot out the door during the trade deadline as well. Darrell Henderson was cut and it was such a stunning move. Henderson went from being a big piece on this offense to out of a job. I have no clue what happened with Henderson and he tried with the Jaguars, but they cut him too. Kyren Williams has been terrible this season and Malcolm Brown is a scrub. The running game has been abysmal and comparing to last year it has regressed a lot. Could it be due to the poor o-line play or the Rams running backs regressing.
On The Bright Side - The gang should be around another season
While almost everything went wrong for the team, it looks like everybody will be back for the Rams next season and hopefully healthy. Yes there are the question marks thrown out to Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford coming back. I think there is no question McVay will be back with the team. I don’t think he will be in the executive booth as an analyst until his contract expires in 2026. The only one I am iffy on is Stafford as his injuries could have derailed him too much. I hope he is healthy enough to play next year, but I don’t know. Baker may have sucked against Green Bay, but the Rams have to re-sign him. Especially as it is clear Wolford and Perkins are not the guy, as if they were, then the Rams would not have claimed Mayfield on waivers.
Besides that every Rams player should be healthy enough to come back and play next season. I wonder what they will do in the offseason as remember their 1st Round Pick is Detroit Lions property due to the Matthew Stafford trade. The Rams as of now only have 3.6 Million dollars in cap space for this offseason as well. Les Snead has his work cut out for him, but that ring is still 100% worth the bad season this year.