The Rams are just days away from Training Camp opening. Defining the questions that surround camp are key to dealing with the Super Bowl hangover.
Yes Rams' faithful, it's mere days before your beloved team takes to the field again, this time in pads and with actual hitting! Who is ready to go? Which positions are going to see the most change? Where did the front office hit the bullseye? Where did they miss the board? It's time for the LA Rams Training Camp Spotlight!
We are not interested in who left. We don't care who "almost" decided to play with the club. We are looking at who is going to be with the team when the whistle blows on game day. Let's dive in.
LA Rams Training Camp Spotlight
Dante Fowler Jr. is playing right next to All-World DT Aaron Donald and that works out just fine. Fowler will get better the more he plays next to the best DT in the NFL. DT Tanzel Smart is a double team eating machine who has the skill set to do exactly what the club needs him to do. Occupy space, eat up OL and (when called to) be able to penetrated and push the front of that pocket. Suh is gone but the club made a Smart move and the DL is in great shape. Michael Brockers fills out the front four and another offseason will see him refine and improve his skill set. Look for 4th round pick DT Greg Gaines to be a solid rotation guy.
Clay Mathews and Cory Littleton man the inside. No. Mathews is not the player of old. Get over it. Be happy with what he is, a savvy veteran who minimizes mistakes and makes plays. That's a plus on almost any D.
Marcus Peters, Aquib Talib, Eric Weddle. A group of DB's that will give any WR Corps uneasy sleep the week before a game. They are augmented with young talent and added skilled CB David Long in the 3rd and future All-Pro Safety Taylor Rapp in the second. Nasty.
The offensive line is intact and still dominating. They added OT Bobby Evans in the 3rd and David Edwards in the 5th. This long term thinking is what top-flight organizations do. You have to give your skill position players a chance to shine. A superior offensive line is how you do that.
Brandon Woods, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp along with dual TE threats Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee round out the dynamic, speedy, dangerous receiving Corps of the Rams who are perfect for HC Sean McVay's offensive vision and they have plenty of young talent pushing them.
Work ethics combined with ability is a beautiful thing to behold. I give you Jared Goff. The Rams' QB is getting better by the year. He actually gets to stay in the same offensive system for consecutive seasons and this can only bode well for his continued development. Goff has his head fixed solidly to his shoulders and his gaze is on the prize. Enjoy the ride.
Todd Gurley. Ahh, Todd Gurley. Oh my, Todd Gurley. No denying the talent. No denying the ability. No denying the work ethic or the desire. There is also no denying the "arthritic knee condition" and the effect it had on the LA Rams playoff performance last season. Gurley made an impact, but it was a ripple on a pond rather than a tsunami that would turn the tide when the team needed him most. The club was in public denial the last post-season. They have been vague and evasive in the off-season. Gurley's trainer was upfront about the condition and the team drafted RB Darrell Henderson in the 3rd round. Give the front office props for getting such an effective backup for Gurley just before the playoffs last season. Makes you think they got just what they wanted with Henderson in the 3rd. There is no denying this is an area of concern for the club. But it's also clear the team is aware and has a contingency plan. With a little luck, the contingency plan won't be needed. But if it is, it looks like the team is ready to rock and roll regardless
You may have noticed the plethora of draft picks mentioned above as plus players for the Rams upcoming season. The front office turned a small number of selections into a Belicheckian draft and came away with a haul of players that will help the team more likely than not. This bodes VERY well for the long term future of the team. If you are a member of the LA Rams fan club, feel good.
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