Every offseason we take a look around the league at the Philadelphia Eagles’ divisional rivals and other top contenders around the league. If you couldn’t tell by Benjamin Solak’s excellent piece on the looming Jared Goff extension, today’s topic is the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams’ offense has so many questions headed into 2019 that we had to split up our typically one episode Eye On the Enemy on the Rams into two parts. The first part deals with the offense, where the Rams face a pivotal season, especially concerning what’s at stake for Sean McVay’s reputation as a genius.
I had some thoughts on why I have concerns with McVay via this loose transcript from the The Kist & Solak Show #106:
“I don’t think there’s any question Sean McVay is a great offensive mind, that said I do think there are questions marks there. We’ve talked a ton about the Rams stretch starting with the Week 13 Detroit Lions game being the line of demarcation for them in terms of when defenses really displayed a solid understanding of how to slow down the passing game. Other teams like the Seattle Seahawks were trying things with their fronts earlier in the season to slow down their wide zone schemes, which is really their base package.
The Rams went from 3rd in touchdown drive efficiency before their bye to 16th for the rest and through the playoffs. Some of that has to do with Cooper Kupp, absolutely, some of it has to do with Todd Gurley’s knee, I get that, Gurley being hurt took away a lot of the wide zone stuff along with the screen game, but you’re talking about the healthiest team in the NFL over the last three years and the fourth healthiest last year, that stuff’s going to happen, if you’re an Eagles fan listening to this you know that better than just about anybody after last year.
Like I’ve mentioned it wasn’t just about the injuries, defenses stopped respecting the jet sweep and letting it influence them and pull them out of zones. They played more quarters coverage with depth to handle the 10-12 yard break points in the passing game with the reduced splits the Rams love so much, and admittedly I love them too.
It didn’t take Sean McVay long to realize the Patriots took a page from the Bears’ book pic.twitter.com/uTzvDruMgH— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) February 9, 2019
We saw a myriad of other things from the New England Patriots and Seahawks playing tighter fronts inside to the Lions manning up bunch straight up with no switches. We saw Jim Schwartz get out of his comfort zone and blitz Goff 6 out of 6 times on 3rd and 5 or less.
This is stuff we talked about throughout the season on here and football minds much smarter then me have documented at length, defenses cracked the code. McVay is a great offensive mind, like I said, what separates a great offensive mind from a great coach is the ability to adapt. The loss of two skill players should not turn your offense into a pumpkin.
That’s the challenge for me when it comes to McVay headed into 2019, and there’s plenty of reason he’ll figure it out and they’ll have plenty of success because not every defense coordinator is a playoff caliber coach and not every team can match their talent, but I don’t think it’s crazy for me to suggest that some of those struggles and regressions linger going into next season.”
Other topics discussed on The Kist & Solak Show #106 include:
- The return of Darren Sproles.
- Jared Goff is soft, but he does a lot well when he’s kept clean.
- Robert Woods > JuJu Smith-Schuster?
- The turnover on the Rams’ offensive line.
- How McVay schemes to prevent pressure.
You can hear all of that and more by listening to The Kist & Solak Show #106! Hear it on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!