It’s that time of year again when NFL training camps make their return and football is officially back. One team itching to get back on the field is the Los Angeles Rams.
Last season, in Sean McVay’s second season as head coach, the Rams reached the Super Bowl. Los Angeles ended the year with a 13-3 record and beat the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints to get a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Yet, things didn’t go as expected for the Rams’ high-powered offense; they managed to score just three points against the New England Patriots. The craziest part was that the Rams’ defense held Tom Brady and New England to just 13 points.
If you told McVay he’d hold the Patriots to just 13 points in the Super Bowl, he’d have predicted a double-digit win. Nonetheless, Los Angeles has to turn the page and focus on the 2019 season. Thinking back to last year isn’t going to change anything that happened.
Coming into 2019, the Rams are expected to be one of the best teams in the NFL once again. With training camps about to begin, the Rams can begin their quest to get back to the Super Bowl. A few players can benefit the most in training camp this year.
3. Greg Gaines
Last season, the Rams went all out to build a star-studded defense with Ndamukong Suh playing alongside Aaron Donald. With Suh coming in, the Rams expected him to play at the nose-tackle position next to Donald and Michael Brockers.
It goes without saying that the Suh experiment was a failure. The talented defensive tackle never got comfortable in his new position. Suh played all of his career as a 4-3 defensive tackle before arriving in Los Angeles. The Rams’ run defense suffered as a consequence.
Suh departed in free agency and the Rams drafted Greg Gaines out of Washington to be his possible replacement. Gaines was the Rams’ fourth-round pick and was drafted to compete for the starting nose tackle position with Tanzel Smart.
In college, Gaines showed his expertise as a run-stopper and a nose tackle who was starting to develop pass-rushing moves. The good thing for Gaines: He’ll have an elite talent — Donald — and a legendary defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips to help him along the way.
2. Micah Kiser
The Rams finally found one of their long-term answers at inside linebacker in Cory Littleton. Nevertheless, they’ll need someone else to step up next to him if they hope to have an improved season on defense.
Currently, things are lining up for Micah Kiser to assume the other inside linebacker spot next to Littleton. The second-year linebacker out of Virginia will need this training camp to prove himself to Phillips and McVay.
As of now, Phillips likely plans on using Kiser in running situations while bringing in rookie Taylor Rapp to come in for Kiser during obvious passing situations. This will hopefully allow the Rams to improve their run defense and passing defense against tight ends.
The second inside linebacker spot is basically being handed to Kiser for the taking. He’ll need to impress during training camp to secure his starting role.
1. Brian Allen
This offseason, the Rams’ two biggest losses came along the offensive line in Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan. Saffold is still one of the best offensive guards in the NFL while Sullivan’s play may have begun to decline in 2018.
Nonetheless, Sullivan was crucial to the Rams success on the offensive line in the past couple of seasons. The center is the quarterback of the offensive line and Sullivan’s experience helped make things easier for the offense.
Now, Brian Allen is expected to step in for Sullivan and gain the responsibility of getting all the offensive linemen on the same page. The good thing is, Allen had the 2018 season to learn under Sullivan and improve his game.
Coming into training camp, Allen will need to get himself ready for a large role in the offense. The whole offense will be reliant of the success of Allen in the middle of the offensive line. If Allen doesn’t play well, the offense could struggle to find its footing to begin the season.