The Rams much hyped return to Los Angeles got off to a strong start but by year’s end, head coach Jeff Fisher had been fired, number one overall pick Jared Goff had disappointed, and GM Les Snead was left wondering what had gone wrong. New coach Sean McVay brings with him a strong offensive reputation, and much of the Rams’ future success will depend on whether or not the former Redskins’ coordinator can bring out the best in the aforementioned Goff, a particularly interesting dynamic given he did not draft the former University of California QB.
2016 Record: 4-12
Notable Additions: WR Sammy Watkins, RB Lance Dunbar, DE Connor Barwin, CB Nikell Robey-Coleman, DT Tyrunn Walker, QB Aaron Murray, C John Sullivan, CB Kayvon Webster, OT Andrew Whitworth, WR Robert Woods
Notable Subtractions: WR Kenny Britt, C Tim Barnes, DE Eugene Sims, S T.J. McDonald
Notable Rookies: TE Gerald Everett, WR Cooper Kupp, S John Johnson, WR Josh Reynolds
Analysis: The Rams’ return to Los Angeles was much celebrated in southern California, but it didn’t take all that long for fans to turn on the team, particularly the aforementioned Goff. Los Angeles traded a boatload of picks during the 2016 draft to select the local boy, who quite frankly turned out to be the least successful of a deep quarterback class. The addition of former Bills’ speed burner Sammy Watkins should give Goff a dynamic downfield weapon, while top pick Gerald Everett will attempt to create mismatches in the middle of the field. Running back Todd Gurley regressed last season after a dominant rookie year in ’15, but if this team can prove they can get the ball downfield in the passing game, it should help open up running lanes. Veterans Nikell Robey-Coleman and Connor Barwin should, in theory, bring leadership and stability to a defensive unit that struggled for much of last season. While the Rams are unlikely to seriously compete for a playoff spot in the year ahead, they should be markedly better than they were a year ago.