by Wanda Weidman // @WandaW63
Do the Los Angeles Rams stand a chance against the Seattle Seahawks at home? Last year, the answer would have been an absolute no. But something has changed in the Rams culture. For one thing, it starts at the top. In four years with the Rams, three of them in St. Louis, former head coach Jeff Fisher could only muster up 31 wins and a whopping 45 losses.
Out went Fisher, and in came the youngest head coach in NFL history, Sean McVay. The manner in which McVay has handled and developed quarterback Jared Goff in a short amount of time is impressive. We are just four weeks into the season and Goff has completed passes to 11 different receivers. McVay has spurned the young QB into making smart decisions and leading his offense.
McVay described it like this:
“When you do have the variety of skill players that we have, you don’t want to just force-feed a guy. So I think that enables us to be able to spread the field and use everybody.”
The Rams are not as predictable in the Survivor Pools as was evident in last weeks matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Running back Todd Gurley has rushed for 362 yards with 234 receiving yards and a touchdown in each game this season.
If the Rams continue to use the occasional screen pass to either Gurley or wide receiver Tavon Austin, it will be a deadly combination out the gate. With the tools on offense will it be enough against the Seahawks defense? First of all, the Seahawks defense is quite lethal. Head coach Pete Carroll will try to focus on Goff’s inexperience. The Rams offensive unit will need to give him some heavy duty protection from the likes of Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Malik McDowell. However, the Seahawks will be missing their heavy hitter in Cliff Avril with a neck injury.
Goff will have to be careful in his decision making on where he throws the ball. If he tries to force the ball, you can be sure that safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas will be taking advantage of him. He will need to be aware of the blitzes at the line of scrimmage and use it to his advantage.
But don’t count out the Rams defense. In their last meeting with the Seahawks, they ran a 4-3 defense. Now they are running a 3-4 defense that will keep quarterback Russell Wilson in the pocket. Both Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald will put pressure up front to cave in on Wilson. The Seahawk offensive line is slapdash at best, and they are lacking the run game they so desperately need. Now that Chris Carson is out, they are back to having a minimal run game. This means Wilson will have to take the game to the air.
It will be a battle of the defenses. But if you watch McVay on the sidelines, he has no problem finding a corner by the Gatorade table and drawing up plays for Goff and the offense to pull off. He’s that kind of coach! To answer the original question – Yes, the Rams do stand a chance of beating the Seahawks, if the defense shows up and Goff can keep his offense mistake free.
Either way, it should be one interesting game.
Talk NFL football with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63