Super Bowl remnants help Rams maintain optimism

Super Bowl remnants help Rams maintain optimism

Jun 14, 2023; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay (left), receiver Cooper Kupp (10) and quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during minicamp at Cal Lutheran University.
Image: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2022 record: 5-12, third NFC West

Playoff picture: One season after winning the Super Bowl, the Rams were far off the playoff pace in 2022. Earning a wild-card berth in a division with two expected playoff teams (Seattle, San Francisco) could be a serious challenge.

Biggest Week 1 question: Last season’s poor campaign included the most losses by a defending Super Bowl champion. Nobody wants to run that back. So Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks might tell us whether the Rams have regained their motivation and if coach Sean McVay is closer to revival or retirement.

What’s new: Due to salary-cap issues, the Rams were very quiet on the free agent front. They signed quarterback Brett Rypien, who didn’t even make the 53-man roster and is now on the practice squad. Former Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, a fourth-round pick, beat out Rypien for the backup spot behind Matthew Stafford despite throwing three preseason interceptions.

They’re gone: Los Angeles traded standout cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins for a light return and lost safety Taylor Rapp as a free agent. Linebacker Bobby Wagner returned to Seattle, where he spent the previous 10 seasons. Receiver Allen Robinson II and edge rusher Leonard Floyd were among other departures.

On the money: Keeping Stafford healthy is big after he had concussion issues and a season-ending spinal cord injury in 2022. He only played in nine games and was mediocre when he was on the field. Star receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle) also played in just nine games after achieving the rare receiver triple crown in 2021 (leading the NFL in receptions, yards and touchdowns). Defensive tackle Aaron Donald also battled injuries and had the least productive season (five sacks in 11 games) of his nine-year career.

Get to know: Bennett opening his rookie season as the No. 2 quarterback is stunning. He initially had to walk on and Georgia and later left to play a season at a junior college in Mississippi before returning to the Bulldogs. The rest is history as he won the starting job and guided Georgia to a 29-3 record and two national championships.

Bennett wasn’t viewed as much of an NFL prospect. But Los Angeles picked him and believes in him to the extent that he’s one Stafford injury away from being the starter.

Vegas says: BetMGM doesn’t see a lot of wins for the Rams with the total set at 6.5 (+100).

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.