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  • Random Ramsdom, 1/26
    by Kenneth Arthur on January 26, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images Edit: I posted this Rams link thread moments before it was announced that Los Angeles legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in LA. Use this forum as a place to talk about Kobe if you’d like to do that as well. Kobe Bryant dies in a helicopter crash— Reuters (@Reuters) January 26, 2020 One thing that can’t be overlooked for Sean McVay and the LA Rams over the last three years is the number of coaching changes they’ve had to go through because of their successes — and in some cases, failures. McVay’s staff in 2017 included offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor, now both NFL head coaches. His defensive coordinator was Wade Phillips, who was recently replaced by Brandon Staley. His special teams coordinator was John Fassel, who is now holding that job for the Dallas Cowboys. So in three years, he’s had to replace all three coordinators at least once. Jedd Fisch was an assistant offensive coordinator in 2019 and he’s now rumored to be leaving for the New England Patriots. Matt Daniels is expected to join Fassel in Dallas, where he’ll be an assistant on special teams once again. Skip Peete coached running backs from 2016-2019 and is also now with Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys staff. The QBs coach job has gone from Greg Olson to Taylor to Shane Waldron. Bill Johnson coached the defensive line in 2017-2018 and just won a national championship coaching that same position with LSU. That presents an interesting challenge for any head coach to constantly be shifting around the names at these key positions without losing any steam in development. It takes strong organizational philosophies and integrity, something that McVay does not seem to struggle with. That news and more in today’s Random Ramsdom... NFL Rumors LA Rams Coach Daniels defecting to Dallas - Ramblin’ Fan The LA Rams continue to be a source for Dallas Cowboys new head coach Mike McCarthy in building his new staff. It was not enough for the Dallas Cowboys to poach Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel from the Rams coaching staff. Today, the same Cowboys are rumored to be poaching the Rams assistant special teams coordinator Matt Daniels to join Fassel. Patriots hiring Rams offensive assistant Jedd Fisch - RamsWire The Los Angeles Rams have lost yet another coach from Sean McVay’s staff. As first reported by the Boston Globe and confirmed by ESPN, the Patriots are hiring Rams offensive assistant Jedd Fisch to their staff. Fisch has spent the last two years with the Rams, first serving as a senior offensive assistant in 2018 before being promoted to assistant offensive coordinator in 2019. He was previously UCLA’s offensive coordinator for one year. LA Rams WR Kupp defends QB Goff at LAX - Ramblin’ Fan So it was that the TMZ sports crew ran into LA Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp at LA International airport and posed that question. To no surprise, Kupp did not hesitate to defend his quarterback “We have all the faith in the world in Jared,” the Rams superstar receiver says. “Absolutely love him. We’re going to be just fine.” – LA Rams WR Cooper Kuppp to TMZ Sports Former Lions GM Martin Mayhew regrets not drafting Aaron Donald with Detroit - ClutchSports “I wish I would have taken Aaron Donald,” he said. “That’s no knock on Ebron. I wish I would have taken him. It’s not a decision that’s made in a vacuum. We talked about a lot of different scenarios, different situations. Man, I wish I had taken him.” LA Rams Mock 2020 NFL Draft 1.0 Need vs BPA - Ramblin’ Fan I presume that the LA Rams 2020 NFL Draft “Team Needs” are offensive tackle, center, offensive guard, edge rusher, defensive lineman, linebacker, and finally wide receiver. Drafting for need will mean choosing the position of need in order. If no position player appears on the board’s top prospects, the selection must be made for either an unfilled need or a position previously filled by a drafted player. For the best player available (BPA) draft, the Rams will simply select the best prospect (among the top 5) on the board at the pick. Offseason Outlook: Dante Fowler Jr. set to enter free agency for the second time in as many years - Rams In that contract year, Fowler was a crucial piece to L.A.’s pass rush. His career-high 11.5 sacks ranked second on the team behind defensive tackle Aaron. Perhaps most impressive, though, was that the total exceeded came in his first season as a full-time starter. Another half of a sack, and he would’ve matched his total from 2016-18 combined. Pac-12 football: Christian McCaffrey, Marcus Mariota and Brandin Cooks lead the Hotline’s all-decade team - Denver Post Welcome to the first of two installments of the Hotline’s review of Pac-12 football in the 2010s — a decade that began with success and respect and ended with angst and disregard. Andrew Whitworth evaluates Nick Bosa’s game, says he’ll be special - RamsWire A good portion of the credit for the 49ers’ success this season goes to the defensive line, which features five former first-round picks. Nick Bosa might wind up as the best of the bunch, showing that he should not only be in contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Defensive Player of the Year. Lunar New Year FEAST w/ Asian NFL PLAYER Taylor Rapp | Fung Bros

  • What the Rams would get in trading Todd Gurley now
    by Kenneth Arthur on January 24, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images I remember talking to Joe McAtee before and during the 2015 draft, really just as the “running backs don’t matter” takes were bubbling up, and agreeing that using a top-10 selection on a running back was potentially a huge mistake. Few doubted Todd Gurley’s abilities, many doubted his positional value. Gurley answered by being the team’s best player in 2015 save Aaron Donald, then rebounding from 2016 to finish as a first team All-Pro in back-to-back seasons. But despite being the NFL’s most accomplished back for those two years, scoring a league-leading 40 touchdowns in that time even though he missed three games, doubts soared again about any potential contract extension simply because overcoming the positional devaluation of running back is damn-near improbable. Theoretically. And once again, the Rams acted contrary to any doubts about Gurley and running backs, giving him a four-year, $57.5 million deal in 2019. That contract has not even kicked in yet, but Gurley is thought to be a viable trade rumor based on a number of factors worth considering. The most important, I think, is that the Rams need some cap relief. Current projections have them at around $21 million in space for 2020, which itself is already a pretty low amount of space at this point of the year, but that doesn’t yet take into account how LA will secure key starters like Andrew Whitworth, Dante Fowler, Jr., Cory Littleton, Michael Brockers, Greg Zuerlein, Austin Blythe, or their potential replacements should they leave in free agency. The Rams will no doubt lose important players based on their cap restrictions, but should Gurley be the sacrifice over someone like Littleton or Fowler? Though the Rams save nothing by releasing Gurley, they get about $4.65 million in relief if traded because another team will take on his base salary. The first year cap hit for Fowler moving Gurley: it could let you keep Fowler. Were Los Angeles not in their cap situation — which was of course in part caused by the Gurley deal — then I probably wouldn’t suggest trading him. Probably just best to use the $5 million on Gurley if keeping him didn’t cost you another player of that caliber. So that’s why the money angle is the only reason the trade suggestions make sense. Best RB in the league right now @KingHenry_2 Go Krazy today bro‼️ — Todd Gurley II (@TG3II) January 19, 2020 I personally believe that the “running backs don’t matter” argument has gotten weaker by the season and needs some people on that side of the debate to be willing to admit some faults before it can grow into something worthy of discussion again, but I do still think that running back is less important than a number of other positions and re-loadable after the first round of the draft based on those recent perceptions. When people say that you can get a great running back in the third round, they aren’t lying, but the only reason that’s true is because GMs have set it up that way by recognizing those same perceptions. Alvin Kamara was a third round pick, but in a re-draft of 2017, would Kamara still go 67th overall or would he go 6th overall? Find me one person who says that “running backs don’t matter” who would still take Obi Melifonwu over him. Or Adam Shaheen. Or John Ross. Or even Mitchell Trubisky. That class had Kamara going 67th, Kareem Hunt 86th, Joe Mixon 48th, Dalvin Cook 41st, Chris Carson 249th, Aaron Jones 182nd, and Marlon Mack 143rd. GMs almost have to wait on running backs because their draft value has dictated them to do so, but by in large their post-draft value has often out-performed where they were slotted in April. I also think that because of that, and because almost every good running back seems to be on his rookie deal now, you might see running back value in the draft go back up again. But value being where it is right now, the Rams could potentially trade Gurley, save $4.65 million, keep Fowler or one of their extra key free agents, and draft a good running back who costs less than $1 million per season over the next four seasons. The cap savings between Gurley and a rookie back over the next four years could be an average of $5 million per year in base salary, if not more based on my own bad math. First Rams player in franchise history with 13 or more touchdowns in 3️⃣ straight seasons.Top plays of 2019: @TG3II— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 19, 2020 And because of Gurley’s potentially degenerative knee or other common injury concerns with running backs, Darrell Henderson or an incoming rookie could also be better than Gurley over the next four years. That’s just an unfortunate reality of the position and of Gurley’s 2019 season, in which he had zero 100-yard games and only four games all year where he averaged more than four yards per carry. His receiving totals have gone down from 788 to 580 to 207 in the past three years. Gurley was 22nd in DYAR and 25th in DVOA, per FootballOutsiders, and almost all of the players ahead of him were on their rookie deals. So was Gurley in some respect, but now his extension is kicking in. What team would like to make a move for Gurley? The first thing to look at is the inverse of LA’s problem: Which team has the cap space to try out a $5 million running back with injury concerns? (Why does “COLTS” pop in my head before I even start researching? Oh yeah, because of Trent Richardson, but Ryan Grigson isn’t their anymore so let’s give them a break.) These teams are set to have $25 million or less: Vikings, Jaguars, Steelers, Bears, Falcons, Saints, 49ers, Chiefs, and Panthers. Let’s just scratch them off for now. Let’s look at the teams who have embarrassing riches of at least $60 million in space: Colts (oh jesus), Dolphins, Bills, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Broncos, Giants. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers for now. Who would’ve thought Darrell Henderson would be tougher to trade for than Todd Gurley.— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) June 8, 2019 Gurley needs to go to a team that doesn’t have an obvious starter at RB in 2020 and that would want one of a decent caliber. He may “only” be set to get $5.5 million in salary next season, but that’s actually more than all but 7 teams will pay for their best running back, not including the Rams’ league-leading $17.25 million commitment to Gurley. A team acquiring Gurley will be paying him more than the cap hits of Christian McCaffrey, Mark Ingram, and James White. Almost every team is putting out a back making less than $5 million, so the one that plays Gurley will have to really like him and think that their offense needs a player like him. That plan recently worked for LA, but can it work for another offense in 2020? The Colts have Mack (realizing another reason I thought of the Colts is the Marshall Faulk trade), the Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott, the Giants have Saquon Barkley, and the Broncos are getting good value out of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The other three teams do make some sense to me. The Dolphins have $91 million in cap space, three extra draft picks on days one and two, and RYAN FITZPATRICK LED THEM IN RUSHING YARDS AND RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS. Yes, Miami’s leading rusher last season was Ryan Fitzpatrick at 243 yards and four scores. The Dolphins are completely ballage barren at the position, so what would stop them from acquiring Gurley? Honestly, maybe not much. Not only does Miami have the financial and draft capital potential to trade for Gurley, not only do they have a need, and not only does new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey probably like the idea of having a back like Gurley on the roster, but the Dolphins need something to sell. Sure they could draft a quarterback and potentially sell a franchise identity around him, but what about all that time he needs to develop into a good player, if he ever does? What about the impact that Gurley had on Jared Goff in his second and third seasons? What about the fact that Rams fans love Todd Gurley and Miami fans so little left to love after the Dolphins traded everyone? I kind of think Gurley to Miami for the 2020 fifth round pick they received from the Pittsburgh Steelers almost makes too much sense to even continue, but I will briefly. The Buffalo Bills have Devin Singletary, but he probably makes way more sense as the complement to Josh Allen and another back as opposed to building the whole plane out of him. If they were going to emulate the Baltimore Ravens, they need their Mark Ingram. They have $81 million in cap space. Tampa Bay also had $81 million and Bruce Arians nearly made David Johnson into an MVP once. Is he likely to do that with Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones? Any of those teams make sense to me, and at least a few more, so I think the opportunities to trade Gurley will be there. I think the return of a day three pick also makes sense just based on the fact that a team is acquiring one of the highest-paid backs in the league even after you remove the bonuses from his cap hit, he wasn’t very effective in 2019, and there are injury concerns. But it’s something another team may be able to absorb better than LA is able to. All told, I think the Rams get one or two day three draft picks and $4.5 million in cap savings to put towards another starter if they trade Todd Gurley. If it weren’t for the cap savings and their financial ceiling, I would not expect a move. Given the universe we’re living in currently, a trade would not be surprising.

  • Darrell Henderson is destined for stardom
    by Sosa Kremenjas on January 24, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Let’s go back and recap Hendo’s rookie season, and project what he can become moving forward. Just one offseason ago, everything was all good for the Los Angeles Rams. They just competed in the Super Bowl, the team was spearheaded by superstar Head Coach Sean McVay, the roster was loaded with talent at all positions, and the franchise was poised to make another deep playoff run in the 2020 NFL Season. Obviously, things didn’t work out as planned for the Rams as they managed a 9-7 record and missed the playoffs altogether. In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Rams pinpointed Memphis Tigers RB Darrell Henderson as a guy they were clearly high on, and somebody they had major interest in adding to an already explosive and potent offense. That’s when the Rams packaged two third-round draft picks to move up to the 70th-overall pick in the third round, which they then used to select Henderson. Henderson’s rookie season didn’t go as planned with the runner touching the ball only 43 times throughout the season, though his per-touch efficiency suggested Henderson deserved much more usage throughout. Let’s review Henderson’s rookie season in-depth (stats from Pro Football Reference): Rushing yards:147 yards 1st downs:10 Yards before contact/attempt:2.2 yards Yards after contact/attempt:1.6 yards Rush attempts per broken tackles:5.6 attempts The stats aren’t mind-blowing or eye-popping, though one of these stats above prove just how productive Henderson was, and how much talent oozes out of college football’s most explosive runner: the 5.6 rush attempts per broken tackle statistic. Out of all RB’s with 20+ carries this past season, Henderson broke tackles at the highest rate in the league. Yes, you read that correctly. Henderson needed 5.6 rushing attempts for every broken tackle of his, and that figure was good enough to place him at first place in the league. Ironically enough, teammate Malcolm Brown came in at second in the NFL, which proves just how tough the duo is and how much they can create post-contact. Henderson didn’t receive a ton of work, leaving us with only a small sample size to evaluate, though the talent was visible every time #27 touched the field. The rookie surely had some rookie mistakes (like the fumbled pitch against the San Francisco 49ers), but still proved to be an effective RB with a ton of burst, acceleration, and contact balance. Here’s a highlight tape I put together from his rookie season: (Google AMP and Apple News news readers can click here to view the clip): Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Using Warren Sharp’s Sharp Football Stats, we can further break down Henderson’s performance with charts displaying his success rate by direction (top-left chart), comparing it to the league average success rate by direction (bottom-left chart), and Henderson’s success rate over the average (chart on the right). As you can see below, Henderson was most productive behind RG, LT, and the far boundaries to the right and left, in that order. Comparing that to the league average, Hendo was far more productive running behind RG and LT, slightly more productive on boundary runs to the left, and far less productive behind RT and to the right boundary. Some of these stats are more indicative than others, though it’s hard to come to any conclusion based off the small sample size. For example, I used the same directional charts for teammate RB Todd Gurley, and ironically enough, Gurley also struggled mightily running behind RT and to the right boundary, yet had plenty of success behind RG. These charts display a lot of where the Rams were productive — and lack thereof — along the offensive line. Looking at this chart below, you can compare the rushing success rate by down between the trio of Rams running backs: As you can see, Henderson was by far the most productive on first downs, yet the least productive on second and third downs (tied with Brown). In total (far right), Henderson actually had the greatest success rate of all the runners coming in at 47%, just nearly edging out Gurley. You’re probably asking what the hell all of this means and why it’s relevant... well, let me explain. Henderson’s lack of usage makes it incredibly hard to pinpoint any one conclusion, but we can attempt to extrapolate his usage and make a far more educated guess on his potential impact moving forward because of these in-depth stats and his per-touch efficiency. Henderson didn’t touch the ball much, but when he did, he proved to be a weapon capable of making guys miss (and often). It’s hard to come to any further conclusions than that, but Henderson was the most explosive CFB running back in his final year in college (and even his sophomore season) when he averaged 8.9-yards-per-rushing attempt and totaled 22 rushing touchdowns. The Rams have had trouble — particularly with Gurley — breaking off long runs and scoring long rushing touchdowns on the ground, though Henderson has shown plenty of ability in that regard, which is likely why the Rams elected to pursue his talents even after handing Gurley a massive contract extension and re-signing Brown after the Detroit Lions attempted to vulture him. The best idea moving forward is to continue to scale back Gurley’s workload (or potentially offload him if possible), and to increase Henderson’s workload tenfold, both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. Sean McVay is smart enough to make it work in a creative manner, and new Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell will be tasked with bringing new and innovative ideas to keep the stable of running backs happy and involved in a timeshare. A timeshare is inevitable due to the amount of resources the Rams invested in both Gurley and Henderson, and is likely the smartest idea moving forward in a league that rarely deploys the “workhorse” running back any longer.

  • Rookie contract running backs matter
    by Kenneth Arthur on January 23, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images No intro. Let’s just get into it. The cut-off is 240 rushing attempts and the year we’re starting at is 2015. I’ve done no research prior to writing, I just have a theory. Let’s go. In 2015, seven running backs carried the ball 240 or more times. Those players were Frank Gore, Devonta Freeman, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Latavius Murray, and Chris Ivory. Their ages were 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, and 32. Average age: 27.2 years. In 2016, 11 running backs carried it 240 or more times. Those players were Gore, Zeke Elliott, Jay Ajayi, David Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, Melvin Gordon, Lamar Miller, DeMarco Murray, Jordan Howard, Le’Veon Bell, and Todd Gurley. Their ages were 21, 21, 22, 23, 23, 24, 24, 25, 28, 29, and 33. Average age: 24.8 years. In 2017, 11 running backs carried it 240 or more times. Those players were Gore, Elliott, Gurley, Howard, Gordon, Bell, C.J. Anderson, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Carlos Hyde, and LeSean McCoy. Ages of 22, 22, 22, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 26, 29, and 34. Average: 25. Note: Gore keeps messing with the averages! In 2018, seven backs hit 240. They were Gurley, Elliott, Howard, Peterson, plus Chris Carson, Saquon Barkley, and David Johnson. Ages: 21, 23, 23, 23, 24, 26, and 33. Average: 24.7. In 2019, FOURTEEN backs had at least 240 rushing attempts. The number DOUBLED. We talked about the return of running backs ... zero percent of the time. This is not to say that getting 240 attempts is a marker of huge significance — I’m using it because I think “availability” is important, as is the number of touches you’re giving to any player, not just a back — but after a good decade of “running backs don’t matter” and “the position is devalued and must be a part of a committee now,” that seemed to be less of a case in 2019. Not just because of Derrick Henry bringing back memories of backs of yore (a zero receiving game, ground and pound phenomenon) or the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers rising to the tops of their conferences through rushing, but also as a league-wide effort to get the most out of their draft investments at the position. We spoke for so long about how you must draft a running back (after the first round) rather than pay one, but not about what the result could be after so many years of doing that. Teams may want more dual-threat running backs in the backfield, but clearly they also want to find one guy who will be able to sit in for all three downs and who can handle a full season’s workload. And they want that guy to be on a rookie contract, it seems. Back to the 2019 class. Those 14 backs included Bell, Carson, Elliott, Hyde, and Fournette again, but for the first time now also had Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey, Marlon Mack, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Dalvin Cook, and Henry. Their ages were 21, 22, 23, 23, 23, 23, 24, 24, 24, 24, 24, 25, 27, and 28. Average: 23.9 years. Number of backs over the age of 28 who handled the ball more than 240 times despite the fact that there were 14 of them: ZERO. After carrying the ball 251 times in 2018, Adrian Peterson had 211 as a 34-year-old in 2019. After 261 carries in 2017, Gore has 156 and 166 in each of the last two campaigns. (Also: Why not just make the whole NFL out of Frank Gore’s DNA?) Looking at the running backs who fell just shy of 240, we find Aaron Jones at 236, Phillip Lindsay at 224, Gurley at 223, and Barkley at 217. Next is Peterson, then Mark Ingram. Jones, Lindsay, and Gurley are all 25, whereas Barkley is 22. Which running back who had at least 215 carries in 2019 was not on his rookie deal? Out of 18 possibilities, only Le’Veon Bell (245 carries for 789 yards and three touchdowns) and Carlos Hyde (245/1,070/6) were past their rookie obligations. Elliott and Gurley have signed extensions, but both the Dallas Cowboys and LA Rams could’ve had them without extensions, as 2019 would have been Gurley’s fifth year option. Could he have held out? Yes. Would that have hurt the Rams? Based on the season he had, and 2020’s trade speculation around Gurley, perhaps not. Would they like to see him bounce back? Yes, obviously. Sean McVay would like to see the whole offense bounce back and it seems more likely than not that Gurley will be in that plan thanks to his $17 million salary with no relief if dealt or released. However, it appears as though the message teams want to send to running backs is: We do need you. We just don’t want you to get paid until after we need you. READ THIS: Sosa’s evaluation of Gurley’s 2019 season Of course, the Rams did make one potential succession move by drafting Darrell Henderson in the third round of the draft last year. As a rookie, Henderson had 39 carries for 147 yards and no touchdowns, plus four receptions for 37 yards. He ended his season with ankle surgery and a trip to injured reserve, though McVay didn’t see it as being that major of a deal. As to the lack of playing time, it seemed as though the reason was always brought back to opportunities and the time needed to be given to Gurley and Malcolm Brown. Plus, the whole team struggled to run the football well, so it’s hard to see what Henderson could have changed ... but at 22 years old, does Henderson have a brighter future than Gurley, who is three years older than him? It sounds like a very odd question, I know, but to some degree we have to bank age and financial status as factors in these decisions. For every Gore and Peterson, there are a handful of Ivory, Johnson, Anderson, and Bell type careers. If you were starting a team from scratch and had to construct a roster, including keeping it under the salary cap, would you rather have Bell at $15.5 million or Henderson at $950,000? Is Bell 15x better than Henderson? Is he 2x better? Is Todd Gurley 17.2x better? I think that’s the question front offices are asking themselves right now as we’ve seen the number of heavy-load backs increase at the same time that we’ve seen the average age dip from over 27 to under 24 in a matter of only three seasons between. How do the Rams respond now? In 2020, LA has picks 52, 82, and then their original fourth, a fifth rounder from the Marcus Peters trade, their sixth, and their seventh rounder. (We don’t know the exact position yet of any pick after round three due to compensatory selections.) They could also be looking at a compensatory fourth due to losing Rodger Saffold in free agency. (The LaMarcus Joyner comp was wiped by the Clay Matthews deal.) Despite the talk of how LA has traded away so many firsts, they actually still have seven picks this year. Should they use any of those picks on a running back when they have Gurley, Henderson, Brown, and a myriad of other needs? The easy answer is no because of those reasons, but for a coach who stresses the importance of rushing and for an organization that did give Gurley $45 million guaranteed, they seem to think the position is important. And if it is important, then know that Gurley is going into his age-26 season, with a much easier potential out for the team in 2021, then getting another back with high upside on a rookie deal isn’t out of the question. The top 12 rushing yardage leaders in the NFL were 25 or younger. The top 12. The top 12 receivers last season were aged 26, 30, 23, 30, 26, 27, 26, 25, 22, 27, 27, and 26. Six of them were on their second contracts. The top 12 sack-leaders were aged 27, 29, 30, 25, 25, 27, 28, 27, 26, 24, 25, and 29. Rushing is important. Running backs are important. But teams seem to be intent to focus that importance on players of little financial risk, because they carry such a heavy burden in both injury potential and the need for complementary help in front of them. My theory was that running backs do matter to teams more than they have in the past few years, and not just in the Alvin Kamara and McCaffrey type of ways. I think that looks defensible. It was also that those backs would be younger and cheaper than they were in the past. That part looks indisputable. You Already know this Shxt don’t stop bro. #StriveForGreatness— Todd Gurley II (@TG3II) January 19, 2020

  • Random Ramsdom, 1/23: Uniform, logo speculation continues
    by Kenneth Arthur on January 23, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images New digs often means new rags and for the LA Rams, that means new logo, colors, and uniforms in 2020. (I don’t know if “rags” is the right word for it, not to imply they’ll be tattered remnants left for oil stains, but what else fits well with digs?) And offseason speculation among fans as it relates to the Rams seems to be more heavily-centered on the uniform changes than it does on any roster or coaching changes. And this team will have significant roster and coaching changes next season. It appears as though signs are pointing towards the Rams choosing a uniform design that is simple, sleek, and harkens back to the Los Angeles franchise that existed before they moved to St. Louis in 1995. If you are going to throwback to the pre-St. Louis Rams, you also don’t do it by shouting out the 90s Rams, so rule that out. You might choose the ‘80s Rams, who went to the playoffs seven times, including two conference championship game appearances. But more likely than not, the ‘70s Rams are the ones who you want to focus your attention on. They also went to the playoffs seven times, but the conference championship game five times and the Super Bowl once. And at the same time, when you spend $5 billion on the most futuristic stadium on planet earth (at least until the NFL expands to Dubai maybe), you don’t just tell your players to put on throwback jerseys. The reveal, whenever it happens, should be interesting. Rams may reveal new logo and colors before uniforms, no timetable set - RamsWire It’ll come with new uniforms, helmets, colors and a logo, but the team hasn’t disclosed much in advance of the big unveiling. In fact, the Rams haven’t even said exactly when the curtain will be pulled back – unlike the Falcons, who recently announced they’ll be getting new uniforms in April. More LA Rams fan designed concepts for the new uniforms - In spring 2020, the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams will unveil a new brand identity that “will tie to (their) deep roots in Los Angeles while also providing a sleek modern look that fits with (their) new, world-class home.” I thought, “How hard can that be?” Top Los Angeles Rams Plays Of 2019 - LAFB Network Double Reverse Flea Flicker This is another pass from Jared Goff to Cooper Kupp, but that’s about the only thing it has in common with the previous play. This game was against the 0-8 Bengals and the game was played in London. Apparently, Sean McVay wanted to show the Brits just how dynamic American football can be by calling a double reverse flea flicker. CEO Kevin Demoff implying something about the uniforms? Cool uniforms, would be even cooler if we could get Coach McVay to wear a suit and bow tie like that...— Kevin Demoff (@kdemoff) January 23, 2020 Receiving touchdown overachievers in 2019 based on expected fantasy production - PFF Cooper Kupp was almost the opposite of Brown with a bulk of his fantasy production coming early in the year, but the Rams receiver did rattle off five straight games with a score to close out the season. His 4.2 scores over expectation marks the second straight season of extreme efficiency, as Kupp’s six scores in 2018 were 3.1 more than his expected number of 2.9 touchdowns. Touchdown regression would almost certainly move Kupp from a fringe WR1 to a back-end WR2 given his relatively low average depth of target. Andrew Whitworth makes appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd: One free agent each NFL team needs to pursue in the 2020 offseason - PFF LOS ANGELES RAMS: G JOE THUNEY Joe Thuney earned himself a massive contract as the last few seasons have evolved, and the Rams should do everything possible to bring him in. In each of the past three years, Thuney has ranked among the 10 most valuable guards in PFF WAR. He stepped it up in pass-protection, specifically, in his past two campaigns, ranking second in two-year PFF grade. Neither Austin Corbett nor Joseph Noteboom (the two to play the most at left guard for the Rams) qualify, but if they did, they would be around 28th and 35th, respectively, of 37 qualifiers. SoFi Stadium/Hollywood Park Hype: Vikings to name Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator - NFL Gary Kubiak is back in the offensive coordinator chair. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday the Minnesota Vikings will tap Kubiak as the team’s new OC, per sources informed of the decision. Kubiak spent the 2019 season as the Vikings assistant head coach and offensive advisor. He was heavily credited with importing the familiar run-scheme that dominated his stints as head coach in Houston and Denver. Philadelphia Eagles win the PFF Offensive Line of the Year for 2019 - PFF The other team with the strongest case for the best offensive line of the year were the Baltimore Ravens, who had the best pass blocking tackle in football in the form of Ronnie Stanley and even more impressive production numbers as an offense. Baltimore’s O-line benefited significantly from Lamar Jackson and the bespoke offense the Ravens run, however, putting them in advantageous situations in both the run game and from a pass protection standpoint. Because of that, the Eagles just topped them in grades and are worthy winners of this year’s Offensive Line of the Year. NFL reveals 2019 injury data, hopeful rule changes are working - NFL The number of diagnosed concussions suffered by NFL players in 2019 increased slightly over the previous season, an indication, the NFL hopes, that recent rules and equipment changes mean the dramatic drop in concussions in 2018 was not an anomaly. In the 2019 preseason and regular season, 224 concussions were diagnosed, 10 more than were reported in the 2018 campaign. The data was released Thursday. Despite the slight uptick, the numbers are still a sharp drop from 2017, when a spike in concussions caused alarm among league officials. NFL officials were particularly pleased with a previously-reported drop in concussions suffered during preseason practices, from 45 in 2018 to 30 in ‘19. Last May, the NFL banned several high-impact activities, including the Oklahoma Drill, which could have contributed to the decrease.


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