Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

They spent much of the offseason staring at computer screens, but that doesn’t mean the Rams sat still. Changes to the roster and coaching staff made them one of the NFL’s most talked-about teams. As if changes to their address and their uniforms didn’t spark enough discussion.

As the Rams prepare for the scheduled start of training camp July 28, here’s a review of the 10 biggest developments of their offseason, listed from worst to best:

Pandemic impacts

Although the NFL canceled team workouts and held meetings by video chat to promote social distancing, Rams center Brian Allen and tackle Andrew Whitworth (and Whitworth’s family) caught mild cases of the coronavirus. A reminder of how hard it will be to keep the virus from disrupting training camps or the season.

Gurley released

Maybe high pay and declining yardage made Todd Gurley’s March 29 release necessary. Still, it’s sad for the Rams to say goodbye to a popular running back at age 25, two years after he was NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Sadder if Gurley, now in Atlanta, proves to have something left.

Free agent moves

The payroll-cap squeeze forced the Rams to let go of linebackers Cory Littleton, Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews, defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman and kicker Greg Zuerlein, and trade receiver Brandin Cooks. They did re-sign Whitworth and guard Austin Blythe, and saved some cash in the short term by restructuring quarterback Jared Goff’s contract.

Expectations lowered

Losing nine regulars from a 9-7 team, the Rams saw their win-total over-under line dip to 8 and their Super Bowl odds rise to 33-1. Las Vegas is pessimistic about the Rams making the seven-team NFC playoffs. If L.A. goes anywhere, it will be one time players can rightly say, “They said it couldn’t be done!”

Fashion statements

The designers aimed for both change and respect for tradition in modernizing the Rams’ colors, uniforms and logos for the SoFi Stadium era. Mission accomplished, so naturally the reactions on social media were vicious. We’ll re-measure the popularity of the new garb after the team wins a few games in it.

‘Hard Knocks’

The Rams’ and Chargers’ training camps will be documented by NFL Films cameras for HBO’s annual “Hard Knocks” series. It will be fascinating to peek behind the scenes if coronavirus restrictions permit the usual desperate competition for roster spots and starting jobs, and maybe especially if they don’t.

A strong draft

Without a first-round pick, the Rams still drafted potential stars in running back Cam Akers, receiver Van Jefferson and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis, and valuable depth with six more selections. Their draft got a B from most analysts.

Ramsey on board

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey assured L.A. reporters in May that he planned to report to training camp on time and said an extension of the contract that ends after this season “will get handled.” It will be a rich deal, but the Rams weren’t renting the perennial Pro Bowler last October when they traded for him.

New coordinators

Coach Sean McVay remade the coaching staff in his own image by hiring young offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. After an up-and-down season, the goal should be more consistency from Goff, who had both the highest- and lowest-yardage games of his career in 2019, and the defense, which had its worst moments when it mattered most.


McVay and the Rams got out in front of the discussion of social-justice issues amid the protests following the videotaped death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis policeman in May. McVay canceled position-group meetings and led a 125-person discussion June 1, in which his main role seemed to be to listen to his players’ experiences. He told reporters he “absolutely” would support players who wanted to demonstrate at games.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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