Each day between now and post-Super Bowl Monday, we’ll roll out a get-to-the-point offseason plan for one NFL team. Today, the Rams; tomorrow, the Colts. After that, we’ll see. Here’s our three-point plan for Los Angeles:
1. Identify a franchise QB
General manager Les Snead told reporters last month that the Rams are planning to have all three of their current quarterbacks on their roster and that any potential offseason acquisitions will compete for the starting spot under center. Nick Foles, whom the Rams acquired in a trade with the Eagles last offseason, struggled during his first year in St. Louis. Foles was benched in mid-November and started just two games after that, when Case Keenum dealt with a head injury. Foles, Keenum and Sean Mannion will have a full training camp and preseason to separate themselves from the pack. The Rams also own the No. 15 overall pick in this year’s draft and could be in a position to move up and consider selecting Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. The Rams have one of the best defenses in the league, and a productive passing game could make them a force in the NFC West.
2. Find a No. 1 receiver
Austin is a solid slot receiver, but the Rams need a No. 1 target.
The Rams haven’t had a wide receiver eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since 2007, when Torry Holt caught 93 passes for 1,189 yards and seven touchdowns. Since then, the team has spent six top-100 picks (Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick, Austin Pettis, Mardy Gilyard and Donnie Avery) on the position. Though Austin is the most notable player of the group and has the ability to break a big play, the Rams need to covet a legit go-to receiver. With a deep incoming rookie class, Snead could be poised to find Los Angeles’ next big star.
3. Develop the offensive line
Gurley could be the guy who makes the Rams’ offensive line look good.
Four offensive linemen were lost to season-ending injuries in 2015. The Rams have made quite an investment up front over the past two seasons. Now comes the hard part: maximizing each player’s talent and bringing them together as a unit. Fortunately, LA benefits from having one of the brightest young stars in the game in the backfield. Todd Gurley ran for 1,106 yards in just 13 games less than a year after tearing his ACL in college. Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is entering his 30th season as an assistant at the professional level and certainly has his hands full as he hopes to develop a unit that not only paves lanes for Gurley but keeps whoever is starting at quarterback upright.