Prior to the start of the 2021 season, expectations were placed at an all-time high for Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams. With a mix of star-studded talent and impactful depth pieces on both sides of the football, the Rams were consistently in the discussion of who could we expect to finish on the podium come February. Through three weeks, L.A. has become the focal point of all Lombardi Trophy contenders.
The tandem of Matthew Stafford and McVay couldn’t have gotten off to a more exciting start. Stafford is completing more than 70% of his passes and has thrown nine touchdown passes compared to just one pick, leading the Rams to an unblemished 3-0 start to their campaign. It hasn’t come easy either, as a dominating Week 1 win was quickly followed by a visit to Indianapolis and Sunday’s showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Above all, however, the Rams have put ink to paper, proving they indeed belong among the NFL’s elite.
The straw that stirs the hefty drink is Stafford. His gun-slinging mentality and willingness to stretch the field with effectiveness and precision has only scratched the surface of what he can truly be in McVay’s ever-developing offensive scheme. A talent under-appreciated during his lost seasons in Detroit, Stafford has hit the ground running in his first three weeks captaining a high-flying Rams attack. While nobody batted an eye at the lofty expectations Stafford announced both for himself and for Los Angeles as a franchise prior to the start of the season, the numbers posted from Stafford can only continue to trend upward as his rapport with his wideouts and gamesmanship with McVay continue to progress. It’s a scary thought considering the Rams have scored 31.6 points per game, including a 34-spot on the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.
When you dive into the makeup of the Rams’ roster, Hall of Fame potential talent jumps out in abundance unlike any 53-man unit in football. Stafford, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, DeSean Jackson, Los Angeles’ group of core veterans have provided the platform for the likes of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Kenny Young, and Leonard Floyd to continue on their track of individual success without as much as a hiccup. The Rams have found an elite balance of tone-setting vets that have laid a sturdy base for the current and future rosters under McVay’s tutelage.
Without a playoff appearance from 2005-2016, the Rams took the scenic route, opting to build from within with the exclusion of Stafford and Ramsey. Donald, Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Darrell Henderson (when healthy), the Rams’ list of impactful starters developed within their own walls have continued to grow in year five of McVay’s tenure. And now, Los Angeles is reaping the benefits of continued development from some of its youngest stars.
Kupp has progressed into one of the league’s premier pass-catching threats. Still just 28 years old, the former Eastern Washington FCS standout enjoyed an outstanding start to his professional career working with Jared Goff, but Stafford’s insertion under center has kicked Kupp’s career track into another stratosphere as he became the first wide receiver in Rams franchise history to record five or more touchdown catches in the first three games since 1951. He’s been as dominant as any receiver in football and there’s no sign of him slowing down with Stafford at the helm and the intellect of McVay scheming his way toward a boatload of targets each and every week.
While he and Stafford highlight the offense and Donald and Ramsey present a fortress to counter on the opposite side of the ball, from top to bottom, the Rams have quickly progressed into the team to beat as we approach the quarter mark of the season. With zero holes and a roster exuberating confidence, the ceiling for Los Angeles is limitless, as only time will tell if their lofty aspirations could soon become reality.
- Aug 22, 2022
- Aug 22, 2022