About the projected 2019 Ram O and D...

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Rams43

Hall of Fame
Jun 20, 2014
2,694
Been thinking about this and here’s the way I see both, in general...

First, the D which is the unit that has been improved the most, I think.

At Edge we have the ascending Fowler on one side and in a contract year. On the other side we will have a rotation of Matthews, Ebu, possibly Obo after his red shirt/ injured year. Maybe a surprise player will emerge, as well. Overall, an improvement on both edges, I think.

Suh’s departure creates an opportunity for Gaines and/or Joseph-Day. Both youngsters bring energy and desire, something that the “regular season” Suh sorely lacked. I honestly see a net improvement here in run D.

Speaking of run D, Kiser seems like an upgrade on first 2 downs over the departed Barron.

In nickel and dime, Wade now has more options than before. Rapp and Long now join the impressive secondary of Talib, Peters, NRC, Weddle, and JJ. Damn! The package combinations are almost endless, now. And how valuable is the proper usage of Peters for all 16 games?

This could be a top 5 scoring D, y’all. Maybe even better.

As to the O?

A healthy Kupp is expected back. ‘Nuff said.

Henderson is a plus, no matter how one slices it.

Goff is reportedly improving on his reads and progression speed. He’s improved every year since HS, sooooo...

Allen is probably a slight upgrade over the late season Sully. And Allen is only gonna grow from there.

The departed Saffold leaves some big shoes to fill, but Boom sure looks like a capable replacement. Not an upgrade, but not a significant downgrade, either. I see Boom as our starting LOT in ‘20. That’s how highly I regard him.

Everett was the star in OTA;s and the one day of mini-camp. So, I see an upgrade at TE for this year.

Also, I’m feeling good about our depth at OL. Heck, I see 2-3 potential future starters there for ‘20 and beyond in Demby, Evans, and Edwards unless Kromer has lost his touch.

Last, but not least, I’m convinced that McVay has grown from that SB lesson and will be back with antidotes for the Ram O struggles vs the Bears, Eagles, and Patriots.

In short, I foresee an improved Ram team on both sides of the ball this year over that impressive 13-3 team last year.
 

CGI_Ram

Hamburger Connoisseur
Moderator
Jun 28, 2010
32,007
Good thoughts there, @Rams43.

Hard to argue; the D looks significantly better. The offense should be better, as you say, with more experience and these players still young entering prime.

We need to be lucky with injuries... if so, this is going to be a damn good team.
 

Dodgersrf

Legend
Mar 17, 2014
7,532
We shouldn't forget about the upgrade at back up QB.

Bortles can win games. If the unspeakable happens, I'm fairly comfortable with him stepping in and playing to win.

Now that hes out of that Circus in Miami. He has a great shot at resurrecting his career.
 

dang

Pro Bowler
Mar 15, 2018
1,534
I am expecting the D to pick up where they left off and get even better after a couple of games. Fowler expected to improve. Kiser/Matthews better than Barron at ILB. Weddle and rotation at the other Edge improved. Rotation of Gaines/SJD being better than Suh against the run is the only real question mark. Barring injuries this will be a top 5 defense - which is about where they ended being by the end of the season.
 

oldnotdead

Starter
May 16, 2019
578
I see no reason to expect a dropoff in Fowler's play. He played better as the season went on. I'd be surprised if he doesn't get his long term contract. So I'm assuming barring injury or a huge dropoff in production, that Fowler will be the starting WIL (rush LB) in this defense. Then you have Donald and Gaines inside with Brockers playing the DE opposite Fowler. Brockers is the weak link in the Dline. Behind him you have JFM, with Obo behind Fowler.

I think they need to start someone else instead of Brockers who isn't worth the $10.7M cap hit he carries. No way he's on the team next year. If he's released that would carry a dead cap of about $3M but they can spread that over 2 years. Once Brockers is off the books they have the money to extend Fowler who is making $9M this year and have money left over. JFM outplayed Brockers last year in his limited snaps. He looks faster and stronger. Or they could start Obo there with JFM backing up both Obo and Fowler. Their second backup could be Ebukam who is their starting SAM LB. But with the addition of Clay Mathews he can take over the SAM position if it ever came to that.

My point is the obvious weak link in the Dline is Brockers. He's under performing in relation to his salary. He's in a contract year and IMO not expected back next year. Do you continue to carry him all year or do they cut their losses and move on with their options?
 

Akrasian

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Jun 18, 2014
4,544
I see no reason to expect a dropoff in Fowler's play. He played better as the season went on. I'd be surprised if he doesn't get his long term contract. So I'm assuming barring injury or a huge dropoff in production, that Fowler will be the starting WIL (rush LB) in this defense. Then you have Donald and Gaines inside with Brockers playing the DE opposite Fowler. Brockers is the weak link in the Dline. Behind him you have JFM, with Obo behind Fowler.

I think they need to start someone else instead of Brockers who isn't worth the $10.7M cap hit he carries. No way he's on the team next year. If he's released that would carry a dead cap of about $3M but they can spread that over 2 years. Once Brockers is off the books they have the money to extend Fowler who is making $9M this year and have money left over. JFM outplayed Brockers last year in his limited snaps. He looks faster and stronger. Or they could start Obo there with JFM backing up both Obo and Fowler. Their second backup could be Ebukam who is their starting SAM LB. But with the addition of Clay Mathews he can take over the SAM position if it ever came to that.

My point is the obvious weak link in the Dline is Brockers. He's under performing in relation to his salary. He's in a contract year and IMO not expected back next year. Do you continue to carry him all year or do they cut their losses and move on with their options?
Until last season, Brockers was always a plus. At the team's request, he lost a bunch of weight, and then had nagging injuries all year hurting his performance. I suspect he'll have gained back some of the weight at least. We'll see about the injuries. But when he's been healthy in the past, his salary is not out of line to his value. I expect him to be a good player for the team in 2019. Then he will likely be signed elsewhere - but remember - if they cut him, they do not get a comp pick. If his contract expires, I expect a 4th or 5th for him, which is gold to the Rams.
 

TexasRam

Hall of Fame
Jan 13, 2013
2,844
I’m not quite as optimistic Rams43.

There are a lot of unproven players that we are counting on. Allen, Boom, Henderson, Kiser, Gaines not to mention some decling players in Matthews, Whitworth, Weddle and Gurley with his injury.

On the positive: Kupp back, Weddle as a possible huge upgrade over Joyner and hopefully Talib healthy all year which by the numbers (last year when he played) makes us a top 5 defense as we saw on the playoffs and Super Bowl.

I honestly think our defense will be a top unit if Donald and our secondary stay healthy.

Our offensive scheme minimizes the need for dominate lineman with the zone running, play action, WR sweeps, and overall deception. But Allen is unproven and if he plays like he did last year in preseason we are going to struggle out of the gate vs some tough teams. Not to mention Noteboom can pass block but unproven blowing open holes like Saffold could.

The Good news is we have a lot of options at OL such as moving Blythe in at center if needed and a host of young guards to plug in at either guard spot.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 

Rams43

Hall of Fame
Jun 20, 2014
2,694
I’m not quite as optimistic Rams43.

There are a lot of unproven players that we are counting on. Allen, Boom, Henderson, Kiser, Gaines not to mention some decling players in Matthews, Whitworth, Weddle and Gurley with his injury.

On the positive: Kupp back, Weddle as a possible huge upgrade over Joyner and hopefully Talib healthy all year which by the numbers (last year when he played) makes us a top 5 defense as we saw on the playoffs and Super Bowl.

I honestly think our defense will be a top unit if Donald and our secondary stay healthy.

Our offensive scheme minimizes the need for dominate lineman with the zone running, play action, WR sweeps, and overall deception. But Allen is unproven and if he plays like he did last year in preseason we are going to struggle out of the gate vs some tough teams. Not to mention Noteboom can pass block but unproven blowing open holes like Saffold could.

The Good news is we have a lot of options at OL such as moving Blythe in at center if needed and a host of young guards to plug in at either guard spot.

Just my 2 cents worth.
Excellent reply, TexasRam.

Yeah, it’s all subjective, huh?

About Allen, Boom, and Kiser. Well, they’re unproven and yet they’re kinda not unproven.

What I mean is that both Boom and Allen did have cameo appearances last year and looked good while doing so. All three were coached up and observed all year by some highly respected coaches. IOW, none are exactly rookies straight off of a college campus.

I’m pretty comfortable with all three as starters. In fact, this is the way all teams would like to bring rookies along if they only could.
 

Ram65

How fast is Brandin Cooks?
Apr 30, 2015
6,116
I see no reason to expect a dropoff in Fowler's play. He played better as the season went on. I'd be surprised if he doesn't get his long term contract. So I'm assuming barring injury or a huge dropoff in production, that Fowler will be the starting WIL (rush LB) in this defense. Then you have Donald and Gaines inside with Brockers playing the DE opposite Fowler. Brockers is the weak link in the Dline. Behind him you have JFM, with Obo behind Fowler.

I think they need to start someone else instead of Brockers who isn't worth the $10.7M cap hit he carries. No way he's on the team next year. If he's released that would carry a dead cap of about $3M but they can spread that over 2 years. Once Brockers is off the books they have the money to extend Fowler who is making $9M this year and have money left over. JFM outplayed Brockers last year in his limited snaps. He looks faster and stronger. Or they could start Obo there with JFM backing up both Obo and Fowler. Their second backup could be Ebukam who is their starting SAM LB. But with the addition of Clay Mathews he can take over the SAM position if it ever came to that.

My point is the obvious weak link in the Dline is Brockers. He's under performing in relation to his salary. He's in a contract year and IMO not expected back next year. Do you continue to carry him all year or do they cut their losses and move on with their options?
I thought at times Brockers was over rated a little in the past. Granted it's hard to tell everything that goes on in the trenches. He was steady but not great by any means. As @Akrasian Rams stated he had a weight change and injuries that looked to effect his play last year. I think he bounces back this year being a contract year, with better health and having more experience at DE. I do think it's his last year as a Ram.

I can't see the Rams cutting or trading him this year. He is a leader and respected player on the Rams. It would send a bad message to the team. It will be interesting to see how they split the playing time with him and JFM. Brockers played about 67% to almost 30% for JFM. Look for Brockers to have a bounce back year. Snap counts could tell how much they like JFM.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/ram/2018-snap-counts.htm
 
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MauiRam

Rookie
May 26, 2013
167
Until last season, Brockers was always a plus. At the team's request, he lost a bunch of weight, and then had nagging injuries all year hurting his performance. I suspect he'll have gained back some of the weight at least. We'll see about the injuries. But when he's been healthy in the past, his salary is not out of line to his value. I expect him to be a good player for the team in 2019. Then he will likely be signed elsewhere - but remember - if they cut him, they do not get a comp pick. If his contract expires, I expect a 4th or 5th for him, which is gold to the Rams.
Brockers is 28 and ostensibly still in his prime years. He has been a solid player for us, and a veteran presence in locker room. He was banged up somewhat last year - add to that losing the weight, and he got pushed around a bit. Brockers at 319-321 lbs. was better as a down DT/NT. Phillips in wanting to show different looks tried Brockers at DE to mix things up.

The shell game concept is great as in keep them guessing, but Brockers is IMO is better suited for the middle. It will be interesting to see how he is used this season - maybe he comes in heavier. Main thing is that where ever he is asked to play he is healthy.

I suppose it is possible if near the end of camp/preseason a couple of younger players really flash, Brockers could be traded for a draft pick or player. Who knows?

By: Cameron DaSilva | March 11, 2019

Michael Brockers is one of the longest-tenured players on the Los Angeles Rams’ roster, spending the last seven years with the team. He’s under contract for one more year, owning a cap hit of $11 million and a base salary of $7.78 million in 2019.

The Rams could use an infusion of cash after signing Eric Weddle and Dante Fowler Jr., but it sounds like that won’t come from Brockers. Despite being able to save $10.25 million by releasing or trading him, the Rams have no plans to do so.

Keeping him at his current $11 million cap hit would be a curious move with a deep class of free agents and draft prospects available this year. Perhaps they want to let him play out his contract and get a compensatory pick if he leaves next year, but there are ways to upgrade his position for far less than $11 million.

This comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering the opportunity for Los Angeles to free up more than $10 million in cap space with one move. Brockers had a down year in 2018, tying a career-low with four quarterback hits and posting just one sack. His four tackles for loss were half as many as he had in 2017.

The Rams moved him from nose tackle to defensive end shortly into their transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense and while it worked well initially, he isn’t a great fit in a 3-4 scheme. Los Angeles drafted John Franklin-Myers in the fourth round last year, presumably as a future replacement for Brockers at defensive end.
 
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Crazy-Legs

UDFA
Apr 30, 2019
13
The D played lights out in the playoffs and gave us more than an opportunity to win the SB...

It's Goff\McVay that needs to step up IMO. Goff missed too many reads in the SB and IMO we could of run for a heck of a lot more yards via NE. We didn't seem committed to the run. Why he gave up on CJ is beyond me. The man was tearing it up in the playoffs and then just disappeared in the SB. 7 carries to Gurley's 10 killed us. CJ should of had 20+ carries in that game (after Gurley's first few attempts he should of been shown the bench). I knew in the 1st Q we were not going to win that game. I'm sure many of you here felt the same thing. Our game plan\O\play calling was not clicking like it should of...

We have more than enough talent on D to get back to the big dance. IMO it's all about our QB\game plan\play calling moving forward...
 
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shovelpass

Hall of Fame
Aug 4, 2014
2,942
We didn't seem committed to the run. Why he gave up on CJ is beyond me. The man was tearing it up in the playoffs and then just disappeared in the SB. 7 carries to Gurley's 10 killed us. CJ should of had 20+ carries in that game (after Gurley's first few attempts he should of been shown the bench).
:deadhorse:

Well the last time CJ touched the ball he fumbled at the Rams 16. Before that he wasn't doing too well on the ground, neither of them were. 2.8-ypc vs the Saints isn't exactly "tearing it up", of course it looked good compared to Gurley's poor performance. At least Gurley managed to get chunk yards in the SB, a 16 yarder, and a 13 that was called back. Overall the Oline played poorly in both pass pro and run blocking, the defense was in the backfield often, there were numerous penalties on the oline, it seems like McVay wanted to avoid 3rd and long situations. Unfortunately the Pats were ready, they truly played a great defensive game, both physically and mentally. I think this clip somewhat summarizes the issues we had blocking the Pats, mental errors and outmatched physically.

Blythe, Sullivan, Saffold, Higbee :palm:
 

LARAMSinFeb.

Pro Bowler
Mar 27, 2016
1,531
Wow, watch Higbee get pancaked on that play.
Apparently there were a lot of tells in that game, but I think essentially it was our OL/blocking that just wasn't up to the high-pressure tactics the Pats went with. We just didn't find an answer to that after the Bears/Eagles, and the Pats exploited it.

Of course subsequently everyone else on the O looked bad as a result. We all love Kromer, but maybe he's the one with the most work cut out for him this off season? Especially seeing as how that position group has the most unproven talent....
 

oldnotdead

Starter
May 16, 2019
578
Yes the Pats played smash-mouth football and the oline wasn't up to it. The interior of the oline definitely played poorly. They got very little movement up front and the run game disappeared and made the Ram's one dimensional.

Many on this board question my emphasis on rebuilding the oline. Get bigger and stronger across the board inside and improve execution. Looking at the play in this thread without knowing the actual line call, it looks like a horizontal zone concept to the left. If that was indeed the call and it looks like it from the play of Saffold and Sullivan, then the guy that made the tackle did so because Blythe blew his assignment. Whether he wasn't quick enough or misunderstood his assignment it can't be determined without knowing the actual line call. But both Sullivan and Saffold appear to step to their left which leaves Blythe to plug that gap. Blythe simply gets pushed out of the way like he wasn't there. That's the guy that makes the tackle. The oline must play as a unit. A weak link can lead to plays getting blown up just like the one in the clip. This is precisely why Blythe needs to be replaced. I've seen too many of these examples. You can't have this type of inconsistent play.

Part of the problem in that play was Goff. He should have read they were coming (7 guys on the LOS) and audibled out.
 

rams1fan

Starter
Aug 8, 2018
577
We shouldn't forget about the upgrade at back up QB.

Bortles can win games. If the unspeakable happens, I'm fairly comfortable with him stepping in and playing to win.

Now that hes out of that Circus in Miami. He has a great shot at resurrecting his career.
Bortles played for Jacksonville. Not a team I would call a circus either. Bortles was good enuff to got them to the AFC championship two years ago.
 

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