The Rams offense caught fire at the end of last season. This was primarily due to the connection Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp developed over the season. There are many moving parts, but the Stafford/Kupp connection is what gets the Rams out of multiple tough spots. We are now nearing training camp, and connections are sure to be made. They likely won’t be on the same level as the triple crown duo, but any strides made are positive strides. Chemistry is key in the NFL.
With that being said, let’s take a look at each of the Rams’ offensive position groups. I will be giving you the projected starters of each group and a closer look at battles for starting positions.
The QB room for the Rams consists of Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, and Bryce Perkins. Stafford is a captain and a locker room leader, as well as a vet in the NFL. John Wolford is a fan favorite and has a few meaningful snaps under his belt. Wolford stepped up in 2020 when Jared Goff was dealing with an injured finger. Wolford sort of got the ball rolling for McVay, showing him that he can win without Goff under center. Bryce Perkins is a dual-threat QB, and lit had a noticeable preseason in 2021.
Stafford is the clear QB1 for the Rams. Though Wolford and Perkins have desirable traits, the Rams would still be in deep water if Matthew Stafford were to get hurt.
Projected Starter: Matthew Stafford
The Rams offense has been heavily based around the run in prior years. Typically coming out of the 11 personnel under center, the Rams are frequently threatening to run the ball. This allows them to use their RBs in a variety of ways. Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Kyren Williams, Jake Funk, Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and A.J. Rose are all Rams running backs. Cam Akers returned for the last stretch of last season after tearing his Achilles in training camp before the season. This was an insane recovery time, and some worry it could impact his future. Akers played well considering the limited snaps he took, and he is hungrier than ever.
Darrell Henderson has been an impactful RB 2 for the Rams, but his contract is coming up. This will likely be his last season as a Ram but expect him to still have a role. Kyren Williams, drafted by the Rams in the 5th round this year, is expected to become the Rams’ RB2 after this season. Williams excels at catching the ball and pass blocking, two very useful aspects of the Rams’ offense. Jake Funk will likely take on a special teams role. Jones, Calais, and Rose will likely be fighting for a roster spot.
Projected Starter: Cam Akers
The heart of the Rams offense is Cooper Kupp. Kupp was the Offensive Player of the Year in 2021 and a triple crown winner. Kupp is dangerous for a variety of reasons. He is fantastic after the catch, blocks like a tight end, catches almost everything that comes his way, is a “team-first” guy, and has a quarterback’s brain. He typically lines up in the slot to provide better blocking and mismatches with linebackers covering him. Kupp opens things up for his outside guys. Allen Robinson II is a huge pickup from this offseason. Robert Woods is no longer a Ram, meaning the WR2 spot is up for grabs. Robinson is the favorite to be the yang to Kupp’s yin.
Allen Robinson brings a bit of a larger frame to the table. He does very well at going up and grabbing contested catches. The move for him was likely in part due to Stafford’s gunslinger mentality. Stafford was tied for most interceptions in the league last year, there were many times where he went ahead and chucked it on 3rd down in hopes of a first down at best, an arm punt at worst. Van Jefferson is slowly getting more love. He also had a part to play in dealing of Robert Woods. Their styles are similar, Jefferson is a route technician as is Woods. Jefferson is on an incline, and we should see the same trend this year.
Ben Skowronek had a tough playoff stretch in his rookie year, but he showed he was valuable on special teams. Tutu Atwell was injured for most of his rookie season in 2021. Expect to see more of him on gadget plays this upcoming season. He has track speed. Brandon Powell was the returner for the Rams last year, he and Atwell will likely compete for that spot. Other names include Jackson Warren, J.J. Koski, Landen Akers, Mac Pircher and Lance McCutcheon.
Projected Starters: Kupp / Robinson / Jefferson
Tyler Higbee is an underrated part of the Rams offense. He is a willing blocker and a fine receiver. Still, he is a large part of the offense. Kendall Blanton stepped up in the Super Bowl to replace the injured Higbee. He and Brycen Hopkins will take snaps at TE2 this season. Jacob Harris is going into his second year, he is a TE/WR hybrid. His athleticism is something to be excited about, it just needs to translate onto the field. Other tight ends include Kyle Markway, Jared Pinkney, Jamal Pettigrew and Roger Carter.
Projected Starter: Tyler Higbee
Joe Noteboom was extended this offseason despite starting only a few games. He is taking over for Andrew Whitworth, the future Hall of Famer. These are big shoes to fill. Don’t expect All-Pro level play out the gate from Noteboom. I think he will be just fine, but facing NFL level pass rushers week in and week out can get difficult. David Edwards had a good year at LG for the Rams and will continue to play there this season. Brian Allen is sticking around after signing a new deal. He and Stafford’s continuity will continue for the foreseeable future.
Logan Bruss and Bobby Evans are expected to fight for the starting RG spot for the 2022 season. Evans has experience in the system and is originally a tackle, but there are questions about why he hasn’t reached his third-round pick potential. The Rams selected Bruss with their first pick in 2022, clearly with high expectations. He is currently the favorite to start week one. Rob Havenstein will continue to anchor the right side of the Rams offensive line, as he has since the 2015 season.
The Rams’ depth at OL is something to note, there are many question marks at the second and third spots on the depth chart. The primary reason is a lack of experience, which isn’t uncommon for offensive line groups. If there are a few injuries on the Rams’ front, it will take a lot to jump over that hurdle.
Projected Starters: Noteboom / Edwards / Allen / Bruss / Havenstein
Expectations Going Into 2022
Matthew Stafford will likely maintain that gunslinger mentality, but I think the interceptions will trim down this season. MVP level of play isn’t out of the question for Stafford. Cam Akers should finally hit his stride this season. He had all sorts of hype leading up to his injury that held him out for most of last season. Kyren Williams is a name to keep an eye on, he has the potential to be built into the playbook throughout the year.
Allen Robinson is expected to have a bounce-back year, he is now in an offense where he is set up to succeed. Cooper Kupp is going to receive more attention this year, but he should still put up good production. Do not expect another triple crown season, that just doesn’t seem likely. Van Jefferson is another name to keep an eye on. Jefferson may be the one doing a lot of the pre-snap motion, like Robert Woods. And finally, the offensive line. This group should not take too much of a setback, despite losing two starters. The defending champs have a target on their back. The Rams offense has a few new faces and hopes to develop some familiar ones. If they can stay healthy, this offense can rank among one of the most productive offenses in the league.
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