Coming into 2020, one of the core questions was whether the Head Coach Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams could return to the form of 2018 or if they would be the same team as in 2019. However, the true question is where this team lands in comparison to the other teams that Sean McVay has coached since 2017. If the 2020 Rams are the worst team on the list, they could be in for a very bad sequence of seasons as a pattern of diminishing returns has emerged. However, if they do not land as the worst team on the list, they should be able to remain relevant for a number of years to come since the pattern would then become one of maintained relevance. That being said, where does the 2020 team rank? Read on.

Comparing 2020 Rams To Previous Sean McVay Teams

2017

The 2017 Rams were the start of the Sean McVay era and their first season almost could not have gone better. The teams’ offense was in the top-10 again (albeit they were ranked 10th) after two consecutive years of finishing with the worst-ranked offense. It was also the first time they were in the top-10 of the league in the offense since 2006.

Defensively, the Rams were slightly below-average as they were ranked 19th overall. The team ended their season with an 11-5 record and a loss in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

The Rams’ success in 2017 stemmed from a brand new offensive scheme that took the league by storm. Quarterback Jared Goff took a big step and running back Todd Gurley was a great fit for the offense. The roster was also bolstered by the draft and free agency by adding Andrew Whitworth, Robert Woods, John Sullivan, Gerald Everett, and Cooper Kupp.

2018

The Rams were the talk of the NFL in 2018. After a breakout season and a great offseason, the Rams were the favorites to make the Super Bowl for many. The Rams didn’t disappoint as their offense got even better, climbing to become the 2nd-ranked offense overall that season. Defensively, the team ranked the same as in 2017 at 19th overall. The team went 13-3 and ultimately lost the Super Bowl to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The Rams were good again because the offensive scheme was still ahead of defenses for the most part. Additionally, their already good roster was made stuffed with name-brand players such as Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Brandin Cooks. Although the defense was just as good in terms of ranking, the defense still had the ability to play better in certain situations. Also, large chunks of the given-up yards were garbage-time yards that didn’t affect the outcome of the game.

2019

After the Rams lost the Super Bowl, there was hope in Rams Nation that the Rams could avoid a Super Bowl hangover. However, that is exactly what they were in for. The offense slipped to 7th overall but the defense actually ranked a little higher at 13th overall. However, in spite of their rankings, the team finished at 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

The reason the team struggled was due to the fact that the scheme wasn’t as effective as in previous years as teams started to catch on. This resulted in Jared Goff needing to save the day which he could not accomplish. The team started to turn the ball over too much which really hurt. In order to make up for the turnovers, they needed to pass more. In total, the Rams passing play call percentage was ranked 8th-highest in the league. In terms of turnover margin, the team was minus one in 2019 while they were plus 11 in 2018. 

“this team is closest to the 2017 Rams in terms of talent.”

2020

This year’s season was big for the Los Angeles Rams as they need to show an ability to rebound and adapt after a down year. If they could show an ability to do this, they could prove to be relevant for years to come. So far, the Rams offense is ranked 10th while their defense is ranked fourth. Currently, the team is 4-2 and on pace for a 10-6 or 11-5 season. If that happens, the Rams should be in the playoffs. The current pace would be a rebound for 2019.

While the team has lost a few pieces, the core of the 2018 team remains intact. The scheme has found new life and is keeping the ball out of Jared Goff’s hands as the passing play call percentage is now hovering at 29th-lowest in the league. In fact, the percentage of passes is actually ranked lower than it was in 2017 (23rd) and 2018 (24th).

Where Does This Sean McVay Team Rank?

In the end, the 2020 Los Angeles Rams are better than they were in 2019. This is huge because it means that the team under Sean McVay can get better after getting worse. That being said, this team is still not as good as they were in 2018. In fact, this team is closest to the 2017 Rams in terms of talent. 

The 2020 Rams are on pace for an 11-5 or 10-6 record which is roughly the same as the 2017 record of 11-5. The offenses are roughly the same in terms of rank at 10th in 2017 versus 11th in 2020. While the 2020 defense is currently ranked as the 4th-best in the league, it is not making up the turnover differential which is still dead-even at zero.

The kicking situation is also costing the Rams possessions as well. All in all, the 2020 Rams are pretty close to being the 2017 Rams but the circumstances are much different and the expectations are much higher. Will the Rams keep pace and meet those expectations? One can only wait and see.

Ian Van Roy

Author Ian Van Roy

Ian is a hardcore Denver Broncos fan. He spends his Sundays watching the games and follows the team closely. If Pro Football is on, he is watching it.

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