After winning the Super Bowl a season ago, everything seemed to go awry for the Los Angeles Rams in 2022. Injuries, inconsistent performances, and other factors led to the Rams finishing the regular season with a 5-12 record.
Following a disappointing season, many believe that the Rams are trending downward in the coming years. Rather than taking a negative approach like many are, let’s take a glass-half-full approach for the Rams.
With that in mind, here are five reasons for hope for the Rams in 2023.
Sean McVay is returning
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Near the end of the regular season, there were murmurs that Sean McVay could consider stepping away from coaching before next season. But after taking some time to consider his future, McVay announced that he’s returning in 2023 and fans should be ecstatic with that news.
Besides McVay returning, he’s expected to make a variety of changes to his coaching staff, including the offensive coordinator position. The Rams are going to get a motivated and refreshed McVay in 2023, which is a positive sign for a team looking to get back into contention next season.
Matthew Stafford is expected to be back
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Along with McVay, Matthew Stafford is expected back under center for the Rams in 2023. Stafford was limited to nine games this season due to a variety of neck and head injuries, but he seems to be confident that he’ll be 100% healthy next season.
The veteran signal-caller wasn’t able to get a full offseason ahead of the 2022 season due to an elbow injury, so there’s a chance he gets a fully healthy offseason before next season. Even though Stafford was inconsistent this season, fans should be confident that he can bounce back in 2023.
The running game showed signs of life to end the season
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The Rams were able to secure a Super Bowl victory in 2021 without a consistent running game, with Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers splitting the backfield workload. While Henderson and Akers shared touches again in 2022, it was Akers who showed signs of improvement down the stretch.
With Henderson being released earlier in the season and rookie Kyren Williams not showing enough to earn meaningful snaps, Akers led the way in the final six weeks, accruing 512 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 104 attempts. Regardless of whether or not the Rams add another running back this offseason, there is reason to believe that the ground game could be more effective in 2023.
It's hard to imagine the Rams endure more injuries in 2023
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During McVay’s tenure with the Rams, the team has had some fortunate luck when it comes to injuries. That was until this season and plenty of notable players were sidelined for an extended period of time.
Aside from Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Joseph Noteboom, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, and Jordan Fuller (among others), all missed multiple weeks for the Rams this season. After enduring a plethora of injuries this season, the Rams should expect a cleaner bill of health in 2023.
The Rams got a good look at some of their younger players this season
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The only positive that came out of the endless number of injuries that occurred was the Rams’ ability to get a good look at some of the younger players on the roster. Guys like Tutu Atwell, Cobie Durant, and Greg Gaines benefited from getting more playing time this season.
Gaines was already starting before the injuries to Donald and Robinson, but he made strides in his game while they were out. Meanwhile, Atwell could have an expanded role with Stafford operating the offense and Durant proved he can be a long-time starter at cornerback moving forward.