The Los Angeles Rams have started the season off with a 7-3 record with new quarterback Matthew Stafford at the helm. The Rams mentality has been going “all in” this year by trading for Stafford, Sony Michel, and Von Miller and signing Odell Beckham Jr., but they haven’t been the dominant team they’d hoped to be. Looking to the second half of the season they have some tough games coming up and need to win most of them to compete with Arizona for the division. That being said, let’s dive deep into the Rams’ offensive, defensive, and special teams performance so far this year. Each unit will come out as a separate article so be on the lookout for all 3. The special teams unit has improved from last year, but still isn’t that great.
Matt Gay has been one of the NFL’s best kickers this year, and has proved himself to be a great signing. He’s second in the league in field goal percentage and a long of 54 yards. So far he’s only missed one field goal and one extra point, so he’s done all they’ve asked him to do when it comes to field goals. Kickoff has been a different story, as he ranks 23rd in touchback percentage, which isn’t necessarily the worst. Overall, Gay has been great for the team and provided them consistency at kicker that they haven’t had in a while.
Johnny Hekker restructured his contract to stay with the team this offseason after a down year last year. Currently he ranks 32nd in yards per punt with 43.1, so keeping him over Bojorquez might not have been the best idea. In fact, Bojorquez currently has the 6th best yards per punt and the longest punt with 82 yards, so trading him might not have been the best idea. Thankfully the Rams haven’t been reliant on him that much so his poor performance has been overshadowed.
Kick/Punt returner has possibly been the Rams’ weakest position this year. Tutu Atwell was supposed to fill the void left by Nsimba Webster, but when healthy averaged 5.4 yards per return. No one on the team has impressed when it comes to returns which leads McVay to put Cooper Kupp on the field. The Rams’ longest return of a punt or kickoff so far is 28 yards, and Tutu Atwell’s and Jake Funk’s seasons ended in injuries, leaving their options even slimmer. They’ve had JJ Koski, Buddy Howell, and Ben Skowronek fill in, none of whom have shown promise returning. Unless Atwell develops into a good returner next season, this is a position of need on special teams.
Overall, the special teams unit is nothing special at all. Matt Gay is the only one with great performance so far this season with Punting and Kick returning lacking. The decision to keep Hekker over Bojorquez might have hurt this team for the future as Bojo is currently doing well on the Packers. Joe DeCamillis hasn’t been the best special teams coordinator, and it especially showed in the Lions game. If I were to give them a grade on the year so far it’d be a C due to Gay’s great performance at kicker.