The Los Angeles Rams open training camp on July 27 at University of California, Irvine. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
Can running back Todd Gurley II power the Rams to a second consecutive Super Bowl?
Questions remain about the health of Gurley’s left knee after the All-Pro running back was sidelined for the final two games of the regular season, struggled in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl LIII, then did not participate in football activities throughout the offseason program. Over the last two seasons, Gurley has rushed for 2,556 yards and 30 touchdowns and caught 123 passes for 1,368 yards and 10 touchdowns. It’s unclear if Gurley will be able to shoulder a similar load going forward.
What does Jared Goff need to do to get a contract extension in 2020?
Carson Wentz, who was drafted second overall in 2016 behind Goff, received a four-year extension that includes a record-breaking $107.9 million as he enters his fourth season. So when will Goff get paid? It’s not likely to happen until 2020, and it doesn’t hinge on Goff proving he is worth the money — but is more about when the Rams will have the funds available. Nevertheless, Goff can only help his cause if he leads the team to a third consecutive division title and deep playoff run.
Can the Rams rebound from a demoralizing loss in Super Bowl LIII?
Yes. The Rams did not spend the offseason moping about their 13-3 loss to the Patriots, but instead pointed to the experience as a positive one. In two seasons under McVay, the Rams turned from a 4-12 team to back-to-back division winners and made a Super Bowl appearance. Confidence remains high that they can not only bounce back, but make another run as their starting personnel remains mostly the same, with exception of two new starters on the offensive line, and the addition of a few veterans on defense.
How will Sean McVay evolve?
The offensive guru saw his system completely derailed in the Super Bowl and McVay relied mostly on 11 personnel (three receivers, a tight end and a running back) throughout last season, but has already discussed a few options for mixing it up in 2019. That could include including using two tight ends — Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett (the standout player of the offseason), or utilizing two backs — Gurley and Henderson. McVay’s system — running almost every play with the same personnel — is, in part, why he has been so successful. Everything looks the same. But McVay must find ways to introduce new wrinkles and involve more playmakers.