The Rams struggled mightily last season in their first year back in Los Angeles and a film crew was there to document it all. The second season of Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing,’ captured every detail of the Rams’ 4-12 campaign that concluded with the firing of head coach Jeff Fisher.
Though an abysmal offensive unit that ranked dead last in the NFL was at the center of the team’s woes, other issues were also on full display.
As a team with relocation eventually on the horizon, the Oakland Raiders would do well to glean certain lessons from the behind-the-scenes look at the Rams’ disastrous season.
Here are three key takeaways that the Silver and Black should take notice of:
1) Don’t underestimate the toll that relocation can take on a franchise
During last summer’s offseason program, Coach Fisher placed a heavy emphasis on the burden that relocation would put on his team’s shoulders, but pleaded with his group to rise above it. “The rest of the league doesn’t give a shit about the fact that we’re making seven moves in three months,” he told his team in the series premiere.
The Rams appeared to be energized out of the gate, winning three of their first four games, causing Los Angeles, and the entire NFL community to believe that a Case Keenum-led team just might be legit playoff contenders.
As it turns out, that was pipe-dream.
A lackluster offense and seemingly endless travel that included a week-six game in London resulted in only one more win for the Rams in the remaining twelve games.
The Raiders have significantly more talent on the offensive side of the ball than the Rams, that much is obvious. But the grind of a relocation is tangible and the Raiders would do well to begin to mentally prepare themselves for the transformation sooner rather than later.
2) Do what ever is necessary to keep the offense intact
Admittedly, the Raiders seem to have a keen understanding of this already. The team re-signed two key pieces this offseason, locking up Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson for the foreseeable future. The still-to-come Amari Cooper deal will be trickier, as the team also needs to lock up last year’s DPOY in Khalil Mack.
The team is, however, lightyears ahead of the Rams in terms of every offensive position group. The offensive line was ranked fourth by Pro Football Focus, while the Rams was a lowly 27th. Jared Goff looked lost in his rookie year, while Carr was an MVP candidate. Cooper and Michael Crabtree are a huge upgrade over Robert Woods and Tavon Austin.
The team has done a solid job putting together the unit, but they shouldn’t take their explosive unit for granted.
The Rams’ offense in “All or Nothing” was an example of what can happen if you do.
The unit was largely unwatchable, ranking dead last in points-per-game and yards-per-game, while finishing 31st in passing and rushing yards. Much of the blame falls on the vanilla play-calling of former offensive coordinator Rob Boras and the coaching style of Jeff Fisher, who has famously been the coach for four of the 12 worst rushing seasons in NFL history.
Having great players isn’t enough; Todd Downing and Jack Del Rio need to continue to be innovative in their approach to play calling and offensive creativity going forward.
3) Value substance over flash
In typical Los Angeles fashion, the Rams have made several high profile moves over the last two seasons, and they haven’t appeared to pay off.
In 2015, the team boldly drafted Georgia RB Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick, despite his recovery from an ACL injury. Initially, that seemed a stroke of genius as Gurley won OROTY honors. Last season he faltered however, averaging a terrible 3.2 yards per carry and failing to register 1,000 yards. The verdict is still out on whether or not Gurley is to blame.
The truly horrendous decision by the Rams front office came last offseason, when the team gave up a fortune to land Cal QB Goff, who was clearly a below-average starter last year. With the picks the Titans received in that trade, they have managed to draft All-Pro RT Jack Conklin, WR Corey Davis, RB Derrick Henry, TE Jonnu Smith and DT Austin Johnson. You can decide for yourself who got the better end of that deal.
So while the Rams’ front office tries to conceal its harsh roster makeup with pre-game shows featuring the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and splash moves like acquiring the number one pick, the Raiders are much better off sticking to what has been working for them over the past several seasons.
Most of the Black Hole will follow the team wherever it goes, the Las Vegas fans don’t need to be won over by rockstars or splashy draft day trades. A few more 12-4 seasons will do just fine.
Would you want to watch the Raiders’ move to Vegas documented on a future season of "All or Nothing?"
This poll is closed
No, too much of a distraction