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Friday, March 31, 2023

Rams’ roster makeover has been a key to staying super

Rams' Roster Makeover Has Been A Key To Staying Super

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In the popular plot line, next Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium finds the Rams of Sean McVay and Aaron Donald trying to erase past disappointment when they play in their second Super Bowl.

But is it really the second Super Bowl for that Rams team, or the first Super Bowl for a new Rams team?

Maybe the most striking thing about the Rams who lost to the New England Patriots 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII and the Rams who face the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI is how much of the roster is new in just III years.

Of the 61 players who saw action for the Rams in the 2018 season, only 12 are still with the team. Of the 25 offensive, defensive and key kicking-game starters against the Patriots, only five are expected to play the same roles against the Bengals. That doesn’t count wide receivers Cooper Kupp, who missed the first Super Bowl with a knee injury, and Robert Woods, out of this one for the same reason, but still.

By contrast, eight of the Patriots’ 22 offensive and defensive starters in that Super Bowl are still starting for New England.

“Strangely enough, even though we’re only three years removed from playing in the Super Bowl, the teams are very different,” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said Wednesday. “I think it’s an amazing testament to how quickly the NFL changes, to see the differences in those teams.”

It’s the work of Les Snead, in his 10th season as Rams general manager, and McVay, who has gone to the playoffs in four of five seasons as Rams coach.

McVay said the two teams share “foundational parts” in the persons of Woods and Kupp, defensive tackle Donald, tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein, tight end Tyler Higbee and punter Johnny Hekker.

But the hope of winning one more game in these playoffs rests with star newcomers like quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., outside linebackers Von Miller and Leonard Floyd, cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Plus safety Eric Weddle, who has been a one-man roster makeover. Weddle joined the Rams as a free agent, retired and un-retired — all since 2018.

As McVay points out, Snead has used practically every known mechanism for replacing and acquiring players.

World Nation News Desk
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