Readers had a lot on their minds after the Rams and Chargers’ recent games. Rams Beat Writer Gary Klein, Chargers Beat Writer Jeff Miller and NFL Beat Writer Sam Farmer answer some questions:
Brandon Staley’s decision to pick first place at the end of the game was odd to say the least. What reason can he use as an excuse?
David Sanchez, Canoga Park
Miller: Analytically, there was nothing unusual about Staley’s decision. Among the fourth-down models that predict potential outcomes, two of the most prominent — ESPN and Ben Baldwin — advocated trying there. Next Gen Stats had the choice closer to a toss-up. The week before, Staley made the same decision in a similar situation in Houston. The offense in this case picked up the first down and then folded the game. Since this decision worked, no one said a word about it.
Why didn’t Sean McVay anticipate the offensive line’s apparent demise?
Scott Templeton, Nine Mile Falls
Small: I don’t know that I would say that McVay or anyone else could foresee an “obvious coming downfall.” Tackle Andrew Whitworth retired after last season and right-back Austin Corbett signed a lucrative contract with the Carolina Panthers. The Rams re-signed left tackle Joe Noteboom, who was groomed as Whitworth’s backup, and center Brian Allen, and used their first pick in the draft — a third-round pick — to select Wisconsin lineman Logan Bruss. Noteboom and veteran Rob Havenstein looked like they would be solid in tackle, left guard David Edwards was a returning starter at left guard. But injuries thwarted any plan. Bruss’ season ended preseason, Allen was injured in the opener, David Edwards suffered a concussion in practice before the game against the 49ers, and Coleman Shelton was injured during that game. Noteboom and Havenstein did not perform as well as expected.
Do they play a black national anthem before every game?
Neil Jurgensen, Canoga Park
Farmer: No, the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is not played before every game, only before marquee league events. This is how the kickoff opener was played before the draft — Buffalo at the Rams — and is played before the Super Bowl. That’s what the NFL has been doing since the 2020 season.
What’s the deal with being involved with Cam Akers? For me he is the worst running back we have. No power, no burst and poor decision making on cuts. He had three consecutive negative run plays.
Russell Hosaka, Redondo Beach
Small: Akers and Darrell Henderson opened the season as running backs for the Rams, with Malcolm Smith joining a few weeks ago. Akers has 51 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown, while Henderson has 34 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown. Henderson started the first three games, Akers the last two. McVay said earlier in the season that Akers needed to demonstrate more urgency. It looked like he got the message when he ran well against the Arizona Cardinals – but then he fumbled at the goal line. Don’t minimize how poor offensive line play affects running backs. But Akers certainly needs to play better.
Why praise Nasir Adderley who is the weak link in the secondary? He gets out of position and misses numerous duels. He can’t hold the edge and misreads a lot of plays. When is JT Woods expected to return? He must be better than Adderley.
Harvey Smith, Dayton, Nevada
Miller: They’re on to something, and the Chargers agree, given that Adderley was benched against Cleveland in favor of Alohi Gilman on Sunday. I would expect Gilman to stay in the lineup against Denver this week. As for Woods, the Chargers don’t think he’s any better than Adderley. They think he’s not good enough at this point to be active on game days every week. Woods was a healthy scratch in three of the first five games.
The Rams seem completely lifeless. Is there hope for them this season? With their schedule remaining, the best scenario seems like 9-8. But wouldn’t be shocked if they finish 6-11.
Francisco Marquez, Victorville
Small: The Rams offense is considered lifeless — they’ve had a touchdown in the last nine quarters — but I wouldn’t say the same about defense. But you’re right about the schedule. The Rams should beat Carolina, who just fired her coach and is without her top two quarterbacks. But after that it’s the 49ers, in Tampa Bay, the Cardinals, in New Orleans, in Kansas City and the Seahawks and Raiders before it goes to Green Bay. The Rams end up against the Broncos, the Chargers and the Seahawks. I would expect the Rams to be busy making moves during the week of their opening date and before the Nov. 1 close.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-10-11/nfl-readers-qa-chargers-brandon-staley-rams-sean-mcvay-coaches-mistakes NFL readers Q&A: What’s up with Chargers coach and the Rams?