The Rams are two games under .500 for the first time under coach Sean McVay, and the 5-3 Chargers have something to do with an away game at the San Francisco 49ers next on the agenda. Rams beat writer Gary Klein and Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller address week 10 fan concerns and questions:
If you had to pick a coach for your team between Chargers coach Brandon Staley and Rams coach Sean McVay today, who would you choose and why?
Vic Turner, Los Angeles
Small: That’s not a very difficult question: Sean McVay. In his first five seasons, he led the Rams to two Super Bowl appearances, one of which he won. The Rams are definitely struggling this season, but McVay has proven himself. Staley, who benefited from the McVay association, could prove to be an excellent coach. But at this point he has yet to lead a team to the playoffs.
Miller: McVay would be the obvious choice for me given the success he’s had with the Rams. Gary jotted down everything his teams accomplished in a short amount of time. It’s too early for Staley to know what kind of head coaching career he will have in the NFL. I would go with the tried and tested goods.
Do you think this will be Sean McVay’s final year because he’s heading into TV, or will he stay for a rebuild?
Brian Grossman, Twentynine Palm
Small: This won’t be Sean McVay’s last year. As long as Matthew Stafford is playing for the Rams, McVay will be the coach.
How can they prevent Christian McCaffrey from setting an NFL rushing record in a game? They are soft at the edges and weak in the middle. The defense has been terrible at tackling for at least the past 10 years, but Staley has done nothing to address that issue. This will show if Staley has good defensive mind or bad.
Harvey Smith, Dayton, Nev.
Miller: Believe it or not, there are three teams — Bears, Lions, Texans — that have been worse than the Chargers this season against the run. These teams are a combined 6-18-1. The most glaring problem the Chargers have with their rushing defense is on the edge against Khalil Mack. They were brutally bad at putting the edge over there and that led to several big plays. The absence of Joey Bosa didn’t help, but the players who put them there just aren’t performing. I would expect Christian McCaffrey to have a big day on Sunday.
With injuries mounting (particularly on offense) and missing the deadline, is Odell Beckham Jr. a possibility for the Chargers? With [Chargers GM Tom] I wasn’t expecting Telesco’s commercial resume anything, but thought he might be able to sign? i get [the salary] Cap is a big issue, but so is it for the Rams (who have also been linked to OBJ)?
Dan Lundean, Hudson, Wisc.
Miller: I don’t think the Chargers will be in Odell Beckham Jr. because they expect Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to return in the coming weeks. It’s still unclear how soon Beckham will be ready to play.
The Rams need to “integrate” Akers into the running game very quickly! Otherwise, they will see their season go by very quickly if they haven’t already. Can you? There must be some kind of running game!
George Athans, Woodland Hills
Small: Cam Akers returned from his two-game exile and gained three yards in five carries against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So it remains to be seen what role he will play in the future. Coach Sean McVay said Wednesday that rookie running back Kyren Williams could be added to the roster from injured reserve this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Will the Chargers do anything to build a following in SoCal?
Brian Grossman, Twentynine Palm
Miller: The Chargers have a following in SoCal. Their base in LA will continue to grow the longer they’re here. The NFL left LA for 20 years and then came back with two teams when most football fans here weren’t exactly craving a team. This stuff takes time. The Chargers had a decent fan turnout Sunday in Atlanta. You wouldn’t have seen that in 2017, her first year in LA
Not even deep passes tries Sunday! Not even back with Van Jefferson. Is that an admission (or a fear) that the line can’t last long enough for even one try? McVay was outcoached!
George Athans, Woodland Hills
Small: The Rams have completed just one long pass this season, a nice throw from Matthew Stafford to pro Tutu Atwell as a sophomore against the Dallas Cowboys. But that’s it. Atwell, a second-round draft pick in 2021, was inactive for the second time this season against the Buccaneers. Van Jefferson came from injured reserve two weeks ago but missed a goal against the San Francisco 49ers. He was tackled several times against the Buccaneers but had no catches. I’m not sure you can say that McVay has been outcoached against the Buccaneers as many times as he has been out-Brady by one of the greatest players in NFL history.
What role will the Rams’ offseason activities play this season? The discussion of McVay being a commentator, his marriage, Aaron Donald’s contract, Stafford’s ads, etc. These are all beautiful things in their own right and well deserved and deserved for the organization as a whole. But do you think the cumulative effect has kept the Rams from preparing for this season?
Andy Lieber, Potomac, MD.
Small: No, I don’t think all of those things were distractions that hurt the Rams’ readiness for this season. I think the physical and mental toll it takes to win a Super Bowl — and the brief turnaround that follows as a result of success — helps explain why no team has repeated the title since the 2004 season.
how did [Joe] Lombardi made Justin Herbert look worse this year, his third, than his first two years? Or is it that Keenan [Allen]plus Mike [Williams] are such weapons that the talent drop is so noticeable?
Martin Schmidt, San Diego
Miller: Keenan Allen has played 45 snaps this season. In eight games last year, he had 57 receptions for 600 yards. His absence was huge, and much more so, in terms of impact on Herbert’s performance. Herbert also had to deal with a serious injury for the first time in his NFL career. If anything, that injury makes him and his teammates look worse, not offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Why did the Rams waste a second-round draft pick on Tutu Atwell? I think I have a better chance of making a difference than this guy. … Would have been nice to draft an offensive lineman with that pick.
Brian Haueter, California
Small: Sean McVay obviously wanted a character on offense who was outside the box. And the Rams seem proud to show they can take on and develop overlooked players. But the selection of the fast but diminutive Atwell shocked many. Atwell failed to crack receiver rotation as a rookie and suffered a season-ending shoulder injury while returning a kick. He failed to beat Brandon Powell as a kick returner and has only one catch in two seasons. Of course, in hindsight, the Rams would have been better off picking a lineman.
Why didn’t Cooper Kupp cut in on that jet sweep on the Rams’ final drive and fight for first place? That’s the first mental flaw I’ve seen in him. A first down wins the game, and cutting inside keeps you inbounds and gives you a chance at first down.
Phil Dunn, Sacramento
Small: I wouldn’t classify Kupp’s decision as a fallacy. He got five yards from the end, but didn’t want to turn up and risk being hit wide, which would have stopped the clock. And retreating in that situation, while racing full throttle across the width of the field and needing a hard stake on the injured right ankle, probably didn’t seem feasible at the moment.
Can the Chargers establish a rungame against the 49ers?
George Morton, San Diego
Miller: I doubt it. They haven’t been consistent against any team other than Cleveland, and the 49ers are No. 1 in the NFL versus the run. This is another game where Austin Ekeler’s greatest impact comes as a receiver rather than a runner.
It’s hard to imagine that, having lost so many key players on the Super Bowl team, the Rams wouldn’t know they couldn’t exist without them. Was this a throwaway season? How do teams like the KC Chiefs keep their stars?
Steven Cat, Los Angeles
Small: The Rams kept their stars. They signed quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald to overtime and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who is still under contract. They traded Robert Woods for economic reasons and thought Allen Robinson would be an upgrade in some ways. The same goes for younger Joe Noteboom, who takes over left tackle for the retiring Andrew Whitworth. No one considered this a “throw away season” before it started. It remains to be seen whether this will turn out to be the case.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-11-10/nfl-q-a-la-best-coach-rams-sean-mcvay-chargers-brandon-staley Who’s your coach: Rams’ Sean McVay or Chargers’ Brandon Staley?