Los Angeles Rams make another big trade
November 4, 2021
The Los Angeles Rams have done it again. In pursuit of Super Bowl LVI to be decided at SoFi Stadium in February, the Rams acquired future Hall of Fame linebacker and edge rusher Von Miller from the Denver Broncos. While the rest of the NFL contenders decided to stand pat before this past Tuesday's trading deadline, Rams General Manager Les Snead and Head Coach Sean McVay went all in to increase the team's chances of not leaving the confines of SoFi throughout the 2021 postseason.
"I think Les (Snead) and George Paton (Broncos General Manager) did an outstanding job working collectively to be able to get something done of this magnitude, but also keep it quiet. I think it's a real credit to both ends of it," said McVay following the trade. "I think he (Miller) brings an element... obviously an incredibly unique football player that not only is a great pass rusher, but he's a complete football player that can really affect and influence an offense in a negative way on all three downs."
Once again, Los Angeles sacrificed future draft capital to reinforce a defense that will have to contend with the likes of quarterbacks Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott during the NFC Playoffs and possibly Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Derek Carr or Lamar Jackson in the NFL Championship game. Coincidentally, this Sunday night the Rams host the Tennessee Titans and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who were strong contenders until this past Sunday when the NFL's premier running back, Derrick Henry, suffered a season-ending injury.
The Titans currently have the best record in the AFC with a 6-2 record, are coming to L.A. with a four-game winning streak to face the Rams, also sporting a four-game winning streak and tied for the NFC's best record at 7-1. The Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals also have 7-1 records, closely followed by the Dallas Cowboys at 6-1 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6-2. The Rams are propelled by shellacking the Houston Texans last Sunday, 38-22.
Obviously, Derrick Henry's injury has had a major impact on the game's expectations as the Rams are now favored by 7.5 points after opening as a 4-point favorite. On Tuesday, Henry had surgery on his right foot and will miss the rest of the season. He was leading the league in multiple rushing stats including 937 yards on 219 carries and 10 touchdowns. The Titans signed future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson to replace Henry. They also signed D'Onta Foreman as added insurance.
Tennessee will have to rely on Tannehill to overcome Henry's absence. He is seventh in the League with 2002 passing yards, has thrown 10 touchdowns but also seven interceptions. He threw two of those in a 34-31 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The greatest pressure he'll receive will be from the Rams now even more formidable defensive frontline. Tannehill has been sacked the second most times this season with 24, only two behind Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
The Rams will throw the NFL's best defensive player Aaron Donald (5 sacks), Leonard Floyd (6.5), Sebastian Joseph-Day (3), Terrell Lewis (3) and with the addition of Von Miller (4.5 sacks with Denver) at Tannehill. Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel, Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing and staff will need to work overtime in game-planning for the Rams defensive wrecking crew. The Rams lead the League with 25 quarterback sacks.
McVay added more insight to what Tannehill will be facing on Sunday. "When you look at he (Miller) and Leonard Floyd on the outside, obviously Aaron inside, the continued maturation of Sebastian Joseph-Day. Thought Greg Gaines was really good yesterday (against Houston Texans). Thought A'Shawn Robinson is playing better... I know a lot of players are excited about being able to add Von to the mix and can't wait to get him here and get going."
The challenged Houston Texans were no match for the Rams this past Sunday. The score was 38-0 after three quarters when McVay called off the dogs. The fourth quarter was basically a training camp exercise that allowed the Texans to score three meaningless touchdowns. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford put on a clinic for most of three quarters.
Stafford completed 21-32 passes for 305 yards and three passing touchdowns. He is currently second in the League QB rating (118), second in passing yards (2,477), second in touchdowns (22), second in yards per attempt (9.1), and first in pass completions for 40+ yards with 10. Running back Darrell Henderson pounded out 90 yards on 14 carries, including a three-yard touchdown reception to cap the game's opening drive.
Cooper Kupp led all receivers with seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. Robert Woods had three receptions for 35 yards and one touchdown. Wide receivers Van Jefferson and rookie Ben Skowronek had three receptions each as well as tight end Tyler Highbee. Kupp still leads the NFL with 924 yards receiving but fell to second in total receptions (63) behind Kansas City Chief wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who has 64.
The Rams also announced the release of future Hall of Fame wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who never panned out in McVay's offense after being signed in March. The release came after both sides couldn't find a trade for Jackson. He played seven games for the Rams, catching eight passes for 221 yards and one touchdown.
With Henry out for the Titans, it will should be a smooth introduction for Miller as he starts for the Rams this Sunday. "Anytime as a competitor you want to be able to go against the best and he's (Henry) been by far the best running back," cautiously lamented McVay. "Obviously A.P. (Adrian Peterson) is a guy that's established himself, one of the premier all-time backs in this league. They're a very physical outfit upfront."
All eyes will be on Von Miller and how he performs with his new teammates. "I've gotten to know Von just through crossovers and he's a great guy. Really, he's got great energy. He's got a great way about himself. Obviously, I have tremendous respect for his game and watching him over the years. And so, just told him how excited I am to be able to get him here and get to work." Rams Nation will likely have the same sentiments when the dust settles in February.