As we head into the 2020 season, the past decade brought plenty of change to the Los Angeles Rams. You might call it a tale of two cities as the Rams were a dismal 36-59-1 in St. Louis for their first six seasons of the 2010s. Then the franchise embarked in a triumphant return to Los Angeles by going 37-27 in their march back to prominence. The Rams homecoming was highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance and a roster filled with stars, who could contend for an NFC West division title well into the next decade. Some of the names on the Rams All-Decade Team have brought great joy and disappointment to their fan base, but no one can deny the lasting memories they provided all.
2010s Los Angeles Rams All-Decade Team: Offense
Quarterback: Jared Goff (2016-19)
You may get an argument from die-hard Rams fans who want to nominate Sam Bradford, but the franchise’s quarterback of the decade is Jared Goff. Sure, everyone had concerns about Goff following his disappointing rookie season. But the next three years have been quite productive and firmly established his place on the Rams All-Decade Team, and in Rams history in general.
Goff’s passing numbers for the 2010s were 14,219 yards, 87 touchdowns, 42 interceptions with a 62.4 pass completion percentage in 54 games played. The biggest contribution Goff has brought to the Rams is his poise in the pocket that allows him to make plays with a small chance of turning the ball over. Career-wise, he is 33-21 as a starting quarterback, but you have to take into account that Goff was winless in seven starts during his rookie season. Thus after a rocky start, Goff has led the Rams to three consecutive winning seasons including four playoff games and one Super Bowl appearance.
The bottom line, Goff’s career with the Rams has been quietly very successful with a few bumps along the road. And he has the rare opportunity to be a player who could make consecutive appearances on a team’s All-Decade Team. That’s quite an achievement.
Running Back: Todd Gurley (2015-19)
The phrase that might best describe Todd Gurley’s career with the Rams is “short but sweet.” Gurley is an underrated all-around running back who rushed for 5,404 yards and scored 58 touchdowns in 74 games played with the franchise. Plus, he caught 218 passes for 2,090 yards with 12 touchdown receptions. This earned him three Pro Bowl appearances and two All-Pro team selections during his time with the Rams. No question, Gurley’s 2017 season cemented his place in Rams lore and on the Rams All-Decade Team as he gained just under 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 19 touchdowns.
The amount of productivity achieved is quite astonishing considering the severity of Gurley’s ACL injury in his junior season at Georgia. But the wear-and-tear of being an NFL running back has begun to take a toll on his body. Last season, Gurley’s production slowed down as he became more of a situational option in the offense. Nevertheless, Gurley has earned his place among the Rams all-time great (Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson and Steven Jackson) running backs.
Wide Receivers: Robert Woods (2017-19), Cooper Kupp (2017-19), Danny Amendola (2010-12)
One of the franchise’s major shortcomings in the 2010s was the lack of quality receivers on the roster. Too many quick-fix candidates came with high expectations, but little production on the football field. But that all change after the free agent signing of Robert Woods from the Buffalo Bills.
Woods is a terrific route runner who can stretch the defense for the occasional deep throw, but his toughness going across the middle for a reception is Woods’ forte. Plus, he’s a terrific downfield blocker that often extended running plays into the end zone.
Woods’ production with the Rams has been nothing short of spectacular as he has caught 232 passes for 3,134 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns. In fact, he became the franchise’s first wideout to record consecutive (2018-19) 1,000 receiving yard seasons since Torry Holt accomplished this feat in 2006-07.
Cooper Kupp is a remarkable story as he worked his way through the ranks of the Rams receiving corp. At first, Kupp was used strictly as a slot receiver on third-down passing situations. More playing time came his way after developing an immediate connection with Goff. However, a devastating knee injury prematurely ended Kupp’s 2018 campaign, which ended with the Rams playing in the Super Bowl. Some fans suggest Goff lost his effectiveness as a passer with Kupp out of the lineup.
For his career, Kupp’s production has been outstanding. He’s caught 196 passes for 2,596 receiving yards and 21 touchdown receptions in three seasons with the Rams. No question, Kupp is on a path to become one of the most decorative receivers in Rams team history. But that is all provided he can stay healthy and remain productive heading into the next decade.
Finally, Danny Amendola was the best wide receiver for the Rams during their final seasons in St. Louis. He was an ideal third-down receiver as Amendola made the majority of his catches (153 for 1,400 yards) across the middle or in red zone. Quickly, he became Bradford’s top target as the young quarterback looked for Amendola to bail out the offense on key passing downs. It was his destiny to leave the franchise. Amendola became Tom Brady’s top slot receiver option in the New England Patriots passing game.
Tight End: Jared Cook (2013-15)
By far, Jared Cook was the most productive tight end for the Rams in the 2010s. He caught 142 passes for 1,786 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons with the franchise. At first, Cook struggled to gain notice from the coaching staff, but their opinion of him quickly changed. Soon, the Rams coaches began to incorporate him into a struggling passing game. It didn’t take too long before Cook became a top target downfield. After his departure, the Rams haven’t found a suitable replacement for him as prospective candidates cannot match Cook’s production on the field.
Offensive Tackles: Andrew Whitworth (2017-19), Rob Havenstein (2015-19)
Few NFL players have ever lived up to their big money free agent contract deals, but Andrew Whitworth has been a diamond in the rough. The Rams thought they were getting a stop-gap option at the left tackle position with the signing of Whitworth. But, he became much more than that as it didn’t take long before Whitworth became the leader of the offensive line. In his first season with the Rams, he earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors with his outstanding play. It doesn’t seem like his dominating style is tailing off any time soon.
Rob Havenstein isn’t a perfect offensive tackle, but he’s very effective at his job. Havenstein brings stability to the unit. He rarely misses games due to injury. Havenstein came to the Rams with high expectations as a second-round draft pick, he’s done a nice job of becoming a perennial starter for the second half of the decade.
Offensive Guards: Rodger Saffold (2010-18), Jamon Brown (2015-18)
Rodger Saffold deserves his spot on the Rams All-Decade Team as he’s played both the tackle and guard positions for the franchise. It wasn’t an easy tenure as Saffold battled through a number of injuries to remain in the lineup. Once he recovered, Saffold became a valuable member of the Rams offensive line until his departure after the 2018 season.
Jamon Brown was a serviceable starting offensive guard for the Rams, but the front office was continuously looking for his replacement each off-season. Brown’s block technique wasn’t textbook in nature. Yet, it opened holes and allowed Gurley to shine brightest as an elite NFL running back.
Center: John Sullivan (2017-18)
John Sullivan didn’t have a lengthy stay (two seasons) with the Rams, but his presence was immediately felt inside the locker room. Sullivan brought stability and leadership to a unit that seemed lost on the field. His calming influence converted five individuals into one cohesive group that allowed Goff to gain the confidence needed to become a promising young starting quarterback.
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