The Los Angeles Rams are not that far removed from relocating and being one of the most boring and disappointing teams in the NFL. In 2016 they were wasting a #1 pick at quarterback and a generational running back, but when Sean McVay took over as head coach in 2017 things immediately turned around.
The Rams quickly became one of the most exciting and inventive
offenses, and rode that O along with a stout defense to the Super Bowl last
season. Their magical run was ended by the great villain of the NFL, the New England
Patriots, but they come into Madden 20 as one of the most playable teams
Can you take over the franchise and give LA a Super Bowl at long last?
The Los Angeles Rams come into Madden 20 with an 81 OVR
rating. That puts them fourth in the game behind the Eagles, Saints, and
Cowboys, and tied with the Chicago Bears.
The strength of their team sits with the 85 rated offense.
That puts them third, and tied with the Patriots and Saints. The defense is a
little less impressive. Their 79 rating is still strong, which puts them right
in the middle of the pack.
However, that defense has a couple of stars on it, and the offense isn’t short of top end talent either.
Aaron Donald, Defensive End (99 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar X-Factor
2019 Cap Hit:
Best Stats: Strength (99), Power Moves (99), Play Recognition
(99), Awareness (99), Block Shedding (97), Finesse Moves (96), Tackle (93)
Aaron Donald has been simply sensational since the Rams
drafted him 13th overall in the 2014 draft. As a rookie Donald racked up 9
sacks and 18 tackles for loss and made his first Pro Bowl and winning Defensive
Rookie of the Year. In 2015 he was named First-Team All-Pro, something he has
not missed since, and in 2017 he won Defensive Player of they Year which he
defended in 2018 with a 20.5 sack campaign.
In Madden 20 Donald is a member of the 99 Club. He has
perfect strength (99), power moves (99), play recognition (99),
and awareness (99). His finesse moves (97) the best in the game,
and his acceleration (90) is superb for his position. In short Donald is
a lethal player that can crush quarterbacks at will.
Todd Gurley, Half Back (97 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar X-Factor
2019 Cap Hit:
Best Stats: BC Vision (99), Break Tackle (96), Agility
(95), Juke Move (95), Carrying (94), Speed (92), Acceleration (92), Elusiveness
The Rams picked Todd Gurley 10th overall in 2015. As a
rookie he put up 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns at an impressive 4.8 yards per
carry as he claimed Offensive Rookie of the Year. After a down 2016, Gurley had
a stellar 2017, posting a career-high 2,093 yards from scrimmage as he claimed
Offensive Player of the Year. In 2018 he scored a total 21 touchdowns as he
helped the Rams get to the Super Bowl.
Thankfully you don’t have to worry too much about Todd Gurley’s terrible knees in Madden 20. Instead, you can put the ball in his hands and watch him break tackles (96) and juke defenders out (95). His speed (92) and acceleration (92) are good, and his catching (68) is strong for a back, making him an all-round threat.
Aqib Talib, Cornerback (87 OVR)
Development Trait: Star
2019 Cap Hit:
Best Stats: Jumping (96), Man Coverage (91), Press (91),
Agility (91), Acceleration (91), Speed (87), Zone Coverage (87), Play Recognition
Aqib Talib was a first-round pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
in 2008 and played pretty well but moved to New England in the middle of the
2012 season and found himself playing in the biggest spots possible. After a
strong 2013 campaign with the Patriots he moved to the Denver Broncos and won
Super Bowl 50 with them. Talib joined the Rams in 2018 and starts this season
with career 35 interceptions and 10 touchdowns.
Talib may be aging but he is still impressive in man coverage (91) and press (91). His acceleration (91) and agility (91) are also good, but his overall speed (87) is not quite where you would
want it to be. Talib is flexible enough to play zone coverage (87) and
his jumping (96) is impressive enough to compete in the red zone.
Jared Goff, Quarterback (83 OVR)
Development Trait: Star
2019 Cap Hit:
Best Stats: Short Accuracy (93), Throw Power (89), Medium
Accuracy (88), Play Action (87), Acceleration (86), Deep Accuracy (85),
Awareness (85), Throw On Run (84)
The Rams made a huge a trade in 2016 to move up and take Jared
Goff with the first pick. As a rookie he started 7 games and lost all of them,
but when Sean McVay took over in 2017 Goff greatly improved. In 2018 he threw
for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns, completing 64.9 percent of his passes with
12 interceptions as the Rams got to the Super Bowl.
In Madden 20 Goff is no superstar, but he can certainly get the job done. His accuracy is good (93 short, 88 medium, 85 deep) and he has nice throw power (89) to get the ball where it needs to be. He is good on play action (87) and can throw on the run (84) too.
Full Roster & Depth Chart
|Bobby Evans Jr||64||68||69||79||77|
|Dante Fowler Jr||77||85||82||73||82||61|
The Rams roster is loaded with talent. Jared Goff (93 short accuracy, 89 throw power) is young and athletic, allowing you to develop his arm talent and use his feet to escape situations. His supporting cast is excellent and will aid that development too.
Todd Gurley (95 juke move, 94 carrying) has the highest OVR of any running back in the game and a long-term contract, while wide receivers Brandin Cooks (95 speed, 93 catching), Robert Woods (95 catching, 89 medium route), Cooper Kupp (94 agility, 87 medium route), and Josh Reynolds (88 jump, 87 spectacular catch) are all quality targets that offer something. Like Gurley, Cooks is tied down long-term too, meaning you have a trio to work with for a long time.
The Rams offensive line is anchored by exceptional left tackle Andrew Whitworth (94 pass block, 90 run block) and a solid right side of guard Austin Blythe (83 run block, 80 pass block) and Rob Havenstein (91 run block, 81 pass block). However, the left guard and center spots are problem areas that need to be fixed.
Defensively, the Rams have the best player in football Aaron Donald (99 power moves, 97 finesse moves) to lead the charge against opposing quarterbacks. Flanking him on the defensive line is the stout Michael Brockers (90 block shed, 88 tackle) while edge rushers Dante Fowler Jr (90 acceleration, 81 finesse moves) and Clay Matthews (90 hit power, 81 block shed) can pin the quarterback inside.
Cory Littleton (83 tackle, 81 pursuit) is a solid middle linebacker, while the cornerback pairing of Aqib Talib (91 man cover, 87 zone cover) and Nickell Robey-Coleman (86 zone cover, 82 man cover) can compete against top end receivers. Strong safety John Johnson (87 zone cover, 77 tackle) is a good player, and veteran free safety Eric Weddle (96 awareness, 80 zone cover) can still get the job done.
The Rams start franchise mode
with 71 players on their preseason roster and just $19.2 million in cap space.
Cutting down to the 53-man roster
will free up some more space and leave you with around $25 million, but that
isn’t much flexibility to add anyone via trade, and while some of the top stars
are tied into large contracts there are some key pieces that won’t be on the
roster in season 2 unless you do something…
Impending Free Agents
There are 26 players entering the
final year of their contract when you start franchise mode. Some of those will
be victims of the cut down to 53, but there are several that will be missed
should they go.
Chief among them is left tackle
Andrew Whitworth, who at 37 is almost a lock to retire no matter how many times
you restart your franchise mode. Another player likely to retire is 33-year-old
Aqib Talib. That is two starters at premium positions you will need to replace,
but who else should you be working to try and keep hold of going into season 2?
Michael Brockers, Defensive End
It can be tempting to go cheap on
the defensive line because you already have Aaron Donald, but depth is very
important here in Madden 20 as players tire more easily. If you can bring
Brockers back on a sensible 2- or 3-year deal then you should do it, especially
as your draft capital needs to be invested elsewhere. Brockers is a stout run
defender (90 block shed, 89 strength) but they aren’t too difficult to
find so if you think he is asking too much then you can roll the dice.
Marcus Peters, Cornerback (82
A tough player to manage in real life, you thankfully only have to worry about his on-field play in Madden 20. Peters is a solid corner (83 man cover, 76 zone cover) that at 26 still has a few years of improvement in him. Finding a replacement for 1 starting corner will be tough enough, but trying to replace 2 in one off-season is madness.
Austin Blythe, Right Guard (81
Blythe is a solid starting guard
and should be retained. His run block (83) and pass block (80) will improve if you invest some training time into the O-Line, and with holes
at left tackle, left guard, and center to try and fill it would be foolish not
to bring Blythe back for season 2 and beyond.
Greg Zuerlein, Kicker (80 OVR)
Kickers are pretty interchangeable in Madden, but Greg The Leg is something of a legend to Rams fans and with his exceptional kick power (95) he can be a weapon against top defences where moving the ball will be tough.
We have already touched on some
of these. The Rams biggest need is to replace their aging starters in key positions.
A new left tackle and cornerback are priorities in your first draft and free agency,
but what else?
Well interior offensive linemen will be a big boost. Anything you can do to make Todd Gurley more effective will pay huge dividends, and guards are pretty readily available.
Clay Matthews is not a long-term
pass rush solution, so another edge rusher would be good, as would an inside
linebacker to partner Cory Littleton. Thankfully you should be using the MLB a
lot so grabbing someone with a high OVR isn’t vital. Also a lot of sub-packages
swap out a MLB for another safety, so consider getting one who can tackle and
playing in more nickel formations.
If you are nitpiking the Rams
offense could use a better tight end, but they can be pretty hard to find.
Most of that can wait until you
have cornerback and left tackle fixed though. The Rams have the key spots of
quarterback, running back, and pass rusher so there is no desperate need to go
flying up the draft board.