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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Rams

Wade Phillips out as Rams defensive coordinator

Wade Phillips Broncos

The Los Angeles Rams are making some changes following a disappointing season, and moving on from defensive coordinator Wade Phillips may be the most significant.

The Rams have informed Phillips that they will not be bringing him back in 2020, Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times first reported.

Questions about Phillips’ job security arose after the Rams were officially eliminated from postseason contention with a 34-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16. They jumped out to a 14-3 lead in that game only to watch their defense fail to answer the call late. LA allowed the Niners to convert twice on 3rd-and-16 in the final minutes, once because of a coverage breakdown that led to a 46-yard connection from Jimmy Garoppolo to Emmanuel Sanders.

Phillips is considered one of the best defensive coaching minds in the NFL. He helped lead the Denver Broncos to a championship with their elite defense prior to joining the Rams, and he has had success with numerous teams over the years. The Rams ranked somewhere in the middle of the pack in most major defensive categories this year.

The Rams entered the 2019 season with high expectations after reaching the Super Bowl last year. They gave up multiple first-round draft picks during the year to acquire star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but they underacheived even after that.

Phillips has been a popular coach with players over the years, so it will be interesting to see how the decision goes over in the locker room. If he wants to keep coaching in 2020, he should have no trouble finding work.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 16

The second-to-last week of the NFL regular season settled some things, but left a lot of things wide open in Week 17. That’s good news for fans, but bad news for the teams and players who just weren’t able to get the job done in the penultimate week of the season.

Which of those teams and players fell short in Week 16? Here are 10 disappointments.

Dallas Cowboys’ offense

Simply brutal. Dallas hasn’t been eliminated from NFC East contention (here is their Week 17 playoff scenario), but on the evidence, they deserve to be. Dak Prescott missed open receivers. When he hit them, those receivers dropped passes. Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up. Amari Cooper caught just four passes for 24 yards and was a non-factor. The finger cannot be pointed at one person, but this was horrendous from Dallas in a game where they could have clinched the division against a defense that hasn’t exactly been elite.

Bill Callahan, coach, Redskins

This one is mostly a criticism from a fan standpoint. When Callahan’s Redskins scored a touchdown with 29 seconds left, it felt like they might as well go for the win. A two-point conversion would put them ahead. Both teams were 3-11 and had nothing to play for except draft position. Washington fans could have used the lift. Instead, Callahan kicked the extra point, and Washington never even touched the ball in overtime and lost to the Giants. Maybe he’s trying to get that No. 2 draft pick, but the whole thing felt very risk-averse when there was nothing to lose.

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Rams to fire Wade Phillips following disappointing season?

Wade Phillips Broncos

Sean McVay is in no danger of losing his job in the wake the Los Angeles Rams being officially eliminated from postseason contention with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, but the same cannot be said of his coaching staff.

The Rams’ 33-30 defeat was as heartbreaking as it gets, as they jumped out to a 14-3 lead only to watch their defense fail to answer the call late in the game. LA allowed the Niners to convert twice on 3rd-and-16 in the final minutes, once because of a coverage breakdown that led to a 46-yard connection from Jimmy Garoppolo to Emmanuel Sanders.

According to Michael Silver of NFL.com, the performance could have major consequences. Multiple sources told Silver there may be a big shakeup with McVay’s coaching staff, and that could include firing defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Phillips is considered one of the best defensive coaching minds in the NFL. He helped lead the Denver Broncos to a championship with their elite defense prior to joining the Rams, and he has had success with numerous teams over the years. The Rams ranked somewhere in the middle of the pack in most major defensive categories this year, though they didn’t look the part on Saturday.

“I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but I’d expect some major changes around here in the next few months,” one veteran Rams player told Silver after the loss.

The Rams had high expectations this season after reaching the Super Bowl last year, and the look on McVay’s face after Saturday night’s game said it all. LA gave up multiple first-round draft picks to acquire star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and you never expect to allow 33 points in the most important game of the season after making such a significant trade. Phillips could ultimately take the fall for that.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 15

Devlin Duck Hodges

The NFL regular season is winding down, and the stakes are high. As clarity starts to develop in some of the playoff races, the pressure increases for those still in contention. It’s not just them, though; every team has players fighting for jobs, and even teams long out of the playoff hunt are still trying very hard to bolster their reputations and statistics down the stretch.

So who failed to deliver? Who disappointed in Week 15? Here’s a look at some who did.

Duck Hodges, QB, Steelers

The Steelers have been winning games this season by relying on their defense and hoping their offense doesn’t screw it up, or does just enough to win. They needed a little more than that from their offense on Sunday, but they didn’t get it. Duck Hodges was intercepted four times and sacked four times in a 17-10 loss. They were up 10-7 and in Buffalo territory before Duck threw a game-changing interception that allowed the Bills to flip the field and tie the game. Then with the Steelers hoping for some magic late to tie the game, Duck threw interceptions in the end zone on consecutive possessions. He just wasn’t able to do enough.

Los Angeles Rams’ defense

The Rams defense has actually been a pretty sturdy unit except for a couple games, like the ones against Baltimore and Tampa Bay. On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys joined those groups, putting up 28 first half points and 44 overall on the Rams. The rush defense was the Rams’ real weakness. Both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott ran for over 100 yards and got basically whatever they wanted whenever they touched the ball. It was a big setback for the Rams, who at 8-6 are facing an uphill playoff climb.

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Marcus Peters got in Jalen Ramsey, Rams’ faces after beating his former team

Marcus Peters Jalen Ramsey

Marcus Peters was all about revenge mode after his new team beat his old team on “Monday Night Football.”

Peters had eight tackles and an interception in the Baltimore Ravens’ 45-6 dominating win over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. After the game, he got in the face of Jalen Ramsey, the cornerback the Rams acquired after dealing away Peters to Baltimore.

Ramsey had to be restrained from going back after Peters:

Multiple reporters said Peters continued talking his trash after that and even in the tunnel after the game:

This is no surprise — Peters has always been a trash talker, and he definitely has the upper hand. He went from a team that had lost three in a row when they traded him, to a team that’s now won five in a row since he got there. Peters seems to have a thing for getting in verbal fights after games.

Aqib Talib traded from Rams to Dolphins

Aqib Talib

The Miami Dolphins have acquired another draft pick to use toward their rebuild, but they are getting a star cornerback in the process.

The Dolphins have acquired Aqib Talib and a fifth-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a future pick, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported.

It was reported earlier in the week that the Rams were looking to trade veteran players on expiring contracts in order to create salary cap space to sign Jalen Ramsey to a long-term deal. The Talib trade could open the door for that.

While Talib does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, it’s worth noting that he rejected a trade that would have sent him to the San Francisco 49ers during the offseason. Talib reportedly told the Niners he would not show up if the deal went through, so it fell apart. You have to wonder if he will feel the same about being traded to the worst team in football.

Rams could trade Aqib Talib, others to free up money for Jalen Ramsey

Aqib Talib

The Los Angeles Rams will undoubtedly look to sign Jalen Ramsey to a long-term contract extension after they gave up significant draft assets to acquire him, and they may have to move on from another Pro Bowl cornerback in order to do that.

The Rams are open to trading veteran players prior to Tuesday’s deadline in order to free up money so they can sign Ramsey this offseason, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Aqib Talib is one Rams player who is in the final year of his contract, so there’s a chance he could be moved.

As Schefter notes, the Rams have had some discussions about trading Talib over the past few weeks, but the 33-year-old has been opposed. He is currently on injured reserve with a rib injury but will be eligible to return later in the season.

Although he does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, Talib has told at least one team that he would not show up for them if they acquired him in a deal. That obviously makes it difficult for the Rams to trade him, and it’s unclear if his stance will remain the same now that they have traded for Ramsey.

The Rams have been wheeling and dealing leading up to the deadline, so it would not be a surprise if they made another move or two. Talib helped them get the the Super Bowl last year, but he is likely not in the team’s future plans given his age, injury history, and the presence of Ramsey.