NFC West Reporter
Yes, Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead meant what he said, although he would have rephrased it if he could jump into a time machine.
Asked about saying “F— them picks, we’ll use them to go win more Super Bowls” at the team’s Super Bowl parade a year ago — a nod to his team’s roster-building philosophy of giving up premium draft picks for premium players in their prime — Snead doubled down on his infamous quote Thursday, with one caveat.
“I truly intended to say, ‘We F these picks to win Los Angeles a Super Bowl championship,'” said Snead on his 51st birthday. “So, I always knew I was going to eat those words at some point. If there was ever a time to eat them, it was in that situation.”
Snead probably did not expect that point to come so soon, as the Rams finished 5-12 in 2022, the most losses by a defending Super Bowl champ in NFL history.
However, Snead and the Rams did receive some good news last week when head coach Sean McVay announced he would return to coach in 2023.
“Relief,” Snead said. “Maybe more excitement than relief, but some version of both. Because what Sean has shown, what Sean has proven and what everyone else who’s probably on a search right now is looking for and hoping for, is someone that’s shown he can engineer a process from A to Z that leads to the results on a Sunday afternoon and that math on that scoreboard works out in your favor.”
The money and allure of television was a tempting parachute out of a tough, stressful situation for McVay. But at 36 years old and an ultra-competitor, McVay has accepted the challenge to build the Rams back into a winner and to prove once again that he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL.
After a week of contemplation, McVay confirmed his ability to handle all of that by staying on as the team’s head coach. And he’s already started the annual tradition of revamping his coaching staff.
As expected, offensive coordinator Liam Cohn returned to the University of Kentucky as that team’s OC. The Rams let go special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, offensive line coach Kevin Carberry, defensive backs coach Jonathan Cooley, assistant defensive line coach Skyler Jones and defensive assistant Lance Schulters, according to reports.
Running backs coach Ra’Shaad Samples left for a passing game coordinator job at Arizona State during the season. The contract of outside linebackers coach Thad Bogardus ran its course and he was not retained, according to The Athletic.
McVay will now search for his fifth offensive coordinator and fourth special teams coach since taking over as L.A.’s head coach in 2017.
Among the players, quarterback Matthew Stafford, who finished the year on injured reserve with a bruised spinal cord, has already said he plans to play in 2023. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who did not play the last six games because of a high-ankle sprain, also said he plans to play next season. Whether that’s in a Rams uniform remains up in the air.
Snead said the Rams are projected to have 10 draft picks this year, including compensatory selections. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, according to Over the Cap, they’re a projected $14 million over the salary cap for the 2023 season.
“It’s that time of year to put some blueprints on paper and figure out what comes next,” Snead said. “And those types of conversations will definitely be coming.”
The team gave several young players meaningful snaps to accelerate their development during a nightmarish 2022 season. That’s something Snead and the Rams likely will lean into more with veteran foundational players like Stafford, Donald, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, receiver Cooper Kupp, right tackle Rob Havenstein and linebacker Bobby Wagner.
“That would probably be one of the roses of the many thorns of this year,” Snead said. “Players on their rookie contracts, or whatever the case, garner experience. And within that experience you have a chance to evaluate and determine is there a role for that particular player moving forward.”
Snead used the example of offensive lineman Joe Noteboom struggling to find regular playing time during his rookie contract because he played behind a Pro Bowler in Andrew Whitworth. But the Rams still signed Noteboom to a contract extension to replace Whitworth once he retired.
Now, the Rams will be looking to find more players on their rookie deals because of an aging roster and a salary cap structure that limits their ability to secure premium players through free agency or trade.
Snead labeled the process a remodel instead of a rebuild, calling it Chapter 3 of the Sean McVay era.
The first two chapters have been successful for the Rams, including two Super Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl victory, three NFC West titles and a 60-38 regular season record since McVay took over in 2017.
“With the way our roster is constructed now, it would be tough to say rebuild,” Snead. “We would almost have to tear it down to say rebuild, because we do have a lot of really good players in their prime on this roster.”
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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