In the NFL world – and really the sports world as a whole – what have you done for me lately is as much of a tired cliché as it is the truth.
It speaks accurate volumes for the Los Angeles Rams, who rose to a Super Bowl berth and fell to playoff outsiders, became NFC champions as the NFL's highest-scoring offense and tumbled to third place in the NFC West and outside of the top 10 in scoring.
So now the question for 2020 looms: Will Sean McVay be able to get Jared Goff and the Rams offense back on track?
Still the youngest head coach in the NFL ranks at 34, McVay's offense from 2017-18 averaged an NFL-best 31.4 points per game, but fell to 24.6 and 11th in the league in 2019, per NFL Research.
With a multitude of roster changes, McVay is tasked with building the offense back up with Goff still under center and, despite having quarterbacked his squad to the Super Bowl, still looking to prove doubters wrong regarding his status as a franchise quarterback.
Goff – via NFL Research – is the first Rams quarterback to connect for back-to-back seasons with 4,000-plus yards passing, but the young gunslinger's league-high 626 passing attempts last year continued a trend of a more passing for L.A. and less success. The Rams passed on 62% of their plays in 2019, up from 56.7 during their Super Bowl season and increased form 54.6% the year prior in 2017, per NFL Research.
Whether more balance lies ahead remains to be seen and to be decided by McVay.
Changes need to be made if the Rams are to return to form and rebound from a 9-7 showing last season in which they finished third in the arduous NFC West. Changes have already been made on the roster. Most notable on the offensive end is the loss of running back Todd Gurley. Once the engine that drove the Rams' offense, Gurley was released. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks was traded to the Texans, as well.
L.A. looked to replenish in the draft and selected running back Cam Akers and receiver Van Jefferson in the second round. Is it enough? Well, the 2020 season should answer that.
In the least, their arrivals signal some fresh blood for an offense that suddenly went stale.
McVay's arrival reinvigorated the Rams. Listless the season prior, the Rams were dead last in points scored and excited viewers in 2016. Upon McVay's rookie season as a head coach the very next year, the Rams were first in the NFL in points, back in the playoffs and the youngin' on the sidelines was the shiny new offensive darling of the league. Then came 2018 and a trip all the way to the Super Bowl.
Though a trip to the Super Bowl is always reason for celebration, it was also evidence to the beginning of the offensive troubles. The Patriots prevailed, 13-3, and the Rams were left reeling, a team that had returned to the forefront with a high-scoring offense commanding the notoriety had suddenly gone stagnant.
Teams can turn and fortunes can reverse in the shortest of order in the NFL. After all, the 2017 Rams are representatives of just that.
However, the degree of difficulty is all the more pronounced in the suddenly daunting NFC West, which boasts the reigning NFC champions in San Francisco, a perennial playoff team in Seattle and a rising phoenix in Arizona.
Can McVay and the Rams return to a semblance of their previous selves and once more become players in the west? Goff, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and some new faces will surely do their best to answer that with an emphatic yes.