Monos Report: The Rams are all in. Now it's time to win.
Our resident personnel man, Jim Monos, breaks down why the Rams' big trade is paying off, offers his quick takes on Week 8 in the NFL and updates his "Eye in the Sky" QB rankings.
(Ed’s Note: Jim Monos worked as an NFL scout for the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and as the director of personnel for the Buffalo Bills. He’s the co-host of the Go Long Podcast and writes this weekly column.)
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay was hired in 2017 to develop 2016 overall first pick quarterback Jared Goff and lead the Rams to a Super Bowl. McVay and Goff did just that two seasons in but lost to the Patriots, 13-3.
Three points for a Sean McVay-coached offense is unacceptable, yet Rams GM Les Snead (who drafted Goff) decided to extend the quarterback’s contract through the 2024 season. After a 10-6 record last season, McVay made his power play and pushed all the chips in to acquire top-tier talent Matt Stafford, who’d been largely handcuffed in Detroit.
When I worked for the New Orleans Saints, I was fortunate to see Sean Payton take over the franchise in 2006 and build it his way. It started with targeting Drew Brees in free agency, but it also meant getting rid of players Payton did not see as culture or talent fits for his system. Quarterback Aaron Brooks was cut in March, and then former first-round receiver Donte Stallworth was traded in August. Longtime playmaker Joe Horn was cut after refusing to take a pay cut in March 2007, and it was clear to me that Payton had a plan and vision for how he wanted his team built.
Making tough decisions is part of that process.
What exactly does “pushing all your chips in” mean for the Rams? It results in not having a first-round draft pick in ’22 and ’23. It means being ranked 27th and 26th in salary cap space for the 2022 and 2023 seasons respectively. The window to win a Super Bowl is now for the Rams, and that is the gamble the organization agreed to when they made this deal for Stafford.
The results are obvious. Last season, the Rams ranked 21st in yards per attempt. Now, they rank third. The Goff-led offense in ’20 ranked 19th in yards per play, but with Stafford the Rams rank second. In points per play, LA ranked 23rd last year versus fifth now. The Rams offense looks Super Bowl-worthy, but stats do not guarantee you anything. Stafford has played in three playoff games in his previous 12 seasons in Detroit. For the “All In” trade to be a success, Stafford must outplay Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray just to win the NFC.
McVay would not want it any other way.
Week 8 Game Previews
Miami @ Buffalo: The Dolphins have been excited about Tua Tagovailoa’s play the past two weeks that resulted in losses which tells you where they are as a team right now.
Carolina @ Atlanta: Carolina’s offense has become unwatchable without Christian McCaffrey. Sam Darnold has been skittish, but Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore are also first and second in the NFL in dropped passes.
Philadelphia @ Detroit: Would rather watch the press conferences of the head coaches than the actual game.
Tennessee @ Indianapolis: Similar teams when you think about it. Both have a true No. 1 running back, good starting quarterbacks and big receivers who make plays.
LA Rams @ Houston: Only a true professional competitor like Tyrod Taylor would come back from an injury to play for this Texans team.
Cincinnati @ NY Jets: The Jets could have kept Joe Flacco in the offseason to start this year while rookie Zach Wilson could learn from a veteran, but instead they decided not to resign Flacco only to trade for him back? GM Joe Douglas continues to amaze us.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland: If the Browns are serious about making a run at a championship, they need to take care of a pathetic Steelers offense. Baker Mayfield is tough, but now it’s time to produce.
San Francisco @ Chicago: Bears head coach Matt Nagy can write a book after he gets fired on how to destroy talented rookie quarterbacks.
Jacksonville @ Seattle: Actually interested to see how Trevor Lawrence plays against a poor Seattle pass defense. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talks to injured starting quarterback Russell Wilson on the sideline more than he does Geno Smith who is playing.
New England @ LA Chargers: The Patriots do everything correctly with their rookie QB, Mac Jones, but will they be able to slow down the talented Chargers offense coming off a bye?
Washington @ Denver: The battle of some very good backup QBs and teams who are not going anywhere this season.
Tampa @ New Orleans: Will Jameis Winston get his revenge? At least play better than you did in Seattle last Monday to make this a fun game to watch please.
Dallas @ Minnesota: Primetime usually means a rough game for Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins. Both teams are coming off a bye and a win by Minnesota would put them back in playoff conversations.
NY Giants @ Kansas City: It’s well known how bad the Chiefs defense is but it’s now time for Patrick Mahomes to stop with the interceptions and get this team back on track.
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The Eye in the Sky
Each week, expect to get the Monos Report quarterback grades right here in “The Eye in the Sky.” How does this work? Simply, it’s a plus/negative point system determined by the types of throws and the situation in the game. Meaningful runs/scrambles do count. The final stat line does not matter. A “good” play gets you +1 while a bad play gets you -1 throughout the course of the game. In extreme cases, you may get a +2 or -2. This total number each game is then divided by the number of run or pass attempts that quarterback had to net the Eye in the Sky magic number.
The number you see here is the season total.
Here’s how the quarterbacks rank entering Week 8: