The to-do list was daunting as the Rams trudged off the field at the Coliseum on New Year’s Day to end the 2016 season.
Sitting at the bottom of almost every offensive statistical category had resulted in a 4-12 record and left rookie quarterback Jared Goff battered and bruised.
Just over seven months later, that to-do list is complete, the final item getting crossed off Friday with the addition of dynamic wide receiver Sammy Watkins in a blockbuster trade as shocking and surprising as it’s expected to be impactful.
Goff now has a legitimate supporting cast. And with it, an offensive-minded coaching staff working from a contemporary playbook rather than the old, dusty one former coach Jeff Fisher was using.
But more on all that in a bit.
The Rams invested six draft picks into moving to the top of the 2016 draft to pick Goff, believing he was the franchise quarterback they’d been lacking since the “Greatest Show on Turf” days.
But upon bringing him into the fold, Fisher did the most inexplicable thing. He neglected to surround Goff with the necessary infrastructure to help nurture him in the transition from college to the NFL.
The offensive coaching imagination was nonexistent. The experience in developing a productive quarterback was lacking. The offensive line was the worst in the NFL, and the wide receivers group not much better.
It was a recipe for disaster for a young quarterback from whom so much was expected.
And as the Rams sought refuge in their Coliseum locker room New Year’s Day, they knew they had to address the folly of Fisher’s approach in order to ensure Goff had a viable, available path to reach his ceiling.
In the months that followed, they went about crossing off items with admirable meticulousness.
New coach Sean McVay, regarded as an up-and-coming offensive savant, was hired. And he brought with him an offensive staff heavy on imagination, game planning and quarterback development experience.
From free agency, All-Pro left tackle Andrew Whitworth was signed, his presence immediately lifting the position from one of weakness to that of strength. Robert Woods, the former USC standout and a polished three-year NFL wide receiver, was added to supply professionalism and reliability.
And from the draft, dependable, productive Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp and athletic tight end Gerald Everett were added. They, along with Tyler Higbee, Tavon Austin and Pharoh Cooper, would provide much-needed weaponry for…