One might look at the Los Angeles Rams' post-Super Bowl collapse this season as a harbinger for rebuilding. But Rams general manager Les Snead prefers another word for his approach to the roster in 2023: remodel.
"We would almost have to tear it down for it to be a rebuild," Snead said, via the team website, "because we do have a lot of really good players in their prime on this roster. So a lot of times it's tough to say rebuilding with that type of roster, so you'd have to go through some type of tear down to truly rebuild, so that's why I use the word remodel."
The Rams entered their bye week at 3-3, but lost their next six games en route to a 5-12 record after winning Super Bowl LVI. Several departures, along with injuries to key players such as quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald, made it the worst season, record-wise, by a defending champion in the Super Bowl era.
But Snead doesn't sound like a man ready to tear everything down and start fresh. He invoked the words "remodel" and "retool" several times when asked about the Rams' offseason plans.
Donald's future remains up in the air, but the Rams have said they want Stafford back. There will be other question marks that exist, but with a core of cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Bobby Wagner, Stafford, Kupp and others, the team could rebound quickly.
If there's a bright side to the lost 2022 season, Snead noted, it's that myriad injuries forced several young players into the lineup down the stretch. Even with several major roster moves expected in the coming weeks and months, getting late-season looks at possible in-house solutions will help when the team sits down to prioritize its major concerns this offseason.
"That would be probably be one of the roses of the many thorns of this year, is that players on their rookie contracts or whatever the case, (they) garner experience, and within that experience, you have the chance to evaluate and determine, 'OK, is there a role for that particular player moving forward?'"
One element of the team that will remain static is the head coach. After it appeared Sean McVay could walk away this offseason, he announced his return for the 2023 season. Snead said he was "definitely jacked" when he heard the official word that his partner in crime will be back.
But Snead also knows that McVay needs help. Not only with the roster, but with the unusual demands of the job.
"I've often said to Sean, when he got the job at age 30, the guy's been basically running a 800-meter sprint every week since he got our job, adding the head-coaching title, and probably had been running an 800-meter sprint as an offensive coordinator for the two previous seasons in Washington," Snead said. "At some point, a hamstring is going to get tight, a hamstring is going to get pulled, and you're not going to be able to do it, and (there are) just ways to probably delegate more, but somehow (to help) take his weekly rhythm and make it more sustainable."
Snead added that he and Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff will help shoulder the responsibility to "help (McVay) navigate those waters." Doing so could not only help the Rams return to winning, but also might keep McVay around for as long as he's welcome.