Where will the Rams play their home games in 2016? Before we get to the many offseason machinations involving free agency and the draft, we will likely (though not certainly) know which teams are relocating to Los Angeles. The Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are all in the running. Teams can begin filing relocation papers Monday and key committees are expected to meet next week to discuss the home market proposals again. After that, there's another round of owners meetings set for Houston on Jan. 12-13. There's a real possibility that we'll know after that meeting where the Rams' future lies, at least for 2016. But until that's decided, this is the cloud that looms over the rest of the team's offseason business.
Will Jeff Fisher be retained as head coach? There are only a few coaches who have not had a winning season in their first four years with a team and were then brought back for a fifth. It has been exceedingly rare in today's NFL, in which instant results are required. Fisher's inability to put a consistently productive offense on the field has kept the Rams from taking the next step to a winning record or a postseason berth. But it looks unlikely that Fisher will be anything but the Rams coach again in 2015, unless he's the one choosing otherwise. Owner Stan Kroenke seems more concerned with the move to Los Angeles than the product on the field and he doesn't seem likely to pay Fisher nearly $7 million to not coach next season. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Fisher will get a short contract extension so that he doesn't enter 2016 on the last year of his deal.
Should Rob Boras become the full-time offensive coordinator? Considering that Boras was put in a difficult position by taking over play-calling duties with just four weeks to go, he did a commendable job. The Rams' offense didn't take off or turn into a dominant force; in fact, most of the numbers were about the same. But with Boras at the helm, turnovers were down and scoring was up a little. Boras and Fisher have said they weren't thinking big picture as they prepared for those four games, but one would think Boras put himself in position to keep the job moving forward. If nothing else, it would be difficult for Fisher to hire a proven upgrade for the position considering that there are other NFL jobs with better quarterbacks and more job security available. If Fisher stays, don't be surprised if Boras keeps the job while the Rams make other changes to the coaching staff.
How can the Rams fix their offense? To be sure, the Rams have a lot of needs and just improving at quarterback probably won't be enough to get them back into the postseason. But it still starts at the game's most important position. There's no obvious solution for them at quarterback so they'll likely bring restricted free agent Case Keenum back, but they should still look for, at minimum, someone who can push him for the job. They still have a serious need for a legitimate No. 1 receiver who can consistently create separation and open up the field. More help on the offensive line, especially at center, would also be welcome.
Can the Rams keep their defense intact? There is no shortage of roster questions heading into the offseason, but some of the biggest ones come on the side of the ball where the Rams are best: the defense. Starters such as end William Hayes, cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins, linebacker Mark Barron and safety Rodney McLeod are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Key backups like end Eugene Sims and defensive tackle Nick Fairley are also set to hit the open market and the Rams have to make a decision on end Chris Long's future as he holds a 2016 cap number in excess of $14 million. If they want to improve the offense and keep the defense together, they're going to have to make tough decisions, many of which will probably result in defensive subtractions.