Despite a tough 16-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5, the Los Angeles Rams still seem to have managed an impressive turnaround this season. Less than a year after finishing the 2016 campaign with a 4-12 record, the Rams have gone 3-2 through five games with their two losses coming against strong Seahawks and Washington Redskins teams. Much of the credit has been attributed to newcomer Sean McVay, who took over for the washed-up Jeff Fisher at head coach. At just 31 years old, McVay appears to be a prodigious offensive mind, but many people seem to be overlooking the man who assembled the talent on this roster: general manager Les Snead.

Let's take a look at the ways in which Snead improved the Rams personnel.

Landing a top young quarterback

Having helped transform Kirk Cousins from a fourth-round pick into a Pro Bowler during his three years as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator, McVay earned a reputation as a coach who could get the most out of his quarterback.

This season, McVay has only bolstered that reputation, helping Jared Goff propel his quarterback rating from 63.6 over seven games in 2016 to 94.1 in his five games this year. While it seemed just a few months ago that Goff may have been destined to add his name to the list of legendary draft busts (e.g. JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf), he now looks like a Matt Ryan type of passer who can work effectively as a distributor within an offensive scheme when surrounded by talented players.

Everyone is singing McVay's praises for getting Goff going in his second NFL season, but no one seems to be acknowledging that Snead made a strong move by acquiring Goff in the first place.

The Rams were set to select 15th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, but Snead made an incredibly bold move, giving up two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and two third-round picks to land the Tennessee Titans' No.

1 overall draft pick, with which the Rams selected Goff. The move initially looked like a monumental waste of draft capital, as Goff was struggling mightily and second overall pick Carson Wentz looked like a missed opportunity for Snead and the Rams. But Goff now has the appearance of a franchise quarterback in Los Angeles, and if you can land a player at the game's most important position (and perhaps the most important position of all of sports) who will hold down that role for the next 10-15 years, there is virtually no price that is too steep to pay.

It wasn't Snead's fault that former coach Jeff Fisher couldn't get the most out of a rookie Goff last year. Snead evaluated Goff's talent and made the decision that he would be able to play quarterback in the NFL, and now we are seeing that Snead was right—it's about time that we acknowledge it.

Surrounding Goff with weapons

Everyone likes to blame Fisher for Goff's rookie-year struggles, but while Fisher certainly deserves some of the blame, Goff had many more obstacles than a dull head coach. In 2016, the Rams' top four wide receivers were Kenny Britt (who is catching a miserable 34.8 percent of his targets for the Browns this season), Brian Quick (who has one target for the Redskins this year), Tavon Austin, and Pharoh Cooper.

Snead knew that a 22-year-old Goff would continue to struggle if he didn't have better weapons to utilize in the passing game, so he completely overhauled the receiving corps. Snead landed an elite talent in 24-year-old Sammy Watkins via trade, a well-rounded pass-catching presence in Robert Woods via free agency, and an exciting underneath receiver in Cooper Kupp via the draft (third round). In addition, Snead used a second-round pick on tight end Gerald Everett, who isn't playing heavy snaps yet but has flashed some exciting playmaking ability.

Fisher and former offensive coordinator Rob Boras clearly did not possess the brilliant offensive mind that McVay does, but it is also crucial to consider that McVay is working with a far more talented cast of pass-catchers, which now has the luxury of employing Tavon Austin as a No.

4 receiver and gadget player rather than forcing him out of his element by playing him as a traditional wideout. With these upgrades to the receiving corps, it was virtually a given that Goff's passer rating would improve, with or without McVay.

Signing a cornerstone left tackle

The Rams stumbled through 2016 with one of the biggest draft busts of recent memory, Greg Robinson (second overall, 2014—admittedly a big whiff by Snead), manning the most important position on the offensive line: left tackle. Goff was sacked a whopping 26 times in just seven games last year, putting him on pace for 59.4 sacks over a full 16-game season—the NFL leader in times sacked last season was Tyrod Taylor with 42.

Knowing that he had to protect his young, slight quarterback to give him any chance at success, Snead signed perhaps the top offensive lineman on the market, Andrew Whitworth, over the offseason. Whitworth has injected a ton of talent and efficiency into a previously hapless offensive line, grading out as Pro Football Focus' fifth-ranked offensive tackle among 69 qualifiers so far this season. And wouldn't you know it: Goff is now on pace to be sacked only 19.2 times this year. Snead saw a hole at a crucial spot on his roster, and he did exactly what it took to fill it.

The difference between McVay and Fisher is substantial, but the difference between Whitworth and Robinson may be ever greater.

In summation

The Rams have obviously improved since last year's disastrous 4-12 season, and Sean McVay replacing Jeff Fisher as head coach certainly has had a lot to do with that. McVay uses his players in creative ways and utilizes their strengths rather than attempting to fit them into a certain scheme.

That being said, this roster is a lot more talented than it was a year ago. With huge upgrades to the receiving corps and left-tackle position, it's no wonder that Jared Goff is moving the ball more efficiently and the offense is scoring more points—that's simply what happens when you improve the talent around a young quarterback. The fact that Goff is now in his second professional season, giving him more experience and insight as to how he needs to prepare, certainly doesn't hurt the offense's upside.

When it comes down to it, this is a talented roster, and the man who accumulated this talent deserves credit for doing so. McVay is doing a fantastic job of maximizing the talent of his players, but without Les Snead, McVay may not have all that much talent to work with.

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