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 by Elvis
6 months 2 weeks ago
 Total posts:   38902  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
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Los Angeles Rams

Who are these guys?


The Rams' offense is surging. The return of Kyren Williams has also returned the consistency of L.A.'s ground game that features motions and designs that other offenses around the NFL are starting to emulate (hopefully featured more in this digital space soon).

With Matthew Stafford on the field, the Rams currently rank fourth in offensive success rate and EPA per play. Simply put: This offense rocks.

So, that takes us to the Rams' defense, which has had stretches of surprising competency this season despite the collection of “who’s that?” all-stars.

This defense ranks around league average in all of the underlying metrics that I typically look at, like success rate, EPA per play and DVOA. Considering this team traded away Jalen Ramsey this offseason and features seven rookies on their depth chart, that is remarkable. While having Aaron Donald certainly helps, even at his advanced age, the Rams have received positive play from multiple rookies and young players.

Edge defender Byron Young has been a contributor as a secondary pass rusher alongside Donald, racking up five sacks and currently ranking behind only Will Anderson Jr. in quarterback hits per pass rush snap among NFL rookies.

His teammate Kobie Turner currently ranks first among rookies with 5.5 sacks. While some of those are because of help from the scheme and Donald, he is still a disruptive player in his own right at the defensive tackle position. Turner ranks first in run stuffs among rookie defenders and also shows the ability to rush the quarterback from the interior:

Young, Turner and the emergence from other homegrown talent like former undrafted free agent Michael Hoecht have given the Rams several complementary pieces up front for Donald.

Jordan Fuller's healthy return has also been a huge boon for this defense. Fuller played in only three games in 2022 after being a key cog for this defense in 2021, suffering a season-ending injury in Week 18 of that year.

You can feel Fuller’s presence. His intelligence makes him the keystone player on the backend of this defense, where his communication and ability to recognize offensive concepts help limit big plays and squeeze on throws underneath.

And the list of contributors doesn’t stop there! Linebacker Ernest Jones is being used as a hammerhead in the run game while also holding his own as a pass defender. Other defensive backs play with a devil-may-care attitude that can make you crack up when watching them. Look at several Rams defenders celebrating mid-play when a Joe Flacco deep ball was in the air:

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There’s a team-first attitude that is apparent when watching this unit. It's not quite the level of the jailhouse dance scene in "The Replacements," but with how the Rams prefer to play zone-heavy looks that require communication and chemistry between their defenders, it is fun to watch a defense work as a hivemind as they snuff out concepts down the field and then celebrate together afterward:

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This Rams defense is still essentially Aaron Donald and the Donaldettes, which was generally anticipated by most observers. What wasn't anticipated is the general stretches of good play this unit has flashed and the winning football that multiple former Day 2 or 3 draft picks (or just undrafted players altogether) have been playing.

They don’t have the outright firepower (although Donald is a pretty nice boomstick to have), but they are competent enough to keep this team in games down the homestretch. When combined with a legit top-five offense that can run or pass the ball whichever way their hearts desire, it can make this Rams team not only feisty, but dangerous as well.

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1 post Jun 25 2024