For Rams’ fans, offense is in their blood. They’re constantly reminded of Holt and Bruce stretching the field, Faulk splitting defenses and Warner manning an unstoppable aerial attack. The Greatest Show on Turf was an unforgettable period of time in St. Louis Rams history. The city hopes to see a restoration of the The Show, but this year, it all comes down to defense.
With the sexy hire of Josh McDaniels and Sam Bradford emerging as one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, it’s easy to forget how successful the Rams defense was last year. Chris Long emerged as a strong anchor on the defensive line that will cause havoc for quarterbacks for years to come. In addition, James Laurinaitis continued to grow and young players like Bradley Fletcher stepped up to become vital pieces to this defense. This year, it’s safe to expect more of the same, but watch for this defense to become even more dominant.
Through the draft and free agency, Spags was able to put even more pieces in place in an effort to construct a championship defense like he had in New York. Robert Quinn, Justin Bannan and Daniel Muir add more depth and athleticism to the defensive line, while also giving Spags the opportunity to rotate fresh legs in and out with Long, Hall, Selvie, Sims, Cudjo and Gibson. Beyond the line, the Rams were also able to add more depth and competition to the linebacker corps. Zac Diles, Brady Poppinga and newly acquired LB Ben Leber give the coach more options on who to play beside Laurinaitis. Also, watch for big things from Quintin Mikell. He knows the Spags’ defense and should step up immediately as a leader on this defense. He’s a player.
Rams’ fans can’t wait to see Bradford out there throwing the ball all over the place, but this team’s success will be dependent on the defense and its ability to build on last year’s emergence.