I hope everyone had a fun, enjoyable fourth of July, but now it’s time to get back to football. The breakdown of the entire offense is over and now it’s time to move on to the defense. They say defense wins championships, and it looks like the Rams might only be a few pieces away from having that championship caliber defense. To start off the defense we will begin where we left off on the offense, up front.
The St. Louis Rams used to be known as a team that would play high octane offense and they weren’t afraid to play a shootout and win 38-34. Due to the fact that they lost the players and talent to be able to do that, the Rams had to find another way to play, and that way was to win playing good defense. The defense may not have been in top of the league in any category, but you could see the talent was there to be able to play that way.
The Rams could possible have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, top five for sure. The Rams have built their defensive line the right way, through the draft. It took some time, but the reward has made the wait worth it. The Rams first drafted Chris Long back in 2009, then drafted Robert Quinn in 2011, and finally drafted Michael Brockers last season. Thankfully all of three have played what the Rams thought they could be and better.
Chris Long is the superstar of the defensive line. Long recorded 11.5 sacks last year, and although that was down from the previous year of 13.0, Long set up a lot for other players on the line such as Robert Quinn. Long and Quinn were almost made to play across from each other. Quinn does have some problems stopping the run, and hopefully he will be able to get better in that aspect in his third year. Both players combined for 23 of the team’s sacks last season, and you can expect they will put up around the same once again this season.
Brockers and Langford cover the inside of the defensive line and both have turned out to be impact players. Brockers only played in 13 of the team’s 16 games, but still managed to get 4 sacks and in the games he played the Rams run defense got considerably better. Add Kendall Langord to the list of players that the Rams have stolen from the Miami Dolphins. Many think that Langford didnt have a good year, but really, he and Brockers are the reason that the Rams run defense went from 31 to 15 in just a year.
Who said defensive lines only consisted of four players? You can’t forget about the fifth man on the line, William Hayes. The resigning of Hayes was one of the Rams big re-signings this past off-season. Hayes on limited snaps still managed to sack the quarterback seven times and get 35 tackles. Hayes’ role could increase this year and if Quinn doesnt improve his game, Hayes very well could split time or become the starter.
The Rams have a front four built to make a run into the playoffs. To make a playoff run, you have to be solid up front, and the Rams definitely are solid in that aspect. The Rams have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL now it’s only a matter of time until they make a run.