Ramblin’ Fan chats with Deion Sanders about the Rams secondary


Deion Sanders has become one of the most magnetic personalities in the game of football today. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, Sanders showcased ability during his playing days like few ever have. Tuesday, CBS and the NFL got together in New York City to preview the upcoming season. Ramblin’ Fan was there and caught up with Sanders to chat about the Rams and their defense.

More from Rams News

The recent loss of starting cornerback E.J. Gaines was a big blow to the secondary in St. Louis. Gaines started 15 games as a rookie last year and posted 70 tackles and two interceptions in that time. In the absence of Gaines, the Rams will look toward fourth year corner Trumaine Johnson to fill that void. We asked Sanders how he felt about the promotion of Johnson and whether or not he would play well along side Janoris Jenkins.

"“I think you need 4 corners.” Sanders said. “You cant play with 2 corners in the NFL. Somebody has to play the slot, and that’s normally a younger guy and normally that’s where all the balls go on third down.”"

Sanders voiced his concerns about the lack of experienced depth St. Louis has at the corner position. In regards to the slot, in 2015, that area should be well patrolled by LaMarcus Joyner. Joyner is entering his second year out of Florida State and saw action in ten games last year. He posted 40 tackles, six for a loss and recorded one sack. Joyner has plenty of potential, but also has room for improvement.

Nov 23, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (21) talks to San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd (80) during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Without a doubt, Jenkins is the top dog in this pen, and reports of late have indicated that discussions have begun to keep Jenkins in St. Louis long-term. Nothing solid has materialized yet, but Jenkins holds a skill set not many at his position can boast. He is a ball hawk that can make some seriously athletic plays. He’s tough and physical on opposing wide outs. Sanders spoke to the importance of finding that number one corner and keeping him on your roster.

"“Do you know how hard it is to find a good corner, let a lone a corner with potential to be great; I understand the team trying to extend him. If I were him, I would bet on myself and wait it out. It’s hard to find a good corner, and they’re worth their weight in gold if you can.”"

It’s no surprise Sanders is partial to the cornerback positions, having played their a majority of his NFL career. Biased or not, Sanders is right. Having a lock down corner on your team is instrumental in keeping big threat wide receivers in check and allowing other parts of your defense to become even more effective.

The question on everyones mind this season is whether or not this defense can make a run at the top spot in the league. It is certainly an intimidating front four with Chris Long, Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn. The offseason addition of Nick Fairley was so nice it was almost unfair to the other teams. Behind those four you find Alec Ogletree, James Laurinaitis and Akeem Ayers holding down the linebacker positions. A front seven as good as any in this league.

Sanders, while impressed with the talent on the defensive side of the ball, said the success of the defense actually hinged on something they had no control over. The running game.

"“Top defenses correlate with a top running game on offense. Most top defenses, you look on the other side of the ball, and they usually have a pretty darn good running game. I would like to see them (The Rams) run the ball more, to help that defense, now they stay off the field more. Now that takes 20-30 yards away from the total yards, now they become a top defense. It all works together man. Normally there is a great running game on the other side. Seattle is Seattle because you have a guy like Marshawn Lynch on the offensive side of the ball. To be able to run out the clock in the fourth quarter. To keep the defense off the field.”"

Overall, Sanders approved of the direction the team’s defense was headed, but noted they still had work to do. You don’t become a top unit in the NFL overnight. It takes years of hard work, consistency and the right mix of players to become truly dominant. We began to see the makings of a great defense last year, and the Rams have all the right pieces to be even better in 2015. Look for the defense to be the strong point of this team and put the offense in the right positions to be effective.