Can DT Greg Gaines help LA Rams defense stop the run?

LA Rams rookie DT Greg Gaines didn’t see much action in 2019. With a larger role in 2020, he could help the LA Rams defense stop the run

The LA Rams defense struggled against rushing offenses in 2019. To be fair, the LA Rams defense has not performed well against the running game for many years. Few noticed before the 2019 season, because the offense scored so many points. But as points became scarcer, and final scores became closer, the defensive woes over the running game stood out.

Still, the Rams are not lacking in run stoppers.  Defensive tackle Greg Gaines is one such specialist.   As a rookie defensive lineman, he saw only limited action in 2019.  But from those five games played, he recorded 13 tackles and .5 sacks.

Gaines is very familiar with defending the running game. He is a 6-foot-1 312 pound defensive tackle out of the University of Washington.  Gaines was a selfless teammate in college, the defensive lineman who would willingly take on two or three offensive linemen to allow his teammates to make a play.  He played alongside defensive tackles Elijah Qualls, and Vita Vea, allowing them to get noticed by NFL scouts heading into their respective NFL Drafts. He played football out of a deep love for the game.

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Now, he gets to work at the game he loves, in a role he performs very well.  In 2020, he may find that role increasing.  With the arrival of new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, the defense may have some new looks in 2020.  Despite adhering to the base 3-4 defense, it would surprise few if they intermingled a few four down-linemen on running downs.  Gaines would be the obvious choice for the extra DL in that scenario.

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If the Rams want to find more success in 2020, they will need to change the way they do some things.  As the team works to reinforce the offensive line, some changes will need to occur on the defensive side of the ball as well.  Gaines is a young man whose role should expand in 2020. If he can produce with a larger role, so much the better for the Rams. If he cannot, better to know now than later.

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