The LA Rams need to find better defense in 2020 to compete and win a Super Bowl. To do so, the Rams will need every bit of ingenuity and innovation new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley can muster.
The LA Rams rode the defensive savviness of former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as far as they could. In 2019, the Rams finished 20th for defense in the category of yards allowed, and 17th in the category of points allowed. Compare that to the 2017 season, where the Rams were ranked 19th in yards allowed, and 12th in points allowed. While that was good enough, it was sufficient when the Rams offense led the entire NFL in points scored. That should change under new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
Phillips was the perfect complement to a very young version of head coach Sean McVay. Phillips handled virtually everything on the defensive side of the ball, while special teams coordinator John Fassel oversaw everything related to handling special teams play. McVay could focus on offense, his comfort zone, and peek in at the other aspects of running the entire football team as time allowed or the situation warranted.
In 2019, the situation warranted it. The offense began to slip. When the team needed stops from the defense, the stops didn’t come. The high scoring LA Rams offense had been “figured out” by the league, which meant good enough on defense simply was no longer good enough.
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Thus the LA Rams parted ways with Wade Phillips, and in his place brought in Denver Broncos OLB coach Brandon Staley. Staley was the assistant to defensive coordinator guru Vic Fangio, whose defense befuddled McVay over and over. So if you can’t beat the defense, you hire the assistant. But the fun with a new defensive coordinator is that time between their hire and the first game, where fans and sportswriters take note of each drill, player ranking, formations, and philosophies. Here is an introductory video available at Rams.com about Brandon Staley.
TheRams.com’s Stu Jackson wrote a nice piece about incoming defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and having read that article, I took away five refreshing insights I’ll share with you here.