5 refreshing insights from LA Rams DC Brandon Staley’s perspective

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II – Defensive coordinator is a quarterback’s role on defense

The second fresh insight was that vision of what it takes to truly be a successful defensive coordinator. Not the “wake up early, eat a good breakfast” regiment, but rather the mindset, the thought process required to do so.

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Staley “got it” almost instantly with his first job at Northern Illinois. He instantly drew the parallel between the quarterback’s job to know where all 22 men were on the field of play and assuming that same responsibility as defensive coordinator.

Knowing where all 22 men are each play reveals much more than just where the players line up or where they go. It begs the question “why there?”.  So the chess match begins on each play from the same thought.  The offense lines up to move the ball in a positive direction. Defenses line up to deny the offense.  Knowing what the offense is trying to do is half the battle.

It’s a subtle mindset difference.  Be proactive rather than reactive.  It’s the difference between lining up in a base defense and trying to play from the defense’s strength, rather than disguise the defensive formation in a manner very much like the way offensives change their formations to disguise the play. It’s the difference between lining up Aaron Donald from the same position on each play, rather than setting him out as an edge rusher on an occasional play to confuse opposing quarterbacks.