New defensive formations
The LA Rams will remain a 3-4 defense. But the team emphasized the defensive line in the effort to add talent to the team in the offseason. While there is room to debate whether the Rams intended to do so exists, there is no debate that is what the Rams did in free agency. The Rams not only retained Michael Brockers but added the tremendously strong nose tackle, A’Shawn Robinson. Adding Robinson not only opens the door to shifting Aaron Donald around on the defensive line but adds a possibility of standing him up to serve as a surprise edge rusher as well.
That means the Rams could go with three, four, or even five defensive linemen on any given play. How does the offense double up an Aaron Donald when all five offensive linemen are covered in a play?
Perhaps the innovation I’m most eager to witness is how the LA Rams will make use of All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey in 2020. Ramsey was already a threat to NFL quarterbacks when he stepped onto the field. But now, defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will be playing a game of cat-and-mouse with quarterbacks who will be tasked with finding Ramsey on the defense before virtually every offensive snap. The newly introduced Staley and Ramsey have resonated a solid bond, and the pair have already discussed moving Ramsey about the defensive backfield to confuse offenses.
But the Rams have more than one card up their sleeve on defense. After all, the team is betting that a superior strategy will overcome the lack of experience among the linebackers this year. And in many ways, they could be right. After all, with an ever-changing defensive front, and defensive backs capable of sliding into virtually any coverage, the linebackers will have some flexibility to do what they do best, gravitate to the back and deny positive yards. The Rams edge rushers for this defense are the true wild card. If the Rams hit big with outside linebackers Leonard Floyd and rookie Terrell Lewis, this defense could be scary good.