LA Rams News: The 2020 defense will feature the safety position.
The LA Rams defensive backfield is seriously good. The team traded for one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey. Funny thing though, he may not be the best cornerback on that defense yet. While the Rams’ new defensive coordinator devises ways to unlock All-Pro Jalen Ramsey’s impact with the Rams’ defense in 2020, we must all concede that he man not even be the most effective cornerback on this defense. Whether he is or is not, even the best cornerback needs help over the top. That’s where defensive safety comes in.
The NFL safety position is one of the most versatile positions in modern defense. In some defenses, it takes on the characteristics of a third cornerback. In other defenses, it takes on the characteristics of a linebacker. And in still other defenses, it takes on a deep coverage enforcer, a slower but stronger defensive back who lowers the boom on receivers who stray too far into his area of responsibility.
Kaleidoscope of talent
The LA Rams will be combining all of those roles into one for the 2020 NFL season. The struggle to find players with versatility enough to fill all responsibilities is only the first step to this defense. After that, it’s learning how to coordinate that deception as a unit. And then, calling the right coverages to defend the play will be another important step.
We’ve had plenty of discussions about individuals and how defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will use their individual talents. But what of the position itself? We know that the defense will use an extra defensive back more than 50 percent of the time. That will likely be a safety, either Terrell Burgess, Jordan Fuller, Adonis Alexander, or even Nick Scott. But the real fun begins when that third DB rolls into surprising man coverage, while All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey reads the quarterback’s eyes and plays the ball.
Speed and power? That’s covered too
The NFC West rivals have certainly not made anything easier for the Rams defense for 2020. But some teams have not added as much talent to the passing game as you might think. Of course, the winners in this category are the Arizona Cardinals, who managed to pry WR DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans for next to nothing Hopkins is a bonafide NFL playmaker and will need to be accounted for. Thankfully, he arrived at the worst offense in the division, so his upside will not be that dramatic.
The Seattle Seahawks added waning veteran tight-end, Greg Olson. While he won’t add much production, he will trigger the Rams defense to use nickel packages more often. That will be fine for the Rams, as they will be prepared to defend the run with a stronger defensive line. The San Francisco 49ers lost Emmanuel Sanders. His replacement is a gifted rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk. That will put far more pressure upon the 49ers Deebo Samuel (already injured with a broken foot) and George Kittle.
The Rams defense will have answers in 2020. While the team boasts two All-Pro defenders, the true strength of the 2020 defense for the Rams will be the play at the safety position. it’s never the hand you see that does the most damage. It’s the hand you never see coming that drops you. The LA Rams defense will disguise that 11th player, the offense will never see him coming.