5 ways LA Rams DC Brandon Staley attacks Cowboys in season opener

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
LA Rams Brandon Staley
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Rapid rotation

The LA Rams stayed heavy on defensive linemen on both the active roster and on the practice squad. Nine players to manage just three starting spots on the roster.  So the idea must be to rotate starters quickly to keep them fresh.  Fresh defenders make stronger tackles, generate more sacks, and avoid injuries.  So the Rams will try to rotate defensive linemen into the game throughout the contest.

The hope is to keep the main starters, Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, within a 60-75 percent snap count range. In the 2019 contest, the Rams defense was on the field for 68 defensive snaps. That sets the teams minimum range at 41 snaps and a maximum range of 51 snaps.  Keep in mind this is a defensive lineman range, where the physical exertion is the most strenuous on the defense.

LA Rams are ‘good to go’ in season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. light. Read

Keep ’em fresh, Brandon

The optimal way to ensure that the defense remains fresh is to start a rotation after the first 10 plays or so. Then after resting for four plays, send the rested player in. Or the Rams could stagger rotations by sending in Morgan Fox to give Michael Brockers a breather. Then send in Brocker to give Sebastian Joseph Day a breather, then Aaron Donald, and then pull out Fox.  The team has six defensive linemen on the active roster, and it makes sense based on down and distance to stagger the rotations.

Greg Gaines is the fireplug who stops running plays. Morgan Fox is gifted at applying pressure on the quarterback. Eric Banks is new to the DL platoon, and so his abilities will likely dictate when the defense can optimize his opportunities to make defensive plays. In the end, the Rams must manage the players’ load, especially in the first few games, to ensure no injuries occur from fatigue.