Defense watching: Trying to spot an effective LA Rams defense

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Defense
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

What does an effective defense look like? Grab your binoculars and let’s go defense watching: Try to spot an effective LA Rams defense

The LA Rams are 3-1 and have been solid on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The problem is that the team has yet to put it all together. When the offense excels, the defense has been a bet lax. When the defense shines, the offense seems to be out of synch. The Rams are winning, but as was on full display in week four, those wins can be a bit football ugly, or fugly. Dominating play is not just what you see, but a matter of what you expected to see. Disappointment happens when experience falls short of expectations. Joy happens when experience exceeds expectations.

As fans watch the games, it’s easy for the lines to blur. If the team is struggling, is it because the offense is not moving the ball, or because the defense cannot make a stop? If the distinction is too difficult, it may be that neither side is particularly effective. Many fans look for a three-and-out series when opponents have the ball, but that’s a bit naive. NFL offenses will move the ball.  The LA Rams last shutout an opponent in 2018 with a week two stomping of the Arizona Cardinals by the score of 34-0.

Measure the defensive play

But there are ways to tell how effective the Rans defense is playing. They come in three categories. The first is how effective the opponent’s best receivers are playing. The second is how effective the opponent’s running game is on yards-per-carry. The third is how effective the opposing offense is in the red zone. Finally, the fourth is have the Rams gotten three sacks in the game.

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The key is to pre-form in your mind what a ‘good’ defensive outing should look like.  The LA Rams defense is still learning, so it is not a complete unit. Defenses depend on how effective the offense is, so the performance does depend on the offense controlling the ball and the game clock. And the field position plays a strong part in whether the defense forces a punt, makes the opponent settle for a field goal, or scores a touchdown. So, let’s discuss this.