3 positives LA Rams defense take into face-off with 49ers

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams defense Troy Reeder
Oct 11, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Troy Reeder (51) sacks Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Reeder proving doubters wrong

If you doubted ILB Troy Reeder‘s ability to play well, you are not alone.  The reputation of Reeder’s performance from 2019 was so tarnished, that some social media comments showed genuine surprise that he made it to the 53-man roster this year.  Reeder is a 6-foot-3 245-pound inside linebacker who holds a lot of promise to the Rams at the inside linebacker position.

He was undrafted in 2019, after a collegiate career with the Delaware Blue Hens. After starting eight games for the Rams in 2019, he was given a 28.6 grade by Pro Football Focus. That grade is the equivalent of an orange pylon, suggesting that Reeder was little more than an obstacle to maneuver around for the Rams. His score this year by PFF is a much more impressive 53.2.  While that is not at star-status yet, it does show tremendous improvement.

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Better use

Reeder is not gifted enough to diagnose everything around him and react just yet. So defensive coordinator Brandon Staley modified his role into something he could do effectively. He became a heat-seeking missile in the Rams pass rush, a role that allowed him to emerge with three quarterback sacks.

While that role may not benefit the Rams defense each game, it was certainly a role that was deadly effective against Washinton. Three sacks out of 48 defensive snaps, but only 30 of those were pass plays. That is a sack rate of 10 percent. That’s an amazing success rate of getting to the quarterback.