The LA Rams are eager to welcome the arrival of NT A’Shawn Robinson, who projects as a giant contributor to this defense
Now that the LA Rams have played six games, the quality of the defense is better than some realize. These Rams are ranked fourth-best among all NFL teams in terms of yards allowed by the defense, currently allowing just 318.5 yards per game. That ranking is equaled by the Rams’ ability to defend the pass, also ranked fourth-best among NFL teams at 209.5 yards per game. But it’s the run defense that is still outside of the Top-10, coming in as the 11th-ranked run defense, allowing 109.0 yards per game. But that will soon change.
You see, the Rams have a big strong nose tackle on the way back to the active roster. He is A’Shawn Robinson, a 6-foot-4 330-pound defensive lineman who plays even larger than his massive silhouette. He is the backbone of the Rams run defense, a free agent who was signed by the LA Rams to handle the middle rushing lanes. So far, he has had to watch from the sidelines.
Times are a-changing
Up to this point, the LA Rams have eagerly awaited the return of Robinson to the ranks of the surprisingly effective defense. Effective, but still missing a key cog. That Rams defense has the potential to be a Top-3 defense in the NFL. To get there, they need to tighten up their run defense, and they need to be a bit stingier on points allowed.
Robinson can help with both. After all, these are reasons why the LA Rams signed him to the roster. The fact is that the Rams’ new defensive scheme relies heavily upon a stout defensive line up front to control the line of scrimmage. The pass defense counts on quarterback pressure to force the passer to throw into disguised coverages.
A self-correcting defense
The LA Rams are already playing well, and the infusion of a fresh and energetic Robinson into the defensive line would be a huge plus. What can he do for this defense? Well, for starters, he is a bigger body over the middle. That extra size and strength allow the Rams to slide Sebastian Joseph Day to a defensive end spot more often. In fact, it allows a number of options for the Rams across the defensive front.
Perhaps the bonus of Robinson on the defensive line is the formidable shadow he will add to benefit the Rams’ linebackers play. While ILB Micah Kiser has been a pleasant surprise, the Rams ILB Kenny Young has struggled in the starting role so far. Yes, he does make some tackles and has flashed in coverage, he seemed to fit more of a downhill gap stuffer than the hybrid role of linebacker/defensive back in the Rams defense.
The Rams need Robinson in the rotation, and it will happen soon. When it does happen, this defense becomes better. Not instantly, but the presence of Robinson will open more options to the Rams. Robinson is a big man on the football field. But he will make a giant impact on the defense this year. A’Shawn the Giant is coming, and the Rams are eager for that day.