LA Rams magical defense features Jalen Ramsey making WRs disappear

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams defense is magical, and star DB Jalen Ramsey steals the show by making opponents’ wide receivers disappear

The LA Rams defense has a magical quality about it. On paper, the roster seems to have the potential to be good. But if you watch the Rams play, it takes finely-honed attention to detail to see it on the football field. That’s because this defense does not perform like most defenses. They are better.  Much better.

The Rams defense is so good at times, that they tend to lull fans into an optical illusion of seeing what isn’t there, and not seeing what is.  The defense boasts the best yards per attempt in the NFL at 6.3 yards per attempt. But due to the high volume of passes attempted against this defense, the perspective is that they surrender a lot of yards when the reality is the opposite. The Rams allow the second-fewest passing yards per game in the NFL.  Taking it one step further, the Rams have allowed the fewest touchdown passes in the NFL so far as well.

Jalen Ramsey is the man behind the curtain

The secret to the sudden rise of the Rams pass defense is simply unleashing the full power of defensive back Jalen Ramsey.  Many analysts assess defensive performance by tackles, sacks, interceptions, and deflected passes. So that’s why so many do not see the obvious. They are measuring his performance with the wrong metric.

Ramsey’s best work is not defending the pass while it is in the air, but rather forcing the quarterback to throw elsewhere because his primary receiver is covered so well.  Need proof? As the LA Rams prepared to face the Buffalo Bills, much was made about the Bills two top receivers – Stefon Diggs and John Brown. In two games prior, the pair had combined for 26 receptions, nearly 400 receiving yards, and three touchdowns.  Against the Rams? The pair could only combine for four receptions out of eight passes for 49 yards and just one touchdown.

Eye-opening performance

The Rams have neutralized the primary receivers of virtually any team they face. That’s enough to get Seattle Seahawks head coach Peter Carroll’s attention. And yes, he’s noticed.

The tough part about noticing and countering is huge. In fact, offenses that are successful against the Rams defense do so by featuring tertiary receivers. The Buffalo Bills used Cole Beasley extensively. The San Francisco 49ers moved tight end George Kittle all over the offense and relied upon his ability to pile on yards after the catch. The Miami Dolphins simply scored on defense and special teams.

Hot. The LA Rams defense cannot be measured by adding up individual player stats. light

Jalen ‘Harry Houdini’ Ramsey will make a wide receiver disappear

A player like Jalen Ramsey on the field is the equivalent of the opposing team not activating their best receiver for the contest. That unto itself does not guarantee a Rams victory. To be fair, it does not even guarantee that the Rams will hold the opposing quarterback in check, Much like the Bills’ talented quarterback Jalen Ramsey, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be able to find other receivers. If Jalen Ramsey makes life difficult for D.K. Metcalf, the Seahawks will simply throw the ball to Tyler Lockett, Will Dissly, David Moore, or Greg Olsen.

But Ramsey’s play on the field handicaps opponents. It forces them to plan away from their best offensive weapon. That’s the true magic of Jalen Ramsey. In true Harry-Houdini-like-fashion, he makes the best wide receiver from the opposing offense virtually disappear. Those types of stats will not show up in a Pro Football Focus grading system.  In truth, it’s rather difficult to detect even when viewing a live football game. At the end of the game, a quick check will surprise many.

Shadow play defense

The best defense is one you do not see coming. It’s disguised, creating false confidence and certainty. It is a defense that shows something that is there, that isn’t. It flashes vulnerability to big plays but doesn’t yield anything yardage easily. This LA Rams defense doesn’t see it’s performance on the national NFL headlines.

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This defense is barely discussed among the ‘experts’ whatsoever. Some still are weighing the conversation about these Rams as though they have yet to prove themselves worthy of being mentioned as a playoff team. And yet, there they are. Standing amongst the NFL’s best.  It’s perfectly acceptable if you don’t see just how good this defense is. That’s how it’s designed. But the best head coaches in the NFL know full well what a challenge facing the Rams this season is for their offense.  That’s how the LA Rams like it. If they cause coaches to lose sleep before facing them, they’ve already won half of the battle. And Jalen Ramsey is already in their heads long before they ever step onto the football field at SoFi Stadium.