10 reasons to believe LA Rams defense makes the difference this year

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams defense
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

IV – Can you believe how good Darious Williams is playing?

The LA Rams had options to start either Troy Hill or Darious Williams as the other cornerback opposite Jalen Ramsey. Instead, the team opted for both, and have migrated Ramsey into a rogue defensive back who is one-part slot cornerback, one-part outside cornerback, and one-part safety. That allows Ramsey to cover the best receiver, and Williams to pick the pockets of the quarterback.

The willingness of the Rams defensive philosophy to allow both players succeed is a key factor in the success of the defense this season. You can find competition all over the defense this year. Williams vs. Hill. Taylor Rapp vs. Jordan Fuller. Samson Ebukam vs. Terrell Lewis.  The Rams are filled with position battles.

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A little bit of everything

Any defensive back who is on the football field when Jalen Ramsey is on the field will be worked hard. That’s due to the fact that so few quarterbacks are willing to throw in the direction of Ramsey. That gives Williams plenty of work. For him, that simply means plenty of chances to shine. Until late in the 2019 season, Williams was on the Ravens and Rams practice squad. He’s played in all 11 games this year, and started seven.

He’s allowed 30 receptions on 57 passes, good for just a 52.6 percent completion rate. He’s deflected 13 of those passes, and intercepted another four. That type of proficiency has earned him an eyebrow raising grade of 80.9 from Pro Football Focus this year. Whether at outside or slot, he has taken 83 percent of the defensive snaps this season. That’s quite a contribution from 2019’s practice squad player.