4-3 or 3-4?
The LA Rams run a 3-4 defense. The Atlanta Falcons ran a 4-3 defense. So something has to give, right? Or does it? Well, if you look at the Rams current roster, you’ll see that the team has six defensive linemen for their current 3-4 configuration. If you factor in DE Derek Rivers, that brings the team’s total to seven. If you look at the team’s linebacker depth, the team has played all season with just two to three healthy inside linebackers for the same 3-4 defense.
A switch to a 4-3 defense makes some sense. For starters, that would limit the opposing offensive line’s ability to focus so many blockers at Aaron Donald. It would also strengthen the Rams’ ability to match a strong offensive line like that fielded by the Green Bay Packers. The Rams have had no shortage of linemen and recently signed four more from the practice squad to reserve/future contracts.
But there is nothing saying that the Rams must go to a 4-3. The Rams can offer the same coverage packages that Morris excels at with a 3-4 slanted front. In essence, the Rams will run a base 3-4 but use one of the outside linebackers in a pseudo-defensive lineman role as a pass rusher.
Of course, nothing is a done deal at this moment in time, but events seem to be in rapid motion to that conclusion. With the Rams just losing Staley, the Rams are eager to restore the coaching staff to full strength to allow the team to vet the current roster and coordinate any desired changes or additions to the front office rather quickly to allow them to prioritize their offseason strategy.
Losing Staley was bound to sting, and the next defensive coordinator to take over in his wake was never arriving in a ticker-tape parade. I think that the Rams are making a wise choice. Raheem Morris is tough-minded but fair. He is incredibly knowledgeable, and his experience will be a huge plus to the Rams’ coaching staff. We’ll know with certainty in the coming days, and that will give us time to pull together more information on him. Stay tuned.