The LA Rams defense is going to Coach Henderson’s Dawgs

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

The LA Rams defense is more than just All-Pro Aaron Donald and All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. It has to be. The Rams line up against 11 NFL offensive players on each play, and they need to get top performances from their 11 NFL defensive players each time that football is snapped.  While you may not think that creates problems for the Rams coaching staff, let’s rethink this for just a moment.

We know all about the Aaron-Donald effect on the LA Rams defense. As soon as a defender lines up next to Aaron Donald on the line of scrimmage, he becomes more effective. The Rams have made effective use of that phenomenon by continuing to feed talented defenders to the defensive front, allowing players to excel, and then sign elsewhere for huge contracts. Oh, that allows the Rams to qualify for the awarding of compensatory picks the following year.

But motivating the entire defensive line corps with such a diverse range of talent and skillsets can pose quite a problem for one coaching staff. Well, for a normal positional coach, perhaps. But LA Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson is cut from a different cloth. He is the man behind the legend, the guy who is in Aaron Donald’s corner.

Morris is on board

New defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, it seems, is happy to be in Coach Henderson’s corner.

Coaching greatness requires a bit of humility, as well as a bit of confidence. Most of all, it takes honesty, and integrity to coach the best hard.  Henderson doesn’t give Donald preferential treatment. He pushes Donald hard, and that in turn pushes everyone else on the staff. But the same coach who is the toughest on the field is the first and loudest when it comes to praising the work ethic of his players.

We’ve talked about the Rams working with the practice squad players from 2020. We’ve also talked about the upside of defensive tackle Bobby Brown III.

None of that happens without the real-life approach of Coach Eric Henderson. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. It’s tough work. It’s thankless work. But he has converted that into a motto as effective as “The Few. The Proud. The Marines”.  That defensive line in the dirt that is the grime, the muck, is also the backbone of the LA Rams defense. Their motto? “Either you’re gettin’ better or you ain’t”.  That’s Dawkwork. And from the moment you hear the motto, you think of the LA Rams and the defensive line.

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For a group that seldom gets credit for making a difference, kudos to LA Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson. He not only makes a difference on the football field. He also makes a difference in the lives of the players he coaches.