LA Rams: Evolution of NT role and 2021 impact to Rams defense

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Raheem Morris
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Morris’ makeover

So now one year later, the LA Rams’ defense is undergoing another makeover. While there is a myriad of questions to ask and answer, the key to the defense is how the nose tackle role will transform this year. Of course, we could speculate, by why not go straight to the source. Here is Sebastian Joseph Day talking about upping his pass-rushing techniques, and how to improve his game at his role at nose tackle for the 2021 season. Bash (as he is known by his high school coaches) doesn’t describe any changes to his body size and frame, so it’s clear that his basic role won’t change

Where the nose tackle role may change a bit is the pass rush, because the Rams will need to replace the production of Michael Brockers and Morgan Fox.  Sebastian Joseph Day will certainly factor into that.

We’ve done a quick and dirty analysis of the LA Rams defensive line, and concluded that this may actually be the most talented group of players that head coach Sean McVay has ever had to work with. So that begs the question, will that surplus of talent modify the Rams defensive philosophy?

Morris talks about how he will field a base 3-4 defense but will implement sub-packages. That suggests a bit different method, as that suggests that the Rams will roll in more comprehensive personnel packages based on down and distance. In Staley’s packages, the Rams relied on adapting with reconfiguring the defensive plays.

For the Rams’ new defense, look for the Rams to rely a bit more heavily upon a linebacker or a super safety for pass defense over the middle of the defense. That specialization will mean that the defensive front may convert partially back to a two-gap alignment.

We know that the new defensive scheme will not be as insulating to the inside linebacker positions. As we showed previously, Staley’s scheme practically ran interference for the linebackers on each play, containing running plays and occupying offensive linemen before they could get to the second level. Now?  Those linebackers will be more involved, may face an occasional blocker, and that is why the Rams invested a valuable draft pick to get their guy.

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We’ll know soon what the Rams defense is predicated upon. But one key to everything is the nose tackle role.  Hopefully, this discussion will highlight some points to watch for through the 2021 training camp.