LA Rams DC Raheem Morris “Leonard (Floyd) is a special player”

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams had a chance to get their new defensive coordinator to the podium, and the opportunity to hear from their new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.  This is a new face for the LA Rams, but a very familiar one for the NFL. Raheem Morris has been someone who could write volumes about the NFL defense and the transformations over the years.

Now, he is expected to write a new chapter, and in the hopes of many from the Rams organization, his best yet. But before we talk about strategy, let’s focus on how a man who has seen so much can continue to do what he does. He loves the game, he loves the energy, and he loves the challenge and strategy involved.

Raheem Morris is not daunted by the fact that he is coaching All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald and All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey, in fact, he relishes the chance to coach them. But the keys to this defense are not always the obvious players.  Raheem Morris talks about having the benefit of a veteran like Leonard Floyd, and the ability to ask him to push the rest of the outside linebackers. He calls Leonard Floyd a special player, a high honor indeed for a veteran who is still making the defensive coordinator’s acquaintence.

You won’t get the strategies from the defensive coordinator just yet. Raheem Morris is a veteran, but he has yet to see this team play football first-hand. He is still learning who his players are, how to motivate them, what makes them tick. Morris, like many successful NFL coaches, understands the importance of motivation. He is still working on motivating this LA Rams defense one player at a time. But you can get some clues as to what you will find on the football field.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

The guy is passionate about the game, and it’s not going out on a limb to anticipate that this defense will reflect that. Passion is a huge force, and it will be fun to see how that all takes shape on the football field. In the past, this has been a defense that relied upon 11 guys to outplay the opponent’s 11 guys. In 2020, that changed to a defensive scheme that outsmarted opposing offenses. This year, it seems like this year’s version will be about building momentum.

There is a lot of training camp to go. There will be three preseason games to sort it all out. But for now, the defensive intensity and energy are right where Morris expected and that has him satisfied for now.  Morris is clearly a veteran at this because he has an amazing poker-faced presentation throughout his time at the podium. He doesn’t give much away, even as you can sense the awareness of the team and players.

He’s looking for passionate leaders. He’s going to hang his hat on the guys who can give intensity on the football field. You can clearly see why inside linebacker Ernest Jones was chosen so highly in the 2021 NFL Draft because he fits that style to a tee.  Will the rest of the personnel be equally adept at this new defensive culture? I think so.

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In the song “Gimme back my bullets” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the lyrics describe someone who rose to the top, fell to the bottom, turned everything around, and is now back on the way up again. A bit wiser. A bit more motivated.

“Been up and down since I turned seventeen
Well I’ve been on top, and then it seems I lost my dream
But I got it back, I’m feelin’ better everyday
Tell all those pencil pushers, better get out of my way”

It feels a bit like Raheem Morris is giving this LA Rams defense their bullets back. Or perhaps more accurately, that this defense is giving defensive coordinator Raheem Morris his bullets back instead.