Why the LA Rams pass rush is key to containing Tom Brady’s passing

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News
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V: Pressure from everywhere

The LA Rams may not be on par with the 2020 version of their defense, but part of that is a perceptual mirage. The Rams defense was not particularly effective in the first three contests of last season either. To be honest, the Rams allowed 71 points in their first three games in 2020, an average of 23.6 points per game. In terms of run defense? The Rams allowed 136 yards rushing to the Dallas Cowboys, 121 yards rushing to the Philadelphia Eagles, and 101 yards rushing to the Buffalo Bills. That averages out to 119.6 yards per game.

So far in 2021, the LA Rams defense has allowed an average of 15.5 points per game (7 points was the result of the punt team giving up a touchdown) and the defense has allowed 134 yards rushing to the Chicago Bears and 109 yards rushing to the Indianapolis Colts. That averages out to 121.5 yards per game so far. And yet, to read discussions on social media, the LA Rams defense is perceived by some to be trash already.  Talk about overreaction?!

In 2020, the LA Rams generated just three quarterback sacks in two games. This year, the Rams have doubled that number, generating six quarterback sacks so far. So how are the Rams getting to the quarterback at twice the pace in 2021 over the best defense in the NFL from a year ago? Defensive philosophy.

This is a brand new defense, with new strategies and a new philosophy. The problem is that many saw where the Rams were at the end of the 2020 NFL season and now expect at least that level of play from the Rams right out of the gates. The problem? They are getting it, but due to weak special teams play, and the occasional big run, fans believe this defense won’t cut it. Be patient, relax, and give them some time to gel.

The Rams have already gotten six quarterback sacks from six different players in just two games. Morris has borrowed some of the rotational coverages from Brandon Staley’s defense, but gone after the quarterback more aggressively. That strategy adds a new “where is the pressure coming from?” element to this defense that few are appreciating. It’s that aggressiveness that has a solid chance of disrupting the cozy comfort level of one 44-year-old quarterback named Tom Brady.