How can LA Rams pass rush get more than three QB sacks in Week 5?
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams defense has been effective at getting to the quarterback, tied as the sixth-best pass rush in the NFL with 12 sacks. Unlike the highs and lows of other teams, this Rams pass rush has been Steady-Freddie. Out of some cosmic enigma, or just an odd sense of humor, the LA Rams have managed to get three quarterback sacks per game for each of the first four games.
I hate to be ‘that guy,’ but is there any way for the Rams to get more, particularly this week where the Rams face the Seattle Seahawks? In 2017, the LA Rams sacked quarterback Russell Wilson ten times (3,7). In 2018, the Rams got to Wilson six times (2,4). In 2019, the Rams recorded six sacks (1,5). In 2020, the team got an incredible 16 sacks (5,6,5), five in the Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs.
If the Rams get to Wilson, they have a better shot, but not always. Just last year, the Rams sacked Russell Wilson six times, yet lost the game by a disappointing score of 20-7. In the end, sacks help to measure the success of the defense. But they do nothing to gauge how well the offense will play.
Blitz up the middle
The LA Rams faced the Washington Football team in 2020 and were forced to start Troy Reeder at inside linebacker. It was a defining moment for the then defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s defense. How could the Rams succeed at containing an NFL offense if their inside linebacker was new to the role? Simply stated, the Rams redefined his role.
Rather than try to fit Reeder into the wrong kind of role, the coaching staff (Staley) reworked that role. They gave Reeder the assignment of blitzing the A-gap, and wow did he feast on that day. In one game, Troy Reeder recorded three quarterback sacks, which ended up being his entire season’s total.
I don’t think that the point of this is to start Troy Reeder on defense as much as it is to highlight new ways for the defense to attack the quarterback. We know that Russell Wilson loves to extend plays just as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray does. So the Rams need to contain and then harass him. A fast rush up the middle and in his face will do the trick.