Can the LA Rams secondary be playoff proofed for 2021?
Can this be fixed in time?
The Rams pass defense could not prevent a very rusty-armed Geno Smith from scoring in Week 5. But it did stop him from winning the game. A bit of good and a bit of bad so far? Well, it’s a start. But a start to what? What is the goal for this defense?
It’s pretty clear that the best defense in the NFL is beyond what this group can offer. It would be incredibly nice, but not vital. The goal should be to take little steps now so that the daunting task of competing in the NFL playoffs arrives just as this defense is peaking.
Let’s focus on the Rams Week 6 opponent. The New York Giants field an offense that is more pass-happy than run-focused. They are the NFL’s 24th-ranked rushing offense, but eighth-ranked passing offense. The problem? They are dealing with injuries to three vital offensive weapons: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), and QB Daniel Jones (concussion). The Rams have an opportunity to improve their defense this week.
Jones is a dual-threat quarterback and is currently on track to play against the Rams. So this is a chance for the Rams to do what they could not do against Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Which is? Contain him in the pocket and sack him by preventing him from scrambling for huge gains on the ground.
The Rams will face a passing offense that can get the ball out to a dozen or so receivers. If the Rams intend on giving younger players a chance to get some quality defensive snaps in for this game to see how they handle their coverage assignments, this could be a game to give that strategy a try.
Or the Rams could shop the NFL Free Agency market. If the goal is to get better on defense, perhaps the front office needs to get involved? There are a number of intriguing veterans who were recently released.
The Rams continue to face offenses that are using the play pattern of the New York Jets from 2020 and perfected by the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. Offenses attack the middle of the Rams’ defense with determined runs and pass plays to soften them up. Then the quarterback attacks the perimeter. After the defense moves in to stop the short game, they take their shots down the field.
Against the Green Bay Packers, the Rams defense allowed 188 yards rushing and an average of 5.2 yards-per-carry. Aaron Rodgers threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns on the day as well. When Raheem Morris inherited this defense, he inherited its strengths and weaknesses.
Unfortunately, nobody recalls that the Rams defense is vulnerable. Now, the question is, can Raheem Morris fix it in time?